A Caged Lion

“The gospel is like a caged lion,’ said the great baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon. ‘It does not need to be defended, it simply needs to be let out of it’s cage’ Today, the cage is our accommodation to the secular/sacred split that reduces Christianity to a matter of personal belief. To unlock the cage, we need to become utterly convinced that, as Francis Schaeffer said, Christianity is not merely religious truth, it is total truth- truth about the whole of reality.”

Nancy Pearcey, Total Truth: Liberating Christianity from its Cultural Captivity

Jesus Says…..

“In a world where everything revolves around yourself—protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself—Jesus says, “Crucify yourself.”

David Platt

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

That irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion!

In many churches, Christianity has been watered down until the solution is so weak . . .
that if it were poison–it would not hurt anyone; and if it were medicine–it would not cure anyone!

We must have a new reformation! There must come a violent break with that irresponsible, amusement-mad paganized pseudo-religion which passes today for the faith of Christ and which is being spread all over the world by unspiritual men employing unscriptural methods to achieve their unspiritual ends!

(A.W. Tozer)

Jelly-Fish Christianity

Jelly-Fish Christianity 

(J.C. Ryle)

The consequences of this widespread dislike to distinct biblical doctrine are very serious. Whether we like it or not, it is an epidemic which is doing great harm, and especially among young people. It creates, fosters, and keeps up an immense amount of instability in religion. It produces what I must venture to call, if I may coin the phrase, a ‘jelly-fish’ Christianity in the land — that is, a Christianity without bone, or muscle, or power.

A jelly-fish, as everyone who has been much by the seaside knows, is a pretty and graceful object when it floats in the sea, contracting and expanding like a little delicate transparent umbrella. Yet the same jelly-fish, when cast on the shore, is a mere helpless lump, without capacity for movement, self-defense, or self-preservation.

Alas! it is a vivid type of much of the religion of this day, of which the leading principle is, ‘No dogma, no distinct beliefs, no doctrine.’ We have hundreds of ministers who seem not to have a single bone in their body of divinity! They have no definite opinions; they are so afraid of ‘extreme views,’ that they have no views at all. We have thousands of sermons preached every year, which are without an edge or a point or a corner — they are as smooth as marble balls, awakening no sinner, and edifying no saint!

We have legions of young men annually turned out from our universities, armed with a few scraps of second-hand philosophy, who think it a mark of cleverness and intellect to have no decided opinions about anything in religion — and to be utterly unable to make up their minds as to what is Christian truth. Their only creed, is a kind of ‘nothingism.’ They are sure and positive about nothing!

And last, and worst of all, we have myriads of respectable church-going people, who have no distinct and definite views about any point in theology. They cannot discern things that differ, any more than color-blind people can distinguish colors. They think . . .

everybody is right — and nobody is wrong,
everything is true — and nothing is false,
all sermons are good — and none are bad,
every clergyman is sound — and no clergyman unsound.

They are ‘tossed to and fro, like children, by every wind of doctrine;’ often carried away by some new excitement and sensational movement; ever ready for new things, because they have no firm grasp on the old; and utterly unable to ‘render a reason of the hope that is in them.’

All this, and much more, is the result of that effeminate dread of distinct doctrine which has been so strongly developed, and has laid such hold on many pastors in these days.

I turn from the picture I have exhibited with a sorrowful heart. I grant it is a gloomy one; but I am afraid it is only too accurate and true. Let us not deceive ourselves. Distinct and definitive doctrine is at a premium just now. Instability and unsettled notions are the natural result, and meet us in every direction.

Cleverness and earnestness are the favorite idols of the age!

What a man says matters nothing — however strange and heterogeneous are the opinions he expresses! If he is only brilliant and ‘earnest’ — he cannot be wrong! Never was it so important for believers to hold sound systematic views of truth, and for ministers to ‘enunciate doctrine’ very clearly and distinctly in their teaching.

Their photograph flatters them!

Their photograph flatters them!

(J. R. Miller, “What God Thinks of Us” 1909)

One of the most important questions we can ask ourselves, is what God thinks of us.

One has pointed out that in every man, there are four different men:

the man whom the neighbors see,

the man whom one’s family sees,

the man whom the person himself sees,

and the man whom God sees.

The community knows us only in a general way, superficially. What people think of us, we sometimes call ‘reputation’—what we are reputed to be. It is a composite made up of all that people know about us, gathered from our conduct, our acts, our dispositions, our words, the impressions of ourselves we give to others.

