To All Eternity

Lord, grant that from hence I may learn to withdraw thoughts, affections, desires, and expectations entirely from the world, and may fix them upon the heavenly state, where there is fullness of joy; where reigns heavenly, sweet, calm, and delightful love without alloy; where there are continually the dearest expressions of this love; where there is the enjoyment of this love without ever parting; and where those persons, who appear so lovely in this world, will be inexpressibly more lovely, and full of love to us. How sweetly will those, who thus mutually love, join together in singing the praises of God and the Lamb. How full will it fill us with joy, to think that this enjoyment, these sweet exercises, will never cease or come to an end, but will last to all eternity.

~ Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)

I Arise Today

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God’s strength to pilot me;
God’s might to uphold me,
God’s wisdom to guide me,
God’s eye to look before me,
God’s ear to hear me,
God’s word to speak for me,
God’s hand to guard me,
God’s way to lie before me,
God’s shield to protect me,
God’s hosts to save me
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a multitude.

Christ shield me today
Against wounding
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through the mighty strength
Of the Lord of creation.

~ A Prayer Commonly Attributed to St. Patrick of Ireland

Ants & Angels

For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth… All things were created through Him and for Him.

~ Colossians 1:16

The Bible says by Him, that is by Christ, all things were created that are in heaven and on earth. Whether angels or ants, the clouds in the air or the clover in a field, Jesus is over all things for by Him were all things made. Jesus Christ has the authority, the position, the preeminence over Creation and all created things. And ultimately, all things were not only created by Him, but were created for Him. Creation is a reflection of the glory of the Creator. Just as any great piece of art bears the influence and marks of the artist, so Creation itself shows forth the glorious handiwork of its Creator.

~ apl

Ascension Follows Resurrection

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

~ Colossians 3:1 (NKJV)

Ascension follows resurrection: hence, if we are the members of Christ we must ascend into heaven, because he, on being raised up from the dead, was received up into heaven, that he might draw us up with him. Now, we seek those things which are above, when in our minds we are truly sojourners in this world, and are not bound to it… Let us therefore bear in mind that that is a true and holy thinking as to Christ, which forthwith bears us up into heaven, that we may there adore him, and that our minds may dwell with him.

~ John Calvin, Commentary on the Book of Colossians

Faith, Love & Hope

We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel

~ Colossians 1:3-5 (NKJV)

Paul continues his greeting to the Christians at Colossae by acknowledging his thanks for God’s sovereign work of salvation and His precious gift of faith in Christ Jesus that has spread among them. The Apostle, verse 4, especially recognizes these believers for their love for all the saints. Their affection for fellow disciples of the Lord Jesus appears to have been well-known for Paul and Timothy to have heard of it from afar. Oh that more true Christians today would have their reputation for love precede them in their dealings with others!

And yet though these faithful Colossians were known for their exceeding earthly good, verse 5, Paul commends them for keeping their hope and gaze fixed upon the marvelous glory which was laid up and awaited them in heaven itself. For heaven, the place of unfettered communion with our Lord Jesus Christ, is truly the eternal prize and most precious blessing of those who trust in Him! Believers are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We know this is not our home, we are but passing through. And like the Colossians, we lay our everlasting hope above.

Finally, at the end of verse 5, we find the cornerstone and foundation for the faith, love and hope of the saints dwelling in Colossae, it is the “the word of truth of the gospel” which they had heard, believed and embraced. Wherever true Christianity will be found, it will be accompanied by the words of truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. There will be sound doctrine and godly teaching which humbles man and exalts Christ! Though without the words of truth as they pertain to the Gospel, a form of religion might be found, it will most assuredly lack the essential, saving, and effectual substance that is the fruit of the glorious words of truth.

A vibrant living faith is rooted in sound doctrine and godly Scriptural teaching. The blessings of a deep faith in Christ, an abiding love for God and others and the secure hope of your place in heaven are a consequence of being washed in the words of truth. Paul praises these qualities among the believers at Colossae. The Apostle thanks God, our Father, for these beautiful spiritual favors present among these saints. May we too seek the characteristics of faith, hope and love in our lives and thank God when He is pleased to grant them to us as well.

~ apl

Our Inheritance

In [Christ] also we have obtained an inheritance…

~ Ephesians 1:11 (NKJV)

Those who are “in Christ”, that is, those who repent, believe and embrace Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior have had promised to them a great and glorious inheritance. Though this anticipated inheritance contains many countless benefits and blessings, the greatest of them all is the eternal communion and fellowship we will enjoy with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

But let us not forget the very nature of an inheritance; it is only received after someone dies. First, Christ died for us (the Surety of our inheritance), and then, as we live and die in Him, we obtain that true treasure. It is an inheritance. It is not something we fully realize here and now. The blessedness of the Christian’s reward may never be completely realized this side of glory. Yet as an inheritance, promised by a loving God, it is waiting for the Faithful who die in Christ in this world, only to be raised with Him in the next.

~ apl