Category Archives: faith

Zion’s Pilgrim

“A captive here, and far from home,
For Zion’s sacred courts I sigh:
“There the ransomed nations come,
And see the Savior ‘eye to eye.’

“While here, I walk on hostile ground;
The few that I can call my friends
Are, like myself, with fetters bound,
And weariness my path attends.

“But we shall soon behold the day
When Zion’s children shall return;
Our sorrows then shall flee away,
And we shall never, never mourn.

“The hope that such a day will come
Makes e’en the captive’s portion sweet;
Though now we’re distant far from home
In Zion soon we all shall meet.”

Help Heavenward, by Octavius Winslow

HT Matthew Blair

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Posted by on December 21, 2010 in faith, heaven, new creation, perseverance, quotes


What is Satan’s Strategy?

It is Satan’s great effort to keep you from Jesus. By holding up to your view a false picture of His character, from which everything loving, winning, inviting, and attractive is excluded, by suggesting wrong views of His work, in which everything gloomy, contracted, and repulsive is foisted upon the mind; by assailing the atonement, questioning the compassion, and limiting the grace of Christ, he would persuade you that in that heart which bled on Calvary there is no room for you, and that upon that work which received the Father’s seal there is not breadth sufficient for you to stand. All his endeavors are directed, and all his assaults are shaped, with a view to keep your soul back from Christ. It is thus he seeks to vent his wrath upon the Savior, and his malignity upon you.
–Octavius Winslow, Morning Thoughts, August 18


Jesus Prayed for You Today

One of the most loving things we can do for each other is to pray for each other–to ask our Heavenly Father to act powerfully in the midst of our sorrows and tears, our pain and our fears. Oftentimes we mean well and end up saying something like, “I’ll be sure to pray for you.” And all too often..we simply forget to pray. Better yet is when we pray right then and there for our brother or sister!

Don’t you feel loved and cared for when you know that  your friends are praying for you?!

But there’s something even greater. SomeOne greater! Someone who never stops praying for  God’s children, for you, for me. Hebrews 7:25 says that Jesus prayed for you today, yesterday, and will pray for you tomorrow. Even when you and I forget to pray for each other, Jesus doesn’t forget. Even when you and I pray for each other once or twice or even for a few weeks, Jesus never stops praying for us! Let these words sink into your soul, let them be an anchor for your drifting heart:

Consequently, [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.–Hebrews 7:25

For the past year I’ve been regularly preaching this implication of the gospel to my heart–because Jesus died the death that I deserved I can draw near to God. Because on the cross Jesus was forsaken by God, I’ve been adopted by God and can talk to him like as my Father. As the final sacrifice, Jesus took God’s wrath and I got God’s mercy. As the Great, Resurrected and Exalted High Priest, Jesus stands between me and God and intercedes for me…when I sin, when I doubt God’s promises. Today! Yesterday! Tomorrow! Forever!

So when you tell someone you’ll be praying for them and even after you do pray for them, remind them “And don’t forget, Jesus has been praying for you, he is praying for you, and he will be praying for you!”

“Jesus is our master in prayer; he is also our companion in prayer. He says to us, ‘I’ll pray for you …’ — and does it. His promise to pray for us is not lost or overlooked in a vast heavenly clutter of petitions and intercessions, confessions and thanksgivings, ascending in a cloud of incense to his altar. It defeats our imagination to understand how this takes place, but we have it on good authority that it does.

Jesus prays. He is praying for us right now. He was praying for us yesterday. He will be praying for us tonight as we sleep and tomorrow morning as we wake up. Jesus praying for us is a current event.

You don’t think you know how to pray? Yes, there is much to learn; meanwhile Jesus is praying for you. You don’t feel like praying? Relax, feelings come and go; meanwhile Jesus is praying for you. You don’t have time to pray? Jesus doesn’t mind waiting; meanwhile he has plenty of time to pray for you.”

—Eugene Peterson, Tell It Slant: A Conversation on the Language of Jesus in His Stories and Prayers (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008), 163-64

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Posted by on April 23, 2009 in faith, gospel, prayer, quotes, suffering


Luther’s Advice on Bible Reading

“In truth you cannot read too much in Scriptures;
and what you read you cannot read too carefully,
and what you read carefully you cannot understand too well,
and what you understand well you cannot teach too well,
and what you teach well you cannot live too well.”

