Settlers in the Land of Love

An old story tells of a settler who traveled from east to west, from lands that were settled to lands that were still unknown. Having grown weary of city living and having begun to crave wide-open spaces, he spent all he had on a vast but speculative parcel of land in the far-off territories. When springtime arrived, he sold his home, gathered his family, loaded his wagons, and traveled briskly westward, eager to see the property that was now his. …

I Miss My Son Today

I miss my son today. That goes without saying, I suppose, since I miss him every day. But on this day the pain is particularly sharp, the ache especially deep. I miss my friend, I miss my brother, I miss my protégé. I miss the son of my youth, the delight of my heart. I miss seeing him and hugging him, I miss teaching him and learning from him, I miss the sound of his voice and the cackle of …

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The Touch

Some of the most stirring but also the most tragic images the Bible gives us are of great crowds surging toward Jesus so they could be healed. At a time when humanity had only the most basic knowledge of the human body and knew of only the most rudimentary medical treatments, there were always many who suffered constantly and grievously. Thus we can picture in our minds people covered in sores limping toward him, people who could not walk crawling …

Have You Tasted Heaven?

A touching story from long ago tells of a young boy who lived in the distant reaches of the vast Canadian prairies. His family was impoverished, and parents and children alike had to labor day and night to prove their homestead claim. There was little time for anything beyond work, little money for anything beyond the barest essentials. They lived a harsh, rugged, hand-to-mouth existence. A day came when that boy’s father dispatched him to town to fetch supplies, so …

Scepters, Crowns, Thrones

My travels have led me through many castles in many kingdoms, my journey through many palaces in many places. I have seen the grandest edifices ever designed by the mind of men to display the value, the worth, the grandeur of their inhabitants. I have seen throne rooms devised to dazzle the eyes and overwhelm the senses. I have seen scepters and crowns carefully composed to symbolize the power, the authority, and the majesty of pontiffs and potentates alike. In …

Making the Christian Life More Complicated Than It Needs To Be

We sometimes make the Christian life more complicated than it needs to be and more complicated than it ought to be. For when it comes right down to it, God calls us to nothing more, and nothing less, than to obey. The only thing that really matters in any context or any circumstance is obedience to God’s will as it is revealed in God’s Word. Thus it is always necessary, and never superfluous, to search the Bible to know the …

Dusting When the Light Is Dim

Early on a Saturday morning a young girl is told by her mother to dust the house. She dutifully goes about her chore, dusting the tables, the shelves, the mantelpieces, and all the other surfaces. Later in the day her mother inspects the work and expresses some concern. “Look at all the dust,” she says, while running her finger over a side table. The daughter immediately realizes what has happened and offers an explanation: “I dusted in the morning when …

When God Seems Deaf To Our Cries

Joseph died a young man, his eyes hollow, his body gaunt, his stomach distended. He suffered deeply in those final days before he finally succumbed to the great hunger that had already claimed so many members of his family, so many of the people of his land and the ones surrounding it. As his breathing slowed, as his eyes closed, he thought back to a day not too long before. He remembered pleading and praying as his brothers, made mad …

Each Man Before the Mob

There are few better tributes to a Christian than to say “he is a man of good conscience.” Such a man will do only what is consistent with his conscience and will take no action contrary to it. He has carefully informed his conscience according to the Word of God and then carefully heeds it in even the most tempting and challenging of contexts. As Luther said so long ago, once the godly man’s conscience has been made captive to …

My Anchor Holds

At one of the many shipyards dotting Canada’s East Coast, another great oceangoing vessel is very nearly complete, and in just a few weeks it will begin to transport containers across the Atlantic. But before it can embark on its maiden voyage, it must endure a strict regimen of tests. Waters flood the dry dock and, for the first time, the great ship floats. Its propellors rumble to life and it slowly steers into deep waters where it can test …