The Puritans exemplified maturity; we don’t. Spiritual warfare made the Puritans what they were. They accepted conflict as their calling, seeing themselves as their Lord’s soldier-pilgrims…not expecting to be able to advance a single step without opposition of one sort or another…Today, however, Christians in the West are found on the whole to be passionless, passive and one fears, prayerless. Cultivating an ethos that encloses personal piety in a pietistic cocoon, they leave public affairs to go their own way and neither expect nor, for the most part, seek influence beyond their own Christian circle…[but] the Puritans labored for a holy England and New England – sensing that where privilege is neglected and unfaithfulness reigns, national judgment threatens.

(J.I. Packer)

We desperately need to recover the Puritan ideal and vision of applying the Bible to every area of life.

A Modest Proposal


Near the end of one year and the beginning of another, I make a modest plea to anyone who will listen: Read the Bible from beginning to end this coming year.

You’ll learn, ask questions, wonder, think deeply, laugh, cry, and more other things than I can name. Most importantly, you’ll get to know God better and you’ll grow spiritually. It won’t be easy. You’ll be tempted to quit more than once, but resist it! You’ll be glad you did. As has been said, the Bible is like a body of water that a child can wade in and in which an elephant can drown.

Ligonier Ministries has a list of Bible reading plans from which to choose. Look them over and go with the one that you think would work for you. Then get started!

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Ps. 1:1-3)

Don’t let your Bible look like the one in the picture!


We’re Losing Something


Throughout this Advent season, when we sang Christmas carols (or should I say if we sang them) in corporate worship services, all but one or two of them had new arrangements. The same lyrics, for the most part, but not the same music. I need to say that we attended more than one church, too.

There is something comforting and familiar about carols sung to their traditional tunes. For many of us, they’ve become so familiar we can sing them from memory – at least the first verse! The well-trod trail of carols makes worship of God-incarnate Jesus Christ easier and, in many cases, more meaningful.

Some of the newer arrangements are good, but my concern is that we’re losing something by leaving the familiar and traditional behind. We’re losing a common hymnal, so to speak, a communal act – something we do (and sing) together. I could be wrong, but not singing from the same page doesn’t bode well.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Psalm 100

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations.

Give thanks for everything the Lord has given you.

Give thanks for everything He has not given you.

Most importantly, remember to Whom you are giving thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving!


What is Reformation Day?


Stephen Nichols, President of Reformation Bible College, asks and answers the question “What is Reformation Day?” October 31st, 1517 was a day that changed the entire world. You can read his article here, and I strongly recommend you do.

Have a happy Reformation Day!

“Where Else Can We Go?”

Idyllic rural landscape in golden light

Christian, are you thinking about “throwing in the towel”?

Things haven’t gone the way you thought they would. You can’t seem to discern what God  is doing in your life. Your heartfelt prayers are rarely answered with a “yes,” but far more often with a “no” or a “wait.” You wonder if it’s all worth it. You may even think you’d be better off without it – you “tried Jesus” and it just didn’t work.

Don’t! Pick yourself up, shake it off, and remember the words of Peter in John 6:66-69: As a result of this many of His disciples withdrew and were not walking with Him anymore. So Jesus said to the twelve, “You do not want to go away also, do you?” Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

Where else can we, or would we, go? To whom would we go? The Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can save, sanctify, and keep us. Without Him, we have nothing. There is nowhere else to go.

Stay with Him even if you don’t understand; even if your image of your life is different from His; and even if you think you’re His forgotten child.

Honestly, what’s the alternative?

Amazed and Surprised


(From Matthew 28, Mark 16; Luke 24; and John 20)

I am amazed that Jesus’ disciples were surprised when they discovered Jesus had risen from the dead.

I’m also amazed that I was surprised they were surprised.

Jesus predicted His death and resurrection at least three times, and He regularly alluded to it in many other passages. So how could they not expect it or, at least, be ready for it? It’s hard to get inside of their heads, but consider the fact that in their worldview, dead people stayed that way – they didn’t come back to life and walk around and eat and be seen by other people. On a deeper level, when Jesus made His statements about rising from the dead, what did He talk about first? His death. The disciples heard that, and it’s possible that nothing else was really heard after that point. “Death? Wait a minute! That can’t happen to You, Lord.” They heard Him say He would be raised from the dead, but it probably went in one ear and out the other. I shouldn’t be surprised – they didn’t know the rest of the story.

I shouldn’t be surprised by their response, but I am by mine. I find myself (and I’m certain you do, too) reading God’s Word and asking, “Why didn’t the Israelites get it? Why did they blow it so many times?” “Boy, those disciples sure were thick-headed.” All the while, we see ourselves as superior – “If I would have been there, I would have believed (or wouldn’t have fallen into that particular sin).” Here’s a news flash: If I would have “been there,” I would have done the same thing, and you would have, too. Our sinful and fallen nature is the same as ours.

Look at it this way: Are we surprised when God fulfills one of His promises? We shouldn’t be! He promises He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5), but we’re surprised when He actually is pres. He promises to meet all of our needs (Matt. 6:25-34), and we think it’s unusual when He does. He promises to forgive our sins if we confess them to Him (1 John 1:9), but think we’re too sinful for that to really happen.

The disciples were surprised and amazed, but we shouldn’t be – for the glory of God!