12.15.2017



Man of Sorrows

Lord, You're weeping with me
Help me to believe
That when my heart, is heavy as a stone
You say I'm not alone

Man of sorrows, what a name
Bore our suffering, bore all of our pain
Man of sorrows, broken sinners to reclaim
Overcame the darkness, and walked out of the grave

Lord, You're aching with me
Help me to believe
That when my soul, is lost in the storm
You're acquainted with my grief

He was pierced for our transgressions
He was crushed for all our sins
And the punishment that brought us peace was laid on Him
He was stricken and afflicted
But God's mercy would reveal
What His suffering would bring us by His wounds we're healed

Man of sorrows, what a name
Bore our suffering, bore all of our pain
Man of sorrows, broken sinners to reclaim
Overcame the darkness, and walked out of the grave
You overcame my darkness, when You walked out of the grave…

Ellie Holcomb, Red Sea Road

https://open.spotify.com/album/4RhEJVjtGp7IRAfd0HvqG8

Man of Sorrows



He was despised and rejected by men,
    a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
    he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.

Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
    he has put him to grief…

Isaiah 53:3-5, 10a


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. — Hebrews 12:1-2



The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

“The Word became flesh.” Those four words can sound so familiar to us that we fail to appreciate the magnitude of John’s statement (echoed by the other New Testament writers). The divine (v. 1) became human (v. 14). The infinite, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Son of God took on a human nature: finite, limited in power, limited in knowledge, limited in space and time. It’s one thing to claim God would ever do such a thing. It’s yet another to suppose God could ever do such a thing—that he could clothe himself with frail humanity, veiling his divine glory without relinquishing for one moment any aspect of his divine nature. The Danish Lutheran philosopher Søren Kierkegaard referred to the incarnation as the “absolute paradox” of the Christian faith. How could the eternal inhabit the temporal? How could the finite accommodate the infinite?
We may not know how this mystery could be reality, but by the testimony of inspired Scripture we know with certainty (Luke 1:4) it was and is reality. This is a mystery of the first order.

Science fiction writers like to speculate about cataclysmic events with the potential to “rupture the space-time continuum.” I confess I’m not sure what that means, but I suspect that if anything might threaten such a rupture, it would be the incarnation of God!


—James Anderson



The Prologue

Before there was a universe,
Before a star or planet,
When time had still not yet begun —
I scarcely understand it —
Th’ eternal Word was with his God,
God’s very Self-Expression;
Th’ eternal Word was God himself —
And God had planned redemption.
The Word became our flesh and blood —
The stuff of his creation —
The Word was God, the Word was flesh,
Astounding incarnation!
But when he came to visit us,
We did not recognize him.
Although we owed him everything
We haughtily despised him.
In days gone by God showed himself
In grace and truth to Moses;
But in the Word of God made flesh
Their climax he discloses.
For grace and truth in fullness came
And showed the Father’s glory
When Jesus donned our flesh and died:
This is the gospel story.
All who delighted in his name,
All those who did receive him,
All who by grace were born of God,
All who in truth believed him —
To them he gave a stunning right:
Becoming God’s dear children!
Here will I stay in grateful trust;
Here will I fix my vision.
Before there was a universe,
Before a star or planet,
When time had still not yet begun —
I scarcely understand it —
Th’ eternal Word was with his God,
God’s very Self-Expression;
Th’ eternal Word was God himself —

And God had planned redemption.

--D.A. Carson 

12.14.2017


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. —John 1:1-14

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. —Hebrews 1:1-2
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. —Revelation 19:11-13


In Jesus we see the sacrificial nature of “the good shepherd” who “sacrifices his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). In Jesus, we see the ongoing work of “the great Shepherd of the sheep” who will “equip you with all you need for doing his will” and “produce in you…every good thing that is pleasing to him” (Hebrews 13:20-21). In Jesus we see the generosity of our great Shepherd from whom we will receive “a crown of never-ending glory and honor” (1 Peter 5:4). We see the worthiness of our Shepherd—the “Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered,” the Lamb who sits on the throne and gives us shelter so we will never again be hungry or thirsty or scorched by the heat of the sun. “For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd” (Revelation 5:6; 7:15-17)
My good Shepherd, because I have you, I have all that I need. You lead me into rest and empower me. You guide me to live in ways that honor you. Even when I walk through darkness and difficulty, I don’t have to be afraid, because I look up and find you right there. Your Cross has drawn me to you, and your Word keeps me close to you. You have invited me to feast on you, and you have poured out your Spirit on me. My life is overflowing with your goodness and mercy. Forever I will live safely within your fold. — Nancy Guthrie, The One Year Book fo Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament

