Meaningless Habits

“The multitude of your sacrifices—what are they to me?” says the Lord. “I have more than enough of burnt offerings, of rams and the fat of fattened animals; I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12 When you come to appear before me, who has asked this of you, this trampling of my courts? 13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings! Your incense is detestable to me. New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.” (Isaiah 1:11-13) If you were…

Top 10 Books of 2021

For the last few years, I’ve always meant to write my personal Top 10 Books of the year, but never managed to get around to it. Today all that changes (at last). In no particular order, here are the top 10 books I read in 2021. Institutes of the Christian Religion, John Calvin (ed. John McNeill). In the interest of honesty, I should mention that I started this the year before, but it was well…

Renew Your Minds

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)   As the shelter-in-place order drags on, and the path to reopening looks lengthy and trying, tempers are beginning to flare. Experts have different, even contradictory, opinions—and worse, every person in America has seemingly dubbed himself or…

Three Bad Bible-Study Questions

In many ways, the prevailing (and dramatic) shifts in western culture during the past few centuries all center on a single issue: truth—and how we learn it (if we can). To Christians, who worship the One who claimed to be Truth (John 14:6), these cultural shifts prove exceedingly relevant. If we are not mindful of our culture’s changing views of truth, we will imbibe the spirit of the age unwittingly. This is especially evident in…

Until Another Comes Forward

Using an analogy drawn from the legal arena, Solomon writes, “In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines” (Proverbs 18:17, NIV). I suspect he does not intend to limit the application of his point to the courtroom, however. Whenever someone puts forth an argument, the audience will likely sway in their direction. Hearing one side of any debate will surely produce a single outcome. The first to speak…

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…

Reading through the Bible

This is my annual New Year’s post about reading through the Bible in a year. I hope you will choose to discipline yourself and discover the riches of God’s Word in this way again this year! As the new year rolls in, we would be wise to plan for the coming year. We accomplish few things of lasting value without having planned for them in advance. This is true for our spiritual journey. Now, at…

Spending Time with God

Disciplining yourself to spend time with God can be a daunting task. Here are a few tips and suggestions to help you on your way.   Set a specific time—ideally the same time every day. I believe there is real wisdom in setting aside the first part of your day for this time of intimacy with God. As I’ve suggested elsewhere, the Scriptures seem to commend the practice of rising early to meet with the…

Reading through the Bible

As the new year rolls in, we would be wise to plan for the coming year. We accomplish few things of lasting value without having planned for them in advance. This is true for our spiritual journey. Now, at the start of the year, is the time to plan for how we will encounter God in his Word for the next twelve months. Below are several excellent Bible-reading plans available to download from different ministries.…

On Rising Early

Dawn breaks, light trickles through tiny fissures in our carefully arranged curtains, and most of us hide our faces lest the day overtake us. Because of our hectic schedules, being overworked and overtired, our sinful pace of life and idolatry of achievement, we fear the morning. How different the approach of the psalmists, who longed for the coming of the new day—that they might meet anew with God. To him they offered the first thought…