Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Immanuel

"Immanuel, God with us in our nature, in our sorrow, in our lifework, in our punishment, in our grave, and now with us, or rather we with Him, in resurrection, ascension, triumph, and Second Advent splendour."  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For Our Sakes

"The Lord Jesus Christ was eternally rich, glorious, and exalted; but 'though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor' . . . O believer, herein is love!  For your sake the Lord Jesus 'became poor' that He might lift you up into communion with Himself."   ~ Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Can We Do Without the Incarnation?

"...without the incarnation, Christianity isn't even a very good story, and most sadly, it means nothing. 'Be nice to one another' is not a message that can give my life meaning, assure me of love beyond brokenness, and break open the dark doors of death with the key of hope.  The incarnation is an essential part of Jesus-shaped spirituality."  ~ Michael Spencer, Mere Churchianity


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Christ the Word

My Father, in a world of created changeable things,
Christ and his Word alone remain unshaken.
O to forsake all creatures, to rest as a stone on him the foundation,
to abide in him, be borne up by him!
For all my mercies come through Christ,
who has designed, purchased, promised, effected them.
How sweet it is to be near him, the Lamb,
filled with holy affections!

Read the rest of this meditation, "Christ the Word" in the collection entitled "The Valley of Vision."

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Prayer Protection

"I have heard it said that the needle-grinders of Sheffield sometimes wear a magnetic mouthpiece at their work, which catches all the fine dust that flies around them, prevents it entering their lungs, and so saves their lives.  Prayer is the mouthpiece that you must wear continually, or else you will never work on uninjured by the unhealthy atmosphere of this sinful world."  ~ J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Don't Be Fooled

The enemy of our souls would have us forget the danger of sin.

"He will paint, and gild, and dress up sin, in order to make you fall in love with it.  He will exalt the pleasures of wickedness, but he will hide from you the sting."  ~ J.C. Ryle, Thoughts for Young Men

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Kingdom of God

"Be prepared for surprises in this Kingdom.  You never know what is going to happen.  That last shall be first.  what a complete reversal of our materialistic outlook, the last first, the first last, everything upside down.  The whole world is turned upside down by grace.  It is not of man, it is of God, it is the Kingdom of God.  how excellent this is."  ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Written in 1965, Relevant Today

"The whole of life is so organized at the present time as to make it almost impossible to live this self-sufficient Christian life.  We switch on the wireless or the television and gradually become dependent upon them, and it is the same with our newspapers, our cinemas, our entertainments.  The world is organizing life for us in every respect and we are becoming dependent upon it."  ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Pride Protection

"It is very difficult to be humble if you are always successful, so God chastises us with failure at times in order to humble us, to keep us in a state of humility.  Examine your life and see this kind of thing happening."  ~  Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Tell Yourself the Truth

"The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself.  You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself.  You must say to your soul: 'Why art thou cast down' - what business have you to be disquieted? [S]ay to yourself: 'Hope thou in God'."  ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Believe In Forgiveness

"What I say to you in the Name of God is this:  'What God hath cleansed - by the blood of His only Begotten Son - that call not thou common or unclean'.  'The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin' and all unrighteousness.  Believe the Word of God, my friend.  Do not go on praying frantically to be forgiven that sin."  ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You May Not Understand, But You Must Trust

"Whatever your circumstances at this moment, bring all you know to be true of your relationship to god to bear upon it . . . I do not suggest that you will be able to understand everything that is happening . . . but He is there and He will never allow anything finally harmful to take place." ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Be Careful, Little Eyes

"[Peter] produced his own doubts by looking at the waves . . . Let us be very careful here.  We often lead ourselves into depression, we lead ourselves in to doubts by dabbling with certain things which should be avoided." ~ Martin Lloyd-Jones, Spiritual Depression

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Set Us Aflame

The English is a bit stiff in this prayer, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
No sanctity is there therefore, if Thou, O Lord, withdraw Thine hand.  No wisdom availeth, if Thou cease to guide.  No courage helpeth, if Thou leave off to preserve.  No chastity is secure, if Thou do not protect it.  No custody of our own availeth, if They sacred watchfulness be not present.  For, left to ourselves, we sink and perish; but being visited of Thee, we are raised up and live.  Unstable truly are we, but through Three we are strengthened; we wax lukewarm but by Thee we are inflamed. ~ Thomas a Kempis, Of the Imitation of Christ.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sacrifice and Service

