Forest Fires & Apple Orchards

Much has been written about the biblical concept of “meekness.” Many have pointed out that of all the attributes God expects of us, and of all the attributes so wonderfully displayed in Christ, none is so rare as this. Yet perhaps no attribute is quite so difficult to define. What, then, is meekness? In some ways meekness is best defined by what it is not. Meekness is the opposite of self-assertion, the opposite of acting as if my will should …

Welcoming the Uncomfortable Work of God

Of all the pursuits that come with the Christian life, is any more constant, any more consuming, and any more difficult than the pursuit of humility? Surely nothing cuts harder against the grain of our natural, sinful humanity than to be humble before God and humble before our fellow man. Yet God calls us to display humility. He warns that he opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. So how do we become humble? Or, to say it …

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Thank You, God, That I Am Not Like Other Men

Comparison comes as naturally to us as eating, breathing, laughing, weeping. From our youngest days we begin to compare ourselves to others and quickly find the old adage to be true: Comparison is the enemy of joy. Though we so readily compare ourselves with others, we discover that this fosters a deep unhappiness. What promises joy actually delivers misery. The reason is that comparison is intrinsically competitive, so that we don’t really want to be merely pretty, but prettier than …

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 …

Keep Your Good Deeds Secret (From Even Yourself)

Legend tells of a humble old man who wished to do good to others, but not to receive their praise. So he wrote letters of blessing, epistles of encouragement, placed them in bottles, and set them afloat on the seas where, through the power of wind and wave, they went through the world, cheering many gloomy hearts, lifting many drooping hands, strengthening many weakened knees. Like that old man, each of us can attest to the deceptive nature of our …

The Greatest Christians and the Most Visible Gifts

I’m convinced we’re prone to make entirely too much of the most public gifts and entirely too little of the most private. We laud those who stand at the event podiums to preach the Word. We celebrate those who sit on the conference panels to answer our questions. We honor those who pen the few bestselling books. When given the opportunity, we surge forward to shake their hands, to snap a selfie, to share encouraging words. None of these actions …

Sometimes It’s Best To Express Your Wisdom in Silence

The story of Apelles and the presumptuous shoemaker has been passed down through the centuries for our reflection and edification. It is a tale worth telling today. Apelles is considered one of the greatest painters of the ancient world, though none of his works have survived the ages so we can see them with our own eyes. But in his day, his reputation was well-established and he was known for his hard work, his obsession with detail, and his exquisite …

So Very Weak, Yet So Very Proud

It was in early 2020 that we first began to hear of this novel coronavirus that was sweeping through parts of China, then making the short hop to nearby Asian nations, then making the longer hop to not-so-nearby European nations. The reports out of China were alarming, the reports out of South Korea sobering, the reports out of Italy terrifying. Slowly and then all of a sudden it was in our countries, in our towns, at our doorsteps. We are …

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 …

10 Sure Marks of Humility

Is there any trait more odious than pride or more precious than humility? Is there any trait whose presence we so highly honor in others and whose absence we so readily excuse in ourselves? Truly, pride is the chief of sins and humility the highest of virtues. Yet the Christian has the joy of seeing the Holy Spirit put pride to death and bring to life the beauty of humility. Here are 10 sure marks that you are growing in …