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

Monday, August 29, 2011

May Christ Always Be Enough!

Amy Carmichael wrote:
There is joy, joy found nowhere else, when we look up into Christ's face when He says to us, "Am I not enough for thee, Mine own?" [and answer] with a true, "Yes, Lord, Thou art enough."
Amy Carmichael, Candle In The Dark

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Monday, August 22, 2011

When You Suffer, Christ And Him Crucified Shout: "God Loves You Dear Believer!"

Bryan Chapell comments on how we can be assured of God's love in the midst of horrific suffering:
So if faith in the ultimate goodness of God does not come from guessing what his good purposes may be, from where does it come? The answer from believers through the ages, and from the authors of the messages in this book, is the cross.

We trust our sovereign God because he has shown us his heart at the cross.

There, where any one of us would have stood and cried out, “This is wrong; God, you must stop this,” our Savior made heaven’s greatest good come out of earth’s worst tragedy. At the cross we learn that God is good and can be trusted, even when everything seems wrong to human sight.

As I was pastoring the rural church attended by farmers and coal miners - people accustomed to hard lives - I heard a story that taught me more about the nature and foundation of true faith than I had gained in much of my seminary education.

The story tells of a miner who, though a stalwart believer, was injured at a young age. He became an invalid. Over the years he watched through a window near his bed as life passed him by. He watched fellow workers marry, raise families, and have grandchildren. He watched the company he had served thrive without attempting to make adequate provision for his loss. He watched as his body withered, his house crumbled, and hope for better things in this life died.

Then, one day when the bedridden miner was quite old, a younger man came to visit him. "I hear that you believe in God and claim that he loves you," said the young man. "How can you believe such things after all that has happened to you?"

The old man hesitated and then smiled. He said, "Yes, there are days of doubt. Sometimes Satan comes calling on me in this fallen-down old house of mine. He sits right there by my bed, where you are sitting now. He points out my window to the men I once worked with whose bodies are still strong, and Satan asks, 'Does Jesus love you?'

Then, Satan makes me look at my tattered room as he points to the fine homes of my friends and asks again, 'Does Jesus love you?' Finally, Satan points to the grandchild of a friend of mine - a man who has everything I do not - and Satan waits for the tear in my eye before he whispers in my ear, 'Does Jesus really love you?'"

Startled by the candor of the old man's responses, the younger man asked, "And what do you say when Satan speaks to you that way?"

Said the old miner, "I take Satan by the hand, and I lead him to a hill far away called Calvary. There I point to the nail-pierced hands, the thorn-torn brow, and the spear-pierced side.

Then I say to Satan, 'Doesn't Jesus love me!'"

The cross of Christ is the warrant for confidence in God's promises of ultimate good, despite great heartache.
The Hardest Sermons You'll Ever Have To Preach, Ed. Bryan Chapell (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 14-15.

A Mind Boggling Promise - God Will Be God To You In Christ!

Commenting on what it means for God to be God to us, John Piper says:
Jeremiah tells us what it means. He quotes God: "They shall be my people and I will be their God . . . I will not turn away from doing good to them . . . I will rejoice in doing good to them . . . with all my heart and with all my soul" (32:38–41). It boggles the mind to try to imagine what it must mean if the God who made the planets and stars and galaxies and molecules and protons and neutrons and electrons rejoices to do you good with all his heart and with all his soul. If God is God for you, then all his omnipotence and all his omniscience are engaged all the time to do good for you in all the circumstances of your life . . . When God is your God, you cannot die. "He is not the God of the dead but of the living." . . . The covenant promise that God will be your God is spectacular beyond imagination. It means that God engages all his omnipotence and all his omniscience all the time to do good to you in all the circumstances of your life with all his heart and with all his soul.
John Piper, God's Covenant With Abraham, Genesis 17:1-8, December 4, 1983.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Omnipresent Christ!

Michael Horton said:
Without a moment passing for God, He enters into all our moments.
From lecture notes of Doctrine of God class at Westminster Seminary in California

All Are Dependent On Christ!

Michael Horton said:
As Jesus was nursing from His mother's breast, she and all the world were dependent on Him!

From lecture notes of Doctrine of God class at Westminster Seminary in California

Jesus Christ Came To Save Sinners!

