A Prayer for Our Lack of Love

God tells us to love one another–to love others in much the way we so naturally love ourselves. Yet each of us must admit we have failed to do so. In this corporate prayer of confession, prayed recently at Grace Fellowship Church, we confess that lack of love. Leader: O God of Love, We have not loved our enemies. (Matthew 5:44) We have not prayed for those who persecute us. (Matthew 5:44) We have not fed them when they were …

In the Name of Jesus

“Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do,” promised Jesus. And ever since that day, his followers have prayed in his name. Parents teach their children, pastors teach their parishioners, evangelists teach their new converts to close their prayers with the familiar words, “In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.” But familiarity has its ways of breeding contempt, even in a task as sacred as prayer. And so it is wise for us, from time to time, to revisit …

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The Ministry of Sorrow

The church would be impoverished if Joni Eareckson Tada was not a member of it. Christian history would be lacking if it did not involve the accounts of Marie Durand and Corrie Ten Boom. We would be missing out on much encouragement if its ranks did not include Amy Carmichael and Elisabeth Elliott. What binds these precious saints together is not first their common gender, but their common faithfulness in suffering. By facing trials in a distinctly Christian way, by …

The Path to Glory

Jesus did not tell his followers to take up a feather and follow him. He did not tell them to take up a scepter or a sword, a flag of surrender or a trophy of triumph. Rather, he told them to take up a cross, to shoulder a rough and heavy burden that was synonymous with pain. It should be no surprise, then, that his followers’ path to glory is paved with much sorrow and much suffering. He told us …

Post the Strongest Soldiers at the Weakest Gate

The bridge was drawn, the gates were barred, the watchmen were posted to the walls. From their vantage point they observed the enemy armies draw close, they watched as the officers divided their force into ranks and regiments. They heard the great shout and looked on in trepidation as the enemy units surged forward. And now that the great battle was at hand, the order was shouted from on high and passed from man to man: “Post the strongest soldiers …

We Have the Light So We Can Be the Light

A team of scientists at Surrey NanoSystems has the distinction of having created the blackest black known to man. It is darker than soot, darker than coal, darker than night. Once an object has been coated in their patented Vantablack, it stops reflecting light so that all visible depth and texture are lost, and the object takes on the appearance of a void. Vantablack sets a world record by absorbing 99.96 percent of visible light. I’ve met Christians who are …

We Always Glean Among the Sheaves

Ruth needed help. Ruth needed help, and in his mercy God provided for her need. He provided it first through the laws of his land which instructed landowners that when they harvested grain, they were not to reap all the way to the edges of their fields and were not to pick up any bits their harvesters had dropped along the way. Instead, all of this was to be left for the poor and the foreigners who were to experience …

Whatever Is Not Christ

It is said of Michelangelo that when he was carving his best-known masterpiece he began with a block of marble and simply removed whatever was not David. This is the task of any sculptor—to begin with raw material and to work with it until nothing is left but the subject itself. Under the hand of a skilled artist, each rough blow of mallet on pitching tool, each gentle tap of hammer on chisel, each precise stroke of rasp and riffler, …

Being the Answer to Prayer

God invites us to pray, directs us to pray, commands us to pray. He even assumes we will pray, for when his followers ask him for instruction, he prefaces his teaching with “when you pray,” not “if you pray.” The Bible assures us we have been given bold, confident access to God through our faith in Jesus Christ. Petitioning the King is one of the great privileges of his children, so that we can at any time draw near to …

A La Carte (April 26)

Good morning! The Lord be with you and bless you today. If We Don’t Love, We Won’t Last Jon Bloom: “In recent years, I have watched churches I love dearly fracture, and even break apart. And in the cases I have in mind, the breaks weren’t over doctrinal disagreements or gross immorality, but over offenses given and taken. Longtime friends, having lost trust in one another, could no longer fellowship together.” What Does It Mean For God to Be Our …