“We see here, dear brethren, in being told to remember Jesus [and his resurrection] that there is hope even in our hopelessness.
When are things most hopeless in a man? Why, when he is dead! Do you know what it is to come down to that, so far as your inward weakness is concerned? I do. At times it seems to be that all my joy is buried like a dead thing, and all my present usefulness and all my hope of being useful in the future are coffined and laid underground like a corpse. In the anguish of my spirit, and the desolation of my heart, I could count it better to die than to live.
You say it should not be so. I grant you it should not be so, but so it is. Many things happen within the minds of poor mortals which should not happen; if we had more courage and more faith they would not happen.
Ay, but when we go down, down, down, is it not a blessed thing that Jesus Christ of the seed of David died, and was raised from the dead? If I sink right down among the dead men yet will I hold to this blessed hope, that as Jesus rose again from the dead, so also shall my joy, my usefulness, my hope, my spirit rise.
‘Thou, which hast showed us great and sore troubles, shalt quicken us again, and bring us up from the lowest depths of the earth’ (Ps. 71:20).
As we prepare our hearts this Holy Week I am grateful for these resources from our local church pastors:
If you take a survey among Christians and Non-Christians on what is the most important holiday for the Christian, the majority will affirm that it is Easter. But have you ever had the feeling that you just didn’t properly celebrate Easter because you let it sneak up on you? In more liturgical traditions, this hasn’t always been the case. For the last 1700 years many parts of the church have given attention to what’s called “Holy Week”. This is the week dedicated to remembering the last week of Jesus’ life, from Palm Sunday to Maunday Thursday to Good Friday to Resurrection Sunday.
We want to encourage you to not let Easter sneak up on you this year. To that end, here are some suggestions for Holy Week, along with a few resources to assist you:
Read the events of Holy Week in the gospels.
The most important way to prepare ourselves for Easter is through reading and meditating on Scripture. lists the events of Jesus’ final week along with the gospel texts that record them. This is ideal for helping one read through the relevant gospel passages during Holy Week.
Read the entire post…
“When we think of Christ dying on the cross we are shown the lengths to which God’s love goes in order to win us back to himself. We would almost think that God loved us more than he loves his Son! We cannot measure such love by any other standard. He is saying to us: I love you this much.
The cross is the heart of the gospel. It makes the gospel good news: Christ died for us. He has stood in our place before God’s judgment seat. He has borne our sins. God has done something on the cross which we could never do for ourselves. But God does something to us as well as for us through the cross. He persuades us that he loves us.”
As Christians, our thanksgivings are not generic expressions of happiness for the simple pleasures of life. Our gratitude has one main object, from which all our blessings flow: the cross of Jesus Christ. When we lose sight of the cross, we quickly fall into complaining and fretting, even at Thanksgiving. If you need help to fix your eyes on Christ today, if you need a fresh reminder of our Savior who came to seek and save the lost, let me encourage you to listen to this sermon as you make your holiday preparations. Allow fresh gratitude for the gospel to transform your Thanksgiving Day.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
When we think about the Great Commission, we automatically think evangelism, missions, reaching the nations, etc. And rightly so. But we often forget the tail end of Jesus’ words to his apostles just before the ascension. We forget about the obedience part.
The end result of the preaching of the glorious gospel to all the nations is individual Christians observing all that God has commanded. The Great Commission doesn’t end with baptism, but with obedience.
This means that as mothers, when we teach our children to obey, we are doing Great Commission work. It doesn’t always feel “great” when we are disciplining our two-year-old for a tantrum or instructing our ten-year-old to be respectful. But our Savior has commissioned this work. We are fulfilling his call as we seek to raise disciples of Jesus Christ.
We must ground all our teaching of obedience in the gospel, and we must root our own hearts there too as we remember that only God can regenerate our child’s heart. But when we remember the significance of our Great Commission calling, it will transform how we discipline and instruct our children.
So this Monday, let’s lift our eyes above the difficulties of motherhood for a moment and remember: Teaching our children to obey is a great work, commissioned by a great Savior. And let’s rest and rejoice in the Great Commission promise: “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (v. 20).
My son Jude asks lots of questions. As I understand it, this is common for children who have been adopted when they are older, and I totally get it. New country. New language. New parents. I would ask a lot of questions too.
I am eager to answer Jude’s questions about his new world—as best I can anyway. Occasionally he stumps me with questions about how stuff works (“I haven’t a clue, Jude, ask your Dad!”) or like the other day when he asked me why people put up “yucky” Halloween decorations: “Honestly, Jude, that’s a great question, son, but I have never been able to understand that myself!”