12.13.2017


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. — John 10:11

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. —Hebrews 13:20-21

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.—1 Peter 5:4

He will tend his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms;
he will carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead those that are with young. — Isaiah 40:11

hey shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
    the sun shall not strike them,
    nor any scorching heat. 
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
    and he will guide them to springs of living water,

and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” Revelation 7:16-17

12.12.2017



“Where’s the true King?” That question is the most disturbing question possible to a human heart, since we want at all costs to remain on the throne of our own lives. We may use religion to stay on that throne, trying to put God in the position of having to do our bidding because we are so righteous, rather than serving him unconditionally. Or we may flee from religion, become atheists, and loudly claim that there is no God. Either way, we are expressing our natural hostility to the lordship of the true King. —Tim Keller



King of Kings, Majesty

By: Jarrod Cooper

King of Kings, Majesty,
God of heaven, living in me
Gentle Savior, closest friend,
Strong Deliverer, beginning and end
All within me falls at Your throne

Your Majesty, I can but bow
I lay my all before You now
In royal robes I don't deserve
I live to serve Your Majesty

Earth and heaven worship You,
God eternal, faithful and true
Who bought the nations,
ransomed souls
Brought this sinner
near to Your throne
All within me cries out in praise.

King of kings



I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen. —1 Timothy 6:13-16

They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”— Revelation 17:14


On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords. — Revelation 19:16


The cornerstone is also of crucial importance to a building. It is itself part of and essential to the foundation; it helps to hold the building steady, and it also sets it and keeps it in line. The temple in Jerusalem had massive cornerstones. Armitage Robinson mentions one ancient monolith excavated from the southern wall of the temple which measured 38 feet 9 inches in length. The chief cornerstone of the new temple is Christ Jesus himself. Elsewhere he is also the foundation stone. But here Paul has particularly in mind the function of Jesus Christ in holding the growing temple together as a unity, For he is the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows…The unity and growth of the church are coupled, and Jesus Christ is the secret of both. Since the “in Christ” concept is of an organic union, the most natural metaphors to illustrate it are organic metaphors such as the branches ‘in’ the vine and the members ‘in’ the body. Here the concept is transferred to construction work. As a building depends for both its cohesion and its development on being tied securely to its cornerstone, so Christ the cornerstone is indispensable to the church’s unity and growth. Unless it is constantly and securely related to Christ, the church’s unity will disintegrate and its growth either stop or run wild. — John Stott, The Message of Ephesians

12.11.2017


JESUS CHRIST: THE CORNERSTONE OF YOUR LIFE
December 20, 2013 | By: Sam Storms

Yesterday I wrote briefly about Peter’s declaration that Jesus, though “rejected by men” (1 Peter 2:4a), is in the sight of God (and in ours as well, I pray), “chosen and precious” (1 Peter 2:4b).
Dwell with me for a moment on this imagery of the “stone”. In 1 Peter 2:6-8 Peter refers to several OT texts, all of which describe a stone that in God’s purpose is chosen to become the cornerstone of the spiritual house that he is building. This stone is the foundation upon which God is building his church. The “stone” in each of those OT texts was prophetic of Jesus.
Now all that might sound sort of distant and abstract and far removed from you and your needs in life, but I assure you it isn’t. This is a metaphor, obviously, but one with deep and very personal meaning for each of us. Peter’s point is that Jesus is like a stone in every person’s way. He isn’t the sort of stone that you can walk around lest it bruise your foot, or that you can jump over, or even simply ignore. He is the sort of stone in God’s purposes that either you regard as useless and offensive and thus pick up and throw away, or you regard as chosen and precious and you build your life upon him.

If you find him precious and thus respond in faith, he is the cornerstone on which you build your life in community now and the rock on which you will stand without shame or disappointment in the ages to come. If you find him to be offensive and unappealing and respond to him in disobedience and unbelief, he is the stone over which you will stumble and fall, both now and forever.
There’s simply no escaping the clear message of Peter: one’s response to the Living Stone, Jesus, either rejecting him or coming to him, determines one’s relationship to God and one’s eternal destiny (see Acts 4:11-12).
In 1 Peter 2:6b we read that “whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” Note well: for those who believe in him there is no shame, but only honor, and he will never let you down. You will never be disappointed in him and he will never fail you. Others will, but he won’t.