The knowledge the community has of a man, is only superficial. It is evident that the world’s opinion about people is not infallible, is not complete, is not final.

A person may be better than his reputation; his external manner may do him injustice. Some men, by reason of their shyness, their awkwardness, or some limitation in power of expression, fail to appear at their true value. The world knows only a man’s outward life, and there may be good things in him which it does not know.

Then some people, on the other hand, are worse than their reputation. Their photograph flatters them! What they pretend to be—exceeds the reality. They practice tricks which give a glamour to their lives, so that they pass in public for more than they are. They wear veils, which hide defects and faults in them, and thus they seem better than they are.

Hence we cannot accept the judgment of the community, regarding anyone—as absolutely true, fair, and final.

But there is another man in us—the man GOD sees. And this is most important of all. We do not even know all the secret things of our own hearts. There is an Eye that sees deeper than ours! It is pleasant to have people commend us, when we have tried to do our duty. It gives us great joy to have the approval of our own hearts. But if we do not have the commendation of the Master, human praise and self-approval amount to nothing! “What does God think of me?” is always the final question.

Men are cruel. They judge often harshly. They know only part of the truth concerning us. They are not patient with our infirmities. But we are safe in the hands of God. He knows the worst in us—but He also knows the best. We may trust our lives, therefore, to God’s judgment, even if they are full of defects and flaws. He knows all, and will bring to light all the hidden things.

MURDERED

MURDERED!

(From Spurgeon’s autobiography)

There was a day, as I took my walks abroad, when I came by a spot forever engraved upon my memory, for there I saw this Friend, my best, my only Friend . . . MURDERED!

I stooped down in sad affright, and looked at Him. I saw that His hands had been pierced with rough iron nails, and His feet had been torn in the same way. There was misery in His dead countenance so terrible that I scarcely dared to look upon it. His body was emaciated with hunger, His back was red with bloody scourges, and His brow had a circle of wounds about it–clearly could one see that these had been pierced by thorns.

I shuddered, for I had known this Friend full well. He never had a fault–He was the purest of the pure, the holiest of the holy.

Who could have injured Him?

For He never injured any man–all His life long He “went about doing good.” He had healed the sick, He had fed the hungry, He had raised the dead–for which of these works did they kill Him? He had never breathed out anything else but love–and as I looked into the poor sorrowful face, so full of agony, and yet so full of love–I wondered who could have been a wretch so vile as to pierce hands like His. I said within myself, “Where can these traitors live? Who are these that could have smitten such a One as this?”

Had they murdered an oppressor–we might have forgiven them; had they slain one who had indulged in vice or villainy–it might have been his desert; had it been a murderer and a rebel, or one who had committed sedition–we would have said, “Bury his corpse–justice has at last given him his due!”

But when You were slain, my best, my only-beloved–where did the traitors hide? Let me seize them, and they shall be put to death! If there are torments that I can devise–surely they shall endure them all. Oh! what jealousy–what revenge I felt! If I might but find these murderers, what I would do to them!

And as I looked upon that corpse, I heard a footstep, and wondered where it was. I listened, and I clearly perceived that the murderer was close at hand! It was dark, and I groped about to find him. I found that, somehow or other, wherever I put out my hand, I could not meet with him, for he was NEARER to me than my hand would go.

At last I put my hand upon my bosom. “I have you now!” said I–for lo, he was in my own heart–the murderer was hiding within my own bosom, dwelling in the recesses of my inmost soul!

Ah! then I wept indeed, that I, in the very presence of my murdered Master, should be harboring the murderer! I felt myself most guilty while I bowed over His corpse, and sang that plaintive hymn,

“Twas you, MY SINS, my cruel sins,
His chief tormentors were!
Each of my sins became a nail,
and unbelief the spear!”

Amid the rabble which hounded the Redeemer to His doom, there were some gracious souls whose bitter anguish sought vent in wailing and lamentations–fit music to accompany that march of woe.

When my soul can, in imagination, see the Savior bearing His cross to Calvary, she joins the godly women, and weeps with them; for, indeed, there is true cause for grief–cause lying deeper than those mourning women thought. They bewailed innocence maltreated, goodness persecuted, love bleeding, meekness about to die–but my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn.

MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned those bleeding brows with thorns! My sins cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders.

His being led forth to die is sorrow enough for one eternity–but MY having been His murderer, is more, infinitely more grief than one poor fountain of tears can express.

