Pondering Heaven

We know but little of the life to come in heaven. Perhaps our clearest ideas of it are drawn from considering what it will not be, rather than what it will be. It is a state in which we shall hunger no more, nor thirst any more. Sickness, pain, and disease, will not be known. Wasting, old age, and death will have no place. Marriages, births, and a constant succession of inhabitants, will be no more needed. They who are once admitted into heaven shall dwell there for evermore. And, to pass from negatives to positives, one thing we are told plainly – we shall be “as the angels of God.” Like them, we shall serve God perfectly, unhesitatingly, and unweariedly. Like them, we shall ever be in God’s presence. Like them, we shall ever delight to do His will. Like them, we shall give all glory to the Lamb. These are deep things. But they are all true.

—J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Matthew

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

The Biblical Word

…[I]t is certainly the case that the Word of God, read or preached, has the power to enter the innermost crevices of a person’s being, to shine light in unwanted places, to explode the myths and deceits by which fallen life sustains itself, and to bring that person face to face with the eternal God. It is this biblical Word which God uses to bring repentance, to excite faith, to give new life, to sustain that life once given, to correct, nurture, and guide the Church (Jer. 23:29; II Tim. 3:16; Heb. 4:12; Jas. 1:18). The biblical Word is self-authenticating under the power of the Holy Spirit. This Word of God is the means by which God accomplishes his saving work in his people, and this is a work that no evangelist and no preacher can do. This is why the dearth of serious, sustained, biblical preaching in the Church today is a serious matter. When the Church loses the Word of God it loses the very means by which God does his work. In its absence, therefore, a script is being written, however unwittingly, for the Church’s undoing, not in one cataclysmic moment, but in a slow, inexorable slide made up of piece by tiny piece of daily dereliction.

—David Wells
Above All Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World

Via: Tim Phillips

Every Time We Look at The Cross

Every time we look at the cross Christ seems to say to us, ‘I am here because of you.  It is your sin I am bearing, your curse I am suffering, your debt I am paying, your death I am dying.’  Nothing in history or in the universe cuts us down to size like the cross.  All of us have inflated views of ourselves, especially in self-righteousness, until we have visited a place called Calvary.  It is there, at the foot of the cross, that we shrink to our true size.

—John R.W. Stott
The Message of Galatians

Via: Of First Importance

An Evening Prayer

Merciful God, in whom is no darkness at all, we come before You at the end of this day. We thank You that You have given us strength for our daily work, and have guided us safely through this day. Bless what was good in our labour and conduct.

Since You ordained that man should labour during the day and rest at night, we pray You to give us peaceful and undisturbed rest so that we may be able to take up our daily task again. Command Your angels to guard us and cause Your face to shine upon us. We cast all our anxieties on You, for You take care of us.

Control our sleep and rule our hearts, in order that we may not be defiled in any way but may glorify You even in our nightly rest. Defend and protect us against all assaults of the devil and take us into Your divine protection.

We confess that we did not spend this day without grievously sinning against You. In Your mercy please cover our sins as You cover the earth in the darkness of the night.

Grant comfort and rest to all who are ill, bowed down with grief, or afflicted with spiritual distress. Your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not abandon the works of Your hands.

All this we ask in the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Via: Tim Challies

Forsake Sin and Look to Christ

That carelessness about sin, that trifling with temptation, that earnestness about the things of time, that forgetfulness about eternity, that readiness to swim with the tide about religion, that unwillingness to become more serious than your neighbors, that fear of being thought righteous overmuch, that love of the world’s good opinion—is this what you call coming out of great tribulation? Is this living in the Spirit? Is this striving and laboring after eternal life? Oh, look to your foundations, set your house in order. No empty ‘trust in God’s mercy’ will ever save you. You were not baptized unto idleness and indifference. Without a real hatred of sin, and a real forsaking of sin, Christ can profit you nothing. You never can be made white with the blood of the Lamb—unless you desire to have this earth’s defilements really washed away!

—J.C. Ryle
The Blood of the Lamb

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Our Hiding Place

But what a hiding place is the cross of Christ! This presents it in another and most precious light. Ah, you can tell who have fled to its shelter in the storm. It was sin’s deep conviction in the soul that brought you there. It was guilt upon the conscience that drove you there. It was the swift footstep of the avenger of blood that hastened you there. It was the fear of death, the dread of judgment, the terror of hell, that impelled you there. All other refuge failed you, until at last you found the one place of safety, the appointed city of refuge, the only shelter beneath which the curse could not touch you, the avenger of blood could not arrest you – it was the cross of the Son of God. Oh, what a refuge have you found it to be! When affliction has overtaken you, and sorrow has overwhelmed you, and temptation has assailed you, testify what a delightsome shelter you have found the cross of Christ to be. It has been to you like an oasis in the wilderness, the shadow of a great rock in a weary land – just the spot where, worn and faint, your spirit has found perfect safety and repose.

—Octavius Winslow
The Foot of the Cross

Via: Octavius Winslow