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What God will be doing in church tomorrow

May 23, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“A spiritual application of the Word of God consists in applying it to the heart, in spiritually enlightening, sanctifying influences.  A spiritual application of an invitation or offer of the gospel consists in giving the soul a spiritual sense or relish of the holy and divine blessings offered, and the sweet and wonderful grace of the Offerer in making so gracious an offer, and of his holy excellency and faithfulness to fulfill what he offers, and his glorious sufficiency for it, so leading and drawing forth the heart to embrace the offer and thus giving the man evidence of his title to the thing offered.”

Jonathan Edwards, The Religious Affections (Edinburgh, 1997), page 153.

This is what the Holy Spirit will be doing to the hearts of people as they hear the gospel preached tomorrow.  It is quiet and invisible, uncaused and unstoppable, for God’s glory.

Have a great Sunday.

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True faith will take risks

May 23, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“Pseudo-faith always arranges a way out to serve in case God fails it.  Real faith knows only one way and gladly allows itself to be stripped of any second way or makeshift substitutes.  For true faith, it is either God or total collapse.  And not since Adam first stood up on the earth has God failed a single man or woman who trusted him.”

A. W. Tozer, “True Faith Brings Committal,” In The Root of the Righteous (Harrisburg, 1955), pages 49-50.

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A Prayer while living in this crazy world

May 22, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding, pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

The Collect, Sixth Sunday after Trinity, The Book of Common Prayer.

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More real

May 22, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:21).  The visitation of Jesus to the soul, at various levels of intensity, is the privilege of our entire existence.  Take John Flavel (d. 1691), for instance, as he was traveling by himself one day:

“Thus going on his way, his thoughts began to swell and rise higher and higher, like the waters in Ezekiel’s vision, till at last they became an overflowing flood.  Such was the intention of his mind, such the ravishing tastes of heavenly joys, and such the full assurance of his interest therein, that he utterly lost a sight and sense of this world and all the concerns thereof . . . . He found himself almost spent and nature to faint under the pressure of joy unspeakable and insupportable.”

Flavel explains that Christ came to him through simple faith and meditation on the gospel.  J. C. Ryle: “There is more of heaven on earth to be obtained than most Christians are aware of.”

May Jesus be real to us, more real than we have ever known he could be.

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The tender, least pushy of the giants

May 21, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“Newton was the tender, ‘least pushy’ of the eighteenth-century giants because this was his experience — a tender, nearby Jesus.  ‘Jesus is always near, about our path by day, and our bed by night; nearer than the light by which we see, or the air we breathe; nearer than we are to ourselves; so that not a thought, a sigh, or a tear, escapes his notice.'”

John Piper, quoting John Newton, in the Foreword to Tony Reinke, Newton on the Christian Life (Wheaton, 2015), page 17.

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He still dwells among sinners

May 20, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

“Now I should like to know whether your soul, tired of its own righteousness, is learning to be revived by and to trust in the righteousness of Christ. . . . My dear brother, learn Christ and him crucified.  Learn to pray to him and, despairing of yourself, say, ‘You, Lord Jesus, are my righteousness, but I am your sin.  You have taken upon yourself what is mine and have given to me what is yours.  You have taken upon yourself what you were not and have given to me what I was not.’  Beware of aspiring to such purity that you will not wish to be looked upon as a sinner, or to be one.  For Christ dwells only in sinners.  On this account he descended from heaven, where he dwelt among the righteous, to dwell among sinners.  Meditate on this love of his and you will see his sweet consolation.”

Martin Luther, quoted in Theodore G. Tappert, editor, Luther: Letters of Spiritual Counsel (Philadelphia, 1955), page 110.  Language updated.

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Revive us again

May 20, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“Son of man, can these bones live?”

May 19, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“We may preach, but it is Thine to apply.  Lord, apply it.  Come forth, great Spirit.  Come from the four winds, O Breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.  In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, O Spirit of God, come forth!”

C. H. Spurgeon, quoted in Erroll Hulse, The Great Invitation (Welwyn, 1986), page 179.

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The simple trick

May 19, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“Malice needs nothing to live on; it can feed on itself.  A contentious spirit will find something to quarrel about.  A faultfinder will find occasion to accuse a Christian even if his life is as chaste as an icicle and pure as snow.  A man of ill will does not hesitate to attack, even if the object of his hatred be a prophet or the very Son of God Himself.  If John comes fasting, he says he has a devil; if Christ comes eating and drinking, he says He is a winebibber and a glutton.  Good men are made to appear evil by the simple trick of dredging up from his own heart the evil that is there and attributing it to them.”

A. W. Tozer, We Travel An Appointed Way (Camp Hill, 1988), page 82.

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A pardoned sinner

May 16, 2015 | Ray Ortlund

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“Consider your state.  You are a pardoned sinner, not under the law but under grace, freely, fully saved from the guilt of all your sins.  There is none to condemn, God having justified you.  He sees you in his Son, washed you in his blood, clothed you in his righteousness, and he embraces him and you, the head and the members, with the same affection.”

William Romaine, Treatises on the Life, Walk and Triumph of Faith (Glasgow, 1830), page 305.  Style updated.

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