If Christ has died for me, as ungodly as I am, without strength as I am–then I cannot live in sin any longer, but must arouse myself to love and serve Him who has redeemed me.

I cannot trifle with the evil which slew my best Friend.

I must be holy for His sake.

How can I live in sin–when He has died to save me from it?

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Who is he?

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

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How happy is the man

who does not follow the advice

of the wicked,

or take the path of sinners,

or join a group of mockers!

Instead, his delight

is in the Lord’s instruction,

and he meditates on it

day and night.

Psalm 1:1-2

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Let me see your tongue!

Let me see your tongue!

(Charles Spurgeon)

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart–and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart, his mouth speaks!” Luke 6:45

If your religion does not sweeten your tongue–it has done nothing for you.

If the doctor wants to know the state of your health, he says, “Let me see your tongue!”

There is no better test of the health of the soul, than to see what is on the tongue!

When it gets cankered with unkind words,
when it turns black with blasphemy,
when it is spotted with impurity–
there is something very bad inside the heart, you may be quite sure of that!

Let your lips be a fountain from which all streams that flow shall savor of grace and goodness.

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths–but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

“Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place–but rather thanksgiving.” Ephesians 5:4

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

A Holy New Year’s Resolution!

(Matthew Henry)

“My times are in Your hand!” Psalm 31:15

Firmly believing that my times are in God’s hand, I here submit myself and all my affairs for the ensuing year, to the wise and gracious disposal of God’s divine providence. Whether God appoints for me . . . .

health — or sickness,
peace — or trouble,
comforts — or crosses,
life — or death

— may His holy will be done!

All my time, strength, and service, I devote to the honor of the Lord Jesus — and even my common actions. It is my earnest expectation, hope, and desire, my constant aim and endeavor — that Jesus Christ may be magnified in me.

In everything I have to do — my entire dependence is upon Jesus Christ for strength. And whatever I do in word or deed, I desire to do all in His name, to make Him my Alpha and Omega. I have all from Him — and I would use all for Him.

If this should prove a year of affliction, a sorrowful year to me — I will fetch all my supports and comforts from the Lord Jesus and stay myself upon Him, His everlasting consolations, and the good hope I have in Him through grace.

And if it should be my dying year — then my times are in the hand of the Lord Jesus. And with a humble reliance upon His mediation, I would venture into the eternal world looking for the blessed hope. Dying as well as living — Jesus Christ will, I trust, be gain and advantage to me.

Oh, that the grace of God may be sufficient for me, to keep me always in a humble sense of my own unworthiness, weakness, folly, and infirmity — together with a humble dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ for daily grace and strength.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #25 ~ Christ’s Pursuit

“Christianity does not begin with our pursuit of Christ, but with Christ’s pursuit of us. Christianity does not start with an invitation we offer to Jesus, but with an invitation Jesus offers to us.”

David Platt, Follow Me: A Call to Die. A Call to Live.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #24 ~ Hope For All That Is Coming

“Christmas split history. Foretastes of the future abound. Drink deeply on what he achieved for us. And be filled with hope for all that is coming.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #23 ~ Meaning Of Christmas

“This is the meaning of Christmas. Oh, that God would waken your heart to your deep need for mercy as a sinner! And then ravish your heart with a great Savior, Jesus Christ. And then release your tongue to praise him and your hands to make his mercy shine in yours.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #22 ~ Represent The King

We represent the King. We are His chosen ambassadors, doing His business “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Then let’s represent Him this season! People are wide-open to the gospel these days. Forget about trying to impress others by what you buy. Spend more time imparting what you already possess.

Chuck Swindoll

The Audacity

“God beckons storm clouds and they come. He tells the wind to blow and the rain to fall, and they obey immediately. He speaks to the mountains, ‘You go there,’ and He says to the seas, ‘You stop here, and they do it. Everything in all creation responds in obedience to the Creator…until we get to you and me. We have the audacity to look God in the face and say, ‘No.”

David Platt, Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #21 ~ Message Of Hope

“Thus says the Lord: the meaning of Christmas is that what is good and precious in your life need never be lost, and what is evil and undesirable in your life can be changed. The fears that the few good things that make you happy are slipping through your fingers, and the frustrations that the bad things you hate about yourself or your situation can’t be changed—these fears and these frustrations are what Christmas came to destroy. It is God’s message of hope this Advent that what is good need never be lost and what is bad can be changed.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

Angry With God!

Angry with God!

