For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

There's No One Like Jesus!

There truly is no one like Jesus Christ. I love this song - Malawi style!



and again . . .



Here are the words:

Akekho Ofana Nojesu
Akekho Ofana Naye
(repeat)

Sahamba hamba
Lutho Lutho

Safuna funa
Lutho Lutho

Sajika jika
Lutho Lutho

Akekho Ofana Naye

translation:

There’s no one

There’s no one like Jesus
There’s no one like, there’s no one like him
(repeat)

I walk and I walk
Nothing, nothing

I searched I searched
Nothing, nothing

I turned around
Nothing, nothing

There’s no one, there’s no one like Him.

The Beautiful Mercy-Heart Of Jesus Christ!

Martin Luther wrote:
The church of God has great need of these examples [Judah and Tamar]. For what would become of us? What hope would be left for us if Peter had not denied Christ and all the apostles had not taken offense at Him, and if Moses, Aaron and David had not fallen? Therefore God wanted to console sinners with these examples and to say: "If you have fallen, return; for the door of mercy is open to you. You who are conscious of no sin, do not be presumptuous; but both of you should trust in my grace and mercy."

Martin Luther, The Works of Martin Luther, Vol. 7. 11

John Bunyan wrote:
Sometimes a man, yea, a man of God, is, as he apprehends, so far off from God, that he can neither help him, nor hear him, and this is a dismal state. "And thou hast removed my soul," said the church, "far off from peace: I forgat prosperity" (Lam 3:17). This is the state sometimes of the godly, and that not only with reference to their being removed by persecutors, from the appointments and gospel-seasons, which are their delight, and the desire of their eyes; but also with reverence to their faith and hope in their God. They think themselves beyond the reach of his mercy. Wherefore in answer to this conceit it is, that the Lord asketh, saying, "Is my hand shortened at all that it cannot redeem?" (Isa 50:2). And again, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear" (Isa 59:1). Wherefore he saith again, "If any of them be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee" (Deu 30:4). God has a long arm, and he can reach a great way further than we can conceive he can (Neh 1:9): When we think his mercy is clean gone, and that ourselves are free among the dead, and of the number that he remembereth no more, then he can reach us, and cause that again we stand before him. He could reach Jonah, tho' in the belly of hell (Jonah 2); and reach thee, even then, when thou thinkest thy way is hid from the Lord, and thy judgment passed over from thy God. There is length to admiration, beyond apprehension or belief, in the arm of the strength of the Lord; and this is that which the Apostle intended by this word, Length; namely, To insinuate what a reach there is in the mercy of God, how far it can extend itself. "If I take the wings of the morning," said David, "and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me" (Psa 139:9,10). I will gather them from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, saith he: That is, from the utmost corners . . . O the length of the saving arm of God! As yet thou art within the reach thereof; do not thou go about to measure arms with God, as some good men are apt to do: I mean, do not thou conclude, that because thou canst not reach God by thy short stump, therefore he cannot reach thee with his long arm. Look again, "Hast thou an arm like God" (Job 40:9), an arm like his for length and strength? It becomes thee, when thou canst not perceive that God is within the reach of thy arm, then to believe that thou art within the reach of his; for it is long, and none knows how long.

John Bunyan, The Works of John Bunyan, Volume 2, 3/373

Christ Must Increase; I Must Decrease

Hudson Taylor wrote:
God chose me because I was weak enough. God does not do His great works by large committees. He trains somebody to be quiet enough, and little enough, and then He uses him.

Quoted by William Petersen, ed. C.S. Lewis had a Wife; Catherine Marshall had a Husband (Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1985) 69.

The Fight Against Sin: Longing For Christ To Be All!

William Arnot wrote:
When the Son has made a sinner free, he is free indeed. The dear child, pardoned and reconciled, loves and longs for the Father's presence. What! is there neither spot nor wrinkle now upon the man, that he dares to challenge inspection by the Omniscient, and to offer his heart as Jehovah's dwelling-place? He is not yet so pure; and well he knows it. The groan is bursting yet from his broken heart: "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Rom. 7:24). Many a stains defile him yet; but he loathes them now, and longs to be free. The difference between an unconverted and a converted man is not that the one has sins and the other has none; but that the one takes part with his cherished sins against a dreaded God, and the other takes part with a reconciled God against his hated sins. He is out with his former friends, and in with his former adversary . . . Whereas his face was to his sins and his back to God, his face is now to God and his back toward his sins. This one turning, with its twofold result, is in Christ the Mediator, and through the work of the Spirit.