"Yet we should not build our lives on the basis of personal satisfaction but on the vision of self-sacrifice and service that the Bible lays before us. Given the choice, what would many of us . . . do: speak at a major academic gathering and hob-nob with the great and the good, or talk to the church youth group?  The answer will speak eloquently of where our real treasure is stored."  ~ Carl Trueman, The Wages of Spin

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Think Right, Read Right, Sing Right

"Think truncated thoughts about God and you'll get a truncated God; read an expurgated Bible and you get an expurgated theology; sing mindless, superficial rubbish in stead of deep, truly emotional praise and you will eventually become what you sing." ~ Carl Trueman, The Wages of Spin

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Grasping God In His Fullness

"We need to grasp once again who God is in his fullness; we need to grasp who we are in relation to him; and we need teaching and worship which gives full-orbed expression to these things - and this will only come when we in the West grow up, ditch the designer gods we build from our pick-n-mix Bible where consumer, not Creator, is king, and give the whole Bible its proper place in our lives, thinking and worship." ~ Carl Trueman, The Wages of Spin

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What Priorities Are In Your Prayers?

"How often did Abraham, Moses, and Paul pray for health, for worldly success, for personal happiness and satisfaction?  How do the concerns of these men compare with the content and priorities of our own prayers?" ~ Carl Trueman, The Wages of Spin

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Domesticating Jesus

"Many of us see the challenges before us and want God to make everything easy.  We want the Jesus of our best life now to give us a blanket and some hot cocoa, not send us out into a fearsome world . . . We have domesticated [Jesus] and left him a pale and weak reflection of himself.  The Jesus of Scripture is radically different from this Messiah of our own imagining." ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Faithful, Not Fearful

"God doesn't want his people to be fearful, but faithful,.  He's not trying to cool us down, but to heat us up. Biblical faith isn't reckless or careless.  It is trusting, confident, and fearless because it is grounded in almighty God."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Bring It On

"According to medical experts, if we experience too much stress, we become great candidates for a heart attack.  Too little, though, and we may end up a puddle on the floor. Just the right amount aimed at at truly meaningful goal is actually really good for you.  That's true spiritually as well as physically.  It's not the absence of any challenge that will invigorate your life and mine; it's the presence of the right one."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Never Fear

"We don't know what the Lord has in store for us.  He does, of course.  He holds his people in his hand,  He never risks.  he is never caught off guard.  Our lives are utterly secure in him, because he is security itself.  He knows the future, and he directs it perfectly according to his will."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Oddly Delighted

"We should be marked as a people of joy.  When we say to the supermarket clerk that we're members of an area congregation, he or she should instinctively think of us as people who seem oddly delighted by God.  That's what we want our identity to be." ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Is The Church?

"But what is the local church, then?  Well, first and foremost, it's a group devoted to worshiping the living God according to his inerrant Word, the Bible.  It's an outpost for weary people burdened by sin to meet God and be transformed by him."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Aim High In Marriage

"So set your sights high.  Have the goal of building a six-decade marriage.  Pray for a spouse, and ask God to give you a union that puts the gospel on display in the midst of a fallen world.  You don't merely want to find someone to pass the time with.  You want a fellow traveler to love and to go on a great quest with, one that will require the two of you to give every ounce of energy an passion you have to one another."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Killer Instinct

"The Christian is equipped - and called - to be a far more disciplined person than any politician, business leader, or diva.  We are to have a killer instinct, and it has a target: sin." ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Victory Is Ours

"We see the smoke rising from a great spiritual conflict, but it's not telling us we've lost.  it's a sign of Christ's victory over sin, death, and Satan.  That victory is ours.  That's the reality in which we live, every single day, no matter what we're facing." ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Living In God's Will

"When we follow Jesus as the apostles did, we have no idea how he will use us.  He may maximize his glory through us by a faithful but nonetheless "normal" existence.  Or he may have a more unusual route of glorification.  No matter what you do on a daily basis, you can rest in this:  your walk may not be predictable, but it will be transformative and full of grace, and powered by joy that cuts through all the lesser things of this world leaving you to savor the mercy and power of God shown you and made your own through the cross and empty tomb.  When Christ is your all, and you're living for him, then you're in God's will."  ~ Owen Strachan, The Risky Gospel