(James Smith)

“The Lord asked: Have you any right to be angry?” Jonah 4:4

Jonah quarreled with his God. And who has not? We may not speak as plainly as he did—but we have been in the same sullen temper, and manifested the same morose spirit.

Very few are well satisfied with the Lord’s plans. Fewer still are always pleased with the Lord’s works. How many quarrel with His sovereignty! What hard things have been spoken against it! How many complain of His providence—and think it unwise, unkind, and almost unjust!

Beloved, we are often angry with God!

This temper shows itself . . .
in fretfulness,
in complaining,
in sullen gloom.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

Angry with your Father . . .
whose wisdom is infinite,
whose love is as constant as the day, and
who constantly showers His blessings upon you!

Angry with your God, who has . . .
pardoned all your heinous sins,
provided for your innumerable needs,
blessed you with countless spiritual blessings!

Surely it is a sin, a grievous sin, not to be pleased . . .
with all that He does,
with all that He has provided,
and with all that He requires.

“Have you any right to be angry?”

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #20 ~ Theology

“No priest, no theologian stood at the manger of Bethlehem. And yet all Christian theology has its origin in the wonder of all wonders: that God became human. Holy theology arises from knees bent before the mystery of the divine child in the stable. Without the holy night, there is no theology. “God is revealed in flesh,” the God-human Jesus Christ — that is the holy mystery that theology came into being to protect and preserve. How we fail to understand when we think that the task of theology is to solve the mystery of God, to drag it down to the flat, ordinary wisdom of human experience and reason! Its sole office is to preserve the miracle as miracle, to comprehend, defend, and glorify God’s mystery precisely as mystery. This and nothing else, therefore, is what the early church meant when, with never flagging zeal, it dealt with the mystery of the Trinity and the person of Jesus Christ…. If Christmas time cannot ignite within us again something like a love for holy theology, so that we—captured and compelled by the wonder of the manger of the son of God—must reverently reflect on the mysteries of God, then it must be that the glow of the divine mysteries has also been extinguished in our heart and has died out.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger

Can You Hear The Dogs Of Hell?

Are we Christians–or are we worldlings? ~ Horatius Bonar 

We would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us! ~ Charles Spurgeon)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” John 15:19

There would be much more persecution than there is–if there were more real Christians. But we have become so like the world, that the world does not hate us as it once did. If we would be more holy, more true, more Christ-like, more godly–we would soon hear all the dogs of Hell baying with all their might against us!

Remember, my brethren, whoever you may be, that if there is no distinction between you and the world around you–then you may be certain that you are of the world. For, there must always be some marks in the children of God to distinguish them from the ungodly. There is a something in them which is not to be found in the best worldling–something which is not to be discovered in the most admirable carnal man. A something in their character which can be readily perceived and which marks them as belonging to another and higher race, the twice-born, the elect of God, eternally chosen by Him–and, therefore, made to be choice ones through the effectual working of His grace.

“I have given them Your word and the world has hated them–for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” John 17:14

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #19 ~ The Advent Virus

The Advent Virus

Anonymous via email

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUS

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  1. A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  2. An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  3. A loss of interest in judging other people.
  4. A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  5. A loss of interest in conflict.
  6. A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  7. Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  8. Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  9. Frequent attacks of smiling.
  10. An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  11. An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #18 ~ Humility

“He [Jesus] was born in a barn to show what God thinks of human pride, of human ambition, of human loftiness, of human hardness…of those who turn to religion only because of what they think it can do for them…of those who always insist on having a place at the high table and are miserable when others are put before them…of those personal jealousies and those family feuds that mar the fellowship with God.”

[Handel H. Brown]

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation # 17 ~ God Can Be Trusted

“Christ came to prove that God tells the truth, that God keeps his promises. Christmas means that God can be trusted.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

A Perfect Rest!

A Perfect Rest!

“There remains, therefore, a rest for the people of God!” Hebrews 4:9

There is present rest in Christ for the weary and heavy laden, who truly come to Him–for He is faithful who has promised, and He has said to such, “I will give you rest! Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart–and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:29-30 

There is present rest for the tried believer in the bosom of his heavenly Father. Amidst the anxieties and turmoils of life–how good it is, my soul, to return unto your rest in Him who has dealt so bountifully with you! 

But yet there remains a rest to the people of God–a perfect rest . . .  from the burden of guilt,  from spiritual conflict,  from the temptations of the evil one, and   from all the sorrowing and sighing of this valley of tears!

