Three Looks at Jesus! (J.C. Ryle)

Reader, remember these three looks at Jesusbackward, upward, forward; and make use of them every day.

The first is the secret of peace of conscience: no peace unless we look backward at the cross of Christ!

The second is the secret of real daily strength and comfort in our walk with God: little solid comfort unless we look upward to Christ’s intercession!

The third is the secret of bright and cheerful hope in a dark world: no bright prospect unless we look forward to Christ coming again!

Backward, upward, forward — these are the three ways in which we should look at Jesus.
The person that looks at the cross is a wise person;
the person that looks at the cross and the intercession also, is wiser still;
but those who look at all three, the cross, the intercession, and the coming of Jesus — they are wisest of all.

Your Good Things Are All yet To Come! – by J.C. Ryle

“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews 12:1-2 

We must run with perseverance — or we shall never obtain. There may be many things we cannot understand, much that the flesh could perhaps wish otherwise — but let us endure unto the end, and all shall be made clear, and God’s arrangements shall be proved best. Think not to have your reward on earth — do not draw back, because your good things are all yet to come

Today is the cross — but tomorrow is the crown.
Today is the labor — but tomorrow are the wages.
Today is the sowing — but tomorrow is the harvest.
Today is the battle — but tomorrow is the rest.
Today is the weeping — but tomorrow is the joy.

And what is today, when compared to tomorrow?
Today is but seventy years — but tomorrow is eternity!

“Run in such a way as to get the prize!” 1 Corinthians 9:24

Mining For Gold: What I Have Learned From Reading Christian Biographies

It was Dr. David Martyn Lloyd Jones who said:  “Nothing is more profitable, after the reading of the Bible itself and books that help us to understand it, than the reading of biography or autobiography of a great Christian man (or woman)” – parenthesis added.  There is certainly great wisdom in that because it is Scriptural.  Hebrews 13:7 tells us:  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” 

I commend to you the following essay entitled, “Mining For God:  What I Have Learned From Reading Christian Biographies” by Steven J. Cole.

Here is a brief summary of the essay.  Cole writes:

It’s a gold mine available to all but mined by few.  The pressures of our fast-lane lives crowd out the time for settling down with the greats of the past.  What can they teach me about problems I face?  Plenty!  I’ve found that the mine is rich and worth the effort many times over.

Then he goes on to talk of four specific ways that reading Christian biographies has helped him.  I will just give you the points and some excerpts of what Cole himself says:

HERITAGE:  Christian biographies give me a sense of my place in the Christian drama

Reading Christian biographies has helped me appreciate my spiritual roots.  It helps me put our times and my particular circumstances in perspective.  It makes me realize that I am carrying the torch handed to me by those who went before, and that I must hand it off intact to those who come after me.

MODELING:  Christian biographies give me great examples to follow

We learn by watching models who “flesh out” Christian principles in their daily lives.  When I was younger in the faith, I wanted someone to disciple me.  I tried several different men, but it never seemed to work out the way I had hoped.  But in a very real sense, I have been discipled by some of the greatest Christians who have ever lived, by reading their biographies.

SPIRITUALITY AND DOCTRINE:  Christian biographies give me theological perspective and balance

We are all limited by the fact that we are creatures of our time and culture.  We tend to view issues from the grid we almost unconsciously absorb from the theological and social climate in which we come to Christ and begin to grow.  It’s as if we’re born in the forest and start walking, not quite sure where all the various trails come from or lead to.  Reading Christian biographies is like climbing a high mountain so that you can get a feel for the lay of the land.

HUMANITY:  Christian biographies give me an understanding of people and myself

If you read more honest biographies…, you will discover that God has used some very rough instruments.  You find that the great strengths of some of the giants were also the flip side of great weaknesses and blind spots.  Men and women who were unswerving in their commitment to Christ were sometimes stubborn and ran roughshod over people.  And yet God used them greatly!…

…God did significant things with these imperfect men and women.  Thousands of lives have been changed.  In some cases, the history of nations and of western civilization has been altered through these godly, yet very human, instruments.  Maybe there’s hope that God can use even me!

I highly commend this essay to you.  But much more so, I commend all the good Christian biographies out there to you.  Read them and learn from them.  Let God inspire, challenge and teach you through them.  May you see the amazing grace of God working through imperfect and ordinary people to do great and extraordinary things to His glory and the blessing of His people among the nations!  One of my seminary professors, Dr. Hywel Jones used to say, “God draws straight lines with crooked sticks.”  However “crooked,” God can use us if we are willing to be used by Him.  That’s a valuable lesson and encouragement that you will most certainly glean from reading Christian biographies!

8 Profitable Ways to Read the Bible by J. C. Ryle

I found this tremendously encouraging and helpful! I hope that you will too as you go for GOLD! Mine the Bible and dig deeper for the PURE GOLD of God’s holy, inspired, infallible, inerrant, living and life-giving WORD!!