Steve Backlund (or someone else?) said:
Adam and Eve brought all manner of sin and evil into the world; Jacob was a lying, cheating, deceiver; Peter denied Jesus three times with swearing and cursing and failed to walk in line with the Gospel; David had an affair and then had his mistress's husband killed; Noah got drunk; Samson was a womanizer; Rahab was a prostitute; Judah was a whoremonger; Jonah ran from God and despised lost sinners; Paul breathed out threats and murder against Jesus' disciples; Gideon was insecure; Miriam was a gossip; Mary was anxious; Thomas was a doubter; Sarah was impatient; Elijah was moody; Moses stuttered; Zacchaeus was short; Abraham was old; and Lazarus was dead. Now, what's keeping you from serving God?

Steve Backlund or someone else (with some edits and additions)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Christ Is All As Our Prophet

Jesus Christ is not just a prophet, but He is the greatest prophet - the Prophet of all prophets! He not only heard and delivered the Word of God, but He Himself is the Word of God Who was with God in the beginning:
John 1:1: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Jesus Christ did not merely give us the revelation of God, but He Himself is the revelation of God:
Colossians 1:19: For in Him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell . . .

Other prophets often express their unworthiness (like Moses and Isaiah), but Jesus Christ Himself is the worthy one:
Revelation 5:9: Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation . . .

Rather than saying "thus saith the Lord," Jesus Christ speaks with His own authority:
Matthew 5:21-22: You have heard that it was said to those of old, "You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment." But I say to you . . .

A greater than Moses and Elijah is found in Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 3:3: For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses - as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.

Matthew 17:4-5, 8: And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." . . . And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Jesus Christ did more than merely give commands; He is the One Who fulfilled all of them perfectly!
Matthew 5:17: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.

Christ is all!

These thoughts were taken from lectures delivered at Westminster Seminary in California by Dr. David VanDrunen in his Doctrine of Christ class.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Fearfully Wonderful Mercy!

This is my favorite scene from one of my favorite movies - Les Miserables. The bishop has mercy on Jean Valjean, an escape convict, by feeding him and allowing him to sleep in his house. Valjean returns the merciful favor by stealing all the bishop's fine silver and knocking him unconscious.

After Valjean is caught, the bishop has even more mercy on him. The mercy-heart of the bishop transforms Valjean for the rest of his life.

At the very end of the video, notice the utter fear in Valjean's eyes. This is a great picture of the abundant grace and mercy we find in our great God through our Lord Jesus Christ!

"But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared." Psalm 130:4



Please transform us, oh God, by Your great mercy! For Jesus' sake!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Christ Is All, Even In The Midst Of Intense Suffering

Dave Busby's website states:
Dave Busby was a mystery! He managed to live a life completely given to God, pumping with energy and passion for young people. In the midst of daily, mammoth struggles with cystic fibrosis, polio, liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes, Dave went down deep in his life with God and he came up strong in order to bring others into the same deep and intimate relationship he had with Jesus.

Hear Dave preach passionately about how God does not make any mistakes here.

Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. Psalm 115:3

The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Leads To A Perfect Delirium Of Joy!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
Some years ago, I was deeply depressed. I knew whom I had believed, but I could not get comfort from the truth I preached. I even began to wonder if I was really saved.

While on vacation, I went to a Wesleyan chapel. The sermon was full of the gospel and tears flowed from my eyes. I was in a perfect delirium of joy. I said, "Oh yes, there is spiritual life within me; the gospel can still touch my heart and stir my soul."

When I thanked the good man for his sermon, he looked at me and could hardly believe his eyes. He said, "Are you not Mr. Spurgeon?"

I replied, "Yes."

"Dear, dear," said he, "that was your sermon I preached this morning."

I knew it was, and that was one reason why I was so comforted. I realized that I could take my own medicine. I asked the preacher to my inn for dinner. We rejoiced that he was led to give the people one of my sermons that day, that I could be fed from my own kitchen.

I do know this. Whatever I may be, there is nothing that moves me like the gospel of Christ.

"For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day." (2 Tim. 1:12).

Do you feel this way?

