• The Letter to the Church in Smyrna Article by Paul Gardner

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2009

    How wonderful it would be if our church received an encouraging letter from Jesus, especially if it contained no criticism. Jesus has no censure for the church in Smyrna but reveals His deep compassion for a people who are faithful to the Lord and suffering persecution as a result. It is difficult for many of us to imagine what it really is to suffer for the Lord. Yet this letter indicates all Christians should be willing to suffer for Christ. Suffering may take many forms. As this article was being written, I received an e-mail describing horrific persecution of Christians … View Resource

  • I Will Sing an Old Song Article by R.C. Sproul Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2008

    Trouble comes to the people of God. If it is not here now, it will be here soon. Those who promise that the Christian life is a breezy walk through the meadow not only have not taken up their cross and followed Him, but, I fear, He may not have taken up His cross for them. Our walk, according to His Word, will be fraught with peril, our days filled with troubles. His yoke is indeed easy, and His burden light. But we follow Him on the via dolorosa. Praise God that He has not left us wandering in the … View Resource

  • Glory Versus the Cross Article by Gene Edward Veith

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    Mother Teresa was a living saint, according to the popular mind, compassionately caring for the sick and dying and projecting a love that brought cynical secularists to their knees. After her death, the Vatican put her on a fast track to sainthood. But then a book on her life published some of her personal writings that showed Mother Teresa was wracked with spiritual depression and a sense that God had abandoned her. The atheist Christopher Hitchens, who had earlier written a book attacking Mother Teresa for her pro-life views, crowed at the news. See, he wrote in Newsweek, she didn’t believe … View Resource

  • A Light in Dark Places Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2008

    The Holy Spirit has exhorted the faithful to continue clapping their hands for joy until the advent of the promised Redeemer,” wrote John Calvin in a comment on Psalm 47:12. Paul would heartily concur! Writing from a prison cell from which he had no certain knowledge of escaping other than to his execution, joy is what came to mind. Joy is what the epistle to the Philippians is all about. So much is Philippians about joy that George B. Duncan once referred to it as “the life of continual rejoicing.” The opposite of joy is misery, and miserable is … View Resource

  • Present Suffering and Future Glory Article by Robert Rothwell

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2007

    My friends and I often have discussions in which we try to understand why people ever settled in the great state of Florida. Please do not get me wrong, I have a deep affection for the Sunshine State, largely because I have lived in Florida all of my life. But it is difficult for me to grasp how men and women survived the summers here when people began moving into the state en masse during the 1800s. There was no air-conditioning back then, and the summers here can be brutal, largely because of the humidity. These settlers did not have … View Resource

  • The Faithful Endurance of Suffering Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007

    Pharaoh begins having disturbing dreams, and not one of his magicians or wise men is able to interpret them. The chief cupbearer suddenly remembers the accuracy of Joseph’s interpretation of his dream, and Joseph is brought before the pharaoh. Joseph gives all of the glory to God for the ability to interpret dreams and proceeds to explain the meaning of Pharaoh’s dream. He reveals that after seven years of plenty there will be seven years of severe famine. Because of the wisdom and ability that Joseph demonstrates he is exalted by Pharaoh to a position of authority in Egypt second … View Resource

  • Bound to Come Some Trouble Article by Chris Larson

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007

    We Reformed types have it good. I mean, really good. Call it the doctrines of grace or historic Christian faith or even the C-word (Calvinism) and you have to admit that sinners such as us have received something amazing. The Bible teaches us to cling to the exhilarating truth that God is powerfully sovereign over everything. One contemporary theologian known to the readers of Tabletalk has even dared to claim that there is not one maverick molecule outside of God’s domain. What about suffering? Do you ever wonder how an atheist and a Christian might differ on their response? One denies … View Resource

  • Dying Well Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2007

    Sarah lived 127 years…. And Sarah died…. And Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:1–2). Sarah and Abraham had been married fifty-two years. He would live almost four decades without her (see Gen. 25:7). She was sixty-five when she married Abraham, who was ten years older (Gen. 12:4; see 17:17, where we learn that when he was 100, she was 90). Eleven years into their marriage, still childless, Abraham was eighty-six and took another wife, Hagar (Gen. 16:16). Fourteen years later, when Abraham was one hundred years old, Sarah … View Resource

  • Fire and Rain Article by R.C. Sproul Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2007

    I can’t help but love my doctor. Any man who commits himself to serving those suffering from cancer probably has a large heart himself. He was a gracious help to my wife a few years ago, and he was a help to me today. I have had two treatments of chemotherapy to date, and the second one about did me in. Well, the irony about it did me in. You see, the way chemotherapy works is this: It’s a form of slow death. The chemicals that are sent into your body are sent on a death mission. They hunt … View Resource

  • A Refuge for the Weary Soul Article by Robert Rayburn

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2006

    The sufferings of our Lord and Savior were the penalty He bore for our sins. But those same trials and sorrows served another purpose. Living a very difficult life prepared our perfect Savior to be a better help to us in our temptations and trials than otherwise He could have been. Much as we may struggle to understand this, it is what the Bible teaches. We read in Hebrews 2:18: “For because he himself has suffered…he is able to help….” and again in 4:15: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize … View Resource

  • The Suffering Servant Article by Donald Macleod

    FROM TABLETALK | December 2005

    John Murray, with good reason, argues that obedience is the most inclusive concept available to us for describing the redeeming work of Christ (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, p. 19). Other categories such as sacrifice and satisfaction cover some of the data, but obedience is by far the most comprehensive. It is also, of course, utterly biblical. Christ came pre-eminently as the Servant, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy (especially Isa. 52:13–53:12). In accordance with this, He saw Himself as one who had come not to do His own will, but the will of the Father who had sent Him … View Resource

  • Why Do We Suffer? Article by Robert Rothwell

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2005

    Throughout my life I have always been a voracious reader. I can remember being enamored by books at a very young age and becoming excited during my preschool years as I was first taught to read. Even today, hardly a day goes past when I am not reading something, whether it be a magazine, a newspaper, or any other kind of print media. In addition, I usually am reading one or more books on a variety of topics. Since high school I have been particularly enamored by theological literature. Reading the great theologians of the past and the present helps … View Resource

  • Participating in Suffering Article by Mark Dever

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2005

    The bell rang, and as I left the classroom a young man in the class pulled me over to ask me to pray for his grandmother who was very sick in the hospital. Though shocked, I happily complied. Minutes before, when the teacher had been out of the room, the young man had led the class in making fun of me for being a Christian. I was a fairly young Christian and didn’t enjoy the experience. You can imagine how that added to my surprise when he pulled me over and asked me to pray for his grandmother. It was … View Resource

  • Following Christ Article by Mark Dever

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2005

    Have you ever been tempted to surrender control of your life to any of Christ’s enemies? May 30 is Memorial Day in the United States. This month we remember those who’ve fought to establish and defend the freedoms we enjoy. And from the surrender of Fort Ticonderoga to the surrender of Germany 170 years later, surrender has always meant to submit to a new master. When you became a Christian, you did that. Peter was reminding these Christians here that that is what they had done when they became Christians. So he says in 3:15 that they were to … View Resource

  • Unquenchable Joy Article by John Sartelle

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2005

    Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:2). Was James a masochist? “When you face trials, do it with joy.” Who gets their kicks out of suffering? This is an emotional anomaly. And he was not speaking of “Adversity Lite” — these were the heavy burdens that developed the spiritual character of endurance. Joy is not a natural reaction to hardship. I have a brave friend who, in the last year, has endured cancer surgery and the toxic treatments that are … View Resource