“This is My beloved son…”

As I prepare to teach about the baptism of Jesus this Sunday, I am causing myself to ask several questions.  One such question is:  Is God the Father well pleased with me?  We know that He was well pleased with Jesus.  He says it plainly–with a loud voice from heaven (Mt. 3:17).  Does He think the same of me? 

I found a great website tonight dedicated to the life and ministry of Bishop J.C. Ryle (1816-1900).  Each day’s entry includes a quote from Ryle.  Here is the quote from January 2, 2012 :

“God approves and honors heart-religion in the present life. He looks down from Heaven, and reads the hearts of all people. Wherever He sees . . .

heart-repentance for sin,

heart-faith in Christ,

heart-holiness of life,

heart-love to His Son, His law, His will, and His word

. . . wherever God sees these things, He is well pleased.”

Check out the website where I found that quote:  http://jcrylequotes.com/

WOW–that’s some list!  Does God see any of those characteristics in my life?  When He “reads” me, what words and illustrations appear on my pages?  Can my faith in Christ accurately be entitled “heart-religion”?  I hope so!  I deeply desire for my relationship with God to be much more than an intellectual exercise.  The life described by Ryle is one which illustrates genuine love for what the Lord loves and hatred for what the Lord hates.  Those are the natural results of our sanctification, our growing more and more into the likeness of Christ.  That’s why I remain committed to my time with God each and every day.  I need to spend time with Him.  I want to spend time with Him.  And I hope the same is true for each of you! 

Let me ask you–now that we are almost two weeks into this New Year:  How faithful have you been in your seeking of God’s face?  Have you been reading His Word?  Have you been praying?  Then, has your faithfulness fleshed itself out through fruit?  Is “heart-religion” evident in your life in 2012?  Think about it.  Continue forward if you began this year as you ought.  Use this as a gentle nudge if you haven’t.

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