Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Cornishman's prayer: Lord, send us out to sea!

Some traveled on the sea in ships, and carried cargo over the vast waters. They witnessed the acts of the Lord, his amazing feats on the deep water. — Psalm 107:23-24

He is but an apprentice and no master in the art, who has not learned that every wind that blows is fair for Heaven. The only thing that helps nobody, is a dead calm. North or south, east or west, it matters not, every wind may help towards that blessed port [if we but rightly set our sails]. Seek one thing only: keep well out to sea, and then have no fear of stormy winds.

Let our prayer be that of an old Cornishman:

“O Lord, send us out to sea—out in the deep water. Here we are so close to the rocks that the first bit of breeze with the devil, we are all knocked to pieces. Lord, send us out to sea—out in the deep water, where we shall have room enough to get a glorious victory.”

— Mark Guy Pearse.


Remember that we have no more faith at any time than we have in the hour of trial. All that will not bear to be tested is mere carnal confidence. Fair-weather faith is no faith.

— C.H. Spurgeon

Thursday, August 03, 2017

How God works good out of sin in the believer's life

Nicholas Batzig writes some great thoughts related to God's redemption of ALL THINGS for believers -- even personal sin. This in no way excuses sin -- truly, sin is cosmic treason that costs God dearly to redeem -- but it does provide a surround-sound concert of hope: there is nothing outside God's sovereign order for His children. Take heart, dear readers! God is working good, even this very day. Alleluia!

Intro to article by Nick as follows:

The Apostle Paul’s statement in Romans 8:28 is one of the most cherished verses in all of Scripture. “All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” The context demands that we understand the words to be referring to the suffering of believers in the period of groaning and turmoil as we await the full realization of our adoption, the resurrection of our bodies (Rom. 8:18-27). But, it is important for us to come to terms with the fact that it is not simply the sufferings (i.e. persecutions, trials, tribulation, etc.) that are in view in the words “all things”–it is also the believer’s sin that works together for his or her good. This, of course, is not to say that there is good in sin, or that the believer is encouraged to go on sinning that grace may abound. Far from it, God commands believers to put sin to death in their lives. However, God’s wisdom in the work of redemption includes even working the sin and backsliding of believers together for their good. Consider several examples in Scripture:

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his comments on this passage, explained that the prodigal son wouldn’t have known the Father’s love and grace to returning backsliders if he had never left home for the far country. He wrote:

    For the believer the ‘all things’ in Romans 8:28′ “includes even our falling into sin, even our backsliding…God can turn it to the advantage of the Christian…when we truly repent He stands ready to forgive us…The prodigal son knew much more about his Father after he came back than he ever knew before he left home. He thought he knew before he left home but he didn’t. It was when he was received back, when he saw his father running to meet him–when he was yet a long way off–and embracing him. He never knew anything about this before. So you see, though he was quite wrong in leaving home and going to that foreign land–and all he did there in his riotous living–it was all wrong; but he was a very much better man at the end than at the beginning. He knew more about sonship; he knew more about his Father, he knew more about his Father’s love.

    Now that’s the kind of way in which this works out; and, in other words, it brings the Christian to see his constant need of grace, his constant need of watchfulness and of care. And all that, of course, is very good for us. It is part of our development, our growth in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord. So we are able to assert that even when he falls into sin or becomes a backslider, when he is restored, this has been for the Christian’s good. Now there you get a glimpse into this many sided grace of God. What a wonderful thing it is–that even our defeats can be turned for our good. God takes hold of this thing and He uses it in that way to bring us nearer to Himself and to give us a knowledge of Himself that we otherwise would have never have had. This term ‘all things’ really must be taken in all its fulness not even excepting sin or falling into a backslidden condition. 1

