By His stripes we are healed!

Isaiah 53:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Who has believed our report?
And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
2 For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant,
And as a root out of dry ground.
He has no form or comeliness;
And when we see Him,
There is no beauty that we should desire Him.
3 He is despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him;
He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

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Shuffle on over to Danny’s blog…

… subscribe, and you’ll be entered into a contest to win a free iPod Shuffle!  See here for details.  But don’t just do that – Danny has a lot of thought-provoking and challenging things to say over on his blog, so do some reading while you’re over there!

“Behold, I make all things new!”

OFI has a great quote from Spurgeon here.   It’s about finding your joy in Christ, the only source of all lasting joy.  Note that I’m not saying that you can’t find joy in things here on earth… Far from it.  You can find a short-lived joy in the things of the world, which do not satisfy (see Ecclesiastes, or any believer whom God has chastened because of their love for the things of this world).  You can also find real joy in things received from Christ while on this earth – such as your spouse – things received from and blessed by Him. 

If you haven’t already, may you begin to find lasting joy in Christ this year!  It is worth all that you have and are in exchange.

Finished! (Until I start again…)

I finished reading through the  Bible this morning, completing my RttBiaY program.  I know I haven’t been posting a lot about my reading lately – not that I’ve been posting a lot lately, period!  (Perhaps I’ll have some time to finish a few of the 10 or so unfinished posts which I started and never got around to finishing over the past 6 months… Some of those are about verses or passages which I had come across during my RttBiaY reading.)

But I’m excited to have finally done what I’ve set out to do many times over the years – read straight through from Genesis to Revelation!  It was a very rewarding exercise – one I hope to do many more times in the future.  I’m not sure if I’ll start again right away, or spend some more in-depth time in a few books which I decided I wanted to study some more – or perhaps both.  We’ll see.

It was great to see for myself the arc of the Biblical narrative from beginning to end.   Of course, growing up in the church, going to Christian jr/sr high schools, attending or leading dozens of Bible studies, and doing all sorts of personal study (other than reading the Bible from cover to cover), I have always “known” that the Bible is consistent in its presentation of man’s condition and his need for a solution to the problem of sin which is external to himself – in other words, the focus of the Bible is Jesus Christ.  The Old Testament looks forward to Jesus Christ, and the New Testament reveals His life, death, resurrection, and the resulting freedom from sin and eternal death, sin’s penalty, which we can have in Jesus Christ.  Reading the Bible from beginning to end, however, gives one a better grasp on exactly how consistent the Bible is in this respect. It also shows all the more clearly how patient God is with His people (both Israel and the Church) — and how fickle His people can be.  And it shows all the more, with painful clarity, how much God hates sin.

But thanks be to God, for He has provided us with a perfect, spotless substitute!  A beautiful Savior, whose birth we are about to celebrate.  The older I get, and the more that I see how attached my heart can still be to the things of this world, or just to my own selfish desires – the more I appreciate the free gift of salvation which God had in mind before the foundation of the world, the gift long pointed to in the Old Testament which began life in a lowly manger some 2000 years ago – and which God also planned to send to the cross for your sins and for mine.

Do you know this Savior?  He alone can truly and permanently satisfy the deepest desire of your heart.

Gospel-Driven Sanctification

I haven’t read all of the articles here (there are quite a few!), but the ones I’ve read are excellent: Gospel-Driven Sanctification by Jerry Bridges, The Difference Between Legal and Gospel Mortification by Ralph Erskine, and The Anatomy of Backsliding, which is one of John Piper’s sermons (see the link to “Sanctification and Growth”).

Here’s the quote from Sinclair Ferguson that introduces these articles:

This first thing to remember, of course, is that we must never separate the benefits (regeneration, justification, sanctification) from the Benefactor (Jesus Christ). The Christians who are most focused on their own spirituality may give the impression of being the most spiritual … but from the New Testament’s point of view, those who have almost forgotten about their own spirituality because their focus is so exclusively on their union with Jesus Christ and what He has accomplished are those who are growing and exhibiting fruitfulness. Historically speaking, whenever the piety of a particular group is focused on OUR spirituality that piety will eventually exhaust itself on its own resources. Only where our piety forgets about ourself and focuses on Jesus Christ will our piety nourished by the ongoing resources the Spirit brings to us from the source of all true piety, our Lord Jesus Christ.
– Sinclair Ferguson

Hat tip to Bob Anderson at WHCC for the pointer to Gospel-Driven Sanctification by Jerry Bridges, which resulted in my finding the collection of articles!

Does God Always Answer Prayer?

While looking for another of A.W. Tozer’s works online, I came across this essay called “Does God Always Answer Prayer?” from Man: The Dwelling Place of God. Tozer didn’t belong to the “God answers: yes, no, or here’s something else” school of thought with regard to prayer.

What do you think?

Nearness Is Likeness

I finally started reading Tozer recently. I’ve wanted to read some of his books for a long time – so when I found an old copy of The Best of A.W. Tozer earlier this year, I figured that would be a great place to start. Let me tell you – it is! It’s a compilation of 52 chapters (drawn from a dozen of Tozer’s books) which Warren Wiersbe put together. If I can find some more time, I’ll post some more quotes sometime soon; for now, here’s some of Nearness Is Likeness: Continue reading