There is in the future a perfect repose of soul, abiding tranquility–and unbroken, eternal rest. Not a rest of inaction, but a rest in happy, unwearied service–and in the enjoyment of the perfect love of God. 

My soul, trustfully anticipate the rest that awaits you in the home of the redeemed, in the place that Jesus is preparing for His redeemed people!

“Return to your rest, O my soul–for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you!” Psalm 116:7 

“There shall I bathe my weary soul In seas of heavenly rest; And not a wave of trouble roll Across my peaceful breast!”

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Treasure

Amen! 😀

-Word- pictures by DLink

This Book, to me, is literally like finding a chest full of precious gems, every day.  It contains endless wisdom, that we desperately need.  Today the theme for Developing Your Eye is Treasure.  I know you can’t see it with your physical sense of sight, however this photo is that of a mountain of precious jewels, gold, and silver-the value of which cannot be calculated.

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🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #16 ~ Full Of Wonder

“To those who recognize in Jesus the wonder of the Son of God, every one of his words and deeds becomes a wonder; they find in him the last, most profound, most helpful counsel for all needs and questions. Yes, before the child can open his lips, he is full of wonder and full of counsel. Go to the child in the manger. Believe him to be the Son of God, and you will find in him wonder upon wonder, counsel upon counsel.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger

What Dignity!

What Dignity!

Spurgeon, “The Sons of God

Consider, I beg you, what a dignity God has conferred upon you by making you his son.

The tall archangel before the throne is not called God’s son–he is one of the most favored of his servants, but not God’s child.

I tell you, you ‘impoverished’ brother in Christ, there is a dignity about you that even angels may well envy. You in your poverty are as a sparkling jewel in the darkness of the mine.

You in the midst of your ‘sickness and infirmity’ are girt about with robes of glory, which make the spirits in heaven look down upon the earth with awe.

You move about this world as a prince among the crowd!

The blood of heaven runs in your veins! You are one of the blood royal of eternity–a son of God, descendant of the King of kings!

The “illuminated” Bible?

The “illuminated” Bible?

You may read the Bible continuously and yet never learn anything by it, unless it is illuminated by the Spirit.

Then the words shine forth like stars. Then the book seems made of gold leaf; every single letter glitters like a diamond.

Oh! it is a blessed thing to read an “illuminated Bible”lit up by the radiance of the Holy Spirit.

Have you read the Bible, and yet have your eyes been unenlightened? Go and say, “O Lord, illuminate it; shine upon it; for I cannot read it to profit, unless You enlighten me.”

Blind men may read the Bible with their fingers, but blind souls cannot.

We need a light to read the Bible by; there is no reading it in the dark.

by Spurgeon

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #15 ~ A Giving Love

“That’s the kind of love the Father has. It is a giving love. It gives his most precious treasure—his Son. Meditate on that this Advent. It was a very costly love. A very powerful love. A very rugged, painful love. The meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this love. “God so loved . . .” And wonder of wonders, God gives this costly love to an undeserving world of sinners, like us.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #14 ~ Christmas Gift

“Say to the next generation again and again: God is truthful; God keeps his word; God does not lie; God can be trusted! That’s one blessing of Advent. Receive it as a wonderful Christmas gift, and give it to as many people as you can.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

Live To Preach Christ

🤔My Thoughts… 

After just finishing my audiobook of “The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield” by Steven .J. Lawson i stumbled on this quote. I had a little chuckle too as i’m currently in a “Methodist” church and it seems to be drifting far away from Biblical preaching like this.

“There are Lutherans and Wesleyans in the present day, but there are no Whitefieldites. No! The great evangelist of last century was a simple, guileless man, who lived for one thing only, and that was to preach Christ.”

J.C. Ryle, Christian Leaders Of The 18th Century

We Want…

“We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality, but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the moral authority to insist upon it; we want moral community without any limitations to personal freedom. In short, we want what we cannot have on the terms that we want it.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters

Seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God

Already Not Yet

tim_keller_tgc11Tim Keller:

Feeling weary today? Distant from God? Anxious? Uncertain? In this article Tim Keller warms our hearts with seven breathtaking privileges of being a child of God set out by Paul in Romans 8:14-17:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.”

