Tag Archives: Cross

Something to Mediate On

“Christians must not lose sight of the truth that the eternal life we celebrate-the abundant life we have in Christ-comes at monumental cost. For us, the cross must be more than an ornament, symbol, or spire topping. It must serve as a constant reminder of the lengths to which God in Christ would go to save us. Such love and sheer grace deserve and demand our best in love, worship, and service.”

Taken from “Life Ventures, Bible Studies for Life, winter 2012-2013.)

We as Christians must never forget that our access to our Heavenly Father comes by way of His son, Jesus Christ, hanging on the cross, and shedding His blood for us.

From “Morning and Evening” by C. H. Spurgeon

“The forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.”
– Eph_1:7

Could there be a sweeter word in any language than that word “forgiveness,” when it sounds in a guilty sinner’s ear, like the silver notes of jubilee to the captive Israelite? Blessed, for ever blessed be that dear star of pardon which shines into the condemned cell, and gives the perishing a gleam of hope amid the midnight of despair! Can it be possible that sin, such sin as mine, can be forgiven, forgiven altogether, and for ever? Hell is my portion as a sinner-there is no possibility of my escaping from it while sin remains upon me-can the load of guilt be uplifted, the crimson stain removed? Can the adamantine stones of my prison-house ever be loosed from their mortices, or the doors be lifted from their hinges? Jesus tells me that I may yet be clear. For ever blessed be the revelation of atoning love which not only tells me that pardon is possible, but that it is secured to all who rest in Jesus. I have believed in the appointed propitiation, even Jesus crucified, and therefore my sins are at this moment, and for ever, forgiven by virtue of his substitutionary pains and death. What joy is this! What bliss to be a perfectly pardoned soul! My soul dedicates all her powers to him who of his own unpurchased love became my surety, and wrought out for me redemption through his blood. What riches of grace does free forgiveness exhibit! To forgive at all, to forgive fully, to forgive freely, to forgive for ever! Here is a constellation of wonders; and when I think of how great my sins were, how dear were the precious drops which cleansed me from them, and how gracious was the method by which pardon was sealed home to me, I am in a maze of wondering worshipping affection. I bow before the throne which absolves me, I clasp the cross which delivers me, I serve henceforth all my days the Incarnate God, through whom I am this night a pardoned soul.

From “Music For The Soul” by Alexander Maclaren

THE PARADOX OF LOVE’S MEASURE

Of His fulness we all received, and grace for grace. – Joh_1:16

It is the immeasurable measure, the boundless bounds and dimensions of the love of Christ, which fires the Apostle’s thoughts when writing to the Ephesian Church (Eph_3:17-19). Of course he had no separate idea in his mind attaching to each of these measures of magnitude, but he gathered them all together simply to express the one thought of the greatness of Christ’s love.

Depth and height are the same dimension measured from opposite ends. The one begins at the top and goes down, the other begins at the bottom and goes up, but the surface is the same in either case. So we have the three dimensions of a solid here – breadth, length, and depth.

And I suppose that I may venture to use these expressions with a somewhat different purpose from that for which the Apostle employs them; and to see in each of them a separate and blessed aspect of the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

And that love which thus towers above us, and gleams the summit and the apex of the universe, like the shining cross on the top of some lofty cathedral spire, does not gleam there above us inaccessible, nor lie before us like some pathless precipice, up which nothing that has not wings can ever hope to rise; but the height of the love of Christ is a hospitable height, which can be scaled by us. Nay, rather, that heaven of love, which is “higher than our thoughts,” bends down, as by a kind of optical delusion the physical heaven seems to do, towards each of us, only with this blessed difference, that in the natural world the place where heaven touches earth is always the furthest point of distance from us; and in the spiritual world, the place where heaven stoops to me is always right over my head, and the nearest possible point to me. He has come to lift us to Himself. And this is the height of His love, that it bears us up, if we will, up and up to sit upon that throne where He Himself is enthroned.

So round about us all, as some sunny tropical sea may embosom in its violet waves a multitude of luxuriant and happy islets, so all of us, islanded on our little individual lives, lie in that great ocean of love, all the dimensions of which are immeasurable, and which stretches above, beneath, around, shoreless, tideless, bottomless, endless.

