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31 December, 2014

In 2015 May You Learn The Secret of God's Gladness in the Heart!

The Secret of Gladness
J.R. Miller, 1899

"But let all who take refuge in You be glad; let them ever sing for joy!" Psalm 5:11
"I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High." Psalm 9:2
"I will be glad and rejoice in Your love" Psalm 31:7
"Rejoice in the LORD and be glad, you righteous. Sing, all you who are upright in heart!" Psalm 32:11
"But may the righteous be glad and rejoice before God; may they be happy and joyful." Psalm 68:3
"Satisfy us in the morning with Your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days." Psalm 90:14
"Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs!" Psalm 100:2
"This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it!" Psalm 118:24
It is worth while to be a singing bird, in this world in which are so many harsh and discordant sounds and so many cries of pain. Even a bird's songs put a little more music into the air. It is yet more worth while to be a singing Christian, giving out notes of gladness amid earth's sorrows.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4. For most of us it is not easy to be always joyful; yet we should learn our lesson so well that whether amid circumstances of sorrow or of gladness — our song shall never be interrupted.
Joy is God's ideal for His children. He means for them to be sunny-faced and happy-hearted. He does not wish them to be heavy-hearted and sad. He has made the world full of beauty and full of music. The mission of the gospel is to start songs wherever it goes. Its keynote is joy — good tidings of great joy to all people. We are commanded to rejoice always.
This does not mean that the Christian's life is exempt from trouble, pain, and sorrow. The gospel does not give us a new set of conditions with the hard things left out. The Christian's home is not sheltered from life's storms — any more than the worldly man's home is. Sickness enters the circle where the voice of prayer is heard, with its hot breath — as well as the home where no heart adores and no knee bends before God. In the holiest home sanctuary, the loving group gathers about the bed of death, and there is sorrow of bereavement.
Nor is grief less poignant in the believer's case, than in that of the man who knows not Christ. Grace does not make . . .
love less tender,
the pang of affliction less sharp,
the sense of loss less keen, or
the feeling of loneliness less deep.
God does not give joy to His children by making them incapable of suffering. Divine grace makes the heart all the more tender, and the capacity for loving all the deeper; hence it increases rather than lessens the measure of sorrow when afflictions come.
But the joy of the Christian is something which lies too deep to be disturbed by the waves and tides of earthly trouble. It has its source in the very heart of God. Sorrow is not prevented by grace, but is swallowed up in the floods of heavenly joy. That was what Jesus meant when He talked to His disciples of joy just as He was about to go out to Gethsemane. He said their sorrow would be turned into joy, and that they would have a joy which the world could not take from them; that is, a joy which earth's deepest darkness could not put out. God's joy is not the absence of sorrow, but divine comfort overcoming sorrow — sunshine striking through the black clouds, transfiguring them! "You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy!" John 16:20

30 December, 2014

Last Things Last - Arthur Pink

We opened the year by writing upon "First things First," so it seems appropriate that we should offer a few remarks upon Last Things in this closing issue of 1939. The subject suggested by this title could be dealt with in various ways. We might, for example, consider that procrastinating tendency of fallen human nature to put off until later, things which ought to be seriously attended to now.

Death was the last thing in the experience of the countless millions whose bodies now lie in the cemeteries: how many of them were prepared to pass out of time into Eternity? Like we, they knew that their life span would be but a comparatively short one at best. Yet, like most of our generation, it is greatly to be feared the majority of them lived as though they were going to continue here indefinitely, with plenty of time before them for preparing to meet their God. Here is a case where last things must not be left to the last. "O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" (Deut. 32:29).

Or, we might well dwell on the fact that the closing days of another year call for a solemn review of the months now behind us: how far we have redeemed the time—or to what extent we have trifled it away. We should be humbled at the recollection of how frequently we grumbled, because His way was not the one we desired.

We should judge ourselves unsparingly because we so often lagged behind, and sought to turn aside into forbidden bypaths. We should ponder the amazing grace of God in condescending to lead us across this trackless desert, and think, too, of His infinite forbearance in continuing to lead those who are so ungrateful and intractable. We should praise Him for having kept us in the Narrow Way, which we would have certainly forsaken—had we been left to follow the bent of our own evil lusts. And we should return fervent thanks that we are now a year's march nearer to our Heavenly Home...

The Changing Years—the Unchanging God

by Arthur Pink
January, 1945 
When we were young, the transition from December to January meant little more to us than the need for another calendar and registering the new date on our letters. There was no solemn realization that another milestone had been passed in the short journey of life, and that we were 365 days nearer a never-ending Eternity—to spend the same, either as a regenerated soul in the Courts of holiness and everlasting bliss; or to be righteously cast by God as an abhorred sinner into the region of unutterable woe, there to suffer the due reward of our iniquities forever and ever.

