Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Study Your Blessed Savior More and More

"Would you have more faith? Then seek to become more acquainted with Jesus Christ. Study your blessed Savior more and more, and strive to know more of the length and breadth and height of His love. Study Him in all His offices, as the Priest, the Physician, the Redeemer, the Advocate, the Friend, the Teacher, the Shepherd of His believing people.

Study Him as one who not only died for you—but is also living for you at the right hand of God; as one who not only shed His blood for you—but daily intercedes for you at the right hand of God; as one who is soon coming again for you, and will stand once more on this earth.

The miner who is fully persuaded that the rope which draws him up from the pit will not break, is drawn up without anxiety and alarm. The believer who is thoroughly acquainted with the fullness of Jesus Christ, is the believer who travels from grace to glory with the greatest comfort and peace."

--J.C. Ryle, Faith in Christ

HT: Of First Importance 

Monday, January 28, 2013


A wonderful reminder of gratitude to God for the abundant blessings of life, even in a fallen world:
Don't You Want to Thank Someone
Andrew Peterson, from the Light for the Lost Boy album

Don't you ever wonder why
In spite of all that's wrong here
There's still so much that goes so right
And beauty abounds?

'Cause sometimes when you walk outside
The air is full of song here
The thunder rolls and the baby sighs
And the rain comes down

And when you see the spring has come
And it warms you like a mother's kiss
Don't you want to thank someone?
Don't you want to thank someone for this? 
You can hear the entire song below:

Friday, January 25, 2013

All Is Finished; Do Not Doubt It

Great High Priest, We See Thee Stooping
Joseph Hart, 1712-1768

Great High Priest, we see Thee stooping,
With our names upon Thy breast,
In the garden groaning, drooping,
To the ground with sorrows pressed.
Weeping angels stand confounded,
To behold their Maker thus,
And shall we remain unwounded,
When we know ’twas all for us?

On the cross Thy body broken,
Cancels every penalty;
Tempted souls produce this token
All demands to satisfy.
All is finished; do not doubt it,
But believe your dying Lord;
Never reason more about it,
Only take Him at His Word.

Come, behold your Savior bleeding,
Streams of mercy from Him flow,
Whilst before His Father pleading
For those men who wrought His woe.
Lo, He cried, Father, forgive them,
Though they do My life pursue,
I am willing to receive them,
For they know not what they do.

Come, Thou everlasting Spirit,
Bring to every thankful mind
All the Savior’s dying merit,
All His suffering for mankind.
True recorder of His passion,
Now Thy living fire impart,
Now reveal Thy great salvation,
Preach His Gospel to our heart.

Lord, we fain would trust Thee solely;
’Twas for us Thy blood was spilt;
Gracious Savior, take us wholly,
Take and make us what Thou wilt.
Grant us now Thy heav’nly blessing,
Let Thy love our songs employ;
Then we’ll find Thy peace possessing,
In Thy service all our joy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Essence of Preaching Captured Visually

The picture below of Martin Luther preaching Christ (by Lucas Cranach) is one of my all-time favorites.  Notice what it communicates visually about preaching.  Luther has one hand on the Bible, reminding us that all preaching should be rooted in the Word of God.  The other hand is pointing to Christ and him crucified, the very heart of the redemptive message within the pages of holy Scripture.  And with the exception of one person looking toward us, everyone in the congregation has their attention focused on Christ as He is preached from the Bible.    

Luther Preaching Christ, Lucas Cranach, Wittenberg, St. Mary's Church, 1547
 Click here for a full resolution image of this painting.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Celebrating MLK Day

In my opinion, Dr. Martin Luther King's I Have a Dream speech is still one of the great masterpieces of American oratory.

And his Letter from a Birmingham Jail is still one of the great masterpieces of American Christian ethics.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Oh, Miracle of Grace

And Did the Holy and the Just
Anne Steele, 1717-1778

And did the Holy and the Just,
The Sovereign of the skies,
Stoop down to man's estate and dust
That guilty worms might rise?

Yes, the Redeemer left His throne,
His radiant throne on high—
Surprising mercy, love unknown—
To suffer, bleed, and die.

He took the guilty culprit's place
And suffered in his stead;
For man—oh, miracle of grace—
For man the Saviour bled.

Dear Lord, what heavenly wonders dwell
In Thy atoning blood!
By this are sinners saved from hell,
And rebels brought to God.

What glad return can I impart,
For favors so divine?
O take my all, this worthless heart,
And make it wholly Thine.  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Satan is Quite Aware of the Power of Silence

A wise word from missionary and martyr, Jim Elliott:
The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds . . . Satan is quite aware of the power of silence.