But, someone might say, “Isn’t the parable of the prodigal son speaking of God using the sin of unbelievers to bring them to Christ? What about the sin of believers?” While it might be too narrowing to limit the teaching of the parable of the prodigal son to the realm of regeneration, nevertheless, we have ample examples of how God works sin together for good in the lives of believers. For instance, consider what the Scripture says about Samson. Samson told his parents to go and get him a wife from the daughters of the Philistines. This was explicitly forbidden by God in Scripture. That an Israelite should marry the daughter of the most notable enemy of the church of God is supreme rebellion. And yet, we read in Judges 14:4, “His father and mother did not know that it was of the Lord—that He was seeking an occasion to move against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.” God had purposed to use Samson’s sin to bring down the Philistine lords. In this way, we can see how even the sin of a believer (Heb. 11:32) was working together for his good and the good of God’s people. Perhaps the clearest example of this principles in the Old Testament is found in the Scripture’s account of how God brought large good out of David’s two great sinful falls. First, David premeditated the murder of one of Uriah–one of his mighty men–after committing adultery with his wife. Nevertheless, the two genealogies of Jesus (i.e. the royal line by which He was adopted through Joseph, found in Matthew 1, and his biological line through Mary recorded in Luke 3) run through two of the offspring of David and Bathsheba. Both Nathan (Luke 3:31) and Solomon (Matthew 1:6) were sons of David through Bathsheba (1 Chronicles 3:5). In this way, we can say that the Redeemer and the redemption of the world came through the instrumentality of the adulterous relationship of David and Bathsheba. God took David’s sin and turned it for his and our good. Secondly, God severely chastened David for numbering the people of Israel (2 Samuel 24:1-17). After God brought the plague to an end, David purchased the land around the threshing floor of Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite in order to sacrifice to the Lord  (2 Samuel 24:18-25 and 1 Chronicles 21:18-30). In redemptive-history, this became the very spot on which the Temple would be built (2 Chronicles 3:1). In this way, we see that God took David’s sin and consequences, and in His redemptive grace, turned it to work for good for those who love him. Sinclair Ferguson gives us the most astonishing and convincing way in which God turns the sin of His people to their good. He explains:

    There is nothing that takes our God by surprise; there is nothing that takes place outside of His superintendence and watch-care; and there is nothing that can  ever happen that can distort or  destroy His eternal purposes for His people–nothing whatsoever! As the Apostle says in Ephesians 1, ‘This God is a God who works all things together according to the counsel of His own will.” Now the test case of that, of course, is the worst possible things that happen; and the proof for Paul that God works everything together for the good of those who love Him is found supremely where the proof of everything ultimately is found for the Apostle Paul in the test case of the Lord Jesus Christ. He brings everything back to the Lord Jesus Christ. And it was his companion, Luke (you remember, his traveling companion and personal physician) who had written in the Acts  of the Apostles of the great sermon of Simon Peter on the day of Pentecost–I mean, of all the apostles to say this on the Day of Pentecost –a matter of weeks after the Lord Jesus had been crucified–Simon Peter was the most unlikely, because Simon Peter was the Apostle who had most opposed Jesus going to the cross. And therefore, it was a wonder of God’s gracious working in his life that he stands up on the day of Pentecost and stares down those who had crucified the Lord Jesus and says, ” He was crucified by the hand of wicked and cruel men according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God.” And you see what this means. If the worse thing, the most evil thing that has ever happened in this world–for these early Christians who surrounded Jesus–the greatest tragedy of all, was still under the sovereign superintendence of God–100% the action of wicked men, and yet no less 100% the Divine strategy coming to pass, even amazingly through he activities of wicked men working together for the saving good of those who come to love God in Jesus Christ. 2

Robert Haldane, in his comments on Romans 8:28, noted:

    Even the sins of believers work for their good, not from the nature of sin, but by the goodness and power of Him who brings light out of darkness. Everywhere in Scripture we read of the great evil of sin. Everywhere we receive the most solemn warning against its commission ; and everywhere we hear also of the chastisements it brings, even upon those who are rescued from its finally condemning power. It is not sin, then, in itself that works the good, but God who overrules its effects to His children, shows them, by means of it, what is in their hearts, as well as their entire dependence on Himself, and the necessity of walking with Him more closely. Their falls lead them to humiliation, to the acknowledgment of their weakness and depravity, to prayer for the guidance and overpowering influence of the Holy Spirit, to vigilance and caution against all carnal security, and to reliance on that righteousness provided for their appearance before God. It is evident that the sin of Adam, which is the source of all their sins, has wrought for their good in raising them to a higher degree of glory. Believers fall into sin, and on account of this God hides His face from them, and they are troubled ; and, like Hezekiah, they go softly. God left Hezekiah to himself, but it was to do him good at his latter end. 3

Alleluia!

