Death

Death is a great fact that all acknowledge, but very few seem to realize. Most people eat, drink, talk and plan, as if they were going to live upon earth forever. The true Christian must be on his guard against this spirit. “He that would live well,” said a great divine, “should often think of his last day, and make it his company-keeper.” In the state of poverty, be against murmuring, discontent, envy. In the possession of wealth, be against pride, self-sufficiency, arrogance. There are few better antidotes than the remembrance of death. “The beggar died,” and his bodily wants were at an end. “The rich man died,” and his feasting was stopped for evermore.

-J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2, 213. {Luke 16:19-31}

Resolved

I am resolved no longer to linger,
Charmed by the world’s delight,
Things that are higher, things that are nobler,
These have allured my sight.
 
I will hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
I will hasten, hasten to Him, hasten so glad and free;
Jesus, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to Thee.
 
I am resolved to go to the Savior,
Leaving my sin and strife;
He is the true One, He is the just One,
He hath the words of life.
 
I am resolved to follow the Savior,
Faithful and true each day;
Heed what He sayeth, do what He willeth,
He is the living Way.
 
I am resolved to enter the kingdom
Leaving the paths of sin;
Friends may oppose me, foes may beset me,
Still will I enter in.
 
I am resolved, and who will go with me?
Come, friends, without delay,
Taught by the Bible, led by the Spirit,
We’ll walk the heav’nly way.
 
-Palmer Hartsough, 1896

Need

“How is it that many true believers often pray so coldly? What is the reason that their prayers are so feeble, wandering and lukewarm, as they frequently are? The answer is very plain: their sense of need is not so deep as it ought to be. They are not truly alive to their own weakness and helplessness, and so they do not cry fervently for mercy and grace. Let us remember these things. Let us seek to have a constant and abiding sense of our real necessities. If saints could only see their souls as the ten afflicted lepers saw their bodies, they would pray far better than they do.”

-J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2, 232. {Luke 17:11-19}

http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/09/23/possessing-a-sense-of-your-helplessness/

Who Pays for Your Spouse’s Sin?

“…“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word” (Eph. 5:25-26, ESV).

Christ did not make me pay for my sin. He sacrificed for my sin by giving His life for me. If I truly understand the Gospel in the moment of my wife’s sin, my response would be a Gospel-motivated sacrifice rather than self-centered punishment.

Therefore, rather than choosing anger (punishment) as a response to her sin, I must choose an attitude of forgiveness (sacrifice) when she sins against me. Too often I choose anger and when I do, it distorts our relationship. Rather than serving my wife, by helping her get to Christ where she can be forgiven, I convolute the situation by sinning in response to her sin.

I become the judge and, thus, feel justified to make her pay for her sin. This is an emasculation of the Gospel. It mocks Christ’s death. I am saying in essence, “I don’t care that You died for her sin. She has sinned against me and I am going to circumvent what You did on the cross by making her pay right now. Sin demands a punishment and I feel it would be better if she received my punishment rather than allowing her to experience the cleansing power of the Gospel. Yes, You were bruised for her iniquities, but right now I feel the need to bruise her for her iniquities.”

However, when I am practically applying the Gospel in the moment of her sin, I am living out Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:25-26. Our relationship is not distorted by my sin, while my wife is being sanctified, cleansed, and washed by God’s Word. Rather than me forcing sanctification through fear and intimidation, she experiences the freedom, favor, and power of the Cross in her life where true cleansing happens.

My goal is for my wife to walk in holiness. However, when I punish her rather than forgiving her for her sin, I am making it harder for her to accomplish the very thing that I desire the most for her….”

-Rick Thomas, on the Grace & Truth Blog, Read the full article here: http://biblicalcounselingcoalition.org/blogs/2011/09/20/who-pays-for-your-spouse%E2%80%99s-sin-your-spouse-or-christ/

Preachers & Scripture

“We should beware of resting our claim to the people’s attention on our outward [pastoral] call only. It will never do to tell our people, “We are your ordained ministers, and therefore you must believe and follow whatever we tell you.” On the contrary, we must tell them to prove our teaching by Scripture, and not to receive it unless it is scriptural. That man has no right to expect the attention of his people, who does not preach the Gospel and live the Gospel. The rule of Paul is clear on this point. He told the Thessalonians to esteem their ministers very highly “for their work’s sake” (1 Thess. 5:13). When there is no “work” done, it is vain to expect the people’s esteem.”

~ J.C. Ryle, Tract: Neglect Not the Gift

Words From One Under the Altar

“Therefore our Saviour, desirous to set out the pains of hell unto us, and to make us afraid thereof, calls it fire, yea, a burning and unquenchable fire. For as there is no pain so grievous to a man as fire  is, so the pains of hell pass all the pains that may be imagined by any man. There shall be sobbing and sighing, weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, which are the tokens of unspeakable pains and griefs that shall come upon those that die in the state of damnation. For you must understand that there are but two places appointed by Almighty God, for all mankind, that is, heaven and hell.

And in what state soever a man dieth, in the same he shall rise again, for there shall be no alteration or change. Those who die repentant and are sorry for their sins—who cry to God for mercy, are ashamed of their wickedness, and believe with all their hearts that God will be merciful unto them through the passion of our Saviour Christ; those who die in such a faith, shall come into everlasting life and felicity, and shall rise in the last day in a state of salvation. For look—as you die, so shall you arise. Whosoever departeth out of this world without a repentant heart, and has been a malicious and envious man, and a hater of the word of God, and so continues, and will not repent and be sorry, and call upon God with a good faith, or has no faith at all; that man shall come to everlasting damnation; and so he shall arise again at the last day.

For there is nothing that can help a soul when departed out of its damnation, or hinder it of its salvation.”

—Bishop Hugh Latimer, (1485-1555) , martyred for the Name of Christ. From Pulpit of the Reformation

“When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” – Revelation 6:9-11 NASB

 

Come Down, O Love Divine

Come down, O love divine, seek Thou this soul of mine,
And visit it with Thine own ardor glowing.
O Comforter, draw near, within my heart appear,
And kindle it, Thy holy flame bestowing.

O let it freely burn, till earthly passions turn
To dust and ashes in its heat consuming;
And let Thy glorious light shine ever on my sight,
And clothe me round, the while my path illuming.

Let holy charity mine outward vesture be,
And lowliness become mine inner clothing;
True lowliness of heart, which takes the humbler part,
And o’er its own shortcomings weeps with loathing.

And so the yearning strong, with which the soul will long,
Shall far out-pass the power of human telling;
For none can guess its grace, till he become the place
Wherein the Holy Spirit makes His dwelling.

-Bianco De Siena (d. 1434), edited by T. Bini and translated by Richard F. Littledale

 

My Vision

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
Thou my best thought by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, thy presence my light.
 
Be thou my wisdom, thou my true word,
I ever with thee and thou with me Lord;
Thou my great Father, I thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with thee one.
 
Be thou my breastplate, sword for the fight;
Be thou my dignity, thou my delight;
Thou my soul’s shelter, thou my high tower:
Raise thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
 
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise:
Thou mine inheritance now and always;
Thou and thou only first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure thou art.
 
High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven’s joys, O Bright Heaven’s sun!;
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O Ruler of all.
 
 

My Savior’s Love

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean. 
 
Oh, how marvelous! Oh, how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
Oh, how marvelous! Oh, how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!
 
For me it was in the garden
He prayed: “Not My will, but Thine.”
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.
 
In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.
 
He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv’ry,
And suffered and died alone.
 
When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.
 
-Charles H. Gabriel, 1905