Scripture at Sunrise 12.31.09

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”  -Ephesians 2:8-9

“Faith is receiving, it’s not doing. Faith receives the gift of God’s grace in Jesus.”

[John Piper via @PiperTravel]

Scripture at Sunrise 12.30.09

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree'”  -Galatians 3:13

“Why can we have the tree of life? Because Jesus Christ climbed the cross, the tree of death. And because Jesus climbed the tree of death you can have the tree of life.”   -Tim Keller

[via Of First Importance]

Scripture at Sunrise 12.29.09

“He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  -Hebrews 13:5

Several times in the Scriptures the LORD hath said this. He has often repeated it to make our assurance doubly sure. Let us never harbor a doubt about it. In itself the promise is specially emphatic. In the Greek it has five negatives, each one definitely shutting out the possibility of the LORD’s ever leaving one of His people so that he can justly feel forsaken of his God. This priceless Scripture does not promise us exemption from trouble, but it does secure us against desertion. We may be called to traverse strange ways, but we shall always have our LORD’s company, assistance, and provision. We need not covet money, for we shall always have our God, and God is better than gold; His favor is better than fortune. We ought surely to be content with such things as we have, for he who has God has more than all the world besides. What can we have beyond the Infinite? What more can we desire than almighty Goodness. Come, my heart; if God says He will never leave thee nor forsake thee, be thou much in prayer for grace that thou mayest never leave thy LORD, nor even for a moment forsake His ways.

[from Faith’s Checkbook by Charles H. Spurgeon, December 28 entry]

Scripture at Sunrise 12.24.09

“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  -Matthew 1:21

That baby was born so that “he who had no sin” would become “sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” The baby’s destiny from the moment of his conception was hell—hell in the place of sinners. When I look into the manger, I come away shaken as I realize again that he was born to pay the unbearable penalty for my sins.

That’s the message of Christmas: God reconciled the world to himself through Christ, man’s sin has alienated him from God, and man’s reconciliation with God is possible only through faith in Christ…Christmas is disturbing.

[William H. Smith, as quoted by CJ Mahaney in “Disturbing Christmas“]

Scripture at Sunrise 12.23.09

“He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?”  -Romans 8:32

“During this time of year, it may be easy to forget that the bigger purpose behind Bethlehem was Calvary. But the purpose of the manger was realized in the horrors of the cross. The purpose of his birth was his death.
Or to put it more personally: Christmas is necessary because I am a sinner. The incarnation reminds us of our desperate condition before a holy God.”

[From “Disturbing Christmas,” a must-read article by CJ Mahaney.]

Scripture at Sunrise 12.22.09

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  -Psalm 46:1

A help that is not present when we need it is of small value. The anchor which is left at home is of no use to the seaman in the hour of storm; the money which he used to have is of no worth to the debtor when a writ is out against him. Very few earthly helps could be called “very present”: they are usually far in the seeking, far in the using, and farther still when once used. But as for the Lord our God, He is present when we seek Him, present when we need Him, and present when we have already enjoyed His aid.

He is more than “present,” He is very present. More present than the nearest friend can be, for He is in us in our trouble; more present than we are to ourselves, for sometimes we lack presence of mind. He is always present, effectually present, sympathetically present, altogether present. He is present now if this is a gloomy season. Let us rest ourselves upon Him. He is our refuge, let us hide in Him; He is our strength, let us array ourselves with Him; He is our help, let us lean upon Him; He is our very present help, let us repose in Him now. We need not have a moment’s care or an instant’s fear. “The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Links of the Week

I didn’t get these up in a very timely manner, but there are some real gems in here and I didn’t want you to miss anything!  So without further adieu…

Links of the Week:

A Few Top 2009 Book Lists: