It is Not Death to Die

I’m going to bed tonight for the first time in my life without my grandmother on this earth. She is now with her King and her Lord, and she is more alive than ever before. I love you, Mom.

It is not death to die
To leave this weary road
And join the saints who dwell on high
Who’ve found their home with God
It is not death to close
The eyes long dimmed by tears
And wake in joy before Your throne
Delivered from our fears

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

It is not death to fling
Aside this earthly dust
And rise with strong and noble wing
To live among the just
It is not death to hear
The key unlock the door
That sets us free from mortal years
To praise You evermore

O Jesus, conquering the grave
Your precious blood has power to save
Those who trust in You
Will in Your mercy find
That it is not death to die

—Henri Malan and Bob Kauflin
© 2008 Sovereign Grace Praise

A Man Who Does Not Serve God is Not Really Alive

So long as a man does not serve God with body, soul, and spirit, he is not really alive. So long as he puts the first things last and the last first, buries his talent like an unprofitable servant, and brings the Lord no revenue of honor, so long in God’s sight he is dead. He is not filling the place in creation for which he was intended; he is not using his powers and faculties as God meant them to be used. The poet’s words are strictly true

He only lives, who lives to God,
And all are dead beside.

This is the true explanation of sin not felt, and sermons not believed, and good advice not followed, and the Gospel not embraced, and the world not forsaken, and the cross not taken up, and self-will not mortified, and evil habits not laid aside, and the Bible seldom read, and the knee never bent in prayer. Why is all this on every side? The answer is simple — Men are dead.

—J.C. Ryle
Alive or Dead?

Via: Aaron Armstrong

Humbled or Discouraged

This is a short and very encouraging post that Douglas Wilson published today at his site Blog & Mablog.

What is the difference between being humbled and being discouraged? This is an important question as we prepare ourselves to come to this meal. Humbling ourselves is how we wash up for this meal, and discouragement is a counterfeit form of washing up.

So what is the difference? The Puritan William Bridge is a great help here. A discouraged saint is thinking about his own condition—it is all about his own condition. A humbled saint is concerned for the dishonor done to God by his sin, and not primarily concerned with the trouble he himself is in as a result of it.

It is possible to be discouraged, but not humbled, as Cain was when he complained that his punishment was more than he could bear. The point of grief was what was happening to him. It is possible to be humbled, but not discouraged, as the prodigal son was when he decided to return home. In that case, his discouragement brought him to humility, and humility brought him home, willing to be received as a servant.

Humbling results in a glad reception. Discouragement spirals downward, ever downward, and does not end unless it is repented. This is a meal for the humbled, not for the discouraged. If you are discouraged, you may certainly come, but set aside your discouragement first—it is a sin, remember—and accept the humbling instead.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

—Douglas Wilson

Via: Douglas Wilson

The Shallowness of Worldly Possessions

The possession of the whole world, and all that it contains, will never make a person happy. Its pleasures are false and deceptive. Its riches, rank, and honors, have no power to satisfy the heart. So long as we have not got them they glitter, sparkle, and seem desirable. The moment we have them we find that they are empty bubbles, and cannot make us feel content. And, worst of all, when we possess this world’s good things, to the utmost bound of our desire, we cannot keep them. Death comes in and separates us from all our property forever. Naked we came upon earth, and naked we go forth, and of all our possessions we can carry nothing with us. Such is the world, which occupies the whole attention of thousands! Such is the world, for the sake of which millions are every year destroying their souls!

—J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke – Volume 1

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

Fighting Against the Gates of Hell

Be prepared for the hostility of the gates of hell. Put on the whole armor of God. The weapons of our warfare have been tried by millions of poor sinners like ourselves, and have never been found to fail. Be patient under the bitterness of the gates of hell. It is all working together for your good. It tends to sanctify. It keeps you awake. It makes you humble. It drives you nearer to the Lord Jesus Christ. It weans you from the world. It helps to make you pray more. Above all, it makes you long for heaven, and say with heart as well as lips, “Come, Lord Jesus.”

—JC Ryle
The True Church

Via: JC Ryle Quotes

Is Your Life an Epistle of Christ?

Are you alive? Then see that you prove it by your actions. Be a consistent witness. Let your words, works, ways and tempers all tell the same story. Let not your life be a poor lethargic life, like that of a tortoise or a sloth—let it rather be an energetic stirring life, like that of a deer or bird. Let your graces shine forth from all the windows of your life, that those who live near you may see that the Spirit is abiding in your hearts. Let your light not be a dim, flickering, uncertain flame; let it burn steadily, like the eternal fire on the altar, and never become low. Let the savor of your religion, like Mary’s precious ointment, fill all the houses where you dwell. Be an epistle of Christ so clearly written, penned in such large bold characters—that he who runs may read it. Let your Christianity be so unmistakable, your eye so single, your heart so whole, your walk so straightforward that all who see you may have no doubt whose you are, and whom you serve.

—J.C. Ryle
Practical Religion: Alive or Dead

Via: J.C. Ryle Quotes

America Quiet on Execution of Afghan Christian

More information on the status of Sayed Musa and the appalling silence from the American press.

Newspapers in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe have reported the story, but with, the exception of the Wall Street Journal and, of course, NRO, American outlets have not found it worthy of attention. The Journal reports that “Afghan officials have been unapologetic: ‘The sentence for a convert is death and there is no exception,’ said Jamal Khan, chief of staff at the Ministry of Justice. ‘They must be sentenced to death to serve as a lesson for others.’”

The U.S. government — reportedly including Secretary of State Clinton — and other governments have pushed for his release, but to no avail.

But the president has been silent, even as we fight a war that has among its goals the creation of a government that conforms to international human-rights standards.

An American president certainly needs to guard and shepherd his political capital, and should not speak out about every prisoner. But Musa himself has appealed to “President Brother Obama” to rescue him from his current jail. And when an obscure and aberrant Florida pastor, Terry Jones, threatened to burn a Koran, not only President Obama but much of his cabinet, as well as General Petraeus, weighed in on the matter.

If the actions of a Florida pastor who threatened to destroy a book holy to Muslims deserved public and presidential attention, then the actions of the Afghan government, ostensibly a ‘democratic’ ally, to destroy something holy to Christians, a human being made in the image of God, also deserve public and presidential attention.

—Paul Marshall
National Review Online

Via: National Review Online

Pray for Sayed Musa

Please pray for Sayed Musa, an Afghan man that converted from Islam to Christianity and is set to be hanged for that offense. The followiwng information was posted by Justin Taylor:

The Daily Mail and others are reporting on Said (or Sayed) Musa. Earlier I had posted a link to his letter from prison describing sexual and physical abuse. Here’s the new report:

An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.

He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.

He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.

But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘My body is theirs to do what they want with.’

You can also read the Compass Direct News report, which begins:

An Afghani amputee in prison for his Christian faith since May will face a judge this Sunday (Nov. 21) without legal representation or knowledge of the charges against him, according to local sources.

Denny Burk suggests that if you have Twitter, you post one of the following:

Mr. President, speak wisely and boldly, in private if necessary, for Said Musa, imprisoned in Kabul. @BarackObama

Mr. President, please persuade the Afghan govt. not to execute our brother Said Musa. @BarackObama Prov. 24:10-12

Via: Justin Taylor

Dreams Unfulfilled

Yesterday morning I wrote a post about the 38th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Yesterday afternoon President Obama released this statement marking the anniversary and pledging his support to protect abortion rights:

Today marks the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, and affirms a fundamental principle: that government should not intrude on private family matters.

I am committed to protecting this constitutional right. I also remain committed to policies, initiatives, and programs that help prevent unintended pregnancies, support pregnant women and mothers, encourage healthy relationships, and promote adoption.

And on this anniversary, I hope that we will recommit ourselves more broadly to ensuring that our daughters have the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities as our sons to fulfill their dreams.

—President Barack Obama

I am certain that his statement was met with nods of approval and appreciation by millions of abortion rights advocates across this country. Normally I would laugh at a statement filled with such absurdly obvious contradictions but I cannot in this instance, since the consequences are so deadly – and I use that word intentionally – serious. When I read the President’s statement I was immediately reminded of the words of Gimli the dwarf from J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings:

It was Gimli the dwarf who broke in suddenly. ‘The words of this wizard stand on their heads,’ he growled, gripping the handle of his axe. ‘In the language of Orthanc help means ruin, and saving means slaying, that is plain.’

—J.R.R. Tolkien
The Two Towers

I am struck by the lengths that abortion rights advocates go to de-humanize the object of abortion in order to appeal to the distinctly human emotions, ideals, and desires of the voters. It’s not a mistake – it’s a miracle of life. It’s not an unintended or unwanted pregnancy – it’s a baby. It’s not a choice – it’s a child. How can anyone consider it reasonable or noble when reproductive freedom for one human being comes at the expense of the life of another human being?

The Supreme Court decision handed down in Roe v. Wade, and supported by our President and millions who share his beliefs, has done, and will continue to do a great deal to ensure, in part, that Mr. Obama’s “hopes” are fulfilled. Abortion on demand creates and ensures the equality that he seeks to the extent that more than 500,000 daughters each year receive “the same rights, the same freedoms, and the same opportunities” as over 500,000 sons – the equality of death.

A short time ago I read the following Twitter post from Pastor David Platt that contained a quote from Pastor John Piper. I thought it would be a good way to bring an end this post:

Christ died that we might live. This is the opposite of abortion. Abortion kills that someone might live differently.

—John Piper

It is estimated that over 50 million abortions have been performed in the 38 years since the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. So many lives lost, so many potential dreams unfulfilled…