Selah.

Read the whole thing HERE.

Notes:

1. An excerpt from Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ sermon, "God in Control"
2. An excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s sermon, "All Things for Good"
3. Robert Haldane Romans p. 393

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Believe in order to see. Obey in order to know!

They believed his promises; they sang praises to him. They quickly forgot what he had done; they did not wait for his instructions. In the wilderness they had an insatiable craving for meat; they challenged God in the desert... — Psalm 106:12-15 NET

We read of Moses, that “he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” Exactly the opposite was true of the children of Israel in this record. They endured only when the circumstances were favorable; they were largely governed by the things that appealed to their senses, in place of resting in the invisible and eternal God.

In the present day there are those who live intermittent Christian lives because they have become occupied with the outward, and center in circumstances, in place of centering in God. God wants us more and more to see Him in everything, and to call nothing small if it bears us His message.

Here we read of the children of Israel, “Then they believed his words.” They did not believe till after they saw—when they saw Him work, then they believed. They really doubted God when they came to the Red Sea; but when God opened the way and led them across and they saw Pharaoh and his host drowned—“then they believed.”

They led an up and down life because of this kind of faith; it was a faith that depended upon circumstances. This is not the kind of faith God wants us to have.

The world says “seeing is believing,” but God wants us to believe in order to see. The Psalmist said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”

Do you believe God only when the circumstances are favorable, or do you believe no matter what the circumstances may be?

— C. H. P. [quoted in Streams in the Desert]

Faith is to believe what we do not see, and the reward of this faith is to see what we believe.

— Augustine

Selah.

If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.

— JESUS, in John 7:17

Jesus said, ‘If any man is willing to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it is of God, or whether I speak from Myself.’ There is a certain level of knowledge in the truth that we can only find if we are willing to obey it.

He does not say that we need the ABILITY to obey, but rather the WILL to obey. It is not in perfection of obedience, but in humility of will, that Jesus promises us this fulfillment. It is in simply willing and following that God provides the revelation, the unfolded way, the knowledge of the truth. This is itself a confession of truth enacted in the human life, which God honors with greater revelation. "The secret of the Lord is with those who fear [follow] Him, and He will show them His covenant."

— George MacDonald [paraphrase]

Alleluia!

Selah.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Looking up

The LORD said to Abram, “Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, north, south, east, and west. For all the land that you see I will give to you and to your offspring forever... Arise, walk through the length and the breadth of the land, for I will give it to you.” — Gen. 13:14-17

Let us now see the blessedness of faith. Our own littleness and nothingness sometimes becomes bondage. We are so small in our own eyes we dare not claim God's mighty promises. We say: If I could be sure I was in God's way I could trust. This is all wrong. Self–consciousness is a great barrier to faith. Get your eyes on Him and Him alone; not on your faith, but on the Author of your faith; not a half look, but a steadfast, prolonged look, with a true heart and fixedness of purpose, that knows no faltering, no parleying with the enemy without a shadow of fear. When you get afraid you are almost sure to fail.


We say: If I could be sure I was in God's way I could trust. This is all wrong. Self–consciousness is a great barrier to faith.

Travelers who have crossed the Alps know how dangerous those mountain passes are, how narrow the foothold, how deep the rocky ravines and how necessary to safety it is that you should look up continually; one downward glance into the dizzy depths would be fatal; and so if we would surmount the heights of faith we must look up. Look up. Get your eyes off yourself, off surrounding circumstances, off means, off gifts, to the Great Giver.

— A.B. Simpson

Selah.

Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.

— Psalm 34:5

Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the highest mountains,
your justice like the great deep.