Martin Luther, WA 53, 218; emphasis mine.

HT: Joshua Harris

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Posted by on April 22, 2009 in bible, faith, preaching, quotes



I posed this question to my church family, here.

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Posted by on January 30, 2009 in biblical theology, Christianity, faith


Owen and Preaching the Gospel to Your…Drooping Heart

Last time I posted some reflections on John Owen’s advice on preaching the gospel to your lust. His remedy is so bizarre and out of place in our self-help, “you can do it” time. Rather than excusing our sinful desires away or advocating some blame game, Owen urges us to interrogate our soul with the gospel, not for relief, but for further conviction of guilt. By doing this we will know our sin for what it really is, and by God’s grace, be sickened by its bitterness.  If we are to preach the gospel to our souls, then we must look into the eyes of the One we have pierced. This is the call, or conviciton, of the gospel.

But what do we then preach to our soul that is now distraught by its sin, weighed down its guilt, ashamed of its mockery of God’s grace and love? Owen’s strategy is constant–bring your drooping heart…to the gospel! His remedy is singular and steadfast–“set faith at work on Christ for the killing of [our] sin.” He doesn’t buy into a 50/50 gospel. No! Owen realizes that although we must fight against sin and for joy, we can only do so because of the superior promises of God that are ours because of Jesus and through the Spirit. As we set our faith on the promises of God instead of the promises of our lust, we will see that “His blood is the great sovereign remedy for sin-sick souls. Live in this, and you will die a conqueror; yea, and you will, through the good providence of God, live to see your lust dead at your feet” (p. 132). This is the comfort of the gospel. Owen reminds us that the gospel exposes our sin is the same gospel that transforms the sinner, and it is this gospel that we must preach to our souls every day.

Let, then, your soul by faith be exercised with such thoughts and apprehensions as these: I am a poor, weak creature; unstable as water, I cannot excel. This corruption is too hard for me, and is at the very door of ruining my soul; and what to do I know not. My soul is become as parched ground, and a habitation of dragons. I have made promises and broken them; vows and engagements have been as a thing of naught. Many persuasions have I had that I had got the victory and should be delivered, but I am deceived; so that I plainly see, that without some eminent succor and assistance, I am lost, and shall be prevailed on to an utter relinquishment of God. But yet, though this be my state and condition, let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and the feeble knees be strengthened. Behold, the Lord Christ, that has all fullness of grace in his heart [Matt. 28:18], he is able to slay all these his enemies. There is sufficient provision in him for my relief and assistance. He can take my drooping, dying soul and make me more than a conqueror [Rom. 8:37].

“Why do you say, O my soul, My way is hid from the
Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God?
Have you not known, have you not heart, that the ever-
lasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth,
faints not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his
understanding. He gives power to the Faint; and to them
that have no might he increases strength. Even the youths
shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run,
and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint”
(Isa. 40:27-31).

He can make the “dry, parched ground of my soul to become a pool, and my thirsty, barren heart as springs of water”; yea, he can make this “habitation of dragons,” this heart, so full of abominable lusts and fiery temptations, to be a place for “grass” and fruit to himself (Isa. 35:7).

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Posted by on January 1, 2009 in faith, gospel, quotes, sin


Jesus Is Stronger

One of my favorite blogs is Of First Importance. Every daily quote challenges me to trust that the gospel really is good news! I was really encouraged by today’s and I think that you will be too, especially in light of all the temptations to doubt God’s goodness for us in Jesus.

“Ready for some good news? . . .

Jesus Christ is stronger!

Stronger than my fears about the future or my shame over a past that cannot be altered though I wish so much I could do some things differently.

Stronger than my tired prayers with well-worn phrases and weary pleas.

Stronger than my need to know now, and have the trial terminated.

Stronger than the enemy of my soul who would discourage me with my own failings and disillusion me with the faults of others.

Such a simple truth—Jesus Christ is Stronger.Stronger than what,’ you ask? Stronger than whatever would cause you doubt or discouragement today.”

—James McDonald, “Jesus Christ is Stronger”

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Posted by on October 30, 2008 in Christianity, faith, gospel, quotes