The Highest of All Missionary Motives

If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name – troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it.

The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal – burning and passionate zeal – for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.

—John Stott
The Message of Romans

Via: Of First Importance

Morning Prayer

Lord God,
almighty and everlasting Father,
you have brought me in safety to this new day:

Preserve me with your mighty power,
that I may not fall into sin,
nor be overcome by adversity;
and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose;
through Jesus Christ my Lord. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer

Via: Trevin Wax

A Single Day

When we take the history of a child of God, compressed within the short period of a single day – mark what flaws, what imperfections, what fickleness, what dereliction in principle, what flaws in practice, what errors in judgment and what wanderings of heart make up that brief history – how we are led to thank God for the stability of the covenant, that covenant which provides for the full redemption of all believers, which from eternity secures the effectual calling, the perfect keeping and certain salvation of every chosen vessel of mercy!

—Octavius Winslow
Personal Declension and Revival of Religion in the Soul

Via: Ray Ortlund

Night of Fire

This is an exerpt from a great article by Jill Carattini on the conversion of Blaise Pascal, the brilliant French mathematician and physicist. You can read the entire article over at A Slice of Infinity, an online publication of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM).

Shortly after the death of Blaise Pascal in 1662, a housekeeper was sorting through closets and clothing and happened to notice something sewn into Pascal’s coat. Beneath the cloth was a parchment and inside this was another faded piece of paper. In Pascal’s handwriting, on both the parchment and the paper were nearly the same words. Beside hand-drawn crosses, Pascal had carefully written:

The year of grace 1654.
Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement…
From about half-past ten in the evening
until about half-past midnight.
Fire.

The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob…
The God of Jesus Christ…
Your God will be my God.

More than 30 descriptive lines tell the story (unbeknownst to friends and family) of Pascal’s conversion to Christ. He is said to have been reading of the crucifixion when he was suddenly overwhelmed with the nearness of Christ. Pascal then meticulously transcribed the night of his conversion, his “night of fire,” as he called it thereafter, sewing it into his jacket where it would remain beside him until his death eight years later. Though the details of the story and the parchment were unknown to those around him, the change in his life could have scarcely gone unnoticed. Whatever else it marked, November 23, 1654 marked both death and life for Pascal. He reoriented all his activities (including his unparalleled work in the field of mathematics) to further serve a life of worship and service to God. He retired to the monastery at Port Royal and set to writing his Pensees, a collection of thoughts on life and theology.

The Incarnation boldly assures us that Christ is always near. The Cross assures that he can come nearer still and forgive you completely and instantaneously. He will also walk with you over a lifetime, transforming and shaping you according to the will of God. Whether by fire, water, or Spirit, in an instance of spiritual certainty or a lifetime of wordless mystery, Christ comes near not to beckon better children but to make his creations entirely new.

—Jill Carattini
A Slice of Infinity

Via: A Slice of Infinity – RZIM

A Summary of the Gospel

The gospel of Christ is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again.

The second Person in the Trinity takes man’s nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction for keeping the law perfectly. This satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him.

And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and that they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

That these souls and bodies shall be raised to that height of glory that such creatures are capable of, that they shall live forever enjoying the presence of God and Christ, in the fullness of all good, is the gospel of Christ. This is the sum of the gospel that is preached unto sinners.

—Jeremiah Burroughs

Via: Ligonier Ministries Blog

Jesus Is First In All Things

We must know that all things are first in Christ, and then in us. God chose Him first, and then He chose us. God singled Him out to be the Saviour, the second Adam, and He calls us in Christ.

Christ, being our surety, took our sins upon Him. We are justified, because He, by His resurrection, quit Himself from the guilt of our sins, as having paid the debt.

Christ is the first fruits of them that rise again (1 Corinthians 15:20). We rise again because He is risen. Christ first ascended; we ascend in Christ. Christ is first loved; we are loved in the Beloved.

Christ is first blessed; we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3). So, whatsoever is in us, we have it at the second hand. We have the Spirit in us, but He is first in Christ.

God hath put the Spirit in Christ, as the spring, as the second Adam, as a public person, that should receive the Spirit for us all. He is first in all things; Christ must have the preeminence.

He hath the preeminence in all, both before time, in time, and after time, in election, in whatsoever is done here in this world, and in glorification.

All is first in Christ, and then in us. He is the elder brother. We must understand this, to give Christ His due honour and respect, and to know whence we have all we have.

—Richard Sibbes
“A Description of Christ” in The Complete Works of Richard Sibbes, Volume 1

Via: Tolle Lege

The Long Goodnight

One of my favorite songs on the album Watch the Rising Day by Matthew Smith is “Goodnight.” It’s a song written from the standpoint of a christian on their deathbed who is giving hope and solace to their loved ones. The words come from an old German hymn of unknown authorship which was later translated by Jane Borthwick. It was printed in Hymns from the Land of Luther under the title “The Long Goodnight.”

My granmother’s funeral service is later this morning and when I said goodbye to her last Saturday I don’t know if she recognized me. However, I will never forget what she told me the last time I was talking with her. We’d spent the morning visiting and as I was getting ready to leave I told her that I loved her and she told me she loved me too. She said, “I’ve loved you for a long time. I loved you before I even knew you.” I know that it’s true. I know that she loved me and prayed for me before I ever took my first breath – and she never stopped. I can’t wait to see her again in glory.

I journey forth rejoicing
From this dark vale of tears
To heavenly joy and freedom
From earthly bonds and fears
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit
Goodnight, goodnight till then

Why thus so sadly weeping
Beloved ones of my heart?
The Lord is good and gracious
Though now He bids us part
Oft have we met in gladness
And we shall meet again
All sorrow left behind us
Goodnight, goodnight till then

I go to see His glory
Whom we have loved below
I go, the blessed angels
The holy saints to know.
Our lovely ones departed
I go to find again
And wait for you to join us
Goodnight, goodnight till then

I hear the Savior calling,
The joyful hour has come
The angel-guards are ready
To guide me to our home
Where Christ our Lord shall gather
All His redeemed again,
His kingdom to inherit
Goodnight, goodnight till then

—Matthew S. Smith
Based in part on a hymn text by an unknown
German writer, translated by Jane Borthwick

One Day I Will Be In Eternity With God

Please take a few minutes to watch this beautiful, heart-wrenching video and then give thanks for faithful brothers and sisters in Christ like Roger who endure more challenges than most of us can ever possibly imagine.

Worship is my life. God has created me to worship and Jesus paid the ultimate price; if I don’t totally worship Him its like I don’t appreciate Him dying for me, and that is so powerful. One day I will be in eternity with God.

—Roger Flournoy, Jr.

Via: Justin Taylor

Power Only In The Cross

One moment’s believing, close contact with the cross will do more to break the heart for sin, deepen the conviction of its exceeding sinfulness, and disenthrall the soul from all its bondage and its fears, bringing it into a sense of pardon and acceptance and assured hope, than a lifetime of the most rigid legal duties that ever riveted their iron chain upon the soul.

—Octavius Winslow
The Foot of the Cross

Via: Of First Importance

Hallelujah, What a Savior

Man of Sorrows! What a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

—Philip P. Bliss