The Blessings Lent Us for a Day…

I have often remarked that past generations of Christians relied on poetry far more than we do today. As I read authors from previous centuries, perhaps especially the nineteenth, I see how often they weave poetry into their prose. Sometimes the verses are quoted from the poets of the day and, just as often, freshly-written. I found this little example, clearly inspired by the book of Job, in a work titled “Brief Notice of a Short Life.” What’er we fondly …

Richer Blood Than Ours

De Witt Talmage was considered a great preacher in his day, though it is rare to see him quoted or referenced in modern times. Still, I have benefited a lot by reading his sermons, and perhaps especially one he preached on Isaiah 52:3. He preached it at a time when many were objecting to the notion of atonement and to the necessity of an atonement of blood. Here is a brief, beautiful excerpt. It’s well worth reading it aloud. Money …

Become a Patron

The Stranger in Smokeland

In his book Lessons from the Upper Room, Sinclair Ferguson provides an allegory he titles “The Stranger in Smokeland”—an allegory he says needs little interpretation. For that reason, I will provide it as-is, without commentary. I think you’ll enjoy it. The Stranger had lived all his life in the Highlands. Here streams of crystal-clear water run; the flowers and vegetation are luxuriant; the mountain air is pure; the atmosphere is unpolluted. No one who lives here has ever died. But …

I’m Not All That Awesome

It must be difficult to live out the gospel of self-esteem, the “gospel” that insists I’m nothing short of awesome. It is, however, delightful to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ that insists that I’m not all that awesome and don’t need to be. Here’s a short quote from Adam Ramsey that explains. The gospel means that I’m not all that awesome. But I am loved. And that’s awesome. The gospel frees me to be honest about the ways …

A Prayer for the Dying Day

I recently came across a wonderful prayer penned by Archibald Alexander many years ago. In it he prays that God would bless and protect him through the years of old age and into the gates of heaven. May his prayer be ours! O most merciful God, cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength declineth. Now, when I am old and grey-headed, forsake me not; but let Thy grace be sufficient for …

A Prayer for Parents of Teens

I have already shared a few of Kathleen Nielson’s prayers for children–young children and adult children. I wanted to share just one more, this one from her collection of prayers for parents of teenagers. After all, is there any time we pray for our children with more fervency than during their teenage years? This is a prayer for matters of first importance. May it give you words to pray for the child you love… O Lord, so many things I’d …

A Parent’s Prayer for Obedience

A couple of times now I’ve mentioned Kathleen Nielson’s new set of prayer books for parents. Through four short volumes she provides prayers for parents of young children, of teens, of young adults, and of adult children. I’ve already shared “A Parent’s Prayer for an Unbelieving Child” and “A Prayer for a Wanderer” from the books about parenting young adults and adult children, and this time thought I’d share “A Prayer for Obedience” from the book about parenting young children. …

You Want to Be a Spiritual Hero?

There is a longing in all of us—or most of us at least—to rise above obscurity and to be known for our greatness. Even Christians can long to be among the great. This is the subject of this little excerpt from Matthew Redmond’s The God of the Mundane. There are two kinds of pastors, in the main: those who speak at conferences with green rooms* (I’m not kidding; they have green rooms—with spring water, I guess) and those who want …

A Prayer for a Wanderer

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I have become quite a fan of Kathleen Nielson’s new set of prayer books for parents. Through four short volumes she provides prayers for parents of young children, of teens, of young adults, and of adult children. Last time I shared “A Parent’s Prayer for an Unbelieving Child” from the book about parenting young adults and this time wanted to share “A Prayer for a Wanderer” from the book about parenting adult …

It Is All A Snare To Me

Sometimes it is good and helpful when others give us words to pray. Over the years, many have prayed the prayers of the Puritans through books like The Valley of Vision. This prayer, titled Self Depreciation is as good and helpful as any of them, for it gives words to universal experiences. My every sense, member, faculty, affection is a snare to me, I can scarce open my eyes but I envy those above me, or despise those below. I covet …