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, July 27, 2011

King Of Kings!

S. M. Lockridge said:
Everybody's got a king. Who's your king? . . .

My King is the only one qualified to be King. My King has always been King. You know these other kings, they were born a prince, and they had to wait until the father died or the mother, if she was a ruling monarch - wait until she died and then become king.

But my King was born King . . . My King will let you know who's who and what's what . . .

My King always has been King and always will be King . . . nobody can keep him from saving me. He can hear all of us pray at the same time . . . blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! . . .

Oh but I know where a poor man has a chance. I know where a sick man can get well. I know where an ignorant man can become wise. I know where a bad man can be made good. I know where a good man can be made better and even a dead man can be made alive - it's in Jesus Christ. Amen!

S. M. Lockridge, "That's My King" and "Amen"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More Beautiful Than All Creation!

St. Augustine wrote:
Let the Lord thy God be thy hope. Hope for nothing else from the Lord thy God; but let the Lord thy God Himself be thine hope. For many persons hope to obtain from God's hands riches, and many perishable and transitory honours; and, in short, anything else they hope to obtain at God's hands, except only God Himself. But do thou seek after thy God Himself: nay, indeed, despising all things else, make thy way unto Him! Forget other things, remember Him. Leave other things behind, and "press forward" unto Him . . . Leave thou all thy loves. He who made heaven and earth is more beautiful than all . . . Let our God be our hope. He who made all things, is better than all! He who made what is beautiful, is more beautiful than all that is such. He who made whatever is mighty, is Himself mightier. He who made whatever is great, is Himself greater. He will be unto you everything that you love.

St. Augustine, Exposition Of The Book Of Psalms, Psalm 40.

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Monday, July 25, 2011

Christ: Attractive Like No Other!

Octavius Winslow wrote:
And, as if to crown the encouragements accumulating around our access to Jesus, there are His own personal attraction — all-inviting and irresistible. Everything in the person of Jesus encourages our advance. Does glory charm us — does beauty attract us — does love win us — does gentleness subdue us — does sympathy soothe us — does faithfulness inspire confidence? — then, all this is in Jesus, and all invites us to draw near. He is the "altogether lovely," and if our minds can appreciate the grand, and our hearts are sensible of the tender; if they feel the power of that which is superlatively great and exquisitely lovely, then we shall need no persuasion to arise, and go and tell Jesus every emotion of our souls, and every circumstance of our history. Take all that is tender in love — all that is faithful in friendship — all that is wise in counsel — all that is longsuffering in patience, all that is balmy, soothing, and healing in the deepest sympathy — and its embodiment, its impersonation is — JESUS.

Octavius Winslow, Go And Tell Jesus

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Sunday, July 24, 2011

With Christ We Have Enough!

Anne Dutton wrote:
O this is my strong consolation - that Christ is mine, and I have enough. I may lose all created sweets; but, since I cannot lose my God in Him I have an ocean of delights, of ever-springing pleasures, which will be new and full unto ages without end!

Ka­tha­ri­na A. von Schle­gel wrote:
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay from His own fullness all He takes away [or all He never gives].

Jesus Christ Is Supreme!

John Piper writes:
Oh, that the risen, living Christ, therefore, would come to us even now by His Spirit and through His Word and reveal to us:

— the supremacy of His deity, equal with God the Father in all His attributes — the radiance of His glory and the exact imprint of His nature, infinite, boundless in all His excellencies;

— the supremacy of His eternality that makes the mind of man explode with the unsearchable thought that Christ never had a beginning, but simply always was; sheer, absolute reality while all the universe is fragile, contingent, like a shadow by comparison to His all-defining, ever-existing substance;

— the supremacy of His never-changing constancy in all His virtues and all His character and all His commitments — the same yesterday, today, and forever;

— the supremacy of His knowledge that makes the Library of Congress look like a matchbox, and all the information on the Internet look like a little 1940’s farmers almanac, and quantum physics — and everything Stephen Hawking ever dreamed — seem like a first-grade reader;

— the supremacy of His wisdom that has never been perplexed by any complication and can never be counseled by the wisest of men;

— the supremacy of His authority over heaven and earth and hell, without whose permission no man and no demon can move one inch, who changes times and seasons, removes kings and sets up kings; does according to His will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; so none can stay His hand or say to Him, "What have you done?"