You, Lord, preserve both people and animals.
How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
People take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.

For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light
.

— Psalm 36:5-9


The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes
.

— Psalm 19:8

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

God is not unobservant. His silence is not consent to current darkness. He waits to bless in perfect time.

For this is what the Lord has told me: “I will wait and watch from my place, like scorching heat produced by the sunlight, like a cloud of mist in the heat of harvest.” — Isa 18:4 NET

Assyria marched against Ethiopia. And as the armies advance, God makes no effort to arrest them; it seems as though they will be allowed to work their will. He is still watching them from His dwelling place, the sun still shines on them; but before the harvest, the whole of the proud army of Assyria is smitten as easily as when sprigs are cut off by the pruning hook of the husbandman.

Is not this a marvelous conception of God—being still and watching? His stillness is not acquiescence. His silence is not consent. He is only biding His time, and will arise, in the most opportune moment, and when the designs of the wicked seem on the point of success, to overwhelm them with disaster. As we look out on the evil of the world; as we think of the apparent success of wrong-doing; as we wince beneath the oppression of those that hate us, let us remember these marvelous words about God being still and beholding.

There is another side to this. Jesus beheld His disciples toiling at the oars through the stormy night; and watched though unseen, the successive steps of the anguish of Bethany, when Lazarus slowly passed through the stages of mortal sickness, until he succumbed and was borne to the rocky tomb. But He was only waiting the moment when He could interpose most effectually. Is He still to thee? He is not unobservant; He is beholding all things; He has His finger on thy pulse, keenly sensitive to all its fluctuations. He will come to save thee when the precise moment has arrived.
 
Alleluia!

Selah.

— Daily Devotional Commentary, quoted in Streams in the Desert

And therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you, and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you: for the LORD is a God of justice: blessed are all they that wait for him. — Isa. 30:18

And it shall be said in that day, Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation. — Isa. 25:9

He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy
. — Psalm 147:10-11

They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint
. — Isa. 40:31


Saturday, July 15, 2017

The victory that overcometh the world

To trust in spite of the look of being forsaken; to keep crying out into the vast, whence comes no returning voice, and where seems no hearing; to see the machinery of the world pauselessly grinding on as if self-moved, caring for no life, nor shifting a hair-breadth for all entreaty, and yet believe that God is awake and utterly loving; to desire nothing but what comes meant for us from His hand; to wait patiently, ready to die of hunger, fearing only lest faith should fail—such is the victory that overcometh the world, such is faith indeed.

— George MacDonald

The marriage of mourning and blessing

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. — Matt. 5:4

by C.H. Spurgeon

By the valley of weeping we come to Zion. One would have thought mourning and being blessed were in opposition, but the infinitely wise Savior puts them together in this Beatitude. What He has joined together let no man put asunder. Mourning for sin — our own sins, and the sins of others — is the Lord’s seal set upon His faithful ones. When the Spirit of grace is poured upon the house of David, or any other house, they shall mourn. By holy mourning we receive the best of our blessings, even as the rarest commodities come to us by water. Not only shall the mourner be blessed at some future day, but Christ pronounces him blessed even now.

The Holy Spirit will surely comfort those hearts which mourn for sin. They shall be comforted by the application of the blood of Jesus and by the cleansing power of the Holy Ghost. They shall be comforted as to the abounding sin of their city and of their age by the assurance that God will glorify Himself, however much men may rebel against Him. They shall be comforted with the expectation that they shall be wholly freed from sin before long and shall soon be taken up to dwell forever in the glorious presence of their Lord.

Alleluia!

Selah.

What joy for those whose strength comes from the Lord,
who have set their hearts on a pilgrimage to Zion.
When they walk through the Valley of Weeping,
it will become a place of refreshing springs.

The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.
They will continue to grow stronger,
and each of them will appear before God in Zion.
 

O LORD God of Heaven’s Armies, hear my prayer.
Listen, O God of Jacob. — Psalm 84:5-8

Those who sow in tears
Shall reap in joy.
He who continually goes forth weeping,
Bearing seed for sowing,
Shall doubtless come again with rejoicing,
Bringing his sheaves with him
. — Psalm 126:5-6

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

"Do not be afraid, little worm!" — In these words, God comforts weak, covenant children of all time.