Now that is a great encouragement. If there were a way never to be disappointed or a way never to be ashamed, wouldn't you want to know that way? Peter says: the way is to trust what Jesus will be for you as God's "chosen and precious corner stone." God says, "You cannot lose. You cannot be disappointed in having done this. You cannot be put to shame." That is tremendously encouraging.
But there is a flip side as well, and the news for those who do not believe is as bad as the news is good for those who do believe. We read in v. 7, "But for those who do not believe, 'The stone that the builders rejected, has become the cornerstone.'" He's telling us that not believing in Jesus is like rejecting the stone that God has laid as the corner stone. God sends his Son to be the main stone in the building of his church, his people. But some do not trust him; they reject him.
Don’t think for a moment that this has any negative effect on God’s purposes. God is not defeated or thwarted in his goals by human unbelief. The point is: If you believe on this stone, you can't lose; and if you disbelieve on him, you can't win. “Human unbelief does not frustrate or defeat the ultimate purposes of God. If God plans for Jesus to be the chief corner stone, humans can betray him, desert him, deny him, mock him, strike him, spit on him, hit him with rods, crown him with thorns, strip him, crucify him, and bury him, but they cannot stop him from being what God destined him to be, the Living Corner Stone of a great and glorious people” (John Piper).


Peter’s point is that human choices cannot finally destroy the temple of God. They are not ultimate. A person can reject the chosen and precious Stone of Jesus Christ. But if they do, two things are still true: the stone will not be rejected by God, but will still be put in the place of honor and glory forever and ever as the chief corner stone; and the one who rejects the stone will never be able to boast over God that he frustrated God's ultimate design for his temple. Even unbelievers fulfill God's appointments. He cannot be defeated. He triumphs even in his own rejection.

Cornerstone



Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion,
a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: ‘Whoever believes will not be in haste.’ — Isaiah 28:16

From him shall come the cornerstone, from him the tent peg, from him the battle bow,
from him every ruler—all of them together. —Zechariah 10:4

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. —Psalm 118:22

As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:  “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”
and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. — 1 Peter 2:4-9

For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. —Ephesians 2:18-22

12.10.2017




I beg and beseech of you all present, as God the Spirit shall help you, come and put your trust in Jesus Christ, he is “the mighty God.” Oh, Christians, believe him more than ever, cast your troubles constantly on him; he is “the mighty God;” go to Him in all your dilemmas, when the enemy cometh in like a flood, this mighty God shall make a way for your deliverance; take to him your griefs, this mighty God can alleviate them all; tell him your backslidings and sins, this mighty God shall blot them out. And, O sinners, ye that feel your need of a Saviour, come to Christ and trust him for he is “the mighty God.” Go to your houses, and fall on your knees and confess your sins, and then cast your poor, guilty, helpless, naked, defenceless souls before his omnipotence, for he is able to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him, because when he died he was not manhood, without divinity, but he was “the mighty God.” This, I say, we will write on our banners, from this day forth and for ever; this shall be our joy and our song—the child bow and the son given is to us “the mighty God.”- C.H. Spurgeon


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. — Isaiah 9:6


Lift up your heads, O gates! And be lifted up, O ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The Lord, strong and mighty, the Lord, mighty in battle! — Psalm 24:7-8

12.09.2017



Breakfast with Jesus

Jesus said to them, 'come and have breakfast.' - John 21:12
In these words the believer is invited to enjoy a holy nearness to Jesus. "Come and eat" implies the same table, the same food, and perhaps it means to sit side by side, and even lean our head on the Savior's shoulder. It is being brought into the banqueting-house, where the banner of redeeming love waves in welcome.
This invitation gives us a vision of union with Jesus, because Christ Himself is the only food that we can feast upon when we eat with Him. What union is this! It has a depth that reason cannot fathom. Ponder His words: "Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.”

It is also an invitation to enjoy fellowship with the saints. Christians may differ on a variety of points, but they all have one spiritual appetite; and if we cannot all feel alike, we can all feed alike on the Bread of Life sent down from heaven. At the table of fellowship with Jesus we are one bread and one cup. As the loving cup goes around, we commit our lives to one another. Get nearer to Jesus, and you will find yourself linked more and more in spirit to all who like yourself are supported by the same heavenly manna. If we were nearer to Jesus, we would be nearer to one another.