— the supremacy of His providence without which not a single bird falls to the ground in the furthest reaches of the Amazon forest, or a single hair of any head turns black or white;

— the supremacy of His word that moment by moment upholds the universe and holds in being all the molecules and atoms and subatomic world we have never yet dreamed of;

— the supremacy of His power to walk on water, cleanse lepers and heal the lame, open the eyes of the blind, cause the deaf to hear and storms to cease and the dead to rise, with a single word, or even a thought;

— the supremacy of His purity never to sin, or to have one millisecond of a bad attitude or an evil, lustful thought;

— the supremacy of His trustworthiness never to break His word or let one promise fall to the ground;

— the supremacy of His justice to render in due time all moral accounts in the universe settled either on the cross or in hell;

— the supremacy of His patience to endure our dullness for decade after decade; and to hold back His final judgment on this land and on the world, that many might repent;

— the supremacy of His sovereign, servant obedience to keep His Father's commandments perfectly and then embrace the excruciating pain of the cross willingly;

— the supremacy of His meekness and lowliness and tenderness that will not break a bruised reed or quench a smoldering wick;

— the supremacy of His wrath that will one day explode against this world with such fierceness that people will call out for the rocks and the mountains to crush them rather than face the wrath of the Lamb;

— the supremacy of His grace that gives life to spiritually dead rebels and wakens faith in hell-bound haters of God, and justifies the ungodly with His own righteousness;

— the supremacy of His love that willingly dies for us even while we were sinners and frees us for the ever-increasing joy in making much of Him forever;

— the supremacy of His own inexhaustible gladness in the fellowship of the Trinity, the infinite power and energy that gave rise to all the universe and will one day be the inheritance of every struggling saint.

John Piper, "Sex and the Supremacy of Christ: Part Two," in Sex and the Supremacy of Christ, Eds. John Piper and Justin Taylor (Wheaton: Crossway, 2005), 38-40.

HT: Tolle Lege

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Christ Utterly Satisfies With His Beauty And Love!

Tim Keller said:
The Bible teaches us that you're either a slave to Christ or you're a slave to something - because you have to live for something. And any master but Jesus, if you get him - if you get it - if you're living for wealth and you get wealth there will be a slow despair because there will be emptiness. And on the other hand, if you lose - if you fail your false master . . . you want to kill yourself. But the the reason Paul and Silas were able to sing songs in the night, and the reason they were able to overcome evil with good was because they had the only Master that forgives if you fail Him and utterly, utterly satisfies you with His beauty and love if you get Him.

Tim Keller, Changed Lives

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Christ Meets All Our Needs And Cravings

Octavius Winslow wrote:
Whatever your craving, you will find in Jesus a corresponding supply. You have no sin His blood cannot cleanse - no grief His sympathy will not soothe - no infirmity His grace will not help - no perplexity His wisdom will not guide - no lack His sufficiency will not supply.

Octavius Winslow, The Fullness Of Christ

Sunday, July 17, 2011

May Christ Be All At My First Call

Back in November, I posted these words from John Piper:
I recall coming to the end of my graduate studies in Munich, Germany, back in 1974. I had no idea where to go. I was ready to enter any ministry the Lord would open for me. I sent my resume to dozens of schools and missions and agencies. One of the most encouraging letters I received in those days was from my friend and former professor, Daniel Fuller. He knew I was struggling to trust God for a place of ministry. So he quoted a little-known verse, 2 Corinthians 4:1, 'Since we have this ministry, as we received mercy, we do not lose heart.' He pointed out the word 'as' in the phrase 'as we received mercy.' Then he showed me the link between 'having a ministry' and 'receiving mercy.' He said that ministry is given as freely and as sovereignly and as graciously as the first experience of mercy that we received in salvation. That is what I needed then. And that is what I need now, to press on in ministry. The place of ministry, and the ongoing performance of ministry, are gifts of grace, just like my conversion was.

John Piper, Future Grace (Sisters: Multnomah, 1995), 296

Today, God has shown me great mercy by granting me my first pastoral call from Olney Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA.

Thank You, Father . . . and may Christ be all in this calling. For Jesus' sake.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh What Love!

