Counting the cost…

Luke 14:25   Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 “Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 “Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 “Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 “So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

Every decision we make has consequences. Our Father Abraham was told to go, and he went, leaving behind everything he had known.

Chapter 14 of Luke pounds the point that discipleship with Christ is costly. He requires our willingness to go into any situation; He requires our willingness to give up anything; He requires us to break off anything that gets in the way of devotion to Himself. If we are unwilling, we are not worthy of being His disciples.

Following Jesus is costly… Continue reading

"…we traffic in heaven every day…"

If ever we would have heaven, we must look upon it as our main concern; other things do but concern our livelihood, this concerns our salvation. We make religion our business when we wholly devote ourselves to God’s service. Psalm 139:[17-]18. We count those the best hours which are spent with God; we give God the cream of our affections, the flower of our time and strength; we traffic in heaven every day, we are merchants for the ‘pearl of price.’ He will not get an estate who does not mind his trade; he will never get heaven who does not make religion his main business.

-Thomas Watson in The Lord’s Prayer

Afraid of death? (Tuesday Thomas Watson)

What little cause have the saints to fear death! Are any afraid of going to a kingdom? What is there in this world that should make us desirous to stay here? Do we not see God dishonored, and how can we bear it? Is not this world ‘a valley of tears,’ and do we weep to leave it? Are we not in a wilderness among fiery serpents, and are we afraid to go from these serpents? Our best friends live above. God is ever displaying the banner of his love in heaven, and is there any love like his? Are there any sweeter smiles, or softer embraces than his? What news so welcome as leaving the world and going to a kingdom? Christian, thy dying day will be thy wedding day, and do you fear? Is a slave afraid to be redeemed? Is a virgin afraid to be matched into the crown? Death may take away a few worldly comforts, but it gives that which is better; it takes away a flower and gives a jewel; it takes away a short lease and gives land of inheritance. If the saints possess a kingdom when they die, they have no cause to fear death. A prince would not be afraid to cross the sea, though tempestuous, if he were sure to be crowned as soon as he came to shore.

-Thomas Watson in The Lord’s Prayer

On the other hand…

It is then an error, though but few are guilty of it, to think that all religion lies in minding only the life to come, and disregarding all things in this present life. All true Christians must seriously mind both the end and the means of attaining it. If they believingly mind not the end, they will never be faithful in the use of the means; if they be not diligent in using the means, they will never obtain the end. None can use earth well, that prefer not heaven; and none but infants can come to heaven, that are not prepared for it by well using earth. Heaven must have our highest esteem, and our habitual love, desire, and joy; but earth must have more of our daily thoughts for present practice. A man that travels to the most desirable home, has a habitual desire to it all the way; but his present business is his journey, and therefore his horse, inns, and company, his roads, and his fatigues, may employ more of his thoughts, and talk, and action, than his home.

-From Richard Baxter’s Dying Thoughts

Our favorite verse: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die…"

Heaven’s joys will far surpass those of earth: there will be no sin and no suffering. And there will be no taint of sin and suffering in the good things we enjoy in heaven. Such glories Scripture describes for us. Yadda, yadda, yadda… “Life is good,” we say. “Leave me be.”

If our view of this life is that it is spectacularly good or that it will be spectacularly good at some point, we do not have our minds set on things above (Col. 3:2). Indeed, we may not truly appreciate what God has in store for those who are His through faith in Jesus Christ. We may not have thought or said anything so strikingly ignorant as “It would be boring to spend an eternity in heaven worshipping God,” but we live our lives as if that statement were true. We live as if this life is all we want. In keeping with this myopia, we must have our joy here and now; our relationships, here and now; our sensations, here and now; our entertainments, here and now; our comforts, here and now. We build storehouses for our treasures and fill them with the hopes and desires of this world. Heaven is a long, long, long way off. It is very theoretical. We’ll not wait to have that which is within reach…. “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” We lift our cups with the atheist and sing that refrain in harmony.

Considering the shortness of this life, compared to eternal life–not a million or a trillion years but innumerable, unending years–why can’t we live as if we have a fixed, wonderful destination and a glorious and unending feast for our souls just ahead of us? Why are we loathe to allow that which is to come, and the glories and comforts of the new heavens and new earth, and the contemplations of our eternal home shape how we live, and think, and plan, and wait now?

We so love that which is broken, half-baked, and tainted.

Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God (1 Cor. 2:9-10).

A little something from my favorite Puritan pastor, Thomas Watson…

“An ignorant man looks at a star and it appears to him like a little silver spot, but the astronomer, who has his instrument to judge the dimension of a star, knows it to be many degrees bigger than the earth. So a natural man hears of the heavenly country that it is very glorious, but it is at a great distance. And because he has not a spirit of discernment, the world looks bigger in his eye. But such as are spiritual artists, who have the instrument of faith to judge heaven, will say it is by far the better country and they will hasten there with the sails of desire.”

[from The Godly Man’s Picture]