Archive for September 2011
by J.R. Miller
“Blessed . . . Blessed . . . Blessed . . . Blessed . . . ” Matthew 5:3-10
The Blesseds of the Scriptures shine all over the inspired pages–like stars in the midnight sky! The Bible is a book of beatitudes and blessings. God’s mercy lies everywhere. Wherever we see Christ–He is imparting blessings, as the sun imparts light and warmth.
While He was here on earth–He was always reaching out His hand to give a benediction to some life which sorely needed it. Now it was on the children’s heads, now on the leper, now on the blind eyes, now on the sick, now on the dead–that He laid those gracious hands, and always He left some rich gift of blessing!
Then we remember one day, when those gentle hands were stretched out by brutal enemies–and with iron nails, were fastened to the cruel cross! Yet even then–it was in blessing that they were extended–for it was for our sins that they were thus transfixed on Calvary’s cross. As we see them thus stretched out as wide as they could reach–the posture suggests the wideness of divine mercy. Thus the arms of Christ are open to the utmost–to receive all who will come to seek refuge. There is room for the worst of sinners within those blessed arms!
Finally, it is a striking fact that the last glimpse we have of the Savior in this world–shows Him in the attitude of blessing. He had been talking with His disciples as He led them out, and then “He lifted up His hands and blessed them. While He was blessing them–He left them and was taken up into Heaven!” Luke 24:50-51. Surely there could be no truer picture taken of Jesus at any point in His life–than as He appeared in that last view of Him which this world enjoyed.
In Heaven now, He is still a blessing Savior–holding up His pierced hands before God in intercession, and reaching down gracious hands full of blessings for our sad, sinful earth.
If any life goes unblessed with such a Savior–it can be only because of sinful unbelief and willful rejection.
via Grace Gems
by J.R. Miller
“He appointed the Twelve: To Simon, He gave the name Peter” Mark 3:16
In an art gallery in Europe are shown, side by side–the first and the last works of a great artist. The first is very crude and most faulty; the last is a masterpiece. The contrast shows the results of long culture and practice.
These two names–are like those two pictures:
“Simon” shows us the crude fisherman of Galilee, with all his rashness, his ignorance, his imperfectness.
“Peter” shows us the apostle of the Acts and the Epistles; the firm and secure rock; the man of great power, before whose Spirit-filled eloquence, thousands of proud hearts bow; the gentle, tender soul whose words fall like a benediction; the noble martyr witnessing to the death for his Lord.
Study the ‘two pictures’ together–to see what grace can do for a man!
It is not hard to take roses, lilies, fuchsias, and all the rarest flowers–and make forms of exquisite beauty with them. But to take weeds, dead grasses, dried leaves, and trampled and torn and faded flowers–and make lovely things out of such base materials–is the severest test of skill.
It would not be hard to take an angel–and train him into a glorious messenger. But to take such a man as Simon, or as Saul, or as John
Newton, or as John Bunyan–and make him into a holy saint or a mighty apostle–that shows great power and ability!
Yet that is exactly what Christ did with Peter–and has been doing ever since. He takes the poorest stuff,
despised, worthless and vile–ofttimes the outcast of men; and when He has finished His gracious transforming work–we behold a saint whiter than snow!
The sculptor beheld an ‘angel’ in the rough, blackened stone, which had been thrown away. And when he was finished–behold! men saw an angel cut from the rejected block!
Just so, Christ can take us, as rough, as unpolished and as vile as we are–and in His hands, our lives shall grow into purity and loveliness, until He presents us at last before the celestial throne, faultless and perfect! “For those God foreknew–He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son!” Romans 8:29
via Grace Gems
This is faith’s great and bold venture upon the grace, faithfulness, and truth of God, to stand by the cross and say, “Ah! he is bruised for my sins, and wounded for my transgressions, and the chastisement of my peace is upon him. He is thus made sin for me. Here I give up my sins to him that is able to bear them, to undergo them. He requires it of my hands, that I should be content that he should undertake for them; and that I heartily consent unto.” This is every day’s work; I know not how any peace can be maintained with God without it. If it be the work of souls to receive Christ, as made sin for us, we must receive him as one that takes our sins upon him. Not as though he died any more, or suffered any more; but as the faith of the saints of old made that present and done before their eyes [which had] not yet come to pass, Heb. 11:1, so faith now makes that present which was accomplished and past many generations ago. This it is to know Christ crucified.
