Every apple has five seed pockets – called carpals – containing one or more seeds. The exact number of seeds per apple depends on the variety of the apple and the health and vigor of the apple tree.1 Therefore, it is impossible to predict the exact number of seeds in any given apple – until you cut it open, of course. But once the apple is open, you can count – precisely and accurately – the number of seeds inside.
What can never be counted precisely nor predicted accurately is the number of apples in a seed. If an apple seed is planted in rich soil and receives the right nutrients in the right climate, allowing the plant to grow to be healthy and strong, over time that tree can produce an untold number of apples. From our perspective, it can seem like a limitless number of apples. Year after year, the tree will produce hundreds of apples – or more. Year after year, each of those apples will contain seeds, which can in turn be planted to grow more apple trees producing even more apples producing even more trees…You get the picture. (more…)
When we pray, as Jesus taught us to, “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11), we are trusting that the Lord will provide for our daily needs. Most clearly, Jesus has our physical and material needs in view. He wants his disciples to walk in daily dependence on the Lord for the material things we truly need in this life. God is the sovereign ruler of the world, and therefore, in his perfect love and wisdom, he provides his children with all that we need.
This abundant provision is not limited to material needs, however. (more…)
Sometimes repetition is numbing. Repeated things can become mundane and routine, they can lose their impact. Do you remember how you felt the first time you flew on an airplane? If you’ve flown often enough since then (and suffered through enough TSA security screenings), the wonder of air travel has likely diminished. The intrigue is gone, and a monotonous familiarity has settled in its place. (more…)
From Taking God at His Word, Kevin DeYoung’s fantastic little book on the doctrine of Scripture:
At the heart of the postmodern skepticism about knowing God is an inferior conception of what God is like. The question is not whether we are haughty enough to think we have peered into the recesses of eternity and understand God omnisciently. The question is whether God is the sort of God who is willing to communicate with his creatures and able to do so effectively. Can God speak?
In other words, our culture’s well-celebrated assertion that absolute truth cannot be known absolutely assumes that God is either mute or gagged. But what if he is not? What if he has communicated with his people? (more…)
The joy in Luke 15 is striking.
A man loses his sheep, only one of one hundred. But he goes searching for it. “And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing” (15:5). Then he calls to all his friends: “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost” (15:6). Then they celebrate, and Jesus says, “Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance” (15:7). A sheep is lost and then found. The shepherd parties. Sinners are lost and then, through the gospel, found. All the angels party. (more…)
My soul was fed rich gospel-food this Good Friday morning by this prayer, from The Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan readings and devotionals: (more…)
Jesus never wavered.
I know that some take his prayer from the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt 26:39) as a sign that he desired some outcome other than the cross, but the idea doesn’t pass muster. In Gethsemane Jesus revealed the deep anguish to his soul that the cross represented, however he was relentless in his perfect obedience and submission to the Father: “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done” (Matt 26:42). Jesus was utterly committed to going to the cross. He never wavered.
The Gospel of Luke makes this beautifully clear, beginning in Luke 9:51-53: (more…)