"Do not be afraid, you worm Jacob, little Israel, do not fear, for I myself will help you," declares the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. "See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth. You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff." — Isa. 41:14

Could any two things be in greater contrast than a worm and an instrument with teeth? The worm is delicate, bruised by a stone, crushed beneath the passing wheel; an instrument with teeth can break and not be broken; it can grave its mark upon the rock. And the mighty God can convert the one into the other. He can take a man or a nation, who has all the impotence of the worm, and by the invigoration of His own Spirit, He can endow with strength by which a noble mark is left upon the history of the time.

And so the “worm” may take heart. The mighty God can make us stronger than our circumstances. He can bend them all to our good. In God’s strength we can make them all pay tribute to our souls. We can even take hold of a black disappointment, break it open, and extract some jewel of grace. When God gives us wills like iron, we can drive through difficulties as the iron share cuts through the toughest soil. “I will make thee,” and shall He not do it?

— Dr. Jowett


"Do not be afraid, little worm!" — In these words, God comforts weak, covenant children of all time. Are you weak? And do you yet love God in your weakness, lowness and desperation? Then these words are for you. "Do not fear, little worm, for I MYSELF will help you," says the LORD. Alleluia!

Selah.


Christ is building His kingdom with earth’s broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth’s broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.

— J. R. Miller

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Trust the healing process: Suffer, restore, confirm, strengthen and establish

And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. — 1 Pet 5:10

by A.B. Simpson

In taking Christ in any new relationship, we must first have sufficient intellectual light to satisfy our mind that we are entitled to stand in this relationship. The shadow of a question here will wreck our confidence. Then, having seen this, we must make the venture, the committal, the choice, and take the place just as definitely as the tree is planted in the soil, or the bride gives herself away at the marriage altar. It must be once for all, without reserve, without recall.

Then there is a season of establishing, settling and testing, during which we must stay put until the new relationship gets so fixed as to become a permanent habit. It is just the same as when the surgeon sets the broken arm. He puts it in splints to keep it from vibration. So God has His spiritual splints that He wants to put upon His children and keep them quiet and unmoved until they pass the first stage of faith.

It is not always easy work for us, but the God of all grace who hath called you unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered awhile, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Selah.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed

For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. — Mk. 11:24 NET

by Mrs. Rounds

When my little son was about ten years of age, his grandmother promised him a stamp album for Christmas. Christmas came, but no stamp album, and no word from grandmother. The matter, however, was not mentioned; but when his playmates came to see his Christmas presents, I was astonished, after he had named over this and that as gifts received, to hear him add,

“And a stamp album from grandmother.”

I had heard it several times, when I called him to me, and said, “But, Georgie, you did not get an album from your grandmother. Why do you say so?”

There was a wondering look on his face, as if he thought it strange that I should ask such a question, and he replied, “Well, mamma, grandma said, so it is the same as.” I could not say a word to check his faith.

A month went by, and nothing was heard from the album. Finally, one day, I said, to test his faith, and really wondering in my heart why the album had not been sent,

“Well, Georgie, I think grandma has forgotten her promise.”

“Oh, no, mamma,” he quickly and firmly said, “she hasn’t.”

I watched the dear, trusting face, which, for a while, looked very sober, as if debating the possibilities I had suggested. Finally a bright light passed over it, and he said,

“Mamma, do you think it would do any good if I should write to her thanking her for the album?”

“I do not know,” I said, “but you might try it.”

A rich spiritual truth began to dawn upon me. In a few minutes a letter was prepared and committed to the mail, and he went off whistling his confidence in his grandma. In just a short time a letter came, saying:

“My dear Georgie: I have not forgotten my promise to you, of an album. I tried to get such a book as you desired, but could not get the sort you wanted; so I sent on to New York. It did not get here till after Christmas, and it was still not right, so I sent for another, and as it has not come as yet, I send you three dollars to get one in Chicago. Your loving grandma.”