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Don't Make Your Saving Relationship A Chore

"When I look at my relationship with God as a chore, a sacrifice, then I am getting the glory - not God.  I keep saying, 'Look what I have sacrificed for God....' or 'Listen to what I do for God.  It's hard, exhausting really....'  Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Genuine Love for God

"Isn't that what God wants of us - to crave this relationship with Him as we crave all genuine love relationships?  Isn't that what brings Him glory - when believers desire Him and are not merely slaves who serve Him out of obligation?"  Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Call To Commitment

"Jesus' call to commitment is clear:  He wants all or nothing.  The thought of a person calling himself a 'Christian' without being a devoted follower of Christ is absurd."  Francis Chan, Crazy Love

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Beating Temptation to the Punch

"Consider what ways, what companies, what opportunities, what studies, what businesses, what conditions, have at any time given, or do usually give, advantages to thy distempers; and set thyself heedfully against them all.  Men will do this with respect to their bodily infirmities and distempers:  the seasons, the diet, the air that have proved offensive shall be avoided.  Are the things of the soul of less importance?"  John Owen, The Mortification of Sin

We put a lot of emphasis on bodily health - we avoid second hand smoke and eating too much refined sugar and saturated fat.  Are we as diligent in avoiding the things that pollute and damage our spiritual life?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thomas a Kempis on Temptation

Do you ever get weary of temptation?  Feel like it never lets up?  You're not alone.  Many great saints through history confess the same experience!  Consider the Apostle Paul in Romans 7, or Thomas a Kempis in the quote below.  But take heart - the fact that you are troubled and bothered by temptation is evidence that the Spirit of God is at work within!
"This is that which oftentimes strikes me down, and confounds me in Thy sight, that I am so subject to fall, and weak in resisting my passions.  And although I do not altogether consent, yet their continued assaulting is troublesome and grievous unto me; and it is exceedingly weary to live thus daily in conflict." 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Essence of Idolatry

"[I]n the case of God, we distort our knowledge of Him by replacing Him with an image that we create ourselves.  This is the essence of idolatry: replacing the reality with a counterfeit.  We distort the truth of God and reshape our understanding of Him according to our own preferences, leaving us with a God who is anything but holy."

~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

True Religion

May I pay regard to my principles as well as my conduct, my motives as well as my actions.

Help me never to mistake the excitement of my passions for the renewing of the Holy Spirit, 

never to judge my religion by occasional impressions and impulses, 

but by my constant and prevailing disposition.

~Excerpted from The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Television or Reading?

"Television and reading both put us in someone's company, and remove us from someones else's company.  You decide:  will you be different because you put yourself in the company of Spurgeon rather than Seinfeld?  Over the long haul, will you grow closer to God and your family and your neighbor by watching television, or by turning it off and doing something that matters, something that's an investment in eternity?"

Randy Alcorn, Stand - A Call for the Endurance of the Saints

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Peace of Justification

"The peace of justification is not only external.  The deepest longing for inward peace are also met in Christ.  It was St. Augustine who once prayed, 'Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart is restless, until it finds its rest in Thee.' . . . Once our peace is established, that awful emptiness is filled, and our hearts may be still."

~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

To Please Him

"Even when discouragements come or a feeling of weariness or of growing older, keep going!  Don't give up.  We have to continue steadfast daily with To please him as our motto.  Pleasing him in everything - in every choice that has to be made: the petty little choices, as well as every great, large choice.  It doesn't matter what the choices ; let our motto be:  In everything to please him.  This should be our commitment for life."

~ Helen Roseveare, Stand - A Call for the Endurance of the Saints

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Peace with God

"Our peace with God is not fragile; it is stable.  When we sin, god is displeased, and He will move to correct us and convict us of our sin.  but He does not go to war against us.  His bow is no longer bent, and the arrows of His wrath are no longer aimed at our hearts.  He does not rattle His sword every time we break the treaty."

~ R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Offer Your Body to the Holy Spirit

"It's not just that we should renew our minds and expect that our bodies will follow.  Rather, we offer our bodies to place ourselves where our minds can be renewed.  Bodily actions open a Bible and turn off a television.  To read a book or listen to God we have to make a concerted effort to turn our ears and eyes away from this loud, invasive world."