We also see in these words the source of strength for every Christian. To look at Christ is to live; but for strength to serve Him, you must eat what He provides. We work too often in a sense of unnecessary weakness because we neglect this perception of the Master. None of us need to put ourselves on a low diet; on the contrary, we should fatten ourselves in the Gospel so that we may derive strength from it and extend every power to its limit in the Master's service. Then if you would realize nearness to Jesus, union with Jesus, love to His people, and strength from Jesus, "come and have breakfast" with Him by faith.  Spurgeon, Morning & Evening, revised/edited by Alistair Begg


I’ve always been intrigued by names and symbolism in scripture. And the Word Bethlehem is one of my favorites. From the first mention of the Bethlehem in Genesis to its distinguished spot as the birth place of Jesus in Matthew 2 and Luke 2, Bethlehem, the House of Bread, intrigues me. Many years ago in a Christmas message, I first heard my pastor speak of Bethlehem as the House of Bread. I’d never caught that before. But it dawned on me that day, the one who said, “I am the bread of life,” was born in the House of Bread! (John 6:35) Bethlehem, the place where the Son of God came to meet us and meet our evey need – how symbolic.
If you follow the word “bread” beginning in Matthew, you’ll find it a thread woven heavily in the gospels and on throughout the New Testament. One of the first mentions of bread in the NT is Jesus reminding His enemy, and us, that man doesn’t live by bread alone, “but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) In His model prayer Jesus prays for God’s kingdom to come (a grand thing) and for our daily bread to be provided (an ordinary thing). (Matthew 6:11) One of his many miracles was multiplying bread to feed thousands! (Matthew 14:7)  He ate the consecrated bread in the temple (Matthew 12:4) and reminded the disciples not to even worry about taking bread with them as they went out to minister. (Mark 2:26 and 6:8) And in his final hours He took bread, fed His closest 12, and set up a symbol of His life with bread – “Take and eat, this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26) Who knew bread was such an important symbol in God’s word?

“Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life…” But the thing that hit me that day sitting in Panera Bread was the rest of Jesus’ words in John 6:35, “…Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’ ” The spiritual reality hit me heavily that morning. So many days and seasons and years of my life have been spent hungering. Hungering for that undefined, unfulfilled need to be met. Stuffing in anything to fill that hole in my heart that hungered and yearned for meaning and for purpose and for more out of life. And this day I encountered the “Bread of Life” in a new way. I realized a satisfaction and fulfilled hunger in my soul as I sat with Him “listening” to His written word and absorbing His love for me, His purpose, and His ways that are beyond my understanding.
I leave you today with a hope for you and a challenge. I hope you too will find Jesus to be the Bread of Life that satisfies your hunger. And I challenge you to dig into His word, and as Jesus challenged His disciples in John 6:27, “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.” In your soul hunger, turn to The Bread of Life and find satisfaction living in your Bethlehem!

Priceless Blog, ministry of Gardendale First Baptist Church


When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.” Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Sir, give us this bread always.”
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me— not that anyone has seen the Father except he who is from God; he has seen the Father. Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.”The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum. — John 6:25-59

12.08.2017



Not only does the Father, the vinedresser, promise our growth in fruitfulness, but also the vine himself, Jesus, continually removes our unbelief and folly through his Word. As he was washing feet earlier in the evening, Jesus spoke these words: “You are clean” (John 13:10). Again, he says, “Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). We don’t have to struggle to be sure that he is doing his work. He knows how to speak words of cleansing to us, washing us with the water of the Word. Yes, we need to continually expose ourselves to his Word, but the job of cleaning us up so that we can produce fruit is his.
Let your heart settle down into these astounding words: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love” (John 15:9). When I look at my sin, my unproductiveness, that shriveled fruit, it’s hard for me to believe that this kind of love is possible. But drink in what he says: “I’ve loved you with the same intensity of lov--e that my Father has for me.” What a shocking declaration of devotion and affection! Let your soul be nourished and grow strong in it.
Yes, he is calling us to a life of obedience, but it isn’t an obedience that starts with our great efforts. It is an obedience that he has planted and now lovingly tends as we absorb his soul-nourishing life. Think of his love as the rays of the sun, the gentle cooling of the evening breezes, the soil rich in nutrients, the satisfying spring rain, the tender pruning. And as you remember this, remember also that you aren’t alone in this field; you are eternally united to the true vine, and his fruitfulness is yours. Your obedience will grow because He’s your husbandman. Rest here. Endure here. Remain here. Tarry here. Abide.
--Elyse Fitzpatrick


