Wednesday, December 31, 2008

December 31

December 31, the time of making resolutions seeing the old go, and the new come. What better time to consider the cross of Christ. To think upon the death of Jesus, the Son of God, who by his death reconciled believers to God, justified sinners, made peace with renegades, and brought the wayward home. Reader: before you read know this: that I write this with all the love that is in my heart, that you see and savor, "the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ," above all. Thus consider this quote from C.H. Spurgeon from his "Morning and Evening" daily devotional book, this is what the "Prince of Preachers" says on the final day of the old year.
"The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" Jeremiah 8:20
"Not saved! Dear reader, is this your mournful plight? Warned of the judgment to come, bidden to escape for your life, and yet at this moment not saved! You know the way of salvation, you read it in the Bible, you hear it form the pulpit, it is explained to you by friends, and yet you neglect it, and therefore are not saved. You will be without excuse when the Lord shall judge the quick and the dead. The Holy Spirit has given more or less of blessing upon the word which has been preached in you hearing, and times of refreshing have come from the divine presence, and yet you are without Christ.
All those hopeful seasons have come and gone- your summer and your harvest have passed- and yet you are not saved. Years have followed on another into eternity, and your last year will soon be here: youth has gone, manhood is going, and yet you are not saved. Let me ask you- will you ever be saved? Is there any likelihood of it? Already the most propitious seasons have left you unsaved; will other occasions alter your condition? Means have failed with you- the best of means, used perseveringly and with the utmost affection- what more can be done for you?
Affliction and prosperity have alike failed to impress you; tears and prayers and sermons have been wasted on you barren heart. Are not the probabilities dead against your ever being saved? Is it not more than likely that you will abide as you are till death forever bars the door of hope? Do you recoil from the supposition? Yet it is a most reasonable one: he who is not washed in so many waters will in all probability go filthy to his end. The convenient time never has come, why should it ever come?
It is logical to fear that it never will arrive, and that Felix-like, you will find no convenient season till you are in hell. O bethink you of what that hell is, and of the dread possibility that you will soon be cast into it!
Reader, suppose you should die unsaved, your doom no words can picture. Write out your dread estate in tears and blood, talk of it with groans and gnashing of teeth: you will be punished with everlasting destruction from the glory of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. A brother's voice would fain startle you into earnestness. O be wise, be wise in time, and ere another year begins, believe in Jesus, who is able to save to the uttermost. Consecrate these last hours to lonely thought, and if deep repentance be bred in you, it will be well; and if it lead to a humble faith in Jesus, it will be best of all. O see to it that this year pass not away, and you an unforgiven spirit. Let not the new year's midnight peals sound upon a joyless spirit! Now, Now, NOW believe and live.
'Escape for thy life;
Look not behind thee,
Neither stay thou in all the plain;
Escape to the mountain,
Lest thou be consumed.'"

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bunyan Quote

Over the Christmas break I was given an extremely old copy of some of the works of John Bunyan. Within this book was a small biography of his life, and within that was this quote from Bunyan, a quote that has been the cry of my heart for a few weeks now. Before I share the quote with you, I should warn you, the book was printed in 1845, and Bunyan lived in the 1600’s so the English is a little bit different. But please take the time to read and finish it, and think upon it, and I pray that it encourages you as it has (and continues) encouraged me. The background for the quote is this: Bunyan’s struggle with knowing whether or not he was truly saved.
“One day I was passing into the field, and that too with some dashes on my conscience, fearing least yet all was not right, suddenly this sentence came upon my soul, ‘Thy righteousness is in heaven;’ and [I] thought with all, I saw with the eyes of my soul, Jesus Christ at God’s right hand; there, I saw, was my righteousness; so that wherever I was, or whatever I was doing God could not say of me, ‘He wants my righteousness,’ for that was there just before Him. I also saw, moreover, that it was not my good frame of mind that made my righteousness better, nor my bad frame of mind that made my righteousness worse; for my righteousness was Jesus Christ Himself, ‘the same yesterday, today, and forever.’ Now did the chains fall off my legs indeed; I was loosed from my afflictions and my irons; my temptations also fled away… ‘He has made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption;’ by this word I saw the other sentence true. For, by this scripture, I saw that the man Christ Jesus, as He is distinct from us as touching bodily presence, so he is our righteousness and sanctification before God. Here, therefore, I lived for some time very sweetly at peace with God through Christ. Oh! [I] thought, Christ, Christ! There was nothing but Christ before my eyes. I was not now looking upon this and the other benefits of Christ apart, of his blood, burial, or resurrection, but considering him as a whole Christ, as he is when all these, and all other his virtues, relations, offices, and operations met together, and that he sat on the right hand of God in heaven. Twas glorious to me to see his exaltation, and the worth of prevalence of all his benefits; and that because now I could look from myself to Him, and would reckon that all those grace of God that now were green on me, were yet but like those cracked goats and four pence-halfpennies that rich men carry in their purses, when their gold is in their trunks at home; Oh! I saw my gold was in my trunk at home! In Christ my Lord and my Savior. Now Christ is my all; all my righteousness, all my sanctification, and all my redemption.”

Friday, December 12, 2008

Because of Christ Jesus

Because of Christ, I am free, Because of Jesus, I am a son of God. Because of Christ, I am a co-heir to the Kingdom of God. Because of Jesus, I am at peace with God. Because of Christ I am loved by the Father. The chains are gone, the fetter is broken, my fist in God's faces has become a hand lifted in prayer, my elegance to the Devil has become a daily battler against the Evil one. By what Christ has done, and by nothing I do has this come to me. By the grace of the good God. By the grace of a merciful God. Freedom has come, and His name is Jesus Christ.

Before the Throne of God Above

For my Ethics class I had to write a paper on Abortion, a part of which I have posted here in my journal. During this time of thinking about, looking at pictures of, and writing eloquently about killing babies, was for me a brutal experience. This, to be completely honest, took my to a level of depression I had yet to see. During this dark time the song "Before the Throne of God Above"waved as a flag in the morning sun of my mind. The first verse of this sing is:

"Before the throne of God above,
I have a Strong and Perfect plea,
A great High Priest Whose name is Love,
Who ever lives and pleads for me
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart,
I know that while in Heaven He stands,
No tongue can bide me thence depart."

This banner that waved above me and, indeed, continues to wave, has caused my soul to rest. Even though I hate the act of abortion, and truly have a deep anger toward those that practice this act of murder; in this song I have found my cleft in the rock, my wing to hide under, my castle to take refuge in, away from the storm, away from the fire, and away from the battle.