But since Divine mercy apprehended us and gave us the spirit of a sound mind, and as we grow older, the passing of each year impresses us more deeply with the mutability of all earthly things and of our own mortality. As each fleeting year witnesses the call hence of one and another, we are reminded that the same call may likely come to us before 1945 expires; and therefore, it behooves us to see to it—that our own house is set in order.

With the changing years, come also the vicissitudes of life. True, that has been the case all through human history—but it seems to have been more pronounced of late. What alterations have been witnessed in every sphere during the last few decades! Probably most of our readers would have discredited anyone who, a generation ago, was able to forecast the principal conditions now prevailing in the world. Even the few who had sufficient discernment to see the coming events, which were casting their dark shadows before them, were unable to foresee more than the general outline of what is now before them in detail. 

Whether we view the situation in the military, the political, the social, or the religious sphere—things have deteriorated and degenerated more than even the pessimistic conceived likely. Nor can the most experienced and sagacious, prognosticate with any degree of certainty, how much further the downward trend will go, how much lower moral and spiritual values will sink, nor how much that which is still prized by the godly, will be sucked into the maelstrom of destruction. Yes, the changing years are bringing with them great changes in living conditions—changes which are solemn to contemplate, and fearful to experience.

26 December, 2014

The Birth Of Christ Part 4/4

The view of the conquering Savior is given, to animate his soldiers to the fight. John, in prophetic vision, saw Jesus going forth "conquering, and to conquer." "He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and his title was the Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in pure white linen, followed him on white horses. From his mouth came a sharp sword, and with it he struck down the nations. He ruled them with an iron rod, and he trod the winepress of the fierce wrath of almighty God. On his robe and thigh was written this title: King of kings and Lord of lords." "The armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean." Well might Moses sing; "The Lord is a man of war; Jehovah is his name."

Let me not be ashamed of Christ; let me fight manfully under his banners; let me continue his faithful soldier and servant; and what will be the consequence? By multitudes of baptized Christians, I shall be derided as an enthusiast; I shall be shunned as a fanatic! And yet, these scoffers and deriders are to be considered as regenerated people! Paul, with fearless heart, through the power and grace of Christ, led his converts on, to conflict and to victory. To the Corinthians he declared "We are human, but we don't wage war with human plans and methods. We use God's mighty weapons, not mere worldly weapons, to knock down the Devil's strongholds. With these weapons we break down every proud argument that keeps people from knowing God. With these weapons we conquer their rebellious ideas, and we teach them to obey Christ. "

To Timothy, Paul writes; "Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. And as Christ's soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in the affairs of this life, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army." And when he came to lay down his life for Christ, and to receive the crown of martyrdom; he could triumphantly say; "I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." If, like the blessed Apostle, I am drawing all my supplies out of the fullness which is in Christ Jesus; and if, like him, I keep the faith, enduring unto the end, with him also I shall receive the crown of life which fades not away.

When I think of Bethlehem, I will think of the House of bread, and of the House of war; out of which He came, whose goings forth have been of old, from everlasting; even Jesus, who is the Ruler in Israel, the Light of the Gentiles, and for salvation to the ends of the earth.

Behold! through the regions of death,
What light and what gladness arise;
Jehovah, in manhood arrayed,
Descends from his throne in the skies.
Rejoice, O you sinners, rejoice!
Exult at the life-giving view;
Adore the rich grace of the Cross,
Where the Savior expired for you.
Now peace is proclaimed on high,
Oh! touch the blessed scepter and live,
Ask freely whatever you want,
For God now delights to give.
The blood of your Savior and Lord,
Has purchased each blessing above;
The mansions of glory and rest;
The Father's approval and love.
The Spirit of grace shall descend,
And kindle the rapturous fire,
Whose flame will increase and expand,
When life's feeble lamp shall expire.
In yonder bright region of bliss,
Your praise will incessantly flow;
Then sing to his glory and grace,
While strangers and pilgrims below


25 December, 2014

The Birth of Christ - Part 3

Bethlehem signifies also the 'house of war'. How remarkable this. Jesus, when lying in the manger, was announced to the shepherds, as "Christ the Lord," the Anointed One, Messiah, the Prince. To Mary, before her conception, the angel said; "You shall bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and, shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."

To Adam, in Paradise, the promise was given, that the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. This implies conflict and conquest. Christ was foretold by Isaiah as a mighty conqueror; "Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in the greatness of his strength?" "It is I, the Lord, announcing your salvation! It is I, the Lord, who is mighty to save!"

David, in the spirit of prophecy, beautifully describes the glory and majesty of Christ. "He shall have dominion from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust."

Jesus, by his Spirit in David, thus speaks of himself; "The Lord has said unto me, You are my Son; this day have I begotten you. Ask of me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel."

Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews declares, that through death, Christ destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Thus fulfilling the first prediction: Satan bruised the heel of the promised seed, when Jesus suffered on the cross; And Christ, by his death, bruised the head, the kingdom of the power of darkness. "For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil."