ONLY A BRANCH
"I am the vine, ye are the branches."--John 15:5
Tis only a little Branch,
A thing so fragile and weak,
But that little Branch hath a message true
To give, could it only speak.
"I'm only a little Branch,
I live by a life not mine,
For the sap that flows through my tendrils small
Is the life-blood of the Vine.
"No power indeed have I
The fruit of myself to bear,
But since I'm part of the living Vine,
Its fruitfulness I share.
"Dost thou ask how I abide?
How this life I can maintain?--
I am bound to the Vine by life's strong band,
And I only need remain.
"Where first my life was given,
In the spot where I am set,
Upborne and upheld as the days go by,
By the stem which bears me yet.
"I fear not the days to come,
I dwell not upon the past,
As moment by moment I draw a life,
Which for evermore shall last.
"I bask in the sun's bright beams,
Which with sweetness fills my fruit,
Yet I own not the clusters hanging there,
For they all come from the root."
A life which is not my own,
But another's life in me:
This, this is the message the Branch would speak,
A message to thee and me.
Oh, struggle not to "abide,"
Nor labor to "bring forth fruit,"
But let Jesus unite thee to Himself,
As the Vine Branch to the root.
So simple, so deep, so strong
That union with Him shall be:
His life shall forever replace thine own,
And His love shall flow through thee.
For His Spirit's fruit is love,
And love shall thy life become,
And for evermore on His heart of love
Thy spirit shall have her home.
Freda Hanbury


“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. — John 15:1-9
And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. — 1 John 2:28

12.07.2017



What did John mean by saying, “Behold the Lamb of God”? Behold, in the Latin, “ecce,” is a note of admiration, of wonderment, of exclamation. “Behold the Lamb of God!” There was nothing of greater wonder ever seen than that God, Himself, should provide the Lamb for the burnt offering, that He should provide His only Son out of His very bosom, that He should give the delight of His heart to die for us! Well may we behold this great wonder! Angels admire and marvel at this mystery of godliness—God manifest in the flesh! They have never left off wondering and adoring the grace of God that gave Jesus to be the sacrifice for guilty men. Behold and wonder, never leave off wondering—tell it as a wonder, think of it as a wonder, sing of it as a wonder! Even in heaven you will not cease to wonder at this glorious Lamb of God!
I think that John also meant his disciples to consider, when he said to them, “Behold the Lamb of God!” So we say to you, “Think of Him, study Him, know all that you can about Him, look Him up and down. He is God—do you understand that He stood in the sinner’s place? He is man—do you know how near akin He is to you, how sympathetic He is—a brother born for your adversity? The person of Christ is a great marvel—how can God and man be in one person? It is impossible for us to tell. We believe what we cannot comprehend and we rejoice in what we cannot understand! He whom God has provided to be your Savior is both God and man—He can lay His hand upon both parties. He can touch your manhood in its weakness and touch the Godhead in its all-sufficiency! Study Christ! The most excellent of all the sciences is the knowledge of a crucified Savior. He is most learned in the university of heaven who knows most of Christ. He who has known most of Him still says that His love surpasses knowledge. Behold Him, then, with wonder! And behold Him with thankfulness. But when John says, “Behold the Lamb of God!” he means more than wondering or considering. “Looking” is used in Scripture for faith—“Look unto Me and be you saved.” Therefore we sing—

“There is life for a look at the crucified One,
There is life at this moment for you!”

Beholding is a steady kind of looking. Believe then, in Christ with a solid, abiding confidence. Come, you sinners, come, and trust your Savior, not for tonight, only, but forever! Believe that He is able and willing to save you and trust Him to do so—

“Venture on Him, venture wholly,
Let no other trust intrude.”

Take your eyes off everything else and behold the Lamb of God! You need not see anything else, nothing else is worth seeing, but behold Him. See how He takes your guilt, see how He bears it, see how He sinks under it and yet rises from it, crying, “It is finished!” He gives up the ghost. He is buried. He rises again from the dead because He is accepted of God and His redeeming work is done. Trust Him, trust Him, trust Him! “Look and live,” is now our message—not, “do and live,” but, “live and do!” If you ask how you are to live, our answer is look, trust, believe, confide, rest in Christ—and the moment you do so, you are saved!

But, once more, when John said to His disciples, “Behold the Lamb of God!” it was a hint that they should leave off looking at John and turn their attention wholly to Jesus and follow Him. Hence we find that John’s two disciples left him and became the disciples of Christ. Beloved, we who preach long to have your attention, but when you give your attention to us, our longing, then, is to pass it on to Christ our Lord. Look on Him and follow Him, not us! What can we do, poor creatures that we are? Look unto Him! Mark His footsteps! Walk in them. Do as He bids you! Take Him for your Lord, become His disciples, His servants. Behold the Lamb of God and always behold Him! Look to Him, look up to Him and follow where He leads the way. — 


Charles Spurgeon