~ Randy Alcorn, Stand - A Call for the Endurance of the Saints

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Valley of Vision - Resurrection

Adorable Redeemer, thou who was lifted up upon a cross, art ascended to highest heaven.
Thou, who as man of sorrows wast crowned with thorns, art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.
Once, no shame more deep than thine, no agony more bitter, no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high, no life more glorious, no advocate more effective.
Thou are in the triumph car leading captive thine enemies behind thee.  
What more could be done than thou hast done! They death is my life, thy resurrection my peace, they ascension my hope, they prayers my comfort.

~ Excerpt from The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Promises that Sin Makes

"[F]leshly lusts seduce me by attaching themselves to this basic desire.  They exploit the empty spaces in me, and they promise that fullness will be mine if I give in to their demands.  When my soul sits empty and is aching for something to fill it, such deceptive promises are extremely difficult to resist." 
 ~ Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

No Such Thing As Normal

"When the Holy Spirit is working in our lives, there will be a dynamic quality of holiness, evangelistic boldness, and an otherworldly willingness to play the role of a servant to others.  I'm not arguing against the supernatural and spectacular.  But I think we need to broaden our definition of both. The truth is that there is no such thing as normal or non-supernatural Christian living.  Every day of faith is a day of the supernatural work of the Spirit in our lives."

~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Life in America

"What will it take so that thousands of Christians in our churches become passionate about telling the gospel to unbelievers?  One of the reasons we don't do it as much as we should is that life in America is so entertaining that thoughts about desperate, eternal, spiritual needs are hard for us to feel, let alone talk about.  The world is just too interesting and entertaining.  it feels awkward to make ourselves or others uncomfortable with thoughts about perishing people.  It's heavy.  But life in America is light."

~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

God of Wrath

"Some people are repulsed by the idea of God being a God of wrath.  But if you think about it, a God who doesn't hate evil is terrifying.  True goodness hates evil.  True righteousness and justice must stand in opposition to injustice and unrighteousness.  God's wrath, writes [John] Stott, 'is in fact his holy reaction to evil.'"
~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

We Ought

"Whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."  1 John 4:7-8

"So when he says 'We ought to love each other,' he means ought in the way the fish ought to swim in water and birds ought to fly in the air and living creatures ought to breathe and peaches ought to be sweet and lemons ought to be sour and hyenas ought to laugh.  And born-again people ought to love.  It's who we are."

~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Don't Depersonalize God

"A Christian can depersonalize God by making him the object of investigation rather than the Lord to whom we are subject.  The vitality of our faith gets sucked out when our stance toward God changes from 'I trust in' to 'I believe that.'"

- Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

We Love Stuff

"When we don't have what we want, the world corrupts us with covetousness.  And when we do have what we want the world corrupts us with pride.  This is what keeps us from loving God and loving each other.  We love stuff.  And when we don't have it, we crave it.  And when we do have it, we love to talk about it incessantly, and waste time on it.  And where is God in all that?"

~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Proof

"This isn't to say that our good works earn our salvation - we are saved only by grace (Ephesians 2:8).  But the way we live proves the reality of our salvation.  If a person has truly been saved, truly been justified by grace, it shows in a new lifestyle.  Every genuine Christian is being sanctified.  The process might be slow, it might move ahead in fits and starts, but if we've been justified, we will also begin to be sanctified."

~ Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Walking In The Light?

"In 1 John 1:8-10 . . . John is at pains to say that 'walking in the light' does not mean walking flawlessly.  It means that, when you stumble, the light of Christ causes you to see your stumbling as sin and hate it and confess it and receive forgiveness and move forward with Christ."
~ John Piper, Finally Alive

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Only One Right Person

"It helps me to remember that one day in heaven there will be only one right person.  I'm sorry, but it won't be you. Or me.  It will be God.  Everybody else in heaven will be wrong in a million different ways about a million different things.  The Bible tells us that only those who trusted in Jesus Christ, who turned from sin and believed in him, will be in God's presence.  But on a host of secondary matters, we'll all discover how much we got wrong."

~Joshua Harris, Dug Down Deep