Friday, April 29, 2011

Death Has Received a Deadly Bruise

Ye Christians, Hear the Joyful News
Joseph Hart, 1712-1768

Ye Christians, hear the joyful news,
Death has received a deadly bruise;
Our Lord has made his empire fall,
And conquered him that conquered all.

Though doomed are all men once to die,
Yet we by faith death's power defy;
We soon shall feel his bands unbound,
Awakened by the Archangel's sound.

The trump of God shall rend the rocks,
And open adamantine locks;
Come forth the dead from death's dark dome,
And Jesus call His ransomed home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Joys and Lessons of Failed Work

Sabbath Poem IX. (2007)
Wendell Berry

I go by a field where once
I cultivated a few poor crops.
It is now covered with young trees,
for the forest that belongs here
has come back and reclaimed its own.
And I think of all the effort
I have wasted and all the time,
and of how much joy I took
in that failed work and how much
it taught me. For in so failing
I learned something of my place,
something of myself, and now
I welcome back the trees.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Truth of the Gospel Summarized

"The misery of the sinner and the mercy of God - this is the truth of the Gospel in Jesus Christ."

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Monday, April 25, 2011

Resurrection Joy

Gone - the darkness and despair of Friday.

Gone - the sorrow and silence of Saturday.

Arrived - the joy and jubilation of Sunday.

Christ is risen! Alleluia!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Christ Is Risen! Alleluia!

Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
Charles Wesley, 1707-1788

Christ, the Lord, is risen today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heavens, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Lo! the Sun’s eclipse is over, Alleluia!
Lo! He sets in blood no more, Alleluia!

Vain the stone, the watch, the seal, Alleluia!
Christ hath burst the gates of hell, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

Hymns of praise then let us sing, Alleluia!
Unto Christ, our heavenly King, Alleluia!
Who endured the cross and grave, Alleluia!
Sinners to redeem and save. Alleluia!

Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia!
Our triumphant holy day, Alleluia!
Who did once upon the cross, Alleluia!
Suffer to redeem our loss. Alleluia!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surveying the Wondrous Cross

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Isaac Watts, 1674-1748

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Stain of Guilt, the Weight of Sin

"Terribly black must that guilt be for which nothing but the blood of the Son of God could make satisfaction. Heavy must that weight of human sin be which made Jesus groan and sweat drops of blood in agony at Gethsemane and cry at Golgotha, 'My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?'"

--J.C. Ryle

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Glory of the Gospel

"The glory of the gospel is this: the One from whom we need to be saved is the One who has saved us."

--R.C. Sproul

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sparks of the Blazing Fire

"The Cross is the blazing fire at which the flame of our love is kindled, but we have to get near enough for its sparks to fall on us."

--John Stott

Friday, April 15, 2011

In Lowly Pomp Ride On to Die

As we approach Palm Sunday and reflect upon Jesus' Kingly entrance into Jerusalem riding on a beast of burden, may this hymn remind us why He came.

Ride On, Ride On in Majesty
Henry Hart Milman, 1791-1868

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
O Christ! Thy triumphs now begin
O'er captive death and conquered sin.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
The winged squadrons of the sky
Look down, with sad and wondering eyes,
To see th' approaching sacrifice.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
Thy last and fiercest strife is nigh:
The Father, on His sapphire throne,
Awaits His own anointed Son.

Ride on, ride on in majesty!
In lowly pomp ride on to die:
Bow Thy meek head to mortal pain;
Then take, O God, Thy power, and reign!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Lessons of the Cross

"The lessons of the cross are ones we never outgrow, for the further we go the deeper we get."

--Rebecca Pippert

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Difficult and Untried

"The Christian faith has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."

--G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Abyss of Corruption Within

"None but God knows what an abyss of corruption is in my heart."

--Robert Murray M'Cheyne

Monday, April 11, 2011

Reproof - An Ultimate Offer of Genuine Fellowship

"Reproof is unavoidable. God's Word demands it when a brother falls into open sin. The practice of discipline in the congregation begins in the smallest circles....Nothing can be more cruel than the tenderness that consigns another to his sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe rebuke that calls a brother back from the path of sin. It is a ministry of mercy, an ultimate offer of genuine fellowship...."

--Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jesus Whispers This Sweet Sentence - "Son, Thy Sins Are All Forgiv'n"

Lamb of God, We Fall Before Thee
Joseph Hart, 1712-1768

Lamb of God, we fall before Thee,
Humbly trusting in Thy cross.
That alone be all our glory;
All things else are only dross.
Thee we own a perfect Savior,
Only source of all that’s good.
Every grace and every favor
Comes to us through Jesus’ blood.

Jesus gives us true repentance
By His Spirit sent from Heav’n;
Jesus whispers this sweet sentence,
“Son, thy sins are all forgiv’n.”
Faith He grants us to believe it,
Grateful hearts His love to prize;
Want we wisdom? He must give it,
Hearing ears and seeing eyes.

Jesus gives us pure affections,
Wills to do what He requires,
Makes us follow His directions,
And what He commands, inspires.
All our prayers and all our praises,
Rightly offered in His Name—
He that dictates them is Jesus;
He that answers is the same.

When we live on Jesus' merit,
Then we worship God aright,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
Then we savingly unite.
Hear the whole conclusion of it;
Great or good, whate'er we call,
God, or King, or Priest, or Prophet,
Jesus Christ is All in All.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pastors - You Wrong Yourself Greatly By Not Reading

“What has exceedingly hurt you in time past, nay, and I fear, to this day, is lack of reading. I scarce ever knew a preacher who read so little. And perhaps, by neglecting it, you have lost the taste for it. Hence your talent in preaching does not increase. It is just the same as it was seven years ago. It is lively, but not deep; there is little variety; there is no compass of thought. Reading only can supply this, with meditation and daily prayer. You wrong yourself greatly by omitting this. You can never be a deep preacher without it, any more than a thorough Christian. Oh begin! Fix some part of every day for private exercise. You may acquire the taste which you have not; what is tedious at first will afterward be pleasant. Whether you like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher. Do justice to your own soul; give it time and means to grow. Do not starve yourself any longer. Take up your cross and be a Christian altogether. Then will all the children of God rejoice (not grieve) over you, and in particular yours.”

--John Wesley, writing to a younger minister, quoted in D. A. Carson and John D. Woodbridge, Letters Along The Way

HT: Ray Ortlund

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Please God...Laugh Hard

"It is pleasing to God whenever thou rejoiceth or laughest from the bottom of thy heart."

--Martin Luther

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beware Mere Lip Service

"Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips, and the world in your heart..."

--Ignatius of Antioch

Friday, April 1, 2011

The World's Pleasures No Longer Please

Let Worldly Minds the World Pursue
John Newton, 1725-1807

Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It has no charms for me;
Once I admired its trifles too,
But grace has set me free.

Its pleasures now no longer please,
No more content afford;
Far from my heart be joys like these;
Now I have seen the Lord.

As by the light of opening day
The stars are all concealed;
So earthly pleasures fade away,
When Jesus is revealed.

Creatures no more divide my choice,
I bid them all depart;
His name, and love, and gracious voice,
Have fixed my roving heart.

Now, Lord, I would be Thine alone,
And wholly live to Thee;
But may I hope that Thou wilt own
A worthless worm, like me?

Yes! though of sinners I’m the worst,
I cannot doubt Thy will;
For if Thou hadst not loved me first
I had refused Thee still.