Wilhelmus à Brakel – Seek Communion With Christ

Originally posted on The Old Guys:

Wilhelmus a Brakel 1 Since believers are partakers of Christ and all His benefits, how heartily and continually they ought to be exercised concerning this union!

First, this is their portion and they have a right to it. Jesus Himself is their Jesus and all His benefits are theirs.

Secondly, since it grieves you, believers, to be so empty in yourself, and you desire neither not to be distracted by nor filled with anything but Jesus and His fullness, why do you remain so long in this empty frame? Arise, satisfy and fill yourself with Him; rejoice in Him and His benefits.

~Wilhelmus à Brakel~





The Christian’s Reasonable Service, ed. Joel R. Beeke, trans. Bartel Elshout, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1993), 92–93.

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Matthew 27:51 Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.  

No mean miracle was wrought in the rending of so strong and thick a veil; but it was not intended merely as a display of power-many lessons were herein taught us. The old law of ordinances was put away, and like a worn-out vesture, rent and laid aside. When Jesus died, the sacrifices were all finished, because all fulfilled in Him, and therefore the place of their presentation was marked with an evident token of decay. That rent also revealed all the hidden things of the old dispensation: the mercy-seat could now be seen, and the glory of God gleamed forth above it. By the death of our Lord Jesus we have a clear revelation of God, for He was “not as Moses, who put a veil over his face.” Life and immortality are now brought to light, and things which have been hidden since the foundation of the world are manifest in Him. The annual ceremony of atonement was thus abolished. The atoning blood which was once every year sprinkled within the veil, was now offered once for all by the great High Priest, and therefore the place of the symbolical rite was broken up. No blood of bullocks or of lambs is needed now, for Jesus has entered within the veil with his own blood. Hence access to God is now permitted, and is the privilege of every believer in Christ Jesus. There is no small space laid open through which we may peer at the mercy-seat, but the rent reaches from the top to the bottom. We may come with boldness to the throne of the heavenly grace. Shall we err if we say that the opening of the Holy of Holies in this marvellous manner by our Lord’s expiring cry was the type of the opening of the gates of paradise to all the saints by virtue of the Passion? Our bleeding Lord hath the key of heaven; He openeth and no man shutteth; let us enter in with Him into the heavenly places, and sit with Him there till our common enemies shall be made His footstool.

The Wonder of Easter

“Like a lamb to the slaughter.”                                             Isa 53:7 NIV

Journalist-missionary Pierre van Paassen tells how prior to World War II, Nazi soldiers arrested an aging rabbi, stripped him naked, and demanded that he preach the sermon he’d prepared for the following Sabbath. With great dignity the old man asked if he could wear his yarmulke and his captors agreed, thinking it added greatly to the joke. Then, while they jeered and prodded him, the elderly rabbi talked about what it means to walk humbly before God. Phil Yancey writes: “When I read of the torture and execution of Jesus, I think of that naked rabbi standing humiliated in a police station. And I can’t fathom the indignity and shame endured by God’s Son…the bullying game of Blind Man’s Bluff in the high priest’s courtyard…the professional thuggery of Pilate’s and Herod’s guards…the catcalls of spectators up the long road to Calvary, and finally the cross itself…I marvel at the self-restraint God showed throughout history, allowing the Genghis Khans, the Hitlers, and the Stalins to have their way. But nothing compares to the self-restraint shown that dark Friday in Jerusalem…Legions of angels awaited His command. One word and the ordeal would end.” Isaiah said, “He was “led like a lamb to the slaughter, and…he did not open his mouth.” Jesus could have “appealed to His Father, and He would have provided more than 80,000 angels” (See Mt 26:53 AMP). Instead He chose to endure the cross and its shame to save you. That’s the wonder of Easter!

Joshua 2:21 She bound the scarlet line in the window

Rahab depended for her preservation upon the promise of the spies, whom she looked upon as the representatives of the God of Israel. Her faith was simple and firm, but it was very obedient. To tie the scarlet line in the window was a very trivial act in itself, but she dared not run the risk of omitting it. Come, my soul, is there not here a lesson for thee? Hast thou been attentive to all thy Lord’s will, even though some of His commands should seem non-essential? Hast thou observed in his own way the two ordinances of believers’ baptism and the Lord’s Supper? These neglected, argue much unloving disobedience in thy heart. Be henceforth in all things blameless, even to the tying of a thread, if that be matter of command. This act of Rahab sets forth a yet more solemn lesson. Have I implicitly trusted in the precious blood of Jesus? Have I tied the scarlet cord, as with a Gordian knot in my window, so that my trust can never be removed? Or can I look out towards the Dead Sea of my sins, or the Jerusalem of my hopes, without seeing the blood, and seeing all things in connection with its blessed power? The passer-by can see a cord of so conspicuous a colour, if it hangs from the window: it will be well for me if my life makes the efficacy of the atonement conspicuous to all onlookers. What is there to be ashamed of? Let men or devils gaze if they will, the blood is my boast and my song. My soul, there is One who will see that scarlet line, even when from weakness of faith thou canst not see it thyself; Jehovah, the Avenger, will see it and pass over thee. Jericho’s walls fell flat: Rahab’s house was on the wall, and yet it stood unmoved; my nature is built into the wall of humanity, and yet when destruction smites the race, I shall be secure. My soul, tie the scarlet thread in the window afresh, and rest in peace.

You Get Another Shot!

Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom’…Jesus said…‘Today you will be with Me in Paradise.’”     Lk 23:42-43 NKJV

Author Charles Swindoll writes: “If ever there was a deathbed conversion, that was it. The thief lived his entire life a sinner, a hoodlum…in no way did he prove himself worthy…so what had he done to receive eternal life? What did Jesus accept? Faith—simple, unadulterated, unproved faith in Christ. That’s all God requires and all we can offer. The snapshot of Jesus’ life the thief saw, convinced him He was the Son of God. Their dialogue teaches us three important truths: (1) No one is ever too far gone. Think of someone you’ve written off…‘Oh, they’ll never come to know Christ. I’ve tried everything…he’s never going to respond.’ When you’re tempted to think anyone is beyond the reach of grace, remember the criminal on the cross. (2) Your real message is your life. Socrates once called words ‘stupid things.’ When your life draws the attention of lost people, you have sufficient proof to back up the words you use. When you let God do the work in their lives, and yours, you’ll be amazed how He brings the appropriate words. (3) All God requires and accepts is simple faith. If you’re working hard to earn your way into the kingdom…you’re on the wrong path. Think about it—how many works will be enough? When salvation is by faith, all the work and all the glory are God’s. Never doubt your acceptance into His family when you come His way. The thief didn’t doubt…He didn’t have to make any promises. He believed with all his heart, and was saved.” You can be too!

Walking Through with Faith

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the LORD drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. — Exodus 14:21–22

Today is Day 4 of the eight-day Passover celebration. The Torah reading for today is from Exodus 22:24–23:19 and Numbers 28:19–25.

On the night of Passover, we retell and relive the Exodus story so that we can fully integrate God’s salvation and presence in our lives. At the heart of the Exodus story is the parting of the Red Sea. According to Jewish tradition, the sea did not part until the children of Israel began to walk into it. It was this great demonstration of faith that caused the sea to part.

I think there was an even greater expression of faith than walking into the sea; it was walking throughthe sea “with a wall of water on their right and on their left.” Imagine walking through that great sea with walls of water on either side, walls that could come crashing down at any moment! To me, that took even greater courage and faith.

While it’s admirable and commendable to take the proverbial leap of faith from time to time, it’s far more challenging to walk in faith, day in and day out. We may take a new job on faith, but living day to day believing that our needs will be met and that the paycheck will cover the expenses is another level of faith. Life is fragile and things can go wrong at any moment. Walking in faith means going down the risky path of life trusting that everything will be alright.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, an eighteenth-century rabbi, used to say, “The whole world is a very narrow bridge. And the main thing is to never be afraid.” Our lives are a walk across a narrow bridge. One wrong step to the left or to the right, and we will fall. The rabbi teaches us that we must turn our fears into faith in order to pass safely through.

In the Talmud, Judaism’s oral tradition, the Sages teach that there are three miracles even greater than the parting of the Red Sea: One, when a person finds his or her soul-mate; two, when a person finds a source of income; and three, when a person maintains a healthy body. These realities that we often take for granted are greater than the parting of the Red Sea. But, even greater than finding a spouse, an income, or health is “walking through them” like the Israelites walked through the Red Sea – full of faith when, at any moment, the waves can come crashing down.

Passover is a time for recognizing the great miracles in life and trusting that they will continue to be present in our lives. We must walk through our lives together with God, day after day, with boundless gratitude and endless faith.

Surrender

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring youtoday. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” — Exodus 14:13–14

Today is Day 3 of the eight-day Passover celebration. The reading for today is from Exodus 13:1–1 and Numbers 28:19

One of the most encouraging messages of Passover is that when things seem most hopeless, there is always room for hope. The climax of the Passover story occurred when the children of Israel were sandwiched between the Egyptians and the Red Sea. The Sages teach that going right or left wasn’t an option, either. According to tradition, God had placed wild beasts emerging from the wilderness on either side of the Israelites. If ever there was a time to lose faith, it was at that moment.

Yet, from that moment of desperation comes one of the greatest moments of salvation – and a message of hope for all time.

Things only seem hopeless when we make the mistake of thinking that we are in control. If we can’t do it, then it simply can’t be done – there is no hope. The doctor can’t operate – so healing won’t come. I don’t earn enough money – so I’ll never get out of debt. When we are so sure that we alone hold the keys to our salvation, it’s no wonder that so many doors seem closed. It’s only when we give those keys to God that miracles can happen and hope can be found.

I love this story about a sparrow who loved to fly high in the sky, innocent and free. One day, the sparrow sensed imminent danger. She looked down to see a hunter pointing a rifle right in her direction. As the sparrow tried to flee from the danger, she noticed more trouble coming from above. An eagle was eyeing her like a piece of candy. The sparrow realized that she had no choices left and decided instead to surrender her life to God. In that precise moment, God sent a snake to bite the hunter, causing him to misfire his rifle, sending a bullet flying toward the eagle, killing it, and setting the sparrow free.

The message: Don’t surrender to life; surrender to God. Don’t give up hope; place your hope in God. Take comfort and encouragement from the words of Moses to the Israelites in their most desperate moment: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today … The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

When all hope seems lost, God will fight for us. When there is nothing left that we can do, God can do anything. We need only to have hope, hang on, and give up our lives to God.

Surrender today!