As much as we want to satisfy Jude’s curiosity about his new life, we are also trying to teach him that he can trust us, his parents, to faithfully meet his needs. So sometimes, when he asks the same question over and over again, or asks about insignificant details he’ll find out in a few minutes anyway, I’ll provide the answer my parents often gave to me: “You’ll see.”
“Mommy what’s for dinner?”
“Mommy, what store are we going to next?”
“Mommy, how many more minutes until break time?”
We have worked really hard to be consistent and predictable in our parenting; so while imperfect for sure, Jude knows by now that we will always feed him dinner, we will always come home after going out, and we will (almost) always take a break from school in the mid-morning.
But as I seek to teach Jude that he can trust us, I have begun to see, sadly, how little I sometimes trust my Savior. Jude’s incessant questioning is understandable for an eight-year-old boy nine months into a new life, but so often I ply my Heavenly Father with anxious questions, having nothing like Jude’s excuse.
“What are you doing next, Lord?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“When will this be over?”
I don’t just ask these questions once. I ask them over and over and over. And more often than not, God replies with the same answer I give Jude: “You’ll see.”
To be honest, I don’t always like that answer any more than Jude does. And yet when I grumble about God’s response, I fail to see the massive mercy behind it. “You’ll see” is a promise! A glorious promise, secured for me at the cross! I will see! Because I have been adopted into God’s family, through the atoning death of Jesus Christ on my behalf, I will one day see God.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:1-2 ESV).
I may not see everything today, but I see the Father’s love. And I have this confident and sure expectation that one day I will see Him as He is. And I will be like Him. Because of adoption, I see. And because of adoption, I will see. Oh joy!
So Jude, my son, I pray that one day you will see the love of the Father and rejoice in His answer to all your questions: “You’ll see!”
~from the archives
Are you a Christian who is tempted to doubt God and his good purposes in the midst of your suffering? Listen to this sermon (or watch below) and receive pastoral counsel from the book of Jude.
“When Someone Doubts” | Jude 22-25 | C.J. Mahaney from SGCLouisville on Vimeo.
”The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.” (Psalm 121:7-8, ESV)
“To be kept from all evil does not imply a cushioned life, but a well-armed one. The psalm ends with a pledge which could hardly be stronger or more sweeping. Your going out and your coming in is not only a way of saying ‘everything’; it draws attention to one’s ventures and enterprises and the home which remains one’s base; to pilgrimage and return; to the dawn and sunset of one’s days. But the last line takes good care of this journey. It would be hard to decide which half of it is the more encouraging: the fact that it starts from now, or that it runs on, not to the end of time but to time without end; like God Himself who is my portion for ever.” ~Derek Kidner
The Lord is constantly calling us to obey Him in connection with things that we don’t know what the next step is going to be. But He is saying to us, “Will you not trust me?”
Remember the conversation that Simon Peter had with Jesus on that day of the breakfast at the sea in John 21? They are walking along and Jesus actually says to him, “Now trust me Peter, you are going to die for my sake.” And Peter sees the apostle John hanging behind and he says, “Well, tell me about this man.”
And you see what he is saying. He’s saying, “That’s a huge challenge to my life. I want to know that I’m getting fair dues. And before I fully trust you for this, I need to know what’s happening. Are other people going to do this? Or is this just me?”
Isn’t it amazing, that in other respects if the Lord said to us, “I have an exclusive plan for you. I don’t have this plan for anybody else, you’re the only one that has this plan,” we say, “I want to have that plan if nobody else is getting it.”
But when it comes to trusting Him we’re inclined to say, “I might trust you if everybody else is on board.”
And we face that challenge constantly, don’t we? We find ourselves in situations where faith is challenged and because there are others on board we march on and we stand up. But there are situations where there is nobody else there. From the human point of view, people are challenging us.
But from the divine point of view, the Lord is saying now, “Trust me. Know me well enough to trust me.”
~from “The Old Couple” a sermon by Sinclair Ferguson, June 12, 2012
We were very blessed to have John Piper preach at Sovereign Grace Church of Louisville yesterday. He said at the outset that he was really pumped about this message because of his love for God’s Word. And it truly was a powerful sermon in which he gave us six reasons to believe the Bible from 2 Timothy 3:14-17.
Reason number 1: “The kinds of persons who taught you the truth are a very significant warrant for why you believe what you believe…Part of Timothy’s reasoning for why he should stay in the truth is the character of his mother and his grandmother.” Watch below or listen online to hear all six reasons to “continue in what you have learned.”