William Arnot, Illustrations of the Book of Proverbs (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1890), 20-21.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Christ: The Soul-Satisfying Portion!

Jonathan Edwards said:
They that have Christ, they have a soul-satisfying portion. They have the truest pleasures and comforts. Here is to be found the proper happiness of the soul. Least liable to accidents and change . . . Here is the best employment for the understanding . . . Such as have Christ, they have better and greater riches than others . . . Better honor . . . Far better pleasures than sensual men. The joys are more exquisitely delighting than ever was enjoyed by the greatest epicure [a person who is dedicated to sensual enjoyment]. [There are] no pleasures like those that are by the enlightenings of the Spirit of Christ, the discoveries of the beauty of Christ and the manifestations of his love.

Jonathan Edwards, "Glorying in the Savior," in Sermons and Discourses 1723-1729, in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, vol. 14, ed. Kenneth P. Minkema (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997), 467. As cited in John Piper, God is the Gospel, Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 148.

The Diverse Excellencies Of Christ!

In his sermon entitled, "The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Christ Jesus," Jonathan Edwards preached about the amazing beauty of Christ in His diverse excellencies as both the Lion of Tribe of Judah and the Lamb Who was slain from Revelation 5:5-6:
But one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals." And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.

Meditate for a while with Edwards on the beauty of Christ in His diverse excellencies:
1. There do meet in Jesus Christ infinite highness and infinite condescension.
2. There meet in Jesus Christ, infinite justice and infinite grace.
3. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite glory and lowest humility.
4. In the person of Christ do meet together infinite majesty and transcendent meekness.
5. There meet in the person of Christ the deepest reverence towards God and equality with God.
6. There are conjoined in the person of Christ infinite worthiness of good, and the greatest patience under sufferings of evil.
7. In the person of Christ are conjoined an exceeding spirit of obedience, with supreme dominion over heaven and earth.
8. In the person of Christ are conjoined absolute sovereignty and perfect resignation.
9. In Christ do meet together self-sufficiency, and an entire trust and reliance on God . . . .
10. [On the cross] . . . was Christ in the greatest degree of his humiliation, and yet by that, above all other things, his divine glory appears.
11. [On the cross] . . . He never in any act gave so great a manifestation of love to God, and yet never so manifested his love to those that were enemies to God, as in that act.
12. [On the cross] . . . Christ never so eminently appeared for divine justice, and yet never suffered so much from divine Justice, as when he offered up himself a sacrifice for our sins.
13. [On the cross] . . . Christ's holiness never so illustriously shone forth as it did in his last sufferings, and yet he never was to such a degree treated as guilty.
14. [On the cross] . . . He never was so dealt with, as unworthy, as in his last sufferings, and yet it is chiefly on account of them that he is accounted worthy.
15. Christ in his last sufferings suffered most extremely from those towards whom he was then manifesting his greatest act of love.
16. It was in Christ's last sufferings, above all, that he was delivered up to the power of his enemies; and yet by these, above all, he obtained victory over his enemies.

Jonathan Edwards, "The Admirable Conjunction of Diverse Excellencies in Christ Jesus."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

More Delights In Christ!

Charles Spurgeon said:
I am persuaded there are more delights in Christ, yes, more joy in one glimpse of His face, than is to be found in all the praises of this harlot-world and in all the delights that it can yield in its sunniest and brightest days.

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, ed. Roy Clarke (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 69.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Christ: The Hope For Tomorrow

Mark Dever said:
You have not met a trouble that you will not outlast if you are in Christ . . . If God wants you to live yesterday again, He will give it to you to live tomorrow.

Tim Keller writes:
As a child blossoms under the authority of a wise and good parent, as a team flourishes under the direction of a skillful, brilliant coach, so when you come under the healing of the royal hands, under the kingship of Jesus, everything in your life will begin to heal. And when he comes back, everything sad in your life will come untrue. His return will usher in the end of fear, suffering, and death.

