Monday, February 1, 2016

Judgment, Love, and the Cross of Christ

Any view of judgment and love that neglects to see from the perspective of the cross of Christ is at least either blind or short-sighted.

"If you want to see what judgment looks like, go to the cross. If you want to see what love looks like, go to the cross." (D.A. Carson)

"If you want to see what judgment looks like, go to the cross. If you want to see what love looks like, go to the cross." (D.A. Carson)

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to be constantly happy in the Lord

How to be constantly happy in the Lord

While I was staying at Nailsworth, it pleased the Lord to teach me a truth, irrespective of human instrumentality, as far as I know, the benefit of which I have not lost, though now ... more than forty years have since passed away. The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit. Before this time my practice had been, at least for ten years previously, as an habitual thing, to give myself to prayer, after having dressed in the morning.

Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, whilst meditating, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord. I began, therefore, to meditate on the New Testament, from the beginning, early in the morning. The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my own soul. The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. When thus I have been for awhile making confession, or intercession, or supplication, or have given thanks, I go on to the next words or verse, turning all, as I go on, into prayer for myself or others, as the Word may lead to it; but still continually keeping before me, that food for my own soul is the object of my meditation. The result of this is, that there is always a good deal of confession, thanksgiving, supplication, or intercession mingled with my meditation, and that my inner man almost invariably is even sensibly nourished and strengthened and that by breakfast time, with rare exceptions, I am in a peaceful if not happy state of heart. Thus also the Lord is pleased to communicate unto me that which, very soon after, I have found to become food for other believers, though it was not for the sake of the public ministry of the Word that I gave myself to meditation, but for the profit of my own inner man.

The difference then between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time. At all events, I almost invariably began with prayer, except when I felt my soul to be more than usually barren, in which case I read the Word of God for food, or for refreshment, or for a revival and renewal of my inner man, before I gave myself to prayer. But what was the result? I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc.; and often, after having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then began really to pray. I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into experimental fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this. In no book did I ever read about it. No public ministry ever brought the matter before me. No private intercourse with a brother stirred me up to this matter. And yet now, since God has taught me this point, it is as plain to me as anything, that the first thing the child of God has to do morning by morning is to obtain food for his inner man. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time, except we take food, and as this is one of the first things we do in the morning, so it should be with the inner man. We should take food for that, as every one must allow. Now what is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it, and applying it to our hearts.

When we pray we speak to God. Now, prayer, in order to be continued for any length of time in any other than a formal manner, requires, generally speaking, a measure of strength or godly desire, and the season, therefore, when this exercise of the soul can be most effectually performed, is, after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us. We may therefore profitably meditate, with God’s blessing, though we are ever so weak spiritually; nay, the weaker we are, the more we need meditation for the strengthening of our inner man. There is thus far less to be feared from wandering of mind, than if we give ourselves to prayer, without having had previously time for meditation.

I dwell so particularly on this point because of the immense spiritual profit and refreshment I am conscious of having derived from it myself, and I affectionately and solemnly beseech all my fellow-believers to ponder this matter. By the blessing of God I ascribe to this mode the help and strength which I have had from God to pass in peace through deeper trials in various ways than I had ever had before; and after having now above forty years tried this way, I can most fully, in the fear of God, commend it. How different when the soul is refreshed and made happy early in the morning, from what it is when, without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day come upon one!

[Müller, George. Autobiography of George Müller: A Million and a Half in Answer to Prayer. London: J. Nisbet and Co., 1914, 152–154.]

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Thine is the kingdom, and the power, ...

Daily Light Devotions - October 17 - Evening

Thine is the kingdom, and the power, ...

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 1 

The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed; he has put on strength as his belt. Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved. Your throne is established from of old; you are from everlasting. 2 

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty. His way is in whirlwind and storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 3 

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 4 

If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 5 

My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. 6 

Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 7 

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! 8 

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. "But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 9 

1. Matt 6:13; 
2. Psa 93:1,2; 
3. Nah 1:3; 
4. Rom 8:31; 
5. Dan 3:17; 
6. John 10:29; 
7. 1 John 4:4; 
8. Psa 115:1; 
9. 1 Chron 29:11,13,14

In thy name shall they rejoice all the day

Daily Light Devotions - October 17 - Morning

In thy name shall they rejoice all the day ...

who exult in your name all the day and in your righteousness are exalted. 1 

"Only in the LORD, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength; to him shall come and be ashamed all who were incensed against him. In the LORD all the offspring of Israel shall be justified and shall glory." 2

Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart! 3 

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. 4 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5 

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 6 

1. Psa 89:16; 
2. Isa 45:24,25; 
3. Psa 32:11; 
4. Rom 3:21,22,26; 
5. Phil 4:4; 
6. 1 Pet 1:8

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us

Daily Light Devotions - October 16 - Evening

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us ...

