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 31, 2010

Never-Failing Enjoyment Is Only Found In God

Commenting on the book of Hosea, Vos wrote:
Jehovah strengthened Israel's arms and taught her to walk [7.15]; although the Giver of all nature-blessings, of corn, wine, oil, silver, gold, wool, flax, Jehovah is distinguished from the Baals, in that He has something more and finer to given than these: loving-kindness, mercy and faithfulness [2.19]; in reality He gives, in and through all these things, Himself after a sacramental fashion [2.23]; He is personally present in all His favours, and in them surrenders Himself to His people for never-failing enjoyment.

Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, Old And New Testaments (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 2007), 261.

Friday, March 26, 2010

John Calvin On Desiring God

Calvin comments on these words in Psalm 73:25: Whom have I in heaven but Thee?
David declares that he desires nothing, either in heaven or in earth, except God alone, and that without God, all other objects which usually draw the hearts of men towards them were unattractive to him. And, undoubtedly, God then obtains from us the glory to which He is entitled, when, instead of being carried first to one object, and then to another, we hold exclusively by Him, being satisfied with Him alone. If we give the smallest portion of our affections to the creatures we in so far defraud God of the honour which belongs to Him. And yet nothing has been more common in all ages than this sacrilege, and it prevails too much at the present day. How small is the number of those who keep their affections fixed on God alone!

From John Calvin, Commentary On The Book Of Psalms, Vol. 3 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1949), 154.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jesus, Joy Of Man's Desiring

I never knew the song many people play at weddings is about Christ! He is the joy of man's desiring. Every joy in all of man's desiring points to the greatest Joy and the Giver of both all joys and all joy producing gifts: Christ!

Jesus, joy of man's desiring,
Holy Wisdom, Love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.

Theirs is beauty's fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom's holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jesus: Matchless Treasure And Everlasting Friend

I was very encouraged by a sermon by Tullian Tchividjian. The sermon was a part of a series called: "Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything." That's a good reminder! In this particular sermon, he ended with the following story about a 5th century believer named John Chrysostom:
When he was threatened with banishment by the Roman Emperor because of his faith, John Chrysostom replied: "Thou canst not banish me, for this world is my Father’s house." "But I will slay thee," said the Emperor. "Nay, thou canst not," said the noble champion of the faith, "for my life is hid with Christ in God." To this the Emperor replied, "I will take away thy treasures." "Nay thou canst not, for my treasure is in heaven and my heart is there." Finally the Emperor said, "But I will drive thee away from man and thou shalt have no friend left." "Nay thou canst not, for I have a friend in heaven from whom thou canst not separate me! I defy thee; for there is nothing that thou canst do to hurt me!"

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Satisfied And Drunk With Christ!

Samuel Rutherford wrote:
But let us come near, and fill ourselves with Christ, and let His friends drink, and be drunken, and satisfy our hollow and deep desires with Jesus. Oh, come all and drink at this living well; come, drink, and live for evermore . . . Oh, but it is long to that day when I shall have a free world of Christ's love! Oh, what a sight to be up in heaven, in that fair orchard of the new paradise; and to see, and smell, and touch, and kiss, that fair Field-flower, that evergreen Tree of Life! . . . Christ, Christ, nothing but Christ, can cool our love's burning langour. O thirsty love! wilt thou set Christ, the well of life, to thy head, and drink thy fill? Drink, and spare not; drink love, and be drunken with Christ!

From Samuel Rutherford, Letters Of Samuel Rutherford (Carlisle: Banner Of Truth, 1984), 447, 173. (Letters to Lady Kilconquhar and John Gordon)

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

He's Indescribable!

Concerning Christ, Theodore the Studite wrote:
The Inconceivable is conceived in the womb of a Virgin; the Unmeasurable becomes three cubits high, the Unqualifiable acquires a quality; the Undefinable stands up, sits down, and lies down; He who is everywhere is put into a crib; He who is above time gradually reaches the age of twelve; He who is formless appears with the shape of a man, and the Incorporeal enters into a body . . . Therefore, He is describable and indescribable.

Jesus . . . You Can't Live Without Him

Charles Malik said:

I speak to you as a Christian. Jesus Christ is my Lord and God and Savior and Song day and night. I can live without food, without drink, without sleep, without air, but I cannot live without Jesus. Without him I would have perished long ago. Without him and his church reconciling men to God, the world would have perished long ago. I live in and on the Bible for long hours every day. The Bible is the source of every good thought and impulse I have. In the Bible God himself, the Creator of everything from nothing, speaks to me and to the world directly, about himself, about ourselves, and about his will for the course of events and for the consummation of history. And believe me, not a day passes without my crying from the bottom of my heart, ‘Come, Lord Jesus.’

Quoted from “The Two Tasks” in The Two Tasks of the Christian Scholar: Redeeming the Soul, Redeeming the Mind, eds. William Lane Craig and Paul M. Gould (Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway Books, 2007), 55.

