Friday, September 19, 2014

The Cross

Whence came the tree from which the cross was made? What has become of the particles of which it was composed? What hands were employed in preparing this instrument of a cruel death? To such questions no answer can be given and none is needed.

The cross was a common mode of punishment among several nations, and among the Romans was reserved for the punishment of slaves and the vilest malefactors. It was never made use of by the Jews. If they had had the power of execution in their hands when Christ suffered, the punishment for the offence alleged against him would have been stoning. But by the ordering of divine Providence, our Lord was put to death in that way which was accursed, according to the Jewish law; for it was written, "Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree."

The death of Christ on the cross may well be reckoned mysterious, for it was at the same time a cursed and a blessed death. Christ was "made a curse for us," that he might deliver us from the curse of the law. And yet Christ's death on the cross is the most blessed event which ever occurred in the world; for on the cross the price of our redemption was paid. Christ "bore our sins in his own body on the tree." He died, "the just for the unjust," to bring us unto God.
 
[Archibald Alexander]


     
 
 
Galatians 3:13 ... Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
 
 
1 Peter 3:18 ... For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:


1 Corinthians 1:18 ... For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.


Colossians 2:14-15 ... Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;  And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.


Galatians 6:14 ... But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.❤

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Love Not The World

Where one thousand are destroyed by the world's frowns, ten thousand are destroyed by its smiles!


A little of this world will serve a man who is strong in grace.  Much of this world will serve a man who is weak in grace.  But nothing will serve a man who is void of grace!


 
[Thomas Brooks]


  ✞✞✞

James 2:5 ... Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?
 
 
 
John 12:25 ... He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.


1 John 2:15-17 ...  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

True Service

True service for the Lord will bring us material loss not gain. The profit will only be spiritual. That which brings material gain, on the other hand, belongs to Babylon and not to the heavenly Jerusalem.
 
[Zac Poonen]
 
 

 
 
Mark 8:36 ... For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
 
 
1 Corinthians 10:33 ... Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.


Revelation 18:15-16 ... The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,  And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!


John 6:63 ... It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
 
 
1 Timothy 4:14-15 ... Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Radical, Revolutionary, Lasting!

In the new birth, God exerts a quickening influence or power upon His own elect. Regeneration is very, very much more than simply shedding a few tears because of some temporary remorse over sin. It is far more than changing our course of life, the leaving off of bad habits and the substituting of good ones. It is something different from the mere cherishing and practicing of noble ideals. It goes infinitely deeper than coming forward to take some popular evangelist by the hand, signing a pledge-card, or "joining the church."
 
The new birth is no mere turning over a new leaf but is the inception and reception of a new life! It is no mere reformation, but a radical transformation. In short, the new birth is a miracle, the result of the supernatural operation of God. It is radical, revolutionary, lasting!
 
In the new birth:

God lays hold of one who is spiritually dead and quickens him into newness of life!

God takes up one who was shaped in iniquity and conceived in sin and conforms him to the image of His Son!

God seizes a drudge of the Devil and makes him a member of His holy family!

God picks up a destitute beggar and makes him joint-heir with Christ!

God comes to one who is full of enmity against Him and gives him a new heart that is full of love for Him!

God stoops to one who by nature is a rebel and works in him both to will and to do of His good pleasure!

By His irresistible power, God transforms   a sinner into a saint;  an enemy into His friend,   a drudge of the Devil into His beloved child!

[A.W. Pink]


  ✞✞✞


2 Corinthians 5:17 ...  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
 
 
Acts 15:3 ... And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.


Romans 8:17 ... And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
 
 
Galatians 6:15 ... For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Monday, September 15, 2014

He Became Poor

He who was so rich; became so poor! He who was Lord of all; had nothing at all!
He who made heaven and earth; had no home of His own!  As He was born in another man's house; so He was buried in another man's tomb!

He who gives crowns of glory to others; had only a crown of thorns for Himself!
The foxes and the birds had more than Jesus! The foxes had holes to lay their heads in but Christ had not a place to lay his head on.

"He became poor!" Yes, poor indeed, and so poor that He had not a shekel! You will say that a man is very poor who has not a shekel! Truly such a one was Christ--He had not a shekel to pay the tax until He got it out of the fish's mouth!