--Jim Elliott

Monday, January 14, 2013

He Will Rise Up in the End

I don't know about you, but there are some days when I just need to be reminded that there really is coming a day when God will right every wrong, when the Judge will delay his judgment no longer; and therefore, I just need to be patient and trust in him.    

And there is no song I'm aware of that better captures that truth than Ben Shive's "Rise Up."  Listen. Ponder. Enjoy. 

Rise Up
Words and Music by Ben Shive

Every stone that makes you stumble
and cuts you when you fall
Every serpent here that strikes your heel
to curse you when you crawl
The king of love one day will crush them all

And every sad seduction and every clever lie
Every word that woos and wounds the pilgrim children of the sky
The king of love will break them by and by

And you will rise up in the end
You will rise up in the end
I know the night is cruel
but the day is coming soon
And you will rise up in the end

If the thief had to come to plunder when the children were alone
If he ravaged every daughter and murdered every son
Would not their father see this? Would not his anger burn?
And would he not repay the tyrant in the day of his return?
Oh, wait. Oh, wait the day of his return

Cause he will rise up in the end
He will rise up in the end
I know you need a Savior
He is patient in his anger
And he will rise up in the end

And when the stars come crashing to the sea
and the high and mighty fall down on their knees
When you see the Son descending in the sky
the chains of death will fall around your feet

You will rise up in the end
you will rise up in the end
You will rise up in the end

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Treasure Rich Indeed

How High a Privilege 'Tis to Know
Joseph Hart, 1712-1768

How high a privilege 'tis to know
Our sins are all forgiv'n;
To bear about this pledge below.
This special grant of heav'n!

To look on this when sunk in fears,
While each repeated sight,
Like some reviving cordial, cheers,
And makes temptations light!

O what is honor, wealth, or mirth,
To this well-grounded peace?
How poor are all the goods of earth,
To such a gift as this!

This is a treasure rich indeed,
Which none but Christ can give;
Of this the best of men have need;
This I, the worst, receive.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Theology and the Song of Redemption

A good reminder of what theology is all about:

"Theology is all about knowing how to sing the song of redemption: to know when to shout, when to mourn, when to be silent and when to hope. But in order to enjoy the song and sing it well, we must learn the words and the music."

--Kelly Kapic, A Little Book for New Theologians: Why and How to Study Theology

Monday, January 7, 2013

Preachers, Don't Desecrate the Pulpit

Iain Murray, reflecting on the preaching ministry of Martyn Lloyd-Jones, offers this reminder (and warning) to all who preach:
The preacher's first and supreme concern has to be that his words are an expression of the mind of God in Scripture. "If any many speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God" (1 Pet. 4:11). The preacher is nothing unless he is an interpreter and exegete of revelation. Apart from that he has no right to command the attention of his fellow men. To expect the Holy Spirit to give his aid to what are merely our ideas is to desecrate the pulpit (italics mine).
--Iain Murray, Lloyd-Jones: Messenger of Grace
Preachers, read that last sentence again and meditate on it as you prepare for this Sunday!

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Fountain That Shall Ne'er Decay

Today the Living Streams of Grace
Samuel Davies, 1723-1761

Today the living streams of grace
Flow to refresh the thirsty soul;
Pardon and life and boundless bliss
In plenteous rivers round us roll.

Ho, ye that pine away and die,
Come, and your raging thrist allay;
Come all that will, here's rich supply,
A fountain that shall ne'er decay.

"Come all," the blessed Jesus cries,
"Freely My blessings I will give."
The Spirit echoes back the voice,
And bids us freely drink and live.

The saints below, that do but taste,
And saints above, who drink at will,
Cry jointly, "Thirsty sinners! haste,
And drink, the spring's exhaustless still."

Let all that hear the joyful sound,
To spread it through the world unite;
From house to house proclaim it round,
Each man his fellow man invite.

Like thirsty flocks, come let us go;
Come every color, every age;
And while the living waters flow,
Let all their parching thirst assuage.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How Not to Read Your Bible in 2013

"From one stumbling pilgrim to another, here are five suggestions for what not to do in 2013," says Matt Smethurst in this article from The Gospel Coalition blog on How Not to Read Your Bible in 2013
1) Don't overextend.

2) Don't do it alone.

3) Don't just do it whenever.

4) Don't live as if Paul lied.

5) Don't turn a means of grace into a means of merit.
Read the whole article here.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Prayer for the New Year

From The Valley of Vision:

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.

Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father, as my harbor,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.

Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.

May Thy fear be my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.