Charles Spurgeon, Beside Still Waters, Ed. Roy H. Clarke (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1999), 299.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Humility: Forgetting Self And Finding Christ Is All

Screwtape, an older demon, instructs his younger student demon on how to tempt a man to be arrogant and full of pride. He writes:
By this virtue [humility], as by all the others, our Enemy [God] wants to turn the man's attention away from self to Him, and to the man's neighbors . . . The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the, fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor's talents - or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His longterm policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love - a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbors as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbors.

C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters in The Compete C. S. Lewis Signature Classics (New York: Harper Collins, 2002), 224-225.

The Mercy Of Being Remembered By Him Who Is All In All

Samson:
Judges 16:28: Then Samson called to the LORD and said, "O Lord GOD, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes."

Hebrews 11:32-34: And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson . . . who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

Hannah:
1 Samuel 1:11, 19-20: And she vowed a vow and said, "O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head" . . . and the LORD remembered her. And in due time Hannah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, "I have asked for him from the LORD."

Nehemiah:
Nehemiah 13:31: Remember me, O my God, for good.

David:
Psalm 25:6-7: Remember your mercy, O LORD, and your steadfast love, for they have been from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O LORD!

Asaph:
Psalm 74:2: Remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old, which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage! Remember Mount Zion, where you have dwelt.

Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 15:15: O LORD, you know; remember me and visit me, and take vengeance for me on my persecutors. In your forbearance take me not away; know that for your sake I bear reproach.

Habakkuk:
Habakkuk 3:2: O LORD, I have heard the report of you, and your work, O LORD, do I fear. In the midst of the years revive it; in the midst of the years make it known; in wrath remember mercy.

The thief on the cross:
Luke 23:42-43: And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Jesus Is Better!

Thomas Doolittle wrote:
Can you find a more excellent object for your love than Jesus? If you search through the whole creation, could you find any like him?

Are riches, honors, pleasures, or other relationships comparable to Jesus, whom you ought to love supremely? Should not the highest good be the best object of your love? Can you love lesser things, and not the greatest good? Is not all the goodness in the creature but as a drop to the sea, as a candle to the sun, as a speck of sand to a mountain - when compared to the goodness that is in Jesus? If David were worth ten thousand other men, is not Jesus, David's Lord, better than all the world . . .

What shall I say to advance Jesus in your esteem, that you might love him? Is he not a "comprehensive" good? Eminently all?

There is no goodness in the creature, but it is formally, or virtually, in Jesus.

Is there wisdom in the creature? There is more in Jesus.

Is there beauty or power in the creature? There is much more in Jesus. "For it pleased the Father, that in him should all fullness dwell" (Col. 5:19).

Jesus is "full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

This is the One whom I beg you to love. This is he who is altogether lovely and desirable.

Consider now, I plead with you - can you ever imagine a better offer than Jesus? Can you find a better match for your soul? Can you say all this, the one half of this, any one of all these things, concerning the objects you have loved previous to Jesus? Oh then say, "I never understood the loveliness of Christ before this!" How has sin fooled me! How has the world bewitched me! And how has my foolish wicked heart deceived me, that I have lavished my love upon the creature, and sin, when there was a Christ to love! Such a Christ to love!

Such a good as is not to be found in all the world! Now he alone shall have my love, my heart - my all!

Thomas Doolittle, Motives To Love Jesus

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Friday, August 5, 2011

Thy Mercy My God Is Sweet


Sung by Sandra McCracken - Indelible Grace

Thy mercy, My God, is the theme of my song
The joy of my heart, and boast of my tongue
Thy free grace alone, from the first to the last,
Hath won my affections and bound my soul fast.

Without thy sweet mercy I could not live here,
Sin would reduce me to utter despair;
But, through thy free goodness, my spirits revive
And He that first made me, still keeps me alive.

Thy mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Thy goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I found.

The door of Thy mercy stands open all day
To the door and the need who knock by the way;
No sinner shall ever be empty sent back,
Who comes seeking mercy for Jesus' sake.

Thy mercy is Jesus exempts me from hell;
Its glories I'll sing, and its wonders I'll tell;
'Twas Jesus my all, as He hung on the tree,
Who opened the channel of mercy for me.


