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

Underlying contentment…

There is a great mystery and art in what way a Christian comes to contentment. By what has been already opened to you there will appear some mystery and art, as that a man should be content with his affliction, and yet thoroughly sensible of his affliction too; to be thoroughly sensible of an affliction, and to endeavor to remove it by all lawful means, and yet to be content: there is a mystery in that. How to join these two together: to be sensible of an affliction as much as a man or woman who is not content; I am sensible of it as fully as they, and I seek ways to be delivered from it as well as they, and yet still my heart abides content—this is, I say, a mystery that is very hard for a carnal heart to understand. But grace teaches such a mixture, teaches us how to make a mixture of sorrow and a mixture of joy together; and that makes contentment, the mingling of joy and sorrow, of gracious joy and gracious sorrow together. Grace teaches us how to moderate and to order an affliction so that there shall be a sense of it, and yet for all that contentment under it.

-Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Contentment…

Oh, take heed you do not speak in a scornful way of the ways of God; grace has the power to turn afflictions into mercies. Two men may have the same affliction; to one it shall be as gall and wormwood, yet it shall be wine and honey and delightfulness and joy and advantage and riches to the other. This is the mystery of contentment, not so much by removing the evil, as by metamorphosing the evil, by changing the evil into good.

—Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 3)…

37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground (Heb. 11:37-38).

Of verse 38, the Puritan pastor John Owen writes:

Of this world it is said, that it was “not worthy” of those sufferers. It was not so in the ages and seasons wherein they lived; nor is so of them who suffer in any other age whatever. The world thinks them not worthy of it, or to live in it, to enjoy any name or place among the men of it. Here is a testimony given to the contrary, — that the world is not worthy of them. Nor can any thing be spoken to the greater provocation of it. To tell the great, the mighty, the wealthy, the rulers of the world, that they are not worthy of the society of such as in their days are poor, destitute, despised, wanderers, whom they hurt and persecute, as the “offscouring of all things,” is that which fills them with indignation. There is not an informer or apparitor but would think himself disparaged by it. But they may esteem of it as they please; we know that this testimony is true, and the world one day shall confess it so to be.

Reflecting on this verse, Owen makes this observation:

It becomes us to be filled with thoughts of and affections unto spiritual things, to labor for an anticipation of glory, that we faint not in the consideration of the evils that may befall us on the account of the gospel.

Parents, how are you cultivating the above mindset in yourself and then in your children? Continue reading

Fullness of Time…

Some encouragement from the Good Shepherd Band…

 

From Adam’s rebellion to Moses’ good law,
Death reigned the master of men;
With all of creation, held under its claw,
Awaiting redemption from sin.
But when the law thundered in earthquake and fire,
Weak as it was through our flesh,
It could not help conquer our sinful desires,
Only tightened the noose ‘round our neck.

Still, God remembered His mercy in wrath
And promised a way of escape:
A Lamb to be killed on the people’s behalf
Would trample the head of the snake.
But though we would offer our best to the fire,
And rivers of blood would be spilt,
This could not help with our sinful desires,
Nor atone for the depth of our guilt.

Chorus
When the fullness of time had come,
God sent us His only Son,
Born of a woman, born under law,
So that He might a people redeem.        (x2)

With joy set before Him and love to display,
He laid aside His great crown;
To share in our nature as creatures of clay,
He emptied Himself and came down:
Lived like a servant without any home,
Carried our sorrows and griefs,
Was spit at, rejected, despised and alone;
Accursed, He hung on a tree.

(Chorus)

Bridge
No longer slaves, we were bought with a price;
Adopted, delivered, we’re sons now with Christ.
We stand in His righteousness dressed,
To His righteousness freed!                         (x2)

(Chorus)

So that He might a people redeem.

Lyrics and Music by Jody Killingsworth

Tuesday Thomas Watson: The Fire of God's Love…

A godly man sometimes weeps out of the sense of God’s love. Gold is the finest and most solid of all the metals, yet it is soon melted in the fire. Gracious hearts, which are golden hearts, are soon melted into tears by the fire of God’s love. I once knew a holy man, who was walking in his garden and shedding plenty of tears when a friend came on him accidentally and asked him why he wept. He broke forth into this pathetic expression: ‘Oh, the love of Christ, the love of Christ!’ Thus have we seen the cloud melted into water by the sunbeams.

-Thomas Watson, The Godly Man’s Picture

Tuesday Thomas Watson: What is forgiveness of sin?

“And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12).

What is forgiveness of sin?

It is God’s passing by sin, wiping off the score and giving us a discharge. Micah 7:18.

[1] The nature of forgiveness will more clearly appear, by opening some Scripture phrases; and by laying down some propositions.

(1) To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity. ‘Why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?’ Job 7:21. Hebrew, lift off. It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries a heavy burden which is ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts it off, so when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts it off from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ. ‘He has laid on him the iniquity of us all.’ Isa 53:6.

(2) To forgive sin, is to cover it. ‘Thou hast covered all their sin.’ Psa 85:2. This was typified by the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God’s covering of sin through Christ. God does not cover sin in the Antinomian sense, so as he sees it not, but he so covers it, that he will not impute it.

(3) To forgive sin, is to blot it out. ‘I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions.’ Isa 43:25. The Hebrew word, to blot out, alludes to a creditor who, when his debtor has paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance; so when God forgives sin, he blots out the debt, he draws the red lines of Christ’s blood over it, and so crosses the debt-book.

(4) To forgive sin is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud. ‘I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions.’ Isa 44:22. Sin is the cloud, an interposing cloud, which disperses, that the light of his countenance may break forth.

(5) To forgive sin, is for God to cast our sins into the depths of the sea, which implies burying them out of sight, that they shall not rise up in judgement against us. ‘Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.’ Micah 7:19. God will throw them in, not as cork that rises again, but as lead that sinks to the bottom.

-Thomas Watson in The Lord’s Prayer

Do you have times like this?

“Once as I rode out into the woods for my health in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as Mediator between God and man, and his wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love and meek, gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency, great enough to swallow up all thought and conception—which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud.” – Jonathan Edwards in his Personal Narrative

Christians worship the Lord Jesus Christ, “Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come” (Rev. 1:8).

Or, church-goer, do you serve a false god that reduces Jesus to religious rituals and conservative politics and philosophical concepts and cold logic?

Do you have times of pure adoration like that of Jonathan Edwards described above?

Do you love the Person Jesus Christ, living and incarnate?

Father, enlarge our hearts!