Timothy Keller, King's Cross: The Story of the World in the Life of Jesus (New York: Dutton, 2011), 16-17.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Christ: The Beauty Of The Heavenly Zion!

Baju Joy writes:
Over the centuries, millions of people in the world crossed the Indian Ocean to see the magnificent and matchless beauty of the Taj Mahal. The tomb of love. 'It is a drop of tear in the cheek of time.' The man made tomb for love . . .

However, many millions in the world do not yet know that there is a magnificent and majestic place far more beautiful than Taj Mahal. A place so beautiful that even if you behold it for a billion ages, you will still want to keep looking at it with more and more excitement, without taking your eyes off of it, even for a second. It is Zion, the perfection of beauty!

Why is Zion so beautiful? Because our blessed triune God Who dwells there is so beautiful. The city is so beautiful. The city’s wall is made of jasper and the city is pure gold, like transparent glass. The foundations of the city’s wall are decorated with every kind of precious stone. Even though the city is built with precious stones and gold, Zion will be a hell, if Jesus is not there! Hell may become heaven if Jesus is there! The beauty of heaven is not the beauty of Gold or precious stones but, the beauty of Jesus Christ!

It is the presence of Jesus is make heaven beautiful . . .

Some time ago a man wanted to take my Bible home to get a few things out of it; and when it came back I found this note in it:

Jesus only:

The light of heaven is the face of Jesus

The joy of heaven is the presence of Jesus

The melody of heaven is the name of Jesus

The harmony of heaven is the praise of Jesus

The theme of heaven is the work of Jesus

The employment of heaven is the service of Jesus

The duration of heaven is the eternity of Jesus

The fullness of heaven is Jesus Himself.

D.L. Moody (1837-99)

The Incomparable Christ!

Evangelist Sam Jones said:

More than 2000 years ago there was a man born contrary to the laws of nature. He laid aside his purple robe for a peasant's tunic. He was rich, yet for our sake He became poor. This man lived in poverty and was raised in obscurity. He received no formal education and never possessed wealth or widespread influence. He never traveled extensively. He seldom crossed the boundary of the country in which he lived and that was during exile in his childhood. His relatives were inconspicuous, not influential, and had neither training nor education.

In infancy, He startled a king; in childhood, He amazed religious scholars; in manhood, He ruled over the course of nature, walked on stormy waves as if pavement, and hushed the raging sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for his services.

He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the world hold books written about him. He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined. He never founded a college, but all the schools put together do not have as many students as does He. He never practiced medicine, and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors throughout history. He never marshaled an army, nor drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun, and yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under his orders, fought against truth’s enemies.

He is the Star of astronomy

The Rock of geology

The Lion and the Lamb of the zoological kingdom

He is the Revealer of snares that lurk in the darkness

The Rebuker of every evil thing that prowls by night

The Promoter of all that is wholesome

The Adorner of all that is beautiful

The Reconciler of all that is contradictory

The Harmonizer of all discords

The Healer of all diseases

and the only Savior of all mankind.

He fills the pages of theology, hymnology, and the book of Psalms. Every prayer that goes up to God goes in His name and is asked to be granted for His sake.

The names of the proud statesmen of Egypt and Babylon and Greece and Rome and every other earthly kingdom have come and gone. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone; but the name of this Man is still relevant and powerful and shall forever be so!

Though time has spread 2000 years between the people of this generation and the scene of His death, yet He still lives. Herod could not kill Him! Satan could not seduce Him! Death could not hold Him!

He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of heavenly glory, proclaiming God, acknowledged by the angels, adored by saints, and feared by the demons, as a living, personal Christ.

A study of the Bible reveals Christ as its central subject and great theme. What the hub is to the wheel, Christ is to the Bible. It revolves around Him. All its stories point to Him, all its truths converge in Him; all its glories reflect Him; all its promises radiate from Him; all its beauties are embodied by Him, all its demands are exemplified by Him, and all its predictions are realized through Him.

Abel’s lamb, that first sacrifice to God, was a type of Christ.

Abraham's offering of Isaac on Mount Moriah was a foretaste of God giving Christ on Mount Calvary. The Passover Lamb in Egypt was a type of Christ.

The bronze serpent in the wilderness that Moses held up for the people’s healing was a type of Christ.