1. Security

We are not to fear, but enjoy sonship (v 15a). An employee or a servant basically obeys out of fear of punishment, loss of job, etc. But a…

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🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #13 ~ Take Time

Take Time to be Aware

Edward Hays, A Pilgrim’s Almanac, p. 196

“Take time to be aware that in the very midst of our busy preparations for the celebration of Christ’s birth in ancient Bethlehem, Christ is reborn in the Bethlehems of our homes and daily lives. Take time, slow down, be still, be awake to the Divine Mystery that looks so common and so ordinary yet is wondrously present.

“An old abbot was fond of saying, ‘The devil is always the most active on the highest feast days.’

“The supreme trick of Old Scratch is to have us so busy decorating, preparing food, practicing music and cleaning in preparation for the feast of Christmas that we actually miss the coming of Christ. Hurt feelings, anger, impatience, injured egos—the list of clouds that busyness creates to blind us to the birth can be long, but it is familiar to us all.”

The Habit of Encouraging Others

The Habit of Encouraging Others

J.R. Miller

“For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory!” 1 Thessalonians 2:11-12

In one of her books Miss Mulock tells of a gentleman and a lady walking one day in a lumber-yard beside a dirty, foul-smelling river. The lady said, “How good these pine boards smell!” “Pine boards!” sniffed her companion. “Just smell this foul river!” “No, thank you,” the lady replied, “I prefer to smell the pine boards.” She was wiser than he.

It is far better for us to find the sweetness that is in the air, than the foulness. It is far better to talk to others of the smell of pine boards, than of the heavy odors of stagnant rivers.

Yet too many people seem ever to have an instinct for the unpleasant things. They never see the beauty — but they always find the disagreeable. They have no eye for the roses — but they are sure to find even the smallest thorn. They never discuss the good qualities in those about them — but they instantly detect the faults.

It is a far nobler thing when one has learned to find the things that are lovely and good and true in those about one — and to be blind to the blemishes and defects. It is a pitiful waste of time and strength for one engaged in Christian work, for example, to do nothing but look for mistakes or imperfections in that which others are doing. It is far wiser to devote one’s life and energy to doing good in a positive way.

We do not have to answer for other people’s mistakes. We are not set to be judges of other people’s motives. The only true Christian course is to do our own part as well as we possibly can, having charity meanwhile for all about us who are engaged in the work of our common Master.

It shows a very narrow spirit to have nothing but evil to say of those who are working alongside of us in the same vineyard. Very likely they are quite as holy as we are, and are doing their work quite as well as we are doing ours. But if they are not, our sin in watching them with unkindly eye is worse than any ordinary mistake in their service could be.

We are told that once the disciples criticized very sharply another friend of their Master’s, calling her way of working a wasteful way. But we should not forget that it was Judas who led in this criticism and faultfinding, and that Jesus severely rebuked the censorious spirit in his disciples and spoke in warmest defense of the gentle woman who had done what she could.

We should train ourselves, therefore, to the utmost patience with those who work beside us in the service of the same Master. We should seek to encourage them in every possible way. There may be faults in their method — but, if so, the Master will look after these, and certainly it is no part of our duty to judge, to find fault, to condemn.

We are likely to overlook the unlovingness of this spirit of criticism and fault-finding. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another,” said the Master himself. Love implies not only patience with the infirmities of others — but also readiness to help them and to work with them in all kindly, sympathetic ways. Love sends us forth to be helpers of each other — not hinderers; encouragers — not discouragers.

It is very easy for us to go forth any day and make life harder for every person we meet. We do this when we assume a superior air, when we relate ourselves to others only as a critic, a fault-finder.

The worst of all heresies is the heresy of unlovingness. We understand the spirit of the gospel of Christ only when we get its thoughtfulness, forbearance, gentleness, into our life. We begin to be like Christ, only when in us is born the desire to be of use to everyone we meet. Many people go among others, however, bearing the name of Christ — yet lacking the spirit of Christ. Instead of making life easier for those among whom they mingle — they make it harder! They say discouraging things. Even when they imagine they are giving comfort — they are only adding to the burden of sorrow.

Some good people go into sick rooms, with true sympathy in their heart and desire to do good — but only add to the pain of those they would help.

Job’s three friends, the suffering and bereft man found to be “miserable comforters.” Scarcely any better comforters are many of those who come to people in these days as messengers of consolation. They go over all the sorrow, opening the wounds afresh — instead of saying cheerful, uplifting, inspiring things which would have made the sad hearts braver and stronger.

Shall we not train ourselves to speak only kindly words, to say only encouraging things, to give only cheer? It is a great thing to live so that everyone who meets us shall be a little happier, with a little more courage for life’s struggles, and with new hope in the heart. Words of encouragement and good cheer are better than angels’ visits to those to whom they are spoken.