A little formal church-going, and a decent attendance at a place of worship, can never be the Christianity of which Christ speaks of. Where is our self-denial? Where is our daily carrying of the cross? Where is our following of Christ? Without a religion of this kind we shall never be saved. A crucified Savior will never be content to have a self-pleasing, self-indulging, worldly-minded people. No self-denial–no real grace! No cross–no crown! “Those who are Christ’s,” says Paul, “have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24). “Whoever will save his life,” says the Lord Jesus, “shall lose it; but whoever will lose his life for My sake shall save it.”
~ J.C. Ryle
from J.C.Ryles Quotes
Inspiration: n. “1. stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc., to special or unusual activity or creativity; 2. the state or quality of being so stimulated or aroused; 3. someone or something that causes this state; 4. an idea or action resulting from such a state; 5. the act or process of inhaling; breathing in” (from the World English Dictionary, which also includes these related words: brainchild, divine guidance, stirring, aspiration, breathing in). The etymology of the word (from the Online Etymology Dictionary) is this: “c.1300, ‘immediate influence of God or a god,’ especially that under which the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration, from L.L. inspirationem (nom. inspiratio), from L. inspiratus, pp. of inspirare ‘inspire, inflame, blow into,’ from in-’in’ + spirare ‘to breathe’ (see spirit).”
In contemplating blogging, I have mulled the longevity of such a venture. It shall be easy to use Who Me? to post articles and links, notes and quotes which I’ve hitherto posted to my Facebook page. On the other hand, a blog seems by its slightly more literary tenor to demand more personal input. However, I’m a mom, wife, teacher, homemaker with barely time to craft a complete sentence, much less one that aspires to be winsome and wise, which a Christian blog must be, right? Hence, whence the inspiration?
The definition of that word provides a good place to start… Who has breathed life into me? God, the Giver of Life, of course. So I will turn first to the Scripture studies we do in our home, both privately and as a family. Besides the Word itself, the best resource for in-depth personal Bible study I know is Search the Scriptures, by Alan M Stibbs, published by Intervarsity Press. Additionally, Church fathers and Puritans, preachers and writers on the Doctrines of Grace, contemporary teachers have influenced me in the past, and if I am diligent and humble, perhaps they will again as the Lord provides in spira tion.
Hymns, psalms and spiritual songs might play a part in this, and I’ve already tagged The Valley of Vision as a model for writing with purpose and inspiration.
Okay, I’m already feeling uncomfortable with the wordiness of this post (boy, it’s been a long time since I’ve written freely and I’m struggling with clarity. Hah! Take that you writing students who think I don’t relate to your brain blockages! [MLA and grammar gaffes notwithstanding.]). I end here with an excerpt from a piece by Fernando Ortega, originally posted at Rabbit Room, noted at Justin Taylor’s GC blog, regarding finding inspiration:
An Encouragement to Modern Hymn Writers
Posted By Justin Taylor On September 20, 2011 @ 10:20 pm
Let this be an encouragement to modern hymn writers—a cause for inspiration to those who are suffering from writer’s block. There are so many Biblical scenes to choose from that would make for beautiful songs: the transfiguration of Christ, the feeding of the five thousand, the woman at the well, the stoning of Stephen, water baptism, washing of the disciple’s feet, the betrayal of Judas. If just a few good modern hymn writers tackled some of these subjects, the anguish that untold thousands of music ministers suffer weekly could be greatly diminished.
It’s easy to write a chorus that says:
God, you are a Holy God
I need your grace to see me through
I need your mercy to make me new
Let me live each day for you.
I just made that up in two minutes and there’s nothing wrong with it. It might fit easily and competitively among the hundreds of worship songs that are available to choose from. But compare those lines to the third stanza from the above hymn:
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.
It took some real thought to craft those lines. They’re timeless. They set a standard for all of us who write music for the church. I didn’t set out to write a didactic piece. I’m reminding myself, too.
Be specific when you write songs about God.
Avoid an obsession with the consumer.
Avoid the temptation to make commercial success your central goal.
Write with intelligence, employing all the craft, skill, and experience with which God has endowed you.
Article printed from Justin Taylor: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor
Using the argument that the American holocaust, abortion, is allowable because the same brainwashed, self-centered thoughtlessness that characterized Germany in the 30s and 40s is rampant in our culture today, Ray Comfort employs reasoning and didactic dialogue to present the case for saving babies in the womb at all cost.