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 1 

Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered. 2 

Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am being tempted by God," for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 3

Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 4 

And Lot lifted up his eyes and saw that the Jordan Valley was well watered everywhere like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, in the direction of Zoar. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.) So Lot chose for himself all the Jordan Valley, and Lot journeyed east. Thus they separated from each other. Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD. 5 

and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the sensual conduct of the wicked then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 6 

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 7 

1. Matt 6:13; 
2. Prov 28:26; 
3. James 1:13,14; 
4. 2 Cor 6:17; 
5. Gen 13:10,11,13; 
6. 2 Pet 2:7,9; 
7. Rom 14:4

Not slothful in business; ... serving the Lord

Daily Light Devotions - October 16 - Morning

Not slothful in business; ... serving the Lord.

Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. 1 

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. 2 

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 3 

knowing that whatever good anyone does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether he is a bondservant or is free. 4 

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. 5 

And he said to them, "Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" 6 

His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for your house will consume me." 7 

Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. 8 

And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. 9 

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 10 

1. Rom 12:11; 
2. Eccl 9:10; 
3. Col 3:23,24; 
4. Eph 6:8; 
5. John 9:4; 
6. Luke 2:49; 
7. John 2:17; 
8. 2 Pet 1:10; 
9. Heb 6:11,12; 
10. 1 Cor 9:24

Monday, October 15, 2012

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors

Daily Light Devotions - October 15 - Evening

Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 1 

Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times. Then his master summoned him and said to him, 'You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart." 2 

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. 3 

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. 4 

bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 5 

1. Matt 6:12; 
2. Matt 18:21,22,32-35; 
3. Eph 4:32; 
4. Col 2:13,14; 
5. Col 3:13

God is my defence

Daily Light Devotions - October 15 - Morning

God is my defence.

O my Strength, I will watch for you, for you, O God, are my fortress. 1 

He said, "The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge, my savior; you save me from violence. 2 

The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him. 3 

So they shall fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun; for he will come like a rushing stream, which the wind of the LORD drives. 4 

So we can confidently say, "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?" 5 

Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? 6 

As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 7 

for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. 8 

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name's sake you lead me and guide me; 9

1. Psa 59:9; 
2. 2 Sa 22:2,3; 
3. Psa 28:7; 
4. Isa 59:19; 
5. Heb 13:6; 
6. Psa 27:1; 
7. Psa 125:2; 
8. Psa 63:7; 
9. Psa 31:3

Sunday, October 14, 2012

When we love Christ

"O, we love an unknown lover when we love Christ." -- Rutherford, Samuel, and Ellen S. Lister. The Loveliness of Christ: Extracts from the Letters of Samuel Rutherford. Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 2007, 45. [Letter XCVI, 1637]

Give us this day our daily bread

Daily Light Devotions - October 14 - Evening

Give us this day our daily bread.

Give us this day our daily bread, 1 

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 2 

he will dwell on the heights; his place of defense will be the fortresses of rocks; his bread will be given him; his water will be sure. 3 

And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 4 

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 5 

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." 6 

And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. 7 

Jesus then said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." They said to him, "Sir, give us this bread always." 8 

1. Matt 6:11; 
2. Psa 37:25; 
3. Isa 33:16; 
4. 1 Kings 17:6; 
5. Phil 4:19; 
6. Heb 13:5; 
7. Deut 8:3; 
8. John 6:32-34

The Perseverance of the Saints - Rejection of the Errors VIII

The Canons of Dordrecht

The Fifth Main Point of Doctrine: The Perseverance of the Saints 

Rejection of the Errors: Concerning the Teaching of the Perseverance of the Saints Having set forth the orthodox teaching, the Synod rejects the errors of those 

VIII. Who teach that it is not absurd that a person, after losing his former regeneration, should once again, indeed quite often, be reborn.

For by this teaching they deny the imperishable nature of God’s seed by which we are born again, contrary to the testimony of the apostle Peter: Born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable (1 Pet. 1:23).

Christ both died, and rose, and revived

Daily Light Devotions - October 14 - Morning

Christ both died, and rose, and revived ...

For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. 1 

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities. 2 

Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?" 3 

For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. 4 

Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." 5 

He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 6 

1. Rom 14:9; 
2. Isa 53:10,11; 
3. Luke 24:26; 
4. 2 Cor 5:14,15; 
5. Acts 2:36; 
6. 1 Pet 1:20,21