“As he read the letter, his face was the face of a victor. ”Now, mamma, didn’t I tell you?“ came from the depths of a heart that never doubted, that, ”against hope, believed in hope" that the stamp album would come. While he was trusting, grandma was working, and in due season faith became sight.

It is so human to want sight when we step out on the promises of God, but our Savior said to Thomas, and to the long roll of doubters who have ever since followed him: “Blessed are they who have not seen, and yet have believed.”

Alleluia!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. — 2 Cor. 2:14

God gets His greatest victories out of apparent defeats. Very often the enemy seems to triumph for a little, and God lets it be so; but then He comes in and upsets all the work of the enemy, overthrows the apparent victory, and as the Bible says, “turns the way of the wicked upside down.” Thus He gives a great deal larger victory than we would have known if He had not allowed the enemy, seemingly, to triumph in the first place.

The story of the three Hebrew children being cast into the fiery furnace is a familiar one. Here was an apparent victory for the enemy. It looked as if the servants of the living God were going to have a terrible defeat. We have all been in places where it seemed as though we were defeated, and the enemy rejoiced. We can imagine what a complete defeat this looked to be. They fell down into the flames, and their enemies watched them to see them burn up in that awful fire, but were greatly astonished to see them walking around in the fire enjoying themselves. Nebuchadnezzar told them to “come forth out of the midst of the fire.” Not even a hair was singed, nor was the smell of fire on their garments, “because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.”

This apparent defeat resulted in a marvelous victory.

Suppose that these three men had lost their faith and courage, and had complained, saying, “Why did not God keep us out of the furnace!” They would have been burned, and God would not have been glorified. If there is a great trial in your life today, do not own it as a defeat, but continue, by faith, to claim the victory through Him who is able to make you more than conqueror, and a glorious victory will soon be apparent. Let us learn that in all the hard places God brings us into, He is making opportunities for us to exercise such faith in Him as will bring about blessed results and greatly glorify His name.

Selah.

— Life of Praise

Defeat may serve as well as victory
To shake the soul and let the glory out.
When the great oak is straining in the wind,
The boughs drink in new beauty, and the trunk
Sends down a deeper root on the windward side.
Only the soul that knows the mighty grief
Can know the mighty rapture. Sorrows come
To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy.

— Edwin Markham

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing (all verses, full theology)

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Sorrowing I shall be in spirit,
Till released from flesh and sin,
Yet from what I do inherit,
Here Thy praises I’ll begin;
Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.

Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;
How His kindness yet pursues me
Mortal tongue can never tell,
Clothed in flesh, till death shall loose me
I cannot proclaim it well.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

Selah.

Words: Robert Robinson, 1758
Music: Nettleton

Friday, December 30, 2016

Lord, make me as true as the holly that stays red through the snow -- remembering you.



You must remember the Lord your God, for he is the one who gives ability to get wealth; if you do this he will confirm his covenant that he made by oath to your ancestors, even as he has to this day. — Deut. 8:18

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine:
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard;
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not thee to guard:
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy mercy on thy people, Lord! Amen.

— Rudyard Kipling

Prayer

Almighty God, as I come to thee wilt thou forgive me for the errors I have made, and for the promises that I have broken. Help me to be as true as the holly that keeps itself red through the snow. Remind me of my opportunities as I breathe in thy blessings, "Lest I forget!" Amen.

Selah.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A bar of steel has its price in the fires of the forge and hammer

Look, I am making you like a sharp threshing sledge, new and double-edged. You will thresh the mountains and crush them; you will make the hills like straw. — Isa. 41:15

A bar of steel worth five dollars, when wrought into horseshoes, is worth ten dollars. If made into needles, it is worth three hundred and fifty dollars; if into penknife blades, it is worth thirty-two thousand dollars; if into springs for watches it is worth two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. What a drilling the poor bar must undergo to be worth this! But the more it is manipulated, the more it is hammered and passed through the fire, and beaten and pounded and polished, the greater the value.

