Idolatry is Futility

We are all prone to idolatry. We may consider ourselves far too advanced to bow before an idol of wood or stone, to bend the knee to the image of an animal or man. But none of us is immune from bowing before the idols of our dreams and desires, before the idols of our wandering hearts. None of us can forever resist the allure of our illicit longings, of finding hope in mere riches, of finding meaning in mere …

My Heart Longs for Justice (Kind of)

Sometimes I find myself on a reading kick in which I follow a common theme through a number of books. Over the past few weeks I have been fascinated with businesses that have the appearance of being legitimate while they are actually over-hyped at best and fraudulent at worst. Elizabeth Holmes’ Theranos claimed to have created technology that could run hundreds of tests on a single drop of blood when, in reality, she was lying to her investors and running …

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The Dead Seriousness of Careless Words

A technician for an airline neglected to check the logs from previous flights and therefore failed to take action on a control problem that had recurred multiple times over the past days. His carelessness was one of the factors that led to the plane crashing on a subsequent flight. An engineer failed to set the brakes on parked tanker cars which soon begin to roll of their own accord until, out of control, they skipped the tracks and exploded. His …

Like a Ruined Castle

No visit to Edinburgh is complete until you’ve walked to the top of the Royal Mile to tour Edinburgh Castle. The castle has been remarkably well maintained and is as splendid now as it was in its heyday. You can stand on the battlements high above the city and see all the landmarks—the Firth of Forth, Arthur’s Seat, the Scott Monument. You can tour the beautiful Great Hall where Scotland’s royal family hosted lavish banquets. You can enter the Royal …

The Power of True Holiness

This week I found myself pondering some powerful words from the pen of J.C. Ryle: “Satan knows well the power of true holiness and the immense injury which increased attention to it will do to his kingdom.” We are called to God so we can become holy like God. He means for us to be as devoted to his purposes as he is and for that reason begins to transform us from the inside out—from the mind and heart to …

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 …

Post the Strongest Soldiers at the Weakest Gate

The bridge was drawn, the gates were barred, the watchmen were posted to the walls. From their vantage point they observed the enemy armies draw close, they watched as the officers divided their force into ranks and regiments. They heard the great shout and looked on in trepidation as the enemy units surged forward. And now that the great battle was at hand, the order was shouted from on high and passed from man to man: “Post the strongest soldiers …

It’s Far Too Easy To Buy A Tiger

A comedian jokes, rightly I’m sure, that it’s far too easy to buy a tiger. Buying a tiger “is not an all day thing,” he says, “it’s like an hour—I’ll be right back with our tiger.” We do hear about people who welcome big cats into their homes and we all have a pretty good idea of how such stories are likely to end. While we would be surprised to hear of a man being killed by his pet hamster …

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 …

Our Lust Is Furious and Our Greed Limitless

If you have ever wanted a taste of Calvin’s Institutes but without committing to the whole thing, you may want to try reading A Little Book on the Christian Life. It is an excerpt of the larger work, and one focused largely on Christian living. Here’s an extract from a new edition translated by Aaron Denlinger and Burk Parsons. In striving for either convenience or tranquility in this present life, Scripture calls us to resign our wills and everything that …