Great Father of mercies, Thy goodness I own,
And the cov'nant love of Thy crucified Son;
All praise to the Spirit Whose whisper divine,
Seals mercy and pardon and righteousness mine!

A Hunger For God And A Heart For The Poor

John Piper writes:
Doug Nichols is presently the president of Action International Ministries, a mission that focuses especially on the millions of street children in the big cities of the world. He is the kind of man who calls our church staff on the phone during an international crisis and suggests that we rent a jumbo jet and take a couple hundred of our people to Rwanda to help bury the dead so that doctors and nurses can do what they were sent to do. He is relentlessly focussed on pouring out his life for the helpless who need Christ.

For example, he writes to me every now and then, and almost always includes some sword thrust like this in a P.S. at the bottom of his letter:
"In the last 'one minute' that it possibly took you to read this letter, 28 children died of malnutrition and diseases that could have been easily prevented. 1,667 die every hour, 40,000 children die daily! Please pray with ACTION for more missionaries to take the gospel to these children."

Doug was found to have colon cancer in April of 1993. Doctors gave him a 30% chance of living after his surgery and colostomy and radiation treatments. During horrible civil war between the Hutus and the Tutsis, he got on a plane and went to Rwanda with a team of people, including some from our church.

His non-Christian oncologist said he would die in Rwanda. Doug said that would be OK because he is going to heaven. The oncologist was distressed and called Doug’s surgeon to solicit help in restraining Doug from going to Rwanda. The surgeon, who is a Christian, said that Doug was ready to die and go to heaven. When we got word here that Doug was going - with his cancer and his colostomy - to Rwanda, some of us on the staff gathered in the prayer room to pray for him.

I recall being led very specifically to Isaiah 58:7-8, which we prayed for Doug.
[Is the fast I choose] not to divide your bread with the hungry, And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him;And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery [your healing!] will speedily spring forth;

We prayed very specifically that the feeding of the hungry and the housing of the homeless in Rwanda would not kill Doug Nichols, but would heal him.

From Rwanda, Doug called his oncologist and said he was not dead. And when he got back he had a battery of tests that resulted in the assessment NED: no evidence of disease. God alone holds the future for Doug Nichols and his remarkable faith and ministry, but for now Isaiah 58 lives bodily in Doug's life as he pours himself out for the children.

John Piper, A Hunger For God (Wheaton: Crossway, 1997), 129-131.

Grant us, oh Father, to follow Doug Nichols as he follows Christ. For Jesus' sake!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ecstasy And Delight In Christ!

John Flavel wrote:
Ecstasy and delight are essential to the believer's soul and they promote sanctification. We were not meant to live without spiritual exhilaration, and the Christian who goes for a long time without the experience of heart-warming will soon find himself tempted to have his emotions satisfied from earthly things and not, as he ought, from the Spirit of God. The soul is so constituted that it craves fulfillment from things outside itself and will embrace earthly joys for satisfaction when it cannot reach spiritual ones. The believer is in spiritual danger if he allows himself to go for any length of time without tasting the love of Christ and savoring the felt comforts of a Savior's presence. When Christ ceases to fill the heart with satisfaction, our souls will go in silent search of other lovers. By the enjoyment of the love of Christ in the heart of a believer, we mean an experience of the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us" (Rom. 5:5). Because the Lord has made himself accessible to us in the means of grace, it is our duty and privilege to seek this experience from Him in these means till we are made the joyful partakers of it.

Flavel not only wrote about this experience of the love of Christ, but he enjoyed its reality as well. Charles Spurgeon told this story about him:
In the life of Mr. Flavel, who was one of the most temperate of the Puritans, and one not at all given to anything like fanaticism, there is an event mentioned which once occurred to him. He said that being once on a journey alone on horseback, the thought of the love of Christ came upon him with great power, and as he rode gently along the road, the thought seemed to increase in force and strength, till at last he forgot all about earth and even where he was. Somehow or other his horse stood still, but he did not notice it; and when he came to himself, through some passer-by observing him, he found that he had bled very copiously during the time, and getting off his horse he washed his face at the brook, and he said, "I did verily think as I stood there, that if I was not in heaven I could hardly hope to be more blessed in heaven than I was then." He mounted his horse and rode on to a place of entertainment where he was to pass the night. Supper was brought in, but left untasted on the table. He sat all night long without sleep, enjoying the presence of Christ, and he says, "I was more rested that night than with any sleep I ever had, and I heard and saw in my soul, by faith, such things as I had never known before."

