Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shifting Our Focus From Ourselves To Our Savior

Because of my pride, I spend far too much time contemplating myself (my desires, my opinions, my thoughts, etc.) and never enough time contemplating my Savior's work and grace. I am so very thankful for men like Mr. Jerry Bridges, C.J. Mahaney and of course Mr. Spurgeon himself who call us to "Preach the Gospel To Ourselves Everyday!" ((Because we, I need it!!)) What a necessary daily journey it is for us to take! It is a difficult road, but a necessary one - from ourselves to Our Savior.

I received this quote by Charles Spurgeon this week from a great friend. Listen to these words of Mr. Spurgeon as takes us from ourselves to our beautiful Savior! Enjoy!

"It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying to make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.

But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: he tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember, therefore, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to thy hand with which thou art grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to thy hope, but to Jesus, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Jesus, the author and finisher of thy faith. We shall never find happiness by looking at our prayers, our doings, or our feelings; it is what Jesus is, not what we are, that gives rest to the soul. If we would at once overcome Satan and have peace with God, it must be by "looking unto Jesus." Keep thine eye simply on him; let his death, his sufferings, his merits, his glories, his intercession, be fresh upon thy mind; when thou wakest in the morning look to him; when thou liest down at night look to him. Oh! let not thy hopes or fears come between thee and Jesus; follow hard after him, and he will never fail thee."

"My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness:
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

What Forgiveness Is NOT!

As we walk in relationship with one another, because of the presence and nature of indwelling sin, there will forever be conflict and the need to both be forgiven and to freely forgive. But then questions arise - like, "But do I have to in this circumstance or that circumstance?" Or, "what does it truly look like to forgive?" In this posting, I wanted to copy a portion of an outstanding book, "The Peacemaker" by Ken Sande, on this topic. I would highly recommend this book to you! If you are in a conflict, get this book...if you are not presently in a conflict...hurry up and get this book, because you soon will. Enjoy...

"What Forgiveness is Not"

To understand what forgiveness is, we must first see what it is not. Forgiveness is not a feeling. It is an act of the will. Forgiveness involves a series of decisions, the first of which is to call on God to change our hearts. As he gives us grace, we must then decide (with our will) not to think or talk about what someone has done to hurt us. God calls us to make these decisions regardless of our feelings--but these decisions can lead to remarkable changes in our feelings.

Second, forgiveness is not forgetting. Forgetting is a passive process in which a matter fades from memory merely with the passing of time. Forgiving is an active process; it involves a conscious choice and a deliberate course of action. To put it another way, when God says that he "remembers your sins no more" (Isa. 43:25), he is not saying that he cannot remember our sins. Rather, he is promising that he will not remember them. When he forgives us, he chooses not to mention, recount, or think about our sins ever again. Similarly, when we forgive, we must draw on God's grace and consciously decide not to think or talk about what others have done to hurt us. This may require a lot of effort, especially when an offense is still fresh in mind. Fortunately, when we decide to forgive someone and stop dwelling on an offense, painful memories usually begin to fade.

Finally, forgiveness is not excusing. Excusing says, "That's okay," and implies, "What you did wasn't really wrong," or "You couldn't help it." Forgiveness is the opposite of excusing. The very fact that forgiveness is needed and granted indicates that what someone did was wrong and inexcusable. Forgiveness says, "We both know that what you did was wrong and without excuse. But since God has forgiven me, I forgive you." Because forgiveness deals honestly with sin, it brings a freedom that no amount of excusing could ever hope to provide.

((Taken from The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict by Ken Sande, Updated Edition (Grand Rapids, Baker Books, 2003) p. 206-207))

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

J.C. Ryle on the Sufficiency of Preaching Christ & Him Crucified

Hey folks, I know it has been a bit since my last posting, but this week someone passed on this quote to me, from Mr. J.C. Ryle that is not only very encouraging, but one that, if taken to heart causes one to rest in the simple, pure and yet eternally profound message of the Cross. May we grow in simply loving our Redeemer!

"Let us never doubt for a moment, that the preaching of
Christ crucified--the old story of His blood, and righteousness, and substitution--is enough for all the spiritual necessities of all mankind. It is not worn out. It is not obsolete. It has not lost its power. We need nothing new--nothing more broad and kind--nothing more intellectual--nothing more effectual. We need nothing but the true bread
of life, distributed faithfully among starving souls. Let men sneer or ridicule as they will. Nothing else can do good in this sinful world. No other teaching can fill hungry consciences, and give them peace. We are all in a wilderness. We must
feed on Christ crucified, and the atonement made by His death, or we shall die in our sins." -J.C. Ryle