Thackeray tells of an English nobleman who always carried his pocket full of acorns as he walked over his estate, and whenever he found a bare spot he would plant one of these. So should we carry with us ever a heart full of loving thoughts and impulses, and whenever we find a life that is sad, discouraged, or defeated — we should drop a seed of kindness which by and by will grow into something beautiful.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #12 ~ Mission Of God

“Advent is a season for thinking about the mission of God to seek and to save lost people from the wrath to come. God raised him from the dead, “Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thess. 1:10). It’s a season for cherishing and worshiping this characteristic of God—that he is a searching and saving God, that he is a God on a mission, that he is not aloof or passive or indecisive. He is never in the maintenance mode, coasting or drifting. He is sending, pursuing, searching, saving. That’s the meaning of Advent.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #11 ~ Indestructible Joy

“He may be doing it for you in this Advent season—graciously and tenderly frustrating you with life that is not centered on Christ and filling you with longings and desires that can’t find their satisfaction in what this world offers, but only in the God-man. What a Christmas gift that might be! Let all your frustrations with this world throw you onto the Word of God. It will become sweet—like walking into paradise.”

John Piper, The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #10 ~ Divine Love

“We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us.4 Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “The Coming of Jesus in Our Midst”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is In the Manger

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #9 ~ The Mystery

“The lack of mystery in our modern life is our downfall and our poverty. A human life is worth as much as the respect it holds for the mystery. We retain the child in us to the extent that we honor the mystery. Therefore, children have open, wide-awake eyes, because they know that they are surrounded by the mystery. They are not yet finished with this world; they still don’t know how to struggle along and avoid the mystery, as we do. We destroy the mystery because we sense that here we reach the boundary of our being, because we want to be lord over everything and have it at our disposal, and that’s just what we cannot do with the mystery…. Living without mystery means knowing nothing of the mystery of our own life, nothing of the mystery of another person, nothing of the mystery of the world; it means passing over our own hidden qualities and those of others and the world. It means remaining on the surface, taking the world seriously only to the extent that it can be calculated and exploited, and not going beyond the world of calculation and exploitation. Living without mystery means not seeing the crucial processes of life at all and even denying them.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

🎄 “The Inn Keeper” by John Piper ~ Christmas Poem

🤔My Thoughts… 

Just watched/listened to thes powerful & emotional poem/story. I’ve never heard this before and thought you might like it.

The God of mercy…Or… a God who is at our mercy

“As theologian David F. Wells states so powerfully, We have turned to a God that we can use rather than a God we must obey; we have turned to a God who will fulfill our needs rather than to a God before whom we must surrender our rights to ourselves. He is a God for us and for our satisfaction, and we have come to assume that it must be so in the church as well. And so we transform the God of mercy into a God who is at our mercy. We imagine that he is benign, that he will acquiesce as we toy with his reality and co-opt him in the promotion of our ventures and careers.”

R. Albert Mohler Jr., The Conviction to Lead: 25 Principles for Leadership That Matters

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #8 ~ Greedy Eyes

“Waiting is an art that our impatient age has forgotten. It wants to break open the ripe fruit when it has hardly finished planting the shoot. But all too often the greedy eyes are only deceived; the fruit that seemed so precious is still green on the inside, and disrespected hands ungratefully toss aside what has so disappointed them.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

One of a preacher’s first duties!

One of a preacher’s first duties!

“A man cannot be a faithful minister, until he preaches Christ for Christ’s sake — until he gives up striving to attract people to himself, and seeks only to attract them to Christ!” ~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“To efface one’s self is one of a preacher’s first duties!

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #7 ~ Helpless Human Baby

“The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation.”

J.I. Packer

A Funeral Playlist

🤔My Thoughts… 

Last Saturday Sarah & i were buying Christmas cards at our local Christian book store when a man asked the worker “Do you have a CD which has funeral songs on? I conduct a lot of funerals and i’ve tried all the other shops in town, then they told me to try the Christian shop:. He said it wouldn’t be for a Christian though….

My mind was racing by this point and i said to Sarah “Now that’s a question you don’t hear very often….if at all”. 