Oh Father may we, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, know the height and the width and the length and the depth of the love of Christ which passes knowledge and be filled with all Your fullness . . . please grant us powerful, glorious, and beautiful ecstasy, delight, and joy in You! For Jesus' sake!

HT: Between Two Worlds

Mercy Lord Jesus - Mercy!

Matthew 5:7: Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

Matthew 9:13: Go and learn what this means, "I desire mercy, and not sacrifice." For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Matthew 9:27: And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, "Have mercy on us, Son of David."

Matthew 15:22: And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon."

Matthew 17:14-15: And when they came to the crowd, a man came up to him and, kneeling before him, said, "Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly. For often he falls into the fire, and often into the water."

Matthew 20:30-31: And behold, there were two blind men sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was passing by, they cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!" The crowd rebuked them, telling them to be silent, but they cried out all the more, "Lord, have mercy on us, Son of David!"

Luke 17:12-13: And as he entered a village, he was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance and lifted up their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us."

Luke 18:13-14: But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

Behold What Manner Of Love The Father Has Given Unto Us, That We Should Be Called The Children Of God!

Commenting on this verse: "But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12), Martin Luther preached:
No man, no matter who he may be, can ponder the magnificence sufficiently or express it adequately in words. We poor mortals, who are condemned and miserable sinners through our first birth from Adam, are singled out for such great honor and nobility that the eternal and almighty God is our Father and we are His children. Christ is our Brother, and we are His fellow heirs (Rom 8:17). And the dear angels, such as Michael and Gabriel, are not to be our masters but our brothers and servants . . . .

This is a grand and overpowering thought! Whoever really reflects on it - the children of the world will not, but Christians will, although not all of them either – will be so startled and frightened by the thought that he will be prompted to ask: "My dear, can this really be possible and true?"

. . . [T]he world rates it a much higher honor and privilege to be the son and heir of a prince, a king, or a count than to be the possessor of God's spiritual goods, although by comparison all these are nothing but poor bags of worms and their glory sheer stench. Just compare all this with the ineffable dignity and nobility of which the evangelist speaks . . . . If we really believed with all our heart, firmly and unflinchingly, that the eternal God, Creator and Ruler of the world, is our Father, with whom we have an everlasting abode as children and heirs, not of this transitory wicked world but of all God's imperishable, heavenly, and inexpressible treasures, then we would, indeed, concern ourselves but little with all that the world prizes so highly; much less would we covet it and strive after it.

Indeed, we would regard the world's riches, treasures, glories, splendor, and might - compared with the dignity and honor due us as the children and heirs, not of a mortal emperor but of the eternal and almighty God - as trifling, paltry, vile, leprous, yes, as stinking filth and poison.

Martin Luther's Works, 22:87-89

HT: Between Two Worlds

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

May Jesus Be Worth It To Us - Please Father, Make It So!

This story is told of a Christian named Paulus, tortured for his faith in Jesus:
It was getting late, and the Soviet officer had beaten and tortured Paulus for many hours.

"We are not going to torture you anymore," he said, smiling brutally when the Christian looked up. "We will send you instead to Siberia, where the snow never melts. It is a place of great suffering. You and your family will fit in well."

Paulus, instead of being depressed, smiled. "The whole earth belongs to my Father, Captain. Wherever you send me I will be on my Father's earth."

The captain looked at him sharply. "We will take away all you own."

"You will need a high ladder, Captain, for my treasures are stored up in heaven."

Paulus still wore a beautiful smile.

"We will put a bullet between your eyes," shouted the captain, now angry.

"If you take away my life in this world, my real life of joy and beauty will begin," answered Paulus. "I am not afraid of being killed."

The captain grabbed Paulus by his tattered prison shirt and screamed into his face, "We will not kill you! We will keep you locked alone in a cell and allow no one to come see you!"

"You cannot do that, Captain," said Paulus, still smiling. "I have a Friend who can pass through locked doors and iron bars. No one can separate me from the love of Christ."

The Voice Of The Martyrs, Extreme Devotion (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2001), Day 15.