But remember! this ocean of love you can shut out of your lives. It is possible to plunge a jar into mid-Atlantic, further than soundings have ever descended, and to bring it up on deck as dry inside as if it had been lying on an oven. It is possible for us to live and move and have our being in that sea of love, and never to have got one drop of its richest gifts into our hearts or our lives. Open your heart for Him to come in by humble faith in His great sacrifice for you. For if Christ dwell in your heart by faith, then, and only then, will experience be your guide; and you will be able to comprehend the boundless greatness, the endless duration, the absolute perfection, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,

 

From “Evening Thoughts” by Winslow

“And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” Luk_9:23-24

The life of our adorable Lord was a life of continuous trial. From the moment He entered our world He became leagued with suffering; He identified Himself with it in its almost endless forms. He seemed to have been born with a tear in His eye, with a shade of sadness on His brow. He was prophesied as “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” And, from the moment He touched the horizon of our earth, from that moment His sufferings commenced. Not a smile lighted up His benign countenance from the time of His advent to His departure. He came not to indulge in a life of tranquility and repose; He came not to quaff the cup of earthly or of Divine sweets-for even this last was denied Him in the hour of His lingering agony on the cross. He came to suffer-He came to bear the curse-He came to drain the deep cup of wrath, to weep, to bleed, to die. Our Savior was a cross-bearing Savior: our Lord was a suffering Lord. And was it to be expected that they who had linked their destinies with His, who had avowed themselves His disciples and followers, should walk in a path diverse from their Lord’s? He Himself speaks of the incongruity of such a division of interests: “The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord.” There can be no true following of Christ as our example, if we lose sight of Him as a suffering Christ-a cross-bearing Savior. There must be fellowship with Him in His sufferings. In order to enter fully and sympathetically into the afflictions of His people, He stooped to a body of suffering: in like manner, in order to have sympathy with Christ in His sorrows, we must, in some degree tread the path He trod. Here is one reason why He ordained, that along this rugged path His saints should all journey. They must be like their Lord; they are one with Him: and this oneness can only exist where there is mutual sympathy. The church must be a cross- bearing church; it must be an afflicted church. Its great and glorious Head sought not, and found not, repose here: this was not His rest. He turned His back upon the pleasures, the riches, the luxuries, and even the common comforts of this world, preferring a life of obscurity, penury, and suffering. His very submission seemed to impart dignity to suffering, elevation to poverty, and to invest with an air of holy sanctity a life of obscurity, need, and trial.

We have seen, then, that our blessed Lord sanctified, by His own submission, a life of suffering; and that all His followers, if they would resemble Him, must have fellowship with Him in His sufferings. The apostle Paul seems to regard this in the light of a privilege. “For unto you,” he says, “it is given in behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” It seems, too, to be regarded as a part of their calling. “For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” Happy will be that afflicted child of God, who is led to view his Father’s discipline in the light of a privilege. To drink of the cup that Christ drank of-to bear any part of the cross that He bore-to tread in any measure the path that He trod, is a privilege indeed. This is a distinction which angels have never attained. They know not the honor of suffering with Christ, of being made conformable to His death. It is peculiar to the believer in Jesus-it is his privilege, his calling.

From “Morning and Evening” by C. H. Spurgeon

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith.”  – Eph_3:17

Beyond measure it is desirable that we, as believers, should have the person of Jesus constantly before us, to inflame our love towards him, and to increase our knowledge of him. I would to God that my readers were all entered as diligent scholars in Jesus’ college, students of Corpus Christi, or the body of Christ, resolved to attain unto a good degree in the learning of the cross. But to have Jesus ever near, the heart must be full of him, welling up with his love, even to overrunning; hence the apostle prays “that Christ may dwell in your hearts.” See how near he would have Jesus to be! You cannot get a subject closer to you than to have it in the heart itself. “That he may dwell”; not that he may call upon you sometimes, as a casual visitor enters into a house and tarries for a night, but that he may dwell; that Jesus may become the Lord and Tenant of your inmost being, never more to go out.

Observe the words-that he may dwell in your heart, that best room of the house of manhood; not in your thoughts alone, but in your affections; not merely in the mind’s meditations, but in the heart’s emotions. We should pant after love to Christ of a most abiding character, not a love that flames up and then dies out into the darkness of a few embers, but a constant flame, fed by sacred fuel, like the fire upon the altar which never went out. This cannot be accomplished except by faith. Faith must be strong, or love will not be fervent; the root of the flower must be healthy, or we cannot expect the bloom to be sweet. Faith is the lily’s root, and love is the lily’s bloom. Now, reader, Jesus cannot be in your heart’s love except you have a firm hold of him by your heart’s faith; and, therefore, pray that you may always trust Christ in order that you may always love him. If love be cold, be sure that faith is drooping.

