Columns

Following Elijah’s stunning victory over the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18, he turns his attention to drought that continued to linger over the land. Back in 1 Kings 17, Elijah had announced a drought on the land because of the apostasy of the people. They had backed into Baalism and paganism. And their failure to remain faithful to the Lord carried the judgment of God removing his word from the people, signified by the lack of rain or dew. This was also a polemic against Baal, the storm god. The Baal cycle would be broken and the LORD would show himself to be God.

"With which person in the Bible do you most identify?" This is a question I have often asked others in the church over the years. Most of us lack even enough self-awareness to able to answer the question. Others among us have a propensity to appeal to the best characters in Scripture.

For the previous post in this four-part series, p

The sermon was the minister’s attempt through reason to encourage faith as it affected this life and the next. They were committed to a style that was plain but not dull. Each minister was pledged by his own creed to use a balance of doctrine and practice, faithfully devoted to the exposition of the Word of Scripture, and understood by all. Every Puritan sermon began with a definite Biblical text. Once a text was selected, the preacher’s immediate duty was to clarify it in all possible ways. Thus the lengthy Puritan sermon had a structure of its own.

Many believers misunderstand God’s grace, and therefore lack assurance of it. They wonder if they are really saved. They live thinking they are never enough. They wonder if they forget to confess some of their sins if they will be kept from the kingdom of heaven. They may look at mature Christians and think they fall short of what it means to be a believer. But God doesn’t want His children to live this way. He wants His people to rest in His grace.

There’s great comfort for the child of God in studying the doctrine of God’s providence. Knowing that “all things, in fact, come to us not by chance but by his fatherly hand” (Heidelberg Catechism A. 27), encourages the believer to not despair when darkness comes, thank God when blessings bloom, and confidently look forward to the country to come in which we will behold the face of our beloved Lord (see A. 28). Although every page of Scripture unfolds God’s providential plan, there are certain stories that seemingly highlight it. The story in Exodus 1 is one of those.  

Leonor de Cisneros and Other Women of the Spanish Reformation

 

Cyril Lucaris – A Contested Reformer

On June 27, 1638, a man was ordered to board a boat, presumably to move to a different location. Instead, the boat had barely left shore when some guards strangled him and threw his body overboard. This man, Cyril Lucaris, had risen to the highest rank in the Orthodox Church until the fury of his enemies rose to the point of murder.

Lucaris’s Life and Influences

Last January, a new professor wrote with a little conundrum. A student scored a 27% on his final, realized that he might fail the course as a result, and called the professor three weeks later to plead for mercy - a second chance - so he could pass the course.

In Matthew 12, Jesus and the disciples experienced events that had to be bitterly disappointing. Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute and the Pharisees said “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons” (12:24). A little later, they came to him and said “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you” (12:38). But they had just seen a sign; what could possibly satisfy them?

I was recently struck anew by reading Genesis 26. It’s the story of Isaac dwelling in Gerar. The story is familiar. We might read it in “like father, like son” fashion. As Abraham told Abimelech that Sarah was his sister, Isaac did the same. Yes, we sometimes learn from our parents. Even the patriarchs passed on what was not good.  But that’s not what struck me. 

Thanksgiving is an interesting exercise. It implies that the thanks given can be received. When growing up my mom would make my favorite dish on my birthday.  I would thank her, and she would receive the thanks with a hug.  It is this very thing that shows the inadequacy of idolatry. The idol is unable to receive the thanks of the worshiper.

It is often the case that a minister only begins to really appreciate the value of his books when the time comes for him to part with them. Sometimes it happens when he runs out of space on his shelves and he is forced to thin them out. Or it may be when it comes to his retirement and he is downsizing his house and there simply isn’t the same amount of space in his new accommodation. Either way, he finds himself struggling to decide which ones to keep and which to let go. It begins to dawn on him that these volumes mean more to him than he may have previously realised.

The first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism has resonated with generations of people familiar with it.

 

Q. What is your only comfort in life and in death?

Download the free Alliance app—available on Apple and Android devices — to read, watch, and listen to the wealth of content and resources from the Alliance anytime!

Quickly access broadcasts, podcasts, articles, and devotionals like The Bible Study Hour, Mortification of Spin, reformation21, Place for Truth, Think and Act Biblically, and Matthew Henry Prayer. Watch sound doctrine boldly preached on the Alliance YouTube channel. And easily share these resources with others.

“If any of you lacks wisdom,” the apostle James writes, “let him ask of God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

We all need wisdom, don’t we? And we especially need the wisdom that God provides through His life-giving Word. The book of Proverbs is a repository of godly wisdom that assists Christian believers in every area of life: in the workplace, at home, at church, in families, etc. God provides wisdom through the Scriptures, and Proverbs is a gold mine!

 Our English term conversion is not often used in our translations of the Bible. But lest we commit a word-concept fallacy, we should not conclude from this that the concept captured by our term conversion is infrequently found in Scripture. Far from it. Peter in his sermon recorded in Acts 3 expresses the idea of what is meant in Christian theology by the term conversion. There we read that Peter told the men of Israel in v.

Once the Spirit of the Lord has resurrected a dead sinner by the divine breath, life begins. This is the monergism that theologians reference in the work of regeneration. The dead sinner lives through God’s singular work. He initiated the life.  The spiritual cadaver is no longer cold and icy but is now oriented and animated toward God by grace alone. And as life comes so too does the fruit of life or conversion. Conversion is shorthand for faith and repentance.

Taken from forthcoming book, Daily Doctrine by Kevin DeYoung, Copyright © 2024. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.