HT: John Piper

Monday, March 8, 2010

Everyone In Christ Will Be Married Forever!

If you are in Christ Jesus, by grace through faith, you will be married forever. And Jesus will be married too. He will not remain single forever.

Jonathan Edwards wrote:
The end [goal] of the creation of God was to provide a spouse for His Son Jesus Christ that might enjoy Him and on whom He might pour forth His love. And the end of all things in providence are to make way for the exceeding expressions of Christ’s love to His spouse and for her exceeding close and intimate union with, and high and glorious enjoyment of Him and to bring this to pass. And therefore the last thing and the issue of all things is the marriage of the Lamb. And the wedding day is the last day, the day of judgment, or rather that will be the beginning of it. The wedding feast is eternal; and the love and joys, the songs, entertainments and glories of the wedding never will be ended. It will be an everlasting wedding day.

Jonathan Edwards, "Miscellany #702" in "The Miscellanies": Entries Nos. 501-832 in The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Vol. 18, ed. Ava Chamberlain (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 298.

Hosea 2:14-20 – Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me “My Husband,” and no longer will you call me “My Baal.” For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD.

Isaiah 54:5-8 – For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the LORD has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.

2 Corinthians 11:2 – I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

Ephesians 5:31-32 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.

Revelation 19:7 - Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready . . .

What a glorious day that will be! And you, member of the Bride of Christ, will be joined to the most wonderful, most loving, most beautiful, most satisfying, most glorious Spouse in more than all of 10 trillion universes! Come Lord Jesus! Come!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Come Lord Jesus!

One of my professors, Dr. Michael Horton, said recently that the way you know the Holy Spirit is at work in your life is if you find a growing longing in your heart for Jesus' return.

You see this longing described in God's Word:

Philippians 1:23: My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8: So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Revelation 22:20: Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

Jesus is coming back for those who are eagerly waiting for Him: Hebrews 9:28: . . . so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

May we long more deeply for Him and His return, and may we be found among those who are eagerly waiting for Him.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The More We Are Crucified, The More We Sing Sweetly To Christ!

Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre! Psalm 149:3

Commenting on this Psalm, Saint Augustine wrote:
We should not pass over the mysterious meaning of "tabret [tambourine] and harp" in silence. On a tambourine you have a skin stretched out, and in a stringed instrument you have catgut stretched out. So in both instruments ordinary flesh is being "crucified." The man who said, "The world is crucified to me and I to the world" (Gal 6.14) must have sung praises really well on this "tabret and harp!" And He Who loves a "new song" wants to take you to be that harp, that tabret. He gives you His instructions when He says, "Whoever wants to be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me." Do not let Him throw away His harp and His tabret. Let them be stretched out on wood [of the cross], and all fleshly desire dried out of them. Strings or sinews sound more sharply the more they are stretched out. And what does Paul the apostle say about making his harp sound more sharp and clear? "Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call" (Phil 3.13-14). So he stretched himself out; Christ touched him, and the sweetness of truth gave tongue.

Saint Augustine, Discourses On The Psalms, Comments on Psalm 149.
Cited from Rowan Williams, Christian Spirituality (Atlanta: John Knox, 1979), 88.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ultimately, Only God Satisfies

Cornelius Plantinga Jr. writes:
We may want a good career or a family or a particular kind of life, and these things may come to us. But if so, they will not fill all our niches because we want more than these things can give. Even if we fall deeply in love and marry another human being, we discover that our spiritual and sexual oneness isn't final. It's wonderful, but not final. It might even be as good as human oneness can be, but something in us keeps saying "not this" or "still beyond" . . . We human beings want God even when we think that what we really want is a green valley, or a good time from our past, or a loved one. Of course we do want these things and persons, but we also want what lies behind them. Our "inconsolable secret," says C. S. Lewis, is that we are full of yearnings, sometimes shy and sometimes passionate, that point us beyond the things of earth to the ultimate reality of God.

From: Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Engaging God's World: A Christian Vision Of Faith, Learning, And Living (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 5, 7.

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Gospel Is Better Than Unconditional Love!

David Powlison Writes:
The Gospel is better than unconditional love. The Gospel says, “God accepts you just as Christ is. God has ‘contraconditional’ love for you.” Christ bears the curse you deserve. Christ is fully pleasing to the Father and gives you His own perfect goodness. Christ reigns in power, making you the Father’s child and coming close to you to begin to change what is unacceptable to God about you. God never accepts me “as I am.” He accepts me “as I am in Jesus Christ.” The center of gravity is different. The true gospel does not allow God’s love to be sucked into the vortex of the soul’s lust for acceptability and worth in and of itself. Rather, it radically decenters people - what the Bible calls ‘fear of the Lord’ and ‘faith’ - to look outside themselves.

David Powlison, "Idols of the Heart and Vanity Fair," Journal of Biblical Counseling, Vol. 13, #2, Winter 1995, 49.