On leaving the shop i said to Sarah “That could be a difficult playlist to make as for us, it’s a Glorious celebration as death has no sting(1 Corinthians 15:55). And to know we will be absent from body and present with the Lord(2 Corinthians 5:8)……Or for those without God and no Hope(Ephesians 2:12)”it will be the most terrible time of their life”,

The shop didn’t have a CD funeral album…

I said to Sarah “I only have 1 Hymn so far that i would like to play at my funeral and that’s ‘When i survey the Wondrous Cross(Isaac Watts version)’, i need to find a couple more…i will have to make a funeral playlist”. 

Can you help me?? I’d love to hear about your fave  Hymn/song suggestions. 😀

The Gimmick gospel

The nickels and noses racket!

(Milburn Cockrell, 1941-2002)

The average pastor is no longer a powerful, plain preacher–but a polite, polished politician!

We live in a time of big meetings, big churches, big church buildings, big preachers, and big church budgets. The failure or success of a church and its pastor–is judged by the number of nickels and noses that they have. In all too many cases, there is seen in this more Satanic pride, than spiritual piety.

In the craze for nickels and noses churches have replaced preachers and pastors, with puppeteers and pranksters. The gospel of Christ has been superseded by gimmicks, gadgets, and games. Psychology has taken the place of Holy Spirit conviction. The faith has been displaced for finance, fun, and foolishness. Church discipline has been relegated to the background, in order to swell the size of the church with religious hypocrites who might give a little money to the church now and then.

The nickels and noses racket has filled our churches with unconverted persons. We have far more churchianity than Christianity. Many church members are white-washed–but they are not blood-washed. Their names are upon the church roll–but they are not found in the Lamb’s book of life. Many have been reformed–but they have not been re-born. Many have been confirmed–but they have not been converted to Christ. There are so many lost people in our churches, that you cannot tell the difference between a church member and the unconverted. The reason is, because there is no difference. Both are headed to Hell as fast as time can carry them!

It has produced icy services–and cold, callous, complacent church members. Look at the average church! They have their robed choir, their cut and dried program, and their intellectual preaching. They have a beautiful edifice. They have all the organization and rituals one could ask for–but in most cases it is Spiritless! We have form without reality; we have organization without power; we have profession without possession. We have a form of godliness–without the power of it. We have religion without life.

It has caused pastors to spend more time worrying with goats, than feeding the sheep. The pastor nowadays must provide a spiritual diet for people who have no spiritual appetite. Like Ezekiel of old (Ezekiel 37:1-10), he must preach to dead, dry bones–but without the blessings which Ezekiel experienced. These dry, dead bones can’t hear–yet the pastor must keep preaching and pretend that someone is listening. These dry, dead bones do not grow in grace–for the dead do not grow. These baptized bones are in no way sensitive to the appeals made to them from the Scriptures by the pastor. They watch the clock on Sunday morning, hoping the pastor will preach a short sermon so they can soon go home and do what they really enjoy.

This idea has given us the gimmick gospel. Most church members want to be entertained–instead of instructed in the Word of God. They have far more delight in the gospel of amusement–than the gospel of the atonement. Gospel celebrities must be brought in to entertain these worldly church members. These members love to hear these clerical comedians who mix a few verses of Scripture with a large amount of humor. Special singing groups must be brought in too. These have the same dress, music, hair style, and manners of any rock and roll group. Our church services nowadays have become a carefully produced theatrical production for the delight of carnal Christians and religious rascals. The only difference between this entertainment and that in the local nightclub, is that it has a religious flavor! But they say it must be done to get nickels and noses!

While there are some exceptions, most big churches are worldly churches. They have high carnality–and low spirituality. Truth is very scarce in such fashionable churches, because the Word of God has been compromised to keep nickels and noses.

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #6 ~ Glad Tidings

Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people; for there is born to you this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. In these words you clearly see that he is born for us. He does not simply say, Christ is born, but to you is born; neither does he say, I bring glad tidings, but to you I bring glad tidings of great joy. Furthermore, this joy was not to remain in Christ, but it shall be to all people.

Sermons of Martin Luther

He is not the God of the Bible

“Beware of manufacturing a God of your own: a God who is all mercy, but not just; a God who is all love, but not holy; a God who as a heaven for every body, but a hell for none; a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and broad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as truly an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”

J.C. Ryle

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #5 ~ His Wonders

Only the humble believe him and rejoice that God is so free and so marvelous that he does wonders where people despair, that he takes what is little and lowly and makes it marvelous. And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly…. God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and broken.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas

 

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation #4 ~ God With Us

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

John MacArthur

FuNkiEMaViLLe

Reformed Christian Writer/Poet/Rapper/Evangelist/Aspiring Producer

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