May this parable help us to be silent, still, and longsuffering. Those who suffer most are capable of yielding most; and it is through pain that God is getting the most out of us, for His glory and the blessing of others.

Selah

— Selected, Streams in the Desert.

Life is very mysterious. Indeed it is inexplicable unless we believe that God is preparing us for scenes and ministries that lie beyond the veil of sense in the eternal world, where highly-tempered spirits will be required for special service.

Selah.

Friday, October 21, 2016

God takes nothing and makes it everything. God takes one or two and makes many. Be one!

The least of you will multiply into a thousand; the smallest of you will become a large nation. When the right time comes, I the Lord will quickly do this! — Isa 60:22 NET

by C.H. Spurgeon

Works for the Lord often begin on a small scale, and they are none the worse for this. Feebleness educates faith, brings God near, and wins glory for His name. Prize promises of increase! Mustard seed is the smallest among seeds, and yet it becomes a treelike plant, with branches which lodge the birds of heaven. We may begin with one, and that “a little one,” and yet it will “become a thousand.” The Lord is great at the multiplication table. How often did He say to His lone servant, “I will multiply thee!” Trust in the Lord, ye ones and twos; for He will be in the midst of you if you are gathered in His name.

“A small one.” What can be more despicable in the eyes of those who count heads and weigh forces! Yet this is the nucleus of a great nation. Only one star shines out at first in the evening, but soon the sky is crowded with countless lights.

Nor need we think the prospect of increase to be remote, for the promise is, “I, Yahweh, will hasten it in his time.” There will be no premature haste, like that which we see at excited meetings; it will be all in due time, but yet there will be no delay. When the Lord hastens, His speed is glorious.

Alleluia!

Selah

Truth in the inward parts — not propositional or confessional: Willing to do His will, just because He says so.



TRUTH IN THE INWARD PARTS IS NOT PROPOSITIONAL. NOR IS IT CONFESSIONAL.

"Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." This saying of Jesus mingled itself with his brooding, and by and by, though yet he was brooding rather than meditating, the form of Jesus had gathered, in the stillness of his mental quiescence, so much of reality that at length he found himself thinking of him as of a true-hearted man, mightily in earnest to help his fellows, who could not get them to mind what he told them. "Ah!" said the curate to himself, "if I had but seen him, would not I have minded him!—would I not have haunted his steps, with question upon question, until I got at the truth!"

TRUTH IN THE INWARD PARTS IS ACTIONAL: WILLING TO DO HIS WILL—DOING A THING JUST BECAUSE HE SAYS.

"Yet here have I, all these years, been calling myself a Christian, ministering, forsooth, in the temple of Christ, as if he were a heathen divinity, who cared for songs and prayers and sacrifices, and cannot honestly say I ever once in my life did a thing because he said so, although the record is full of his earnest, even pleading words! I have NOT been an honest man, and how should a dishonest man be a judge over that man who said he was the Christ of God? Would it be any wonder if the things he uttered should be too high and noble to be by such a man recognized as truth?"

With this, yet another saying dawned upon, him: IF ANY MAN WILL DO HIS WILL, HE SHALL KNOW OF THE DOCTRINE, WHETHER IT BE OF GOD, OR WHETHER I SPEAK OF MYSELF. He went into a place of prayer and shut to the door—came out again, and went straight to visit a certain grievous old woman.

Selah.
 

George MacDonald, The Curate’s Awakening, “Chapter XXXI: The Curate Makes a Discovery.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Lord, make me honest

LORD, MAKE ME HONEST

“I am sure Mr. Faber is honest,” said Helen. “That is much to say for any man,” returned the curate. “If any man is, then,” adjusted Juliet. “That is a great IF,” rejoined Wingfold. “—Are you honest, Helen?” he added, turning to his wife. “No,” she answered, “But I am honester than I was a year ago.” “So am I,” said her husband. “And I hope to be honester yet before another is over. It's a big thing to say, ‘I am honest.’”




Selah.

George MacDonald, The Lady’s Confession, "Chapter XVIII: The Park at Nestley."