I like to think of Horatius Bonar as a tour guide as I read through the Bible, pointing out themes and insights I might have otherwise missed. Check out my full review of Light and Truth—Old Testament by clicking here.
“The elders [1 Chronicles 21:16]. They acknowledge the stroke and the sin: ‘It is the Lord.’ They clothe themselves in sackcloth, they fall upon their faces. So far as we know, they had not shared David’s sin, yet they at once place themselves by his side in confession and humiliation. David had sinned (v. 8), Israel had sinned (2 Samuel 24:1). They identify themselves with both. It is thus that we should take up a ruler’s sin, or a brother’s sin, or a nation’s sin; not blazoning it abroad in private gossip, or in the newspapers, but taking it on ourselves, and carrying it to God.”
“We do great injustice to the Old Testament saints and to their privileges, and no less so to the God who made them what they were, when we conceive of them as possessing an imperfect justification, or an imperfect and uncertain knowledge of their justification. Paul’s declaration was explicit on this point: ‘I know Whom I have believed’; and yet it was not a jot more explicit than that of Job: ‘I know that my Redeemer lives.’ When Paul said, ‘It is God that justifies, who is he that condemns?’ he was only speaking what Job had spoken in ages before: ‘I know that I shall be justified. Who is he that will plead with me?’” [Job 13:18-19]
“Everything in God’s character, has by the Cross of Christ been turned into a reason for trusting Him. The more man knows of Him the more he trusts. Trust is the natural and inseparable response of the soul to the divine revelation of the character of God. It is not what man sees in himself, of his good deeds or good feelings, of his graces, or his repentance, or his regeneration, or his faith; but what he sees in God, that calls out confidence.”
“It is with no distant, unheeding God that we have to do; but with that God who fixes the bounds of our habitation, who counts our hairs, who feeds the ravens, notes a sparrow’s death, clothes the lilies of the field. He is nearer to us than the nearest earthly object or being; more closely in contact with us than we are with one another.”
“We disjoined God from creation, and so see nothing in it of divine life and power. … The separation of God from His works is one of the awful features of human unbelief. How much more of Him should we know, were we to interpret His works aright. … These skies of His are not bent over us in beauty without a meaning. These seas of His do not roll for nothing. These flowers of His are not fragrant and fair for nothing. They do not say to us, ‘God is your enemy, He hates you’; but ‘God is your friend, He pities you, yearns over you, wishes to make you happy.’ How full a gospel does creation to preach to us, according to its kind and measure!”
Jerry Bridges’ book Transforming Grace is an amazing read! Check out my book review by clicking here.
“One of the best-kept secrets among Christians today is this: Jesus paid it all. I mean all. He not only purchased your forgiveness of sins and your ticket to heaven, He purchased every blessing and every answer to prayer you will ever receive. Every one of them—no exceptions.
“Why is this such a well-kept secret? For one thing, we are afraid of this truth. We are afraid to tell even ourselves that we don’t have to work anymore, the work is all done. We are afraid that if we really believe this, we will slack off in our Christian duties. But the deeper core issue is that we don’t really believe we are still bankrupt. Having come into God’s kingdom by grace alone solely on the merit of Another, we’re now trying to pay our own way by our performance. We declared only temporary bankruptcy; we are now trying to live by good works rather than by grace.”
“To be justified means more than to be declared ‘not guilty.’ It actually means to be declared righteous before God.”
“God not only blots our sins from His record, He also remembers them no more. This expression means He no longer holds them against us. The blotting out of our transgressions is a legal act. It is an official pardon from the Supreme Governor. The remembering them no more is a relational act. It is the giving up by an injured party of all sense of being offended or injured. It is a promise never to bring up, either to Himself or to you, your sins.”
“God’s reward is out of all proportion to our service and sacrifice.”
“God often does bless people who seem to us to be quite unworthy. But that is what grace is all about, because we are all unworthy.”
“We all want grace, but we cannot enjoy grace when there is an attitude of comparing.”
“The Bible is full of God’s promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in times of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory. Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ.”
“Our love for God, expressed through obedience to Him, is to be a response to His love, not a means of trying to earn it.”
“To fulfill God’s destiny for your life, you likely don’t have to do more; you have to do less. … Enjoy the Christmas season. Wrap the presents. Prepare your home in a festive way. Make memories with your family. But don’t let this Christmas pass without spending some time at Jesus’ feet. Long after everything else fades from this Christmas, worshiping Jesus is all that will truly last.” —Rick Warren
“Holidays in America have come to be regarded as entitlements. They’re all about us, seasons of diversion, distraction, self-indulgence, and time off work. Even the great religious celebrations of the national calendar—Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter—are regarded by most Americans as opportunities to get some good bargains and enjoy a little time for relaxation, not for spiritual reflection and renewal, but just for doing whatever we want. Sort of like the way most Christians observe the Lord’s Day.” —T.M. Moore
As we are celebrating the First Advent, J. Warner Wallace asks a great question: Why didn’t the Apostle Paul mention the virgin conception?
“I am convinced many Christians today are troubled for the same reason Asa was [2 Chronicles 16:1-9]. They have war in their souls because they have traded faith for self-reliance. But the fact is, there is no way a follower of Jesus can have faith in any other source and not be troubled.” —David Wilkerson
“People who are exercised and preoccupied with such things as how the star worked and how the Red Sea split and how the manna fell and how Jonah survived the fish and how the moon turns to blood are generally people who have what I call a mentality for the marginal. You do not see in them a deep cherishing of the great central things of the gospel—the holiness of God, the ugliness of sin, the helplessness of man, the death of Christ, justification by faith alone, the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the glory of Christ’s return and the final judgment. They always seem to be taking you down a sidetrack with a new article or book. There is little centered rejoicing.” —John Piper
“Whether one makes the observation light-heartedly or in all seriousness, one must observe that, when the male body unites for procreation with the female, the pleasure that goes along with it is understood to be in accordance with nature, but that when male joins with male, or female with female, it is outside the bounds of nature. This outrage was first done by people whose desire for pleasure was without self-control.” —Plato. This agrees with what the Bible says in Romans 1:26-27.