The scapegoat of Old Testament times symbolized Him bearing the sins of the world.

He was with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He was with Abel at his death. He walked with Enoch. He floated with Noah in the ark. He ate with Abraham in his desert tent. He fled with Lot to escape wicked Sodom.

He watched Isaac reopen the wells that his father Abraham had dug. He wrestled with Jacob at Peniel. He strengthened Joseph in the time of temptation, protected him in prison, and exalted him to first place in the kingdom of Egypt. He watched over Moses as he floated in a basket among the bulrushes, talked to him from the burning bush, led him back to Egypt, opened the Red Sea for him, fed him with heaven’s bread, protected him with a column of fire and finally led him to the top of Mount Nebo for a vision of the Promised Land and his eternal rest.

He was at Joshua’s side as he crossed the Jordan and the Promised Land became a reality. He was with Gideon and his 300 men. He was with Samuel as he crowned Saul and David as kings of Israel. He was with David as he faced the giant. He was with Solomon building the first Temple. He was with King Hezekiah as Sennacherib, the Assyrian, invaded the land. He was with King Josiah as he restored the worship of Yahweh. He was with Ezekiel and Daniel in Babylon. He was with Ezra and Nehemiah as they returned from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and its wall. He was with all those who, through faith, subdued kingdoms, brought righteousness, stopped the mouths of lions, and out of their weakness were made strong by the mighty hand of God.

Abraham heard His voice while living in the desert of Ur of Chaldea. Jacob called Him the "Lawgiver of Judah." Moses called him "The Prophet that was to come." Job called Him, "My living Redeemer." Daniel called Him the "Ancient of Days." Isaiah called Him, "Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace."

Is all of this in the Old Testament? Yes, and much more besides. Micah tells of the place of His birth. Jonah tells of His death, burial and resurrection. Amos tells of His second coming to build again the tabernacles of David. Joel describes the day of His wrath. Zechariah tells of His coming reign as King over all the earth. Every page is filled with Him! Its sacrifices show Him, its symbols signify Him, its histories are His stories, its songs are His sentiments, its prophesies are His pictures, its promises are His pledges; and our hearts burn within us as we walk beside Him across its living pages!

Concerning His royal lineage, He was born in Bethlehem, the seed of Abraham, the Son of David, the Son of Mary, and the Son of God. He was acknowledged as "King of the Jews," "Christ the Lord," "God’s Son," "The Savior of Men," by angels, shepherds, demons, and wise men.

Concerning His service, we learn that He labored as a carpenter, opened the eyes of the blind, unstopped the ears of the deaf, loosed the mute tongues, cleansed lepers, restored withered hands, fed the hungry, sympathized with the sad, washed the disciple’s feet, wept with Mary and Martha, preached the gospel to the poor, and gave His life on that cross.

He was born of a woman, as a little babe, He was wrapped in swaddling clothes, grew up and developed in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man. He worked with His hands. He grew weary. He got hungry. He got thirsty. He slept. He got angry. He shed tears. He sweat great drops of blood. He was betrayed, went through the mockery of a trial, was whipped, His hands and His feet were pierced; He wore a crown of thorns, was spit upon, was crucified, was buried in a borrowed tomb behind a sealed stone, and was guarded by Roman soldiers.

He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, spoke matchless words, stilled storms, calmed waves, rebuked winds, multiplied loaves, turned water into wine, raised the dead, foretold the future, healed diseases, forgave sin, claimed equality with God, arose from the dead, and possesses all authority in heaven and in earth.

He was both God and man. As the God-man, He was thirsty, and yet He gave living water. He went to a wedding and turned the water into wine. He slept in a boat, yet He stilled the storm. He was tempted, yet He sinned not. He wept, yet He raised Lazarus from the dead. He prayed to the Father and He also makes intercession for all His people.

This is what Paul means when he writes, "Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifested in the flesh, justified by the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the Bread of Life and The Light of the World. He is the True Vine and the Good Shepherd. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life! He is the Door to Heaven!

He is the Faithful Witness, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, the Lord who was and is and is to come! He is the Savior of the world.

In Genesis, He is the Seed of woman.

In Exodus, He is the Passover lamb.

In Leviticus, He is our High Priest.

In Numbers, He is the Pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.