Oh! admire and wonder at this! Is not Jesus  the brightness of God, the paradise of angels,   the beauty of Heaven,  the Redeemer of man,  the destroyer of death,  the King of saints!

And that He should become so poor for us; oh! this is wonderful and astonishing to angels and men!


[William Dyer]

  ✞✞✞



Matthew 8:20 ... And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.





Isaiah 53:3 ... He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.


2 Corinthians 8:9 ...  For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

The Empty Tomb

Because of the empty tomb, we have peace. Because of His resurrection, we can have peace during even the most troubling of times because we know He is in control of all that happens in the world.
 
[Paul Chappell]
 
 
 
Matthew 28:18 ... And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
 
 
 
John 17:2 ... As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
 
 
Romans 15:13 ... Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Heart Was Wrong

Much is said about these stony-ground hearers of the Word, which is attractive and hopeful. I anticipate a true life, a brave witness, an abundant harvest. But suddenly comes the check, the change, the fall. And what was the problem? Ah! the heart was wrong, and therefore everything was wrong!

1. The heart was unbroken. The rock had never been penetrated at all, and the seed died soon on its hard and impervious surface.

I wonder whether the stubbornness and the stolidity of my heart have been shattered. Have I been melted   into practical concern of soul,  into the sense of spiritual neediness,  into godly sorrow,  into contrite prayer? There can be no new birth and no vital growth, until then!

After an eruption of Mount Vesuvius, the lava covered the fields with an apparently invincible crust; but the peasants bored holes in it, and pierced to the ground below, and planted their vines and in due season gathered the grapes. Has the lava-crust of my heart been divinely pierced and overcome?

2. And the heart was shallow and superficial. It had no depth. Immediately beneath the thin layer of top-soil, was that rebellious and intractable adamant; the seed had not a sufficient resting-place and home.

This is the fatal fault of very many. They do not stop to think about unseen, eternal, heavenly things. They do not take time to consider their own miserable state of soul, and the grace of Jesus Christ. They nod, and glance, and bustle by.

Again I ought to examine myself. I can be eager enough, and resolute enough, about earthly matters. But have I ever roused my very soul, have I ever set my face like a flint, to seek and find the Lord my Savior, my Righteousness, my Strength?
There is no possibility of salvation for the superficial heart!

3. And the heart was dry. It had none of the moistening, subduing, fructifying influences of the Holy Spirit. If the showers descend upon the rocky soil, there is no loam to retain them and to derive a benefit from them.

Just so, does everything depend on the Spirit's presence and work within me! Apart from His dews and gentle rains, I am helpless, hopeless, dead, damned. For until His Almightyness renews me, until His waters slake and vivify my parched and thirsty being, until I receive the outpouring of the grace of God, I have no spiritual life.

Is it not a miserable heart, this heart of stone?
 
[Alexander Smellie]
 
 
  ✞✞✞
 
 
Mark 4:5-6 ... And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:  But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
 
 
Jeremiah 17:9 ... The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
 
 
Ezekiel 36:26 ... A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Friday, September 12, 2014

How Shall I Go to God?

It is with our sins that we go to God, for we have nothing else to go with that we can call our own. This is one of the lessons that we are so slow to learn; yet without learning this we cannot take one right step in that which we call a Christian life.
 
To look up some good thing in our past life, or to get some good thing now, if we find that our past does not contain any such thing is our first thought when we begin to inquire after God, that we may get the great question settled between Him and us, as to the forgiveness of our sins.
 
In His favor is life; and to be without this favor is to be unhappy here, and to be shut out from joy hereafter. There is no life worthy of the name of life except that which flows from His assured friendship. Without that friendship, our life here is a burden and a weariness; but with that friendship we fear no evil, and all sorrow is turned into joy.
 
How shall I be happy? was the question of a weary soul who had tried a hundred different ways of happiness, and had always failed. Secure the favor of God," was the prompt answer, by one who had himself tasted that the "Lord is gracious.
 
Is there no other way of being happy?  None, none, was the quick and decided reply.  Man has been trying other ways for six thousand years, and has utterly failed and are you likely to succeed?  No, not likely; and I don't want to go on trying. But this favor of God seems such a shadowy thing, and God Himself so far off that I know not which way to turn.
 
