affliction

An old spiritual laments, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen, nobody knows my sorrows.” A modern rock song languishes, “You don’t know how it feels to be me!” But Jesus does . In Matthew 26:36-46 , Jesus’s agonizing, lonely prayers in Gethsemane show the hellish human suffering of His soul before...
Have you heard that ancient Chinese curse which parents would proclaim on only the most disobedient of their children? The parent, looking at their bad kid, would proclaim: “O, may you live in interesting times!” Turn on the news and you may be tempted to think that that curse is our reality -...
We have everyday encounters with rejection in job searches, auditions, and relationships, and yet it never seems to get any easier. Rejection undercuts our deep desire to belong, and too often we settle for the shallow approval of the world rather than the eternal embrace of the Father. Our culture...
“Our life on earth is a brief pilgrimage between two moments of nakedness.” So wrote the late Rev. John Stott. He was commenting on Paul’s candid way of summoning the believer’s soul to the green pastures of contentment. Writing to Timothy, Paul says: “But godliness with contentment is great gain...
The book of Ezra is notoriously difficult to read, let alone preach; but it is there in the canon of Holy Scripture to edify and equip the saints (2Ti 3.16). Whereas, at one level, it provides a crucial link in the chain of God’s redemptive dealings with Israel, it is ultimately vital to our...
John Bertram Phillips – A Bruised Reed Firmly Planted Some know him as the author of Your God Is Too Small, an influential book that challenged a complacent generation to rediscover and cherish the God of Scriptures. Others remember him for his translation of the New Testament into modern English (...
Johann Gerhard – Pastor and Teacher in Troubling Times Johann Gerhard is often seen as the third pillar of the Lutheran tradition, after Martin Luther and Martin Chemnitz (author of the Formula of Concord and the Examination of the Council of Trent). Gerhard is considered the foremost Lutheran...
The Korean Revival and Following Persecution The Japanese victory in the 1904-1904 Russo-Japanese War and the consequent annexation of Korea to Japan caused a flurry of patriotic sentiments among Koreans. By that time, Christianity had made great strides into the country, and its leaders were known...
Sharon Sampson
Have you ever heard people say , I just can’t help myself! ? We live in a culture where we often blame shift – to other people, to our circumstances, or to some aspect of ourselves which we think provides an excuse for our lack of self-control. Consider the things we often hear people say when they...
There are tremendous pressures in our culture. Talk radio proclaims that “America, as we know it, has been, or soon will be lost.” Members of Christ’s church can succumb to fear and the cries that “we need to do something!” There is talk of violence. Some speak of the potential need to take up arms...