In Deuteronomy, He is the prophet like unto Moses.

In Joshua, He is Captain of our salvation.

In Judges, He is Judge and Lawgiver.

In Ruth, He is our kinsman Redeemer.

In 1 and 2 Samuel, He is our trusted Prophet.

In Kings and Chronicles, He is our King.

In Ezra and Nehemiah, He is the Rebuilder.

In Esther, He is our Mordecai.

In Job, He is our Everlasting Redeemer.

In Psalms, He is our Shepherd and grant theme of our song.

In Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, He is our Wisdom.

In Song of Solomon, He is our Bridegroom.

In Isaiah, He is the Prince of Peace.

In Jeremiah, He is the Righteous Branch.

In Lamentations, He is our Weeping Prophet.

In Ezekiel, He is a Heavenly Vision.

In Daniel, He is the Fourth Man in the fire.

In Hosea, He is the faithful Husband.

In Joel, He is the Baptizer with fire.

In Amos, He is our Burden-Bearer.

In Obadiah, He is the Mighty to Save.

In Jonah, He is our Great Foreign Missionary.

In Micah, He is The Messenger of Beautiful Feet.

In Nahum, He is the Avenger of God’s Elect.

In Habakkuk, He is God’s Evangelist.

In Zephaniah, He is our Savior.

In Haggai, He is the Restorer.

In Zechariah, He is the Fountain filled with blood.

In Malachi, He is the Sun of Righteousness with Healing in His wings.

In Matthew, He is the Messiah.

In Mark, He is the Miracle-Worker.

In Luke, He is the Son of Man,

In John, He is Son of God,

In Acts, He is the Builder of His Church.

In Romans, He is our Justifier.

In Corinthians, He is our Sanctifier.

In Galatians, He is our Redeemer from the curse of the law.

In Ephesians, He is the Christ of Unsearchable Riches.

In Philippians, He is our great treasure and boast.

In Colossians, He is the fullness of the Godhead.

In Thessalonians, He is our Soon-Coming King.

In Timothy, He is our Mediator.

In Titus, He is our Faithful Pastor.

In Philemon, He is a Friend closer than a brother.

In Hebrews, He is our great High Priest Forever.

In James, He is the reason for good works.

In 1&2 Peter, He is our Shepherd.

In 1, 2, & 3 John, He is Love.

In Jude, He is coming with His saints.

In Revelation, He is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, The Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End.

He is Abel’s Sacrifice, Noah’s rainbow, Abraham’s Ram, Isaac’s Well, Jacob’s ladder, Moses’ Rod, Elijah’s Mantle, Elisha’s Staff, Gideon’s Fleece, Samuel’s Anointing, David’s Sling, Daniel’s Visions, and Malachi’s Sun of Righteousness.

He is Peter’s Rock, Stephen’s Mighty Words, Paul’s Blinding Light, and John’s New Jerusalem.

He is Father to the orphan, Husband to the widow, shelter to the traveler in the night; He is the Bright and Morning Star. To the lonesome, He is the Comforter. He is the Rose of Sharon, and Water from the Rock in a "dry thirsty land."

He is the brightness of God’s glory, the Image of His Person, the King of Glory, the Pearl of Great Price, the Water in the desert, the Cup that runs over, the Staff of Comfort and the Sustainer of life and the Author of Salvation!

He is Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God! He is not just a representative of God; He was not merely a good man that God chose; He was and is God!

He is my Savior, my companion, my Lord and my King! At His name, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that He is Lord."

Have you made that confession? One day you will; Scripture promises as much. Please make that confession now before it is eternally too late!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Christ Loved You And Gave Himself Up For You!

O Lord of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy upon Jerusalem? . . . And the Lord answered the angel . . . with good words and comfortable words. Zechariah 1:12,13

Charles Spurgeon commented:
God hath not forgotten us because He smites - His blows are no evidences of want of love. If this is true of His church collectively, it is of necessity true also of each individual member. You may fear that the Lord has passed you by, but it is not so: He who counts the stars, and calls them by their names, is in no danger of forgetting His own children. He knows your case as thoroughly as if you were the only creature He ever made, or the only saint He ever loved. Approach Him and be at peace.

Charles Spurgeon, Evening By Evening, February 24th.