The Next Step

 

It’s not too difficult to find time to read God’s Word, but to go a step further and thoroughly think through what we’ve read is another story altogether.

Maybe we’re just too busy.

Yet, I hear the wisdom of an old friend who said that people usually find time to do the things that they really want to do.

May God give us a desire to take that next step and meditate on what God has revealed to us in the Bible.

In J.I. Packer’s classic, Knowing God, his definition of “meditation” serves as a enticing explanation of what it means to ponder the things of God.

“Meditation is the activity of calling to mind, and thinking over, and dwelling on, and applying to oneself, the various things that one knows about the works and ways and purposes and promises of God. It is an activity of holy thought, consciously performed in the presence of God, under the eye of God, by the help of God, as a means of communion with God.

Its purpose is to clear one’s mental and spiritual vision of God, and to let His truth make its full and proper impact on one’s mind and heart. It is a matter of talking to oneself about God and oneself; it is, indeed, often a matter of arguing with oneself, reasoning oneself out of moods of doubt and unbelief into a clear apprehension of God’s power and grace.

Its effect is ever to humble us, as we contemplate God’s greatness and glory and our own littleness and sinfulness, and to encourage and reassure us – ‘comfort’ us, in the old, strong, Bible sense of the word – as we contemplate the unsearchable riches of divine mercy displayed in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

~J.I. Packer, Knowing God


“And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the the Lord’s feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving” Luke 10:39-40 (ESV).

A 16th Century Post-it Note

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I don’t have the best of memories, but thankfully, I do have Post-it Notes. I have one on my computer at work right now to remind me that there’s an important recording at 1:30 Monday afternoon. Or is it 2:30?

The fact is we all need reminders. And that holds true for spiritual matters as well. These truths from an ancient catechism prompted me to recall some very important truths that serve to warm a Christian’s heart. I’m hopeful that will be your experience.

Question 1.
What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer.
That I with body and soul,
both in life and death,
am not my own,
but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ;
who, with his precious blood,
has fully satisfied for all my sins,
and delivered me from all the power of the devil;
and so preserves me
that without the will of my heavenly Father,
not a hair can fall from my head;
yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation,
and therefore, by His Holy Spirit,
He also assures me of eternal life,
and makes me sincerely willing and ready,
henceforth, to live unto Him.

~The Heidelberg Catechism, 1563


“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8 (ESV).

John Newton | I Believe

 

April 3, 1759 – In a correspondence to a new friend of his, John Newton took time to explain his Christian beliefs. It stirred my heart to “hear” his pen proclaim the wonderful truths that saints down through the ages have held dear. Hopefully, you’ll find encouragement here too.

“I believe that sin is the most hateful thing in the world. I believe that I and all men are by nature in a state of wrath and depravity, utterly unable to sustain the penalty or to fulfill the commands of God’s holy law; and that we have no sufficiency of ourselves to think a good thought.

I believe that Jesus Christ is the chief among ten thousand; that He came into the world to save the chief of sinners, by making a propitiation for sin by His death, by paying a perfect obedience to the law in our behalf; and that He is now exalted on high, to give repentance and remission of sins to all who believe; and that He ever lives to make intercession for us.

I believe that the Holy Spirit (the gift of God through Jesus Christ), is the sure and only guide into all truth, and the common privilege of all believers; and under his influence,

I believe the Holy Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation, and to furnish us thoroughly for every good work.

I believe that love to God, and to man for God’s sake, is the essence of true religion, and the fulfilling of the law; that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; that those who, by a patient course in well-doing, seek glory, honor, and immortality, shall receive eternal life. And I believe that this reward is not of debt–but of grace, even to the praise and glory of that grace whereby He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Amen.”

You can read all of the letter when you click here.

John Piper highlighted the life of John Newton at his 2001 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. You can listen to and/or read his presentation here.


Let us praise, and join the chorus

Of the saints enthroned on high;

Here they trusted Him before us,

Now their praises fill the sky:

“Thou hast washed us with Your blood;

Thou art worthy, Lamb of God!”

~John Newton, 1774

Christmas by Spurgeon

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“Hark, yonder! What means the firing of the Tower guns? Why all this ringing of bells in the church steeples, as if all London were mad with joy? There is a prince born; therefore there is this salute, and therefore are the bells ringing.

Ah, Christians, ring the bells of your hearts, tire the salute of your most joyous songs, ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.’

Dance, O my heart, and ring out peals of gladness!

Ye drops of blood within my veins dance every one of you!

Oh! all my nerves become harp strings, and let gratitude touch you with angelic fingers! And thou, my tongue, shout—shout to his praise who hath said to thee—”Unto thee a child is born, unto thee a Son is given.”

Wipe that tear away! Come, stop that sighing! Hush yon murmuring. What matters your poverty? “Unto you a child is born.” What matters your sickness? ‘Unto you a Son is given.’

What matters your sin? For this child shall take the sin away, and this Son shall wash and make you fit for heaven.

I say, if it be so,

‘Lift up the heart, lift up the voice,

Rejoice aloud! ye saints rejoice!’”

~Charles Haddon Spurgeon, 1834-1892

Read the full sermon here.

Glorifying Him

“Glorifying” means feeling and thinking and acting in ways that reflect His greatness, that make much of God, that give evidence of the supreme greatness of all His attributes and the all-satisfying beauty of His manifold perfections.

~John Piper from his sermon, Glorifying God … Period.


So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

~1  Corinthians 10:31

His Incomparable Greatness

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I’ve found this prayer from King David a helpful reminder of who I come before in my quiet time and who I live before each hour of the day. 

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.

Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and You are exalted as head above all. Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.

And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”

1 Chronicles 29:11-13