When My Love Grows Cold

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. It’s the day when every seat in every fancy restaurant will be full and when couples who don’t care for restaurants will be preparing nice meals for one another. Flowers will be delivered to offices, gifts will show up in mailboxes, cards will be exchanged. I am something of a skeptic when it comes to Hallmark holidays, but I do enjoy Valentine’s Day. I have been married to Aileen for fourteen years now and don’t ever …

Two Are Better Than One

Today we continue to read through John Bunyan’s classic work The Pilgrim’s Progress, and we come to the ninth stage of Christian’s journey. You may remember that in the last stage Christian and his friend Hopeful encountered the shepherds at the Delectable Mountains. And now they journey on. Discussion A lot happened in this week’s rather long reading–far too much to summarize in any substantial way–so I will pick just a couple of the things I found most interesting and …

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Wrath Is Love’s Response to Sin

Read an outside view on Calvinists or Calvinism, and you are sure to read something about God’s wrath. Every time. The God of Calvinism is a wrathful, vengeful God, boiling over in anger against any part of creation that has turned against him. He is no God of love, this. Sure, he may have some love for his elect, but to the rest of the world he is this angry, brooding presence eagerly awaiting the day of judgment in which …

A Dramatic Reversal

The first chapter of Ruth sets the stage for a dramatic reversal. It’s the opening of a story and it immediately draws us into the despair of Naomi. At the end of the book’s opening chapter we are left with a very honest but not-so-pretty portrayal of her. She is a woman who has fallen on hard times–her husband has died and her sons have died, leaving her without any grandchildren, without any future. Through all of the devastation she …

Speaking Love’s Languages

This is not a book review. I will be discussing a book—a rather popular book, at that—but I will not actually review it. Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages is a perpetual bestseller, one that is a near-constant presence on the New York Times list as well as the Christian lists. And, like so many bestselling Christian books, it is one in which I see some genuine strengths combined with some appalling weaknesses. It is a book that demands that we heed the old …

The Staggering Fact of His Love

As you know, I have been reading a lot of R.C. Sproul’s books lately, as part of a project I am working on. A few days ago I went through an older title, The Character of God. There I found these words, speaking of the depth of God’s love and the fact that it is a giving love. When the Bible speaks of God’s love it invariably reaches the subject of God’s sacrifical kindness. The love of God is the …

Treasuring and Pondering

You know that every now and again I like to post a prayer here. Sometimes it is a prayer from long ago, sometimes it is a prayer that is much more recent. This week I was looking at pastor Scotty Smith’s blog and came across a great prayer–one I could fully identify with and one I so badly needed to pray, too. Smith based it on this passage: “So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, …

Like Love

I’ve been to my share of conferences in the past few years and quite a few of these have been geared toward pastors. There’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed at the beginning of these events. In many cases these conferences are an opportunity for old friends to reconnect. Many times pastors have been attending the same conference year after year and have met new friends there or have reconnected with old friends from their college or seminary days. This is a …

Like News from a Far Country

This morning I stumbled across the first few pages of Alexander Strauch’s Leading with Love. He begins this book by telling a story from the life of Dwight L. Moody. He tells of a time that the evangelist Henry Moorhouse was asked to preach at Moody’s church every night for a week. To everyone’s surprise, Moorhouse preached seven consecutive sermons on John 3:16, preaching on God’s love from Genesis to Revelation. Moody’s son recorded the impact of this preaching in …

How is the Christian to Love God?

There is a profound truth that every Christian must face: the Bible is an inexhaustible treasure. Talk to a pastor who has spent a lifetime reading, studying and explaining the Bible and he will tell you, I’m sure, that the more he comes to understand, the more he realizes he does not understand. I have heard John Piper compare this to climbing a mountain. As he scales a sheer cliff and comes to the top of a great mountain, he …