“What skill doth every part of our [the preacher’s] work require! – and of how much moment is every part! To preach a sermon, I think, is not the hardest part; and yet what skill is necessary to make the truth plain; to convince the hearers, to let irresistible light in to their consciences, and to keep it there, and drive all home; to screw the truth into their minds, and work Christ into their affections; to meet every objection, and clearly to resolve it; to drive sinners to a stand, and make them see that there is no hope, but that they must unavoidably either be converted or condemned – and to do all this, as regards language and manner, as beseems our work, and yet as is most suitable to the capacities of our hearers. This, and a great deal more that should be done in every sermon, must surely require a great deal of holy skill.”
~ Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
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)
“In trial and weakness and trouble, He seeks to bring us low, until we learn that His grace is all, and to take pleasure in the very thing that brings us and keeps us low. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. His presence filling and satisfying our emptiness, becomes the secret of humility that need never fail. The humble man has learned the secret of abiding gladness. The weaker he feels, the lower he sinks, and the greater his humiliations appear, the more power and the presence of Christ are his portion.”
~ Andrew Murray
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
~ Romans 5:1 (NKJV)
May we never minimize so great a peace! May we never discount what it means to be at peace with God. We may long for peace here and now, but may we ever so much long for peace in eternity. May we remember how far we have fallen away from the grace and favor of God and how far He has come to turn away His great wrath and grant us His peace. We now have the privilege of serving the Price of Peace. He who declares to the storms “Peace, be still”. He, who is Jesus Christ, and brings to us this peace which Scripture describes as surpassing our understanding. God’s peace does surpass our understanding, doesn’t it? Who can comprehend such mercy? Such love? That the sovereign and eternal God of heaven and earth, He who is holy, blameless and pure – He who the Bible says is comprised of unapproachable light – would justify poor sinners through the sacrifice of His own Son – and reconcile, that is join together, His lowly creatures back to Himself through and by His eternal and everlasting peace.
“I will not leave you comfortless. I will come to you.”
~ John 14:18
If at any time a soul be brought into a state of orphanage, and seem to itself separated from all grace and power and hope; let it lay hold of this word. It may have been fitting that it should have a taste of the misery of being without Christ, under a sense of the need of Christ; but a taste suffices: ” I will come unto you,” says Jesus.
~ George Bowen, Daily Meditations
The cross of Jesus displays the most awful exhibition of God’s hatred of sin and at the same time the most august manifestation of His readiness to pardon it. Pardon, full and free, is written out in every drop of blood that is seen, is proclaimed in every groan that is heard, and shines in the very prodigy of mercy that closes the solemn scene upon the cross. O blessed door of return, open and never shut, to the wanderer from God! How glorious, how free, how accessible! Here the sinful, the vile, the guilty, the unworthy, the poor, the penniless, may come. Here too the weary spirit may bring its burden, the broken spirit its sorrow, the guilty spirit its sin, the backsliding spirit its wandering. All are welcome here.
~ Octavius Winslow (1808-1878)
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him. Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life.
~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945)