The Tale of the Pig and the Sheep

As I followed a country trail that winds its way across the vast expanse of Southern Ontario, I came to a river crossing and sat in the shade for a time to rest and to catch my bearings. A man soon happened by and, after we exchanged polite greetings, he told a curious tale. He explained that he owns a nearby farm and that one of his sheep and one of his pigs had recently escaped. Together they had found …

It Has To Be Dark Before We Can See

A skillful poet once imagined Adam’s first evening in the Garden of Eden. He described the scene as Adam began to notice that the sun was sinking toward the horizon, that the shadows were growing long, that the light was getting dim. The first day was becoming the first night and Adam didn’t know what to expect—he had only ever known daylight. The poet imagined that as evening turned to dusk and as dusk faded into twilight, Adam might have …

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Why Should We Remember what God Forgets?

We serve a forgetful God. This forgetfulness reflects no fault in him, no weakness of his mind or memory. Rather, it reflects the strength of his mercy and grace, for he forgets only what would separate us from him, only what would alienate sinful humans from a holy God. It is our sinfulness that he puts out of his mind, our wickedness that he remembers no more. Though he has seen all the evil we have done and all the …

Vlog: One for the Dads (and Moms)

It may not be the key New Testament passage on parenting, but it’s definitely one of the most important: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” In this video I talk about it and warn how we, as parents, can provoke our children to anger. Transcript It may not be the key parenting passage in the New Testament but it’s certainly one of the most important. Ephesians …

The Best Way to Begin a New Year

I look forward to the day we own our house free and clear. We have been making payments on the mortgage since the day we moved in, but the end is finally in sight and four or five years from now we should be done at last. (An advantage of buying a small house and staying in it!) The moment the bank withdraws the final payment, we’ll be free and clear: free from further financial obligations and clear of all …

For They Know Not What They Do…

Today we celebrate the events that marked the beginning of Jesus’s life: The angelic announcement, the virgin conception, the difficult birth, the unexpected visits, the prophetic blessings. But even as we remember that Jesus came to live, we need to also remember that Jesus came to die. As we think about his birth we do well to think about his death. Recently, one of my Patreon patrons asked if I would write about some of the last words Jesus spoke. While he was …

What God Does With Your Sin

Sometimes it’s better to show than to tell. Sometimes it’s more effective to rely on illustration than description. Maybe this is especially the case when we are distressed, ashamed, or sorrowful, when emotions threaten to displace reason. In those moments, God comforts us not only with descriptions of what he does with our sin, but also with vivid illustrations. Are you distressed by what you’ve done? Do you hear whispers that you have sinned beyond God’s desire or ability to …

Never Sorry Enough

I am not easily offended. People will sometimes apologize to me for something they have said or something they have done, concerned that I was offended at their behavior. But I rarely am. It usually doesn’t even occur to me to be offended. But then there is that one situation with that one friend. A long time ago a friend really did offend me. He hurt me badly, actually. In the aftermath he did the right thing. I spoke to …

“I Love You” and “Please Forgive Me”

The “I love you.” You know the words, and you know the weight they carry. Recently Aileen and I were remembering back to the first time we said those words to one another. Each of us already knew how the other felt, but that did nothing to temper the thrill of actually voicing it and the joy of actually hearing it. “I love you” marks a milestone in a relationship, and not only a romantic one. Friendships also thrive and …

In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp’s Forgiveness…

Ann Voskamp sent me an email the other day. She invited me to bring my family to the Voskamp farm for a meal—they live just a couple of hours from us—to put people to the pixels, so to speak. It was a kind invitation and well-received. I am hoping that my family and hers can coordinate our calendars and make it happen. Voskamp’s invitation came just a day after I reviewed her book One Thousand Gifts. I have a long …