Give Him No Rest

I have posted watchmen on your walls, Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, 7 and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7) The final chapters of Isaiah crescendo to the climax of history, detailing the perfection, wonder, and joy of the coming kingdom. In the midst of this crescendo, the Anointed One—Jesus, our coming King—appoints a group…

Yet Not What I Will

32 They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible…

The Cost of Prayer

When trouble hits, as it inevitably does, the human heart instinctively cries out in prayer. (To the best of my knowledge, no other species exhibits this tendency.) A majority of people the world over pray regularly, even daily; remarkably, this number includes a large percentage of those who profess not to believe in God. Theologians would attribute this to our sensus divinitatis : our innate sense of the divine (cf. Romans 1:20), or our “incurable…

On Marriage, Intimacy, and Evangelism

The elements in the title are meant to be a tad incongruous. While marriage and intimacy certainly belong together, what could they possibly have to do with evangelism?   One of scripture’s most common metaphors for our life in Christ, our relationship with God, is that of marriage. For example, the prophets routinely refer to Israel’s running after foreign gods as spiritual adultery. And at the close of the grand redemption narrative, we witness the…

When God Doesn’t Answer

I was recently having an important phone conversation with my wife, sharing my heart with her in a way that I’m not always wont to do. After a lengthy spell of pouring out my thoughts and emotions, I paused to give her a chance to answer—to laud me for my transparency and vulnerability—but got nothing. It’s not that my wife doesn’t speak words of affirmation though, or that she saw through my ploy to win…

Eight Reasons I Like to Fast

Jesus Christ expected that his people would fast (cf. Matthew 6:16-18), but many of us—myself included—find it hard to live up to expectations. One reason for this, I would suspect, is that we are never quite sure what fasting accomplishes. Is it simply to free up time to pray? Well, for those of us who eat quickly, little would seem to be gained then—and I could give up other much more time-consuming pursuits instead.  …

Devotional: Mark 9:14-29

When Jesus, Peter, James and John return to the rest of the group, they find the other disciples arguing with a large crowd. Seeing Jesus, the crowd hurries to him, and he questions them about the argument.   It seems the disciples had attempted an exorcism in Jesus’ absence, and it hadn’t gone too well. While this probably should have driven everyone present to prayer, instead it leads to pettiness, factionalism, and childish bickering. What…

Spending Time with God

This is my annual New Year’s post about establishing the discipline of devotion. I hope it encourages you to new depths of intimacy with him this and every year!   Nothing is more essential to experiencing the riches of God’s grace than our regular time with him in prayer and study. However, disciplining yourself to spend time with God can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you on…

Trust Me

Jeremiah, in some of his best known words, wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” The implication to the final rhetorical question seems to be no one can understand it. And, in particular, we cannot understand our own hearts. We think we know ourselves, but our own hearts deceive us, blinding us to our real motivations, thoughts, feelings. We do not need Satan to deceive us when…