Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts

Jesus, Thou Joy of loving hearts,
Thou Fount of life, Thou Light of men,
From the best bliss that earth imparts,
We turn unfilled to Thee again.

We taste Thee, O Thou living Bread,
And long to feast upon Thee still;
We drink of Thee, the Fountain-head,
And thirst our souls from Thee to fill!

Our restless spirits yearn for Thee,
Where’er our changeful lot is cast;
Glad when Thy gracious smile we see,
Blest, when our faith can hold Thee fast.

O Lord, be Thou our strength and stay!
Make all our moments calm and bright,
Chase all dark thoughts of sin away,
Shed o’er us here Thy holy light.

~ Bernard of Clairvaux

He Is Like A Rose

You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then he is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, a rock rising above the storm.

~ Robert Murray M’Cheyne

But To Serve

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

~ Mark 10:45 (NKJV)

The life and ministry of the Lord Jesus was to serve others. Jesus came to serve, and to be an example of what it means to live a life serving, loving and helping others. Though Jesus was, and is, God in heaven, in coming to the earth, He took on the form of a servant. He came not with pomp and glory, but as a man in humble life. He practiced self-denial on their account, and for them was about to lay down his life.

Jesus came to us in the form of a servant in order not only to show us the importance of serving others, but also ultimately to give His life for us – the greatest act of sacrifice and servitude. We have to choose this day whom we are going to serve. The Lord or ourselves? Jesus wants us to take on the heart of the servant. To find fulfillment, peace and joy in serving others just as He did during this ministry. Pray to the Lord to grant you a servant’s heart. A pure desire to see the needs of others even above your own. To think and esteem others before yourself. To humble yourself before God and man that you might better others through your acts of service. For, in the final analysis, when we really let our heart dwell upon it, is this not what Christ has already done for you?

~ apl

Purpose In Parables

The basic assumption which all expositors seem anxious to secure is certainly right, namely, that the ultimate purpose of a parable is to help and not hinder the apprehension of the truth. But beyond this, we may say that it belongs to the very nature of revelation that the capacity to receive it depends upon the prior surrender and obedience of the will… The disciples had so surrendered to the sovereignty of Jesus and could therefore know. If temporarily a parable concealed the truths of the kingdom from the outsider on the intellectual plane, it was only in order that moral conviction might first be secured with a view to intellectual enlightenment afterwards. There are many who, through intellectual pride, would like to have it otherwise, but it cannot be.

~ C. E. Graham Swift (1949- )

Search For Significance

The search for your significance is over once you know the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says He is our Alpha and Omega, beginning and end. He is our all in all. We don’t need to look any further for our purpose, value, self-worth, than Christ to find our significance. For to have Christ is to have everything, and to not have Him is to have nothing. The significance of the Christian is not found in the thoughts, words and opinions of others. Nor is our true significance even found in our own opinion of our self. Rather, the true purpose and significance of the individual is found in Jesus and in Him alone.

~ apl

Always Praise Him

Jesus has many who love his kingdom in heaven, but few who bear his cross. He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering. He finds many to share his feast, but few his fasting. All desire to rejoice with him, but few are willing to suffer for his sake. Many follow Jesus to the breaking of bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of his passion. Many admire the miracles but few follow him to the humiliation of his cross. Many love Jesus as long as no hardship touches them… They who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for the sake of the comfort for themselves, bless Him in every trial and anguish of heart, no less than in the greatest joy. And were He never willing to bestow comfort on them, they would still always praise Him and give Him thanks.

~ Thomas a’ Kempis (1380-1471)

The Ultimate Question

"Who do you say that I am?" ~ Matt. 16:15

From ancient philosophers to modern scholars, people have delved into timeless questions. What are the origins of the universe? Is there really any such thing as good and evil? Where did man come from? What is the meaning of life? Mankind has relentlessly prodded and plied on these ubiquitous questions with little to no avail for centuries on end.

Yet, there is only one question that truly matters. It is the one question every person must eventually face. This crucial question draws a spiritual line in the sand which divides and defines the whole human race. It is a question of reckoning. This essential question confronts the man, challenges the mind and pierces the very heart and soul.

Jesus puts this question to everyone who ever lives, “Who do you say that I am?” And to be sure, there are as many opinions about who Jesus was and is, as there are about the origins of the universe. In Jesus’ own day, He was likened to Elijah and Jeremiah. Some thought He was John the Baptist. Yet, all of these answers fall short of the glorious truth.

Peter, the Apostle, replies to our Lord’s question saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” This, beloved reader, is the only satisfactory answer. None other will do. Jesus is the Christ, or He is nothing. And while foolish men may continue their search for the meaning of life, Jesus is Life. And He is asking you, “Who do you say that I am?” May your answer to this ultimate question echo Peter’s own, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God”.