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How great the Father’s love!

It is he who made the earth by his power,    who established the world by his wisdom,      and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.   Jeremiah 10:12 (ESV)    A couple of years ago, one of my daughters asked me why God had made such an amazingly large universe when his primary purpose […]

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One Holy Catholic Church

“I believe an holy catholic church.”  Every week believers in Christian churches around the world make this confession by reciting the Apostle’s Creed. Even if they don’t recite or hear it as part of their regular worship services, all true Christians believe this statement because the Apostle’s Creed is one of the ecumenical creeds of […]

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Holiness in a World of Violence

This editorial is based on a speech from the Hope (Redlands) PRC Young Adults retreat held in July 2023.    Man’s heart, and therefore our world, is filled with violence. This is Scripture’s description of the world before God destroyed it with the flood: “The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was […]

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Being Armorbearers

“Don’t worry, I got you.”     How many times have you heard those words? You probably use this line yourself (or something like it) to express solidarity with a friend or companion when the going gets tough. Maybe it’s a stressful situation at school or work. Or after the disappointment of a hard breakup. Or […]

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Has Woman Been Canceled?

Could it be that being a genuine woman is the biggest scandal of our day? Who in our cancel culture dares to define woman for fear of public shaming? Last year a U.S. Supreme Court justice was asked at her confirmation hearing, “Can you provide a definition of the word woman?” Her reply? “No, I […]

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Living Sacrifices

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and […]

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Why are you Protestant Reformed?

For most readers, the answer to the question framed by this article’s title is simple. It’s this: “because I was born and raised in a Protestant Reformed church and have never really thought about worshipping elsewhere.” This is probably the answer that many churchgoing people would give for their membership today, though it isn’t something […]

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Contending, not contentious

Probably one of the ugliest things in the world is a contentious Christian. We’ve all seen it. A face twisted into a snarl, with nostrils flaring. A voice raised, biting with sarcasm. Words handled like knives to slash and cut the opposition. And when the argument is finished, a parting dig laced with smug condescension.   […]

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This is life eternal

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3    The passage that opens this article is taken from one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture. The entirety of John 17 is an intimate, personal prayer that Jesus spoke […]

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Spiritual accountability

In last month’s issue of Beacon Lights, I noted a recent sermon on Ephesians 5 that described three different characteristics of faithful church members. Such people are sober, they sing the truths of God’s word to one another, and they submit to one another (vv. 18–21). Last month the value of singing was discussed at […]

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Worshiping the God of beauty

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I hear a soul-stirring performance of stringed music is, “Wow, that was beautiful!” To me, very few things are more pleasing than to hear a familiar song played by a highly skilled string quartet. It is this aesthetic quality of music that makes it […]

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Understanding the Covenant

In the early days of my graduate school training at the University of Michigan, I had a research mentor who found out I was a Calvinist. As a Catholic, he was amused to tell me that he had once sat in John Calvin’s chair in Geneva during his training in Switzerland. His comment to me […]

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Seed of Controversy

After reading the title to this article, you likely had one of two initial thoughts. Perhaps you thought, “This looks interesting,” because the issues of controversy and schism are still fresh in your mind and you want to learn more. Or maybe you read it and thought, “Isn’t it time to be done with controversy […]

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All-Encompassing Stewardship

The topic of financial stewardship is undoubtedly broad enough to merit an entire issue of Beacon Lights. There is, however, a danger in limiting the concept of stewardship to financial concerns. This danger is that we might misunderstand the broader meaning of what it is to be a steward, a term that truly encompasses every […]

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Living in the Smog

On July 26, 1943, the city of Los Angeles experienced what appeared to be a gas attack. Given that the United States was deeply involved in World War II and had already experienced a surprise attack from the empire of Japan at Pearl Harbor, it wasn’t hard to imagine that one of the largest civilian […]

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Power of Ordinary

If someone asked you how you were saved, what would you give as an answer?   I have little doubt that most young people raised in Reformed churches would respond by pointing to Christ and to his death on the cross as the way in which they were saved. And this would be a good answer […]

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Pray to the Lord of the Harvest

I write this especially for young men. “Ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one” (1 John 2:14). Jesus addresses you. “Pray ye [that includes you, young men] therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38). […]

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Loving the church in deed and truth

In reflecting on the theme for this month’s issue, it occurred to me that knowing why we love the church should immediately be followed with instruction from God’s word on how to love the church in response. So instead of reading this editorial first, I encourage you to start with this month’s feature articles, which […]

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Seeking friends after God’s own heart

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be friends with someone whom God calls “a man after my own heart”? Would that sort of friend be desirable for you? Or would it be a bit too intimidating to hang around with someone whom God holds in such esteem? After all, such a […]

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Christless Comfort

The theme for this month’s issue of Beacon Lights implies a call to action for believers. This calling is to walk alongside fellow believers when they find themselves in difficult circumstances of life and begin to doubt the goodness of God. Perhaps you are the one who is bent down under the weight of a […]

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Active, passive, or implicit—what is YOUR faith?

Over the past few months there has been an intense debate going on about the nature of faith. The issue being debated in various magazines and blog posts specifically concerns the question of whether faith should be considered active or passive. Some readers may be aware of the debate and have perhaps come to the […]

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New Mercies

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.   – Lamentations 3:22–23    The verse that opens this article is among the most treasured in all of Scripture for believers who are living amidst difficult circumstances. It is frequently […]

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We Will Have a King over Us

The desire for strong leadership has been a natural tendency for people throughout human history. The evidence of this is abundant in Scripture, which gives us the names of men like Lamech and Nimrod, who stood out as mighty men of renown in their day. Lamech was a proud murderer who raised three sons who […]

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