My Prayer to the Father, August 11, 2012

Heavenly Father
I come before You, Father
Knowing and acknowledging
That You are the Supreme God;
The Eternal God.
You, Father are the Creator
And the Sustainer of all Life.
You, Father are the Author of
Every good and pleasing thing
Which we have ever known,
Now know,
And will know in
Your Eternal Kingdom.

Heavenly Father
It is with gladness of heart that
I come before Your throne now.
Glad, Father, not because of
Anything I have done
Or will do,
But because of what
You have done for me.
You, Father have adopted me,
Not because of who I am,
But because of who
Your Son, Jesus, is.

Heavenly Father
It is because I know and feel
This gladness of heart
That I come to You with
My request tonight.
Father I ask You to
Break my heart.
Break my heart, and
Help me to see with Your eyes.
So that I might
Be able to see this world
I live in with all it’s inhabitants
In the way that You do.
Help me to see
As You see, and to feel
The pain You must feel
Seeing Your people
In the midst of their sin.
Break my heart, Father,
So that I might cry tears,
And pray,
And act,
And do all I can to
Show them
What becomes of
Their sinfulness.

Heavenly Father
Do not let me stand idly by
And watch, and
Not say a word, or
Lift a hand
When I see someone
In error.
Let me not be afraid
To raise my voice,
To use my feet and hands,
My heart and mind,
To at all times
And in all places
Proclaim the name of
Jesus Christ,
Lord of lords,
And King of kings
To all who face me,
And stand against me.

Heavenly Father
Let me declare Your love
In the face of anger;
Let me declare
Your mercy and compassion
On those undeserving;
Let me declare
Your strength and courage
In the face of adversity;
Let me declare
In each and every situation
To every single person
I meet
No matter what
They do or say
What You have given to me.

Heavenly Father
Please, don’t just break
My heart.
Break the hearts of
All Your children;
Break the heart of
Every child who calls upon
Your son, Jesus, and
Who places their
Faith and trust in Him.
Father, please make them see
That by offering
excuses for others,
By justifying what is evil,
By not confronting what is false,
By not standing for Your truth
That they are encouraging
And even promoting
The things that
Break Your heart.

Heavenly Father
Let me be broken hearted;
Let me be spurred to action
To involvement
To making a difference
To doing all
You call upon all Your children
To do.
Let me truly take up my cross
And follow after Him
Who took my sins
Upon Himself.
Let me, Father, not do less
Than He.

In Jesus name, I pray.
Amen.

From “Morning Thoughts” by Winslow

A good reminder for those of us who are burdened with the past…..

” And if any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” John 2:1

The work of our Lord as Priest was two-fold, atonement and intercession. The one He accomplished upon the cross, the other He now transacts upon the throne. “When He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.” The high priest, under the law, after that he had slain the sacrifice, took the blood, and, passing within the veil, sprinkled it on the mercy-seat, so making intercession for the people. “The Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing.” “But, Christ being come, an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

And what is He now doing? Presenting His own blood each moment before the mercy-seat on behalf of His redeemed people! “He ever lives to make intercession for us.” Oh, do not forget this, dear saint of God! This is spoken for the comfort of the mourners in Zion-for those who, knowing the plague of their own hearts, and deploring its constant tendency to outbreak, are humbled in the dust with deep godly sorrow. Look up! Does sin plead loudly against you? the blood of Jesus pleads louder for you. Do your backslidings, and rebellions, and iniquities, committed against so much light and love, call for vengeance? the blood of Jesus “speaks better things.” Does Satan stand at your right hand to accuse you? your Advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for you. All hail! you mourning souls! you that smite on the breast, you broken-hearted, you contrite ones! “who is he that condemns! It is Christ who died, yes rather, who is risen again; who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Jesus is a glorious and a successful Advocate. He has never lost a cause entrusted to His advocacy, and never will. He pleads powerfully, He pleads eloquently, He pleads prevalently, because He pleads in behalf of a people unspeakably dear to His heart, for whom He “loved not His own life unto the death,” and presses His suit, on the ground of His own most precious blood and accepted person, and with His father and their Father, His God and their God.