God's favor is no shadow; it is real beyond all other realities; and He Himself is the nearest of all near beings, as accessible as He is gracious.  That favor of which you speak has always seemed to me a sort of mist, of which I can make nothing.  Say rather it is sunshine which a mist is hiding from you.
 
Yes, yes, I believe you; but how shall I get through the mist into the sunshine beyond? It seems so difficult and to require such a length of time! You make that distant and difficult which God has made simple and near and easy.
 
Are there no difficulties, do you mean to say?  In one sense, a thousand; in another sense, none. How is that?  Did the Son of God put difficulties in the sinner's way, when He said to the multitude, 'Come unto Me and I will give you rest'?  Certainly not! He meant them to go at once to Him, as He stood there and as they stood there, and He would give them rest.
 
Had you then been upon the spot, what difficulties should you have found? None, certainly to speak of difficulties when I was standing by the side of the Son of God would have been folly, or worse.
 
Did the Son of God suggest difficulty to the sinner, when He sat on Jacob's well, by the side of the Samaritan woman? Was not all difficulty anticipated or put away by these wondrous words of Christ, 'If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water'? Yes, no doubt the asking and the giving was all. The whole transaction is finished on the spot. Time and space, distance and difficulty, have nothing to do with the matter; the giving was to follow the asking as a matter of course. So far all is plain. But I would ask: Is there no barrier here?  None whatever, if the Son of God really came to save the lost; if He came for those who were only partly lost, or who could partly save themselves, the barrier is infinite. This I admit; nay, insist upon!
 
Is the being lost, then no barrier to our being saved?  Foolish question, which may be met by a foolish answer. Is your being thirsty a hindrance to your receiving water; or is being poor a hindrance to your receiving riches as a gift from a friend?  True, it is my thirst that fits me for the water; and my poverty that fits me for the gold.  Ah, yes, the Son of Man did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If you are not wholly a sinner there is a barrier; but if you are wholly a sinner there is no barrier!
 
Wholly a sinner! Is that really my character?  No doubt of that. If you doubt it, go and search your Bible. God's testimony is that you are wholly a sinner, and must deal with Him as such; for the healthy do not need a physician but only those who are sick.
 
Wholly a sinner, well! but must I not get rid of some of my sins—before I can expect blessing from Him?  No, indeed! He alone can deliver you from so much as even one sin; and you must go at once to Him with all your sins, however many that may be! If you be not wholly a sinner you do not wholly need Christ; for He is a complete Savior of none but complete sinners! He does not help you to save yourself, nor do you help Him to save you. He does all the saving or nothing at all.
 
[Horatius Bonar]
 
  ✞✞✞
 
 
1 Peter 2:24 ... Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
 
 
 
Romans 5:6-8 ... For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
 
 
 
John 4:10 ... Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.
 
 
Matthew 11:28 ... Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Behold Your God!

The more we have to do with man — the more his littleness, fickleness, and emptiness appear.

But the more we read, think, or have to do with God — the more His greatness, majesty, and infinite sufficiency is discovered!


He proclaims Himself, "the Great and Mighty God, the Lord Almighty is His name, great in counsel and mighty in work!" Infinity, omnipotence, and eternity find a home and a center only in Him.

 
[James Smith]


  ✞✞✞


Isaiah 40:9 ...  O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
 
 
 
Jeremiah 32:17-19 ... Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee:  Thou shewest lovingkindness unto thousands, and recompensest the iniquity of the fathers into the bosom of their children after them: the Great, the Mighty God, the Lord of hosts, is his name, Great in counsel, and mighty in work: for thine eyes are open upon all the ways of the sons of men: to give every one according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings:
 
 
 
1 John 2:17 ... And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Genuine Worship

We need to discover all over again that worship is natural to the Christian, as it was to the godly Israelites who wrote the psalms, and that the habit of celebrating the greatness and graciousness of God yields an endless flow of thankfulness, joy, and zeal.
 
[J. I. Packer]
 
 
 
Psalm 95:6 ... O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.
 

Psalm 99:5 ...  Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at his footstool; for he is holy.


Psalm 66:4 ...  All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.


John 4:23-24 ... But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.  God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.