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Behold The Beloved, Astonishing, Holy, Famous, Marvelous, Amazing, Utterly Astounding - God

Mark 1:11: And a voice came from heaven, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased."

Mark 1:22: And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:24: "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are - the Holy One of God."

Mark 1:28: And at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee.

Mark 1:45: But he went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news, so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out in desolate places, and people were coming to him from every quarter.

Mark 2:2: And many were gathered together, so that there was no more room, not even at the door. And he was preaching the word to them.

Mark 2:12: And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"

Mark 3:11: And whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, "You are the Son of God."

Mark 4:41: And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"

Mark 5:19-20: And he did not permit him but said to him, "Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you." And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

Mark 5:41-42: Taking her by the hand he said to her, "Talitha cumi," which means, "Little girl, I say to you, arise." And immediately the girl got up and began walking (for she was twelve years of age), and they were immediately overcome with amazement.

Mark 6:2: And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands?

Mark 6:49-51: but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, "Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid." And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded . . .

Mark 7:35-37: And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly. And Jesus charged them to tell no one. But the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it. And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Mark 8:29: And he asked them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered him, "You are the Christ."

Mark 9:7-8: And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.

Mark 11:18: And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy him, for they feared him, because all the crowd was astonished at his teaching.

Mark 12:17: Jesus said to them, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." And they marveled at him.

Mark 12:37: David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?" And the great throng heard him gladly.

Mark 13:31: Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Mark 14:61-62: But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" And Jesus said, "I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven."

Mark 15:39: And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

Monday, August 1, 2011

To Those Who Believe, Christ Is Precious

John Fawcett wrote:
There is an incomparable and transcendent excellency in the person of Christ, in every respect. He is fairer than the children of men; he is altogether lovely. The excellencies which are found in any of his creatures are as nothing, when compared with his excellency.

Wisdom in them is but a beam; but he is the glorious Sun of Righteousness.

Goodness in them is but as the drop of a bucket; but he is the fountain, the ocean of goodness.

Holiness in them is but a glimmering spark — but he is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person.

He is equal in all glorious excellencies with the Father.

His divine nature puts infinite dignity on his amazing condescension, gives eternal efficacy to the sacrifice which he offered up to expiate our sins, and to the righteousness which he wrought out to justify our persons.

There is everything in Christ to encourage poor sinners to apply to him, to look for salvation in his name, and to inspire their hearts with love to his person.

There are motives and arguments of every kind to excite you to choose him for your Savior, your friend, and your portion.

You are guilty — his blood cleanses from all sin.

You are miserable — he is rich in mercy.

You are helpless — he is mighty to save.

You are impoverished — his riches are unsearchable. His treasures of grace are inexhaustible.

Approach unto him, be not afraid of a disappointment; he has assured you he will in no wise cast you out.

John Fawcett, Christ Precious To Those Who Believe

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Please Grant More Love For Christ, Oh God!

J. C. Ryle writes:
1. If we love a person, we like to think about him. We do not need to be reminded of him. We do not forget his name or his appearance or his character or his opinions or his tastes or his position or his occupation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

2. If we love a person, we like to hear about him. We find a pleasure in listening to those who speak of him. We feel an interest in any report which others make of him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

3. If we love a person, we like to read about him. What intense pleasure a letter from an absent husband gives to a wife, or a letter from an absent son to his mother... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

4. If we love a person, we like to please him. We are glad to consult his tastes and opinions, to act upon his advice and do the things which he approves... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

5. If we love a person, we like his friends. We are favorably inclined to them, even before we know them. We are drawn to them by the common tie of common love to one and the same person... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

6. If we love a person, we are jealous about his name and honor. We do not like to hear him spoken against, without speaking up for him and defending him... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

7. If we love a person, we like to talk to him. We tell him all our thoughts, and pour out all our heart to him. We find no difficulty in discovering subjects of conversation... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

8. Finally, if we love a person, we like to be always with him. Thinking and hearing and reading and occasionally talking are all well in their way. But when we really love people we want something more... Well, it is just so between the true Christian and Christ!

J. C. Ryle, Holiness (Darlington, England: Evangelical Press) 247-249.

HT: Desiring God Blog