Lenny Esposito has some good advice for students to defend their Christian faith in the classroom.
Seth Godin has some insight on whining—“Before starting, a question: Will it help? Like holding a grudge, or like panicking, whining rarely helps. If anything, any of the three make it far less likely that you’ll make progress solving the problem that has presented itself. And, like knuckle cracking, it’s best enjoyed alone.”
[VIDEO] Bobby Conway asks Lenny Esposito how to handle the claim “The Bible has contradictions in it”—
“True revival can never take place without this kind of all-consuming hunger for God’s Word. Indeed, when God’s people grow weary of hearing His Word preached, a spiritual death begins—and the joy of the Lord departs.” —David Wilkerson
“The Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them. Whoever turns aside from this object, even though he wears himself out all his life in learning, he will never reach the knowledge of the truth.” —John Calvin
“Let men see that the world has changed, not you—that man’s opinions and man’s maxims have veered round to another quarter, but that you are still invincibly strong in the strength which trusting in God alone can confer.” —Charles Spurgeon
“The Missionary Spirit of God is ever restless. Where is it dark? Where is it hopeless? Where is there no church? Where are there no Christians? Where is the Father’s glory not known? Where are their tongues that blaspheme and knees refusing to bow to King Jesus? It is there that we must go, must stay, must live, and must die.” —Dick Brogden
“Have you ever looked up? Have you ever been hugged? Have you ever sat in front of a warm fire? Have you ever walked in the woods, sat by a lake, lain in a summer hammock? Have you ever drunk your favorite drink on a hot day or eaten anything good? Every desire is either a devout or a distorted enticement to the glory of heaven. You say you haven’t tasted God’s glory. I say, you have tasted the appetizers. Go on to the meal.” [Psalm 34:8] —John Piper
“Our Heavenly Father also exhorts us to be men. He wants you to be like Him. When He calls you to ‘be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect,’ He’s asking you to rise above your sinful tendencies to impure eyes, fanciful minds, and wandering hearts. His standard of purity doesn’t come naturally to you. He calls you to rise up, by the power of His indwelling presence, and be the man He created you to be.” —Steve Arterburn
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has great insight into what gives Americans their freedom. Check out this post on the United States Constitution.
[VIDEO] Dr. Bobby Conway answers a good question: Do Christians sin?
“May we have none of our own-manufactured graces about us. May we have nothing but that which is minted in Heaven, and is therefore made of the pure metal. May we have no grace, pray no prayer, do no works, serve God in nothing except as we depend upon His strength and receive His Spirit.” —Charles Spurgeon
“Above God, there are no higher courts. If God is the One Who acquits you—declares you righteous in His sight—no one can appeal, no one can call for a mistrial, no one can look for other counts against you. God’s sentence is final and total. So hear this, all who will believe on Jesus, and become united to Christ, and show yourself among the elect: God is the One who justifies you. Not a human judge. Not a great prophet. Not an archangel from heaven. But God, the Creator of the world and Owner of all things and Ruler of the universe and every molecule and person in it, God is the One Who justifies you [Romans 8:33].” —John Piper
Here is a very nice article about the En Gedi Youth Center, the organization for which I have the privilege of serving as the director.
“It is very possible that if we were more thoroughly Christians the world would more heartily detest us, and if we would cleave more closely to Christ we might expect to receive more slander, more abuse, less tolerance, and less favor from men.” —Charles Spurgeon
[VIDEO] Amazing time-lapse pictures of solar activity from NASA—
Some great reading from today…
“Ask yourself—Is God justified in my justification? Do I prove by the way I live and talk and do my work that God has made me holy?” —Oswald Chambers
Keep praying and speaking out for Meriam Ibrahim’s freedom. Sudan has imprisoned her and sentenced her to death because she is a (gasp!) Christian.
“The economy shrank for the first time in 58 years! Many of you, this has never happened in your life. The Drive-By Media, of course, is going to ignore this. Or, as the AP does here, say, “The setback is expected to be temporary with growth rebounding solidly since spring.’ Really? Well, every Drive-By news report I’ve read on the economy for the past six years has had the word ‘unexpected’ or ‘surprised’ in it, meaning everything they’ve reported has been a shock. They haven’t expected it. So it’s no big deal. Yeah, it shrank 3%. But that’s just expected to be temporary. … And so, for I don’t know what—the umpteenth or gazillionth time in the last six years—we are being told that prosperity is just around the corner. How long has AP been spreading this sunshine now? How long have ABC, NBC, CBS, the Washington Post, the New York Times been spreading this BS that prosperity is just around the corner—we’re poised for growth, waiting to break out—while the day-to-day reality is it’s worsening?” —Rush Limbaugh
Do you take vitamin supplements? This latest report says you should, and it says you shouldn’t.
Lower courts make a ruling on redefining marriage that is just flat-out wrong.
“Joy is increased by spreading it to others.” —Robert Murray McCheyne
“satan will try to bring upon you the most dreadful temptation or trial you have ever faced. He wants you to get bogged down in guilt, condemnation and self-examination. Dear saint, you have to arise in the Spirit and get your eyes off your circumstances and bondage. Do not try to figure it all out. Start praising, singing and trusting God—and He will take care of your deliverance.” —David Wilkerson
Alexander Solzhenitsyn tells us why countries fail: “Men have forgotten God.” Read more here.