John Flavel wrote:
It is a special consideration to enhance the love of God in giving Christ, that in giving him he gave the richest jewel in his cabinet; a mercy of the greatest worth, and most inestimable value. Heaven itself is not so valuable and precious as Christ is: He is the better half of heaven; and so the saints account him, Psalm 73:25: "Whom have I in heaven but thee?" Ten thousand thousand worlds, saith one, as many worlds as angels can number, and then as a new world of angels can multiply, would not all be the bulk of a balance, to weigh Christ's excellency, love, and sweetness. O what a fair One! what an only One! what an excellent, lovely, ravishing One, is Christ!

Put the beauty of ten thousand paradises, like the garden of Eden, into one; put all trees, all flowers, all smells, all colours, all tastes, all joys, all sweetness, all loveliness in one; O what a fair and excellent thing would that be? And yet it should be less to that fair and dearest well-beloved Christ, than one drop of rain to the whole seas, rivers, lakes, and fountains of ten thousand earths. Christ is heaven's wonder, and earth's wonder.

Now, for God to bestow the mercy of mercies, the most precious thing in heaven or earth, upon poor sinners; and, as great, as lovely, as excellent as his Son was, yet not to account him too good to bestow upon us, what manner of love is this!

John Flavel, "The Fountain Of Life," Sermon on John 3:16.

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christ - Worth Infinitely More Than Millions Of Worlds!

In a letter to one of Jesus' little lambs, Anne Dutton wrote:
My Dear Sister in Christ,

Your Beloved is yours and you are His, and what can you want or desire more? Your one Lord Jesus is worth infinitely more than millions of worlds, were there so many! Oh, what little, uncertain, dying things, are all creature-enjoyments! Not a drop of refreshment can we find in them, unless the Creator fills them, and communicates of His own fullness through those pipes of conveyance; and yet, how prone are we to seek after creatures as if our happiness were in them! Ah, foolish we, to "forsake the fountain of living waters, and hew out to ourselves cisterns—broken cisterns—that can hold no water!" Were every pipe broken and every cistern dry, the Lord—the full fountain, the overflowing ocean of our life and bliss—would never fail. There is a river of love, life, and glory in God, the streams whereof, through Christ, by the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, shall make glad the hearts of the citizens of Zion.

My dear sister, God, our kind Father, takes away the creatures from us that we may learn to live upon Himself as our present and eternal All; and not a soul that has Him for a well, while passing through the valley of Baca, of tears, shall ever lack supply of life and joy. A believer can never lack anything, languish and die in his spirit for lack of any good thing, unless he goes out of the bosom of Christ, where he has all things—to hunt for supplies among the creatures where there is nothing. Blessed is that soul that seeks God in the creatures it desires, that lives upon God in the creatures it enjoys, and that makes life a peaceful, joyous, glorious life out of God—or rather, that lives peacefully, joyfully, gloriously in Him when the creatures fail—for surpassingly excellent, sweet and soul-satisfying is God in all—is God in Himself.

O for more faith to live upon Him, and to Him, in all things that He gives us, and in what He withholds or takes from us; for our God will supply all our needs, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus.

Don't you see, then, my dear sister, how well you are provided for? Oh, live joyfully, as a child of God—and heir of God—for no good thing will He allow you to lack—and soon He will bring you to His great, His glorious, His eternal Self! Your God, your all-supplying God, will be with you in every strait, to the last moment of your stay on earth, and then He will bring you home, to be forever with Him in heaven, where, in His immediate presence, and seated at His right hand, He will bless you with fullness of joy, and make you drink of the river of His pleasures for evermore!

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Friday, July 8, 2011

Christ Is All In The Jungle, Even In Sickness And Even In The Loss Of Those You Love The Most

I have been reading a book called Bruchko. It's about a nineteen year old young man who, though he was rejected by a missions agency, decided to go to the jungles of South America on his own to tell the Motilone Indians about Jesus Christ.

In the words of the publishers: "Bruce Olson (aka Bruchko) has been shot with bullets and arrows, kidnapped and tortured by guerillas, and survived disease, floods, and tornadoes during four decades as a lone missionary in the jungles of South America - for the glory of God!"

One story of him surviving disease was rather graphic but interesting. Describing one trip he took, he writes:
Because I was in a hurry to get medicine for the Motilones, I didn't stop to hunt for food. And the whole trip I didn't happen to see anything I could eat. I just kept going. Nor did I get much water to drink.

