The God Who Counts the Cost

We are nothing if not rash—nothing if not prone to making vows that are impulsive, promises we cannot keep. Sometimes we deliver on them only partially and at other times we fail altogether. “It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay,” says the Sage. But too often we do exactly that—we fail utterly to pay what we owe, to come through as we have promised. This is true of our greatest vows …

What Does It Mean To Trust God in Our Trials?

What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to believe in God’s promises? What does it mean to have confidence that God is who he says he is and that God will do what he says he will do? What is the nature of that faith, that belief, that confidence? There are times during this long and wearying pilgrimage when we undergo severe tests of our faith—tests that are often related to our losses and bereavements. Even …

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He Gives His Beloved Sleep

Of all the divine thoughts recorded in the pages of sacred writ, of all the promises God provides to humanity, perhaps none is more moving, none more blessed, none more needful than this: He gives his beloved sleep. What would we give to those we love if we had all the power of God Almighty, if we could dispense any gift from his endless storehouse? We would give the courage of a hero, the voice of an angel, the wealth …

What Matters Is Not the Size of Your Faith

We aren’t certain whether gold is pure or alloyed until it is tested in the fire. We don’t know whether steel is rigid or brittle until it is tested by stress. We can’t have confidence that water is pure until it passes through a filter. And in much the same way, we don’t know what our faith is made of until we face trials. It is the testing of our faith that displays its genuineness, says Peter, and it is …

I Knew It!

Do you ever wonder what it’s like to enter heaven? Do you ever wonder what you will see first, what you will hear first, what you will feel and experience first? Do you ever wonder what your very first thought will be after you’ve fallen asleep in this world to awaken in the next? I’m sure you do. We all do. We all wonder what’s just beyond the great chasm that separates life from death, earth from heaven, here from …

A Tribute to Those of Simple Faith

God makes us to be different from one another. He makes us to have different gifts and talents, to have different dispositions and personalities. He even makes us to relate to him in different ways, so that some of us most feel God’s pleasure when we are deeply engaged in a worship service and others when we are deeply engaged in serving God by serving others. It takes many parts to make one unified, functioning body. I have observed as …

God Has Found You Faithful

The Parable of the Talents is one of the best-known and best-loved of all the parables Jesus left us. It tells of a man who is going on a journey and, who, before he sets out, distributes his wealth among his servants for safekeeping. To one he gives five talents, to another two, and to another just one. (A talent, for sake of context, is about 20 years of wages for a laborer.) It tells how each of these servants …

Goodnight Till Then

“Mr. Challies, we want you to know that we have received Nick into our care. Rest assured that he is in the very best of hands.” The message comes as a relief, for it means that Nick’s long, last, lonely journey is complete. Even if he can’t come home, he has at least arrived back in his own country, back in his own town. It is not as we hoped. It is not as we imagined. But it is as …

Hold On

I am a quitter. In some ways I am, at least. There are parts and places in life where I will maintain a stubborn determination to the end (like, say, this whole blog every day thing I’ve been doing). But there are others where I give up, where I can too easily quit. And one of those places is in the battle against sin. Certain sins, anyway. I believe that God blesses obedience. I believe that God has blessings stored …

A Call for Christian Extremists

The effects of extremism have been on display all weekend. Even this morning they are splashed across every television screen, every news site, the front page of every newspaper. The attacks in Paris have shown us extremism at its most brutal and bloody, the kind that celebrates death, destruction, and mayhem. But did you know that the Bible calls Christians to extremism as well? It calls Christians to be zealots in a cause, to go to great lengths to carry …