It was a mistake. I began to feel weak. On the third night on the trail I was so exhausted I had to stop early. I knew I needed food, but I couldn't even get up to look for any. I fell into a fitful sleep.

I dreamed about the jungle. It was beautiful and green and filled with butterflies. One flew into my mouth and got stuck, because its wings were wet. I could feel it beat its wings and struggle to get out. I half woke up. I was groggy.

There's a butterfly in my mouth. How strange, I thought. I'd better take it out. I put my hand in my mouth - and I did grab something. I started pulling it out. The more I pulled, the more came out.

Then I really woke up. I could feel this thing struggling all the way out of my throat. When I got it out and looked at it, I felt sick to my stomach. It was an intestinal worm, about a foot and a half long. He had gotten so hungry he crawled up my throat looking for food.

From that experience I learned always to eat something on the trail, if only to keep the parasites happy.

What struck me is that in the midst of all kinds if situations like this (and much worse!), Bruce Olson stayed in the jungles to teach the Indians about Jesus.

God even brought lonely, "secluded-deep-in-the-jungle" Bruce Olson a woman named Gloria. She was visiting her brother, who was a lieutenant in the Colombian army in charge of a military outpost in Tibu - a city Bruce would visit to get supplies and medicine for the Indians. Her brother wanted to see the jungle, so Bruce took them both out for a visit.

She fit right in with the Indian way of life on her visit, and, after she changed her career path from law to medicine so she could help the Indians; and, after she was converted to Christ, Bruce got engaged to marry her.

During their engagement, Gloria died in a car accident - they never married. In the face of such loss, Bruce stayed in the jungle, continued to serve Christ and the Indians, and sought first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. Latter Bruce also lost his closest friend, Bobby, who was also his first convert among the Motilone tribe. Again, after such loss, Bruce stayed in the jungle and labored for Jesus.

The book ends with Bruce reflecting on why there has to be so much pain and suffering. He writes:
So life has to be like this, I thought. It has to be struggling and crying, even dying . . . I saw the faces of the Motilones, for whom the rest of the New Testament still had to be translated . . . There was so much to do . . . so many things that Christ had called me to do. It would take more pain, more loneliness. Maybe death.

Why was it so hard? Why?

The I saw Jesus. He was struggling up a hill with a great burden. His face was lined with grief, His back bent.

"I think I see," I said. "It's the cross."

"When Jesus calls a man, He bids him come and die." - Bonhoeffer

John 12:24-25: Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Acts 14:22: . . . through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Oh Father, please make me more like Bruce Olson! Please make me more like Jesus! For Jesus' sake!

Bruce Olson, Bruchko (Lake May, Florida: Charisma House, 2006), 155, 185.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Christ! - Mirror Of Beauty, Map Of Perfection, Paradise Of Delight!

Thomas Watson wrote:
What else should we admire? What should we rejoice in, but Christ? Christ's beauty, like His coat, is without seam. We read of Absalom (2 Samuel 14:25) that in all Israel there was none to be so praised as Absalom for his beauty; from the sole of his foot, even to the crown of his head, there was no blemish in him.

This may be far more truly applied to Christ. He is the mirror of beauty, the map of perfection, the paradise of delight! He is the crown of the gospel. If the gospel is the field—Christ is the pearl hidden in the field. If the gospel is the ring—Christ is the diamond in this ring. He is the glory of heaven.

Revelation 21:23: "The Lamb is the light thereof." Well might Paul account all things dross and dung, for Christ (Philippians 3:8).

Thomas Watson, The Loveliness Of Christ

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Christ The Mercy-Heart!

Charles Spurgeon wrote:
Have enough faith, dear reader, to believe that you need mercy. Mercy is not for those who think they have merited it. Such people seek justice, not mercy. Only the guilty need and seek mercy. Believe that God delights in mercy, delights to give grace where it cannot be deserved, delights to forgive where there is no reason for forgiveness but His own goodness. Believe also that the Lord Jesus Christ is the incarnation of mercy. His very existence is mercy to you. His every word means mercy. His life, His death, His intercession in heaven, all mean mercy, mercy, mercy, nothing but mercy. You need Divine mercy and Jesus is the embodiment of Divine mercy - He is the Savior for you! Believe in Him and the mercy of God is yours!

Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon On Prayer And Spiritual Warfare

HT: Christ . . . Altogether Lovely