Believers, then, must endure hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ, knowing that the Captain of their salvation was made perfect through suffering. Spiritual armor is provided for the Christian warrior, the girdle of truth, the breast-plate of righteousness, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The command is given, "Be on guard. Stand true to what you believe. Be courageous. Be strong."


The Birth of Christ -Part 2

The anniversary of the birth of Christ, should be a season of rejoicing, not of carnal feasting; a season for spiritual delight, not to pamper the appetites, like heathens in their idol-temples; a season to exalt the soul by divine meditations, and to console it by the assurance of pardoning grace. Oh! that I may thus rejoice with holy joy, and feel every emotion alive to gratitude and praise. I want to feel my heart full of holy rapture, while I meditate upon the wonders of this day. But I must examine myself whether I be in the faith- whether I have received Christ as offered to me in the gospel. Have I any saving interest in this redemption? Jesus is the Savior of the world. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. I am lost; therefore he came to seek me. But will all be saved? Alas? no! And why? because "not all men have faith."

Here, then, is the all-important question: Do I believe in the Son of God with the heart unto righteousness? If I do believe, through grace, though by nature a child of wrath, I am among the saved in Christ Jesus; for "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Oh! what a declaration of grace is this! Truly this is the gospel of my salvation. "Whoever believes." Here is my warrant to hope. "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief." Give me a stronger and a stronger faith, that it may grow into the assurance of hope.

"Whoever believes." Oh! what a word of consolation. The word "whoever," in its full meaning, as expressed by our divine Redeemer, extends to the utmost bounds of the human family, whether in time or space. All, from Adam to the last man born into the world, would be saved, if believers in Jesus; for the word is, "Whoever." No nation, nor age, is exempted from this blessing, so long as "Whoever believes" is recorded in the word of Truth. No sins, however aggravated, shall prevent the participation of this salvation, if there only is true faith in the heart of the sinner, accompanied, as it ever will be, with sincere repentance, love, and obedience; for Jesus has said, that "Whoever," (let him be what he may; or where he may; or have lived when he may;) "Whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

The same blessed truth was declared by our Lord in his last commission to his Apostles; "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to Every Creature. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved." O what mercy and grace is this! Surely none need now despair, who feel an earnest desire after salvation. Everything connected with the redemption of mankind, bears the impress of the divine goodness. The Son of the Virgin was to be called, "Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." A mere man could not do this; therefore he is, "Emmanuel; which being interpreted, is, God with us."

Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the city of David. How mysterious his character. He was the root and offspring of David. David's Son, and David's Lord. These names are full of meaning. David signifies, 'beloved'. Jesus, when baptized by John in the river Jordan, was declared by a voice from heaven, to be the beloved of the Father; "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." And Paul exhorts the Colossians to give thanks unto the Father, who "has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son."

Bethlehem, the birth-place of Christ, is a name of rich import. Bethlehem signifies the 'house of bread'. How suitable is this for him who declared. "I am the bread of life." "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eats of this bread, he shall live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." O! that my soul may be nourished and sustained by this "true bread from heaven." Lord, evermore give me this bread. O dwell in me, and I in you. May I daily feed upon you, by faith, in my heart with thanksgiving.


23 December, 2014

The Birth of Christ

"I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David!" Luke 2:10-11

What angelic mind can descend into the depth, or soar to the height of redeeming love! "Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself." "Jesus Christ was of the seed of David;" and yet, "is over all, God blessed forever."

The two-fold nature of Christ was declared by himself on many occasions. To Nicodemus he said, "No man has ascended up to heaven, but he who came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven." As Man, he was on earth; as God, he filled the heavens with his presence. Proud reason staggers at this truth, but faith rejoices and triumphs. Salvation is of the Lord.

O for this love, let rocks and hills,
Their lasting silence break;
And all harmonious human tongues,
The Savior's praises speak.

As Jesus was born in the flesh, so must I be born in the Spirit. He became the Son of man, that I might become a child of God. He died, that I might live. He ever lives to make intercession for me, that where he is, there I may be also.

And did He indeed shed his precious blood for me? Was it for one so vile and wretched, that he became incarnate, endured a life of suffering, and a death of pain? And shall I not love him with all my powers? Why is my heart like adamant for hardness, and ice for coldness? Oh! what ingratitude, worse than satanic baseness! Come, O Sun of Righteousness, dispel the clouds of unbelief which obscure your brightness; drive away the mists of error; melt my frozen heart; subdue my stubborn will. Come with all your vivifying rays of mercy, grace, and love; and make me humble, loving, teachable, and mild, an image of Yourself.

When the Savior of the world was born, angels filled the canopy of heaven with joyful hallelujahs. They sang, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Did angels rejoice at man's salvation, and shall man, for whom this salvation was wrought, be silent and unmoved? Alas! the loving Savior came unto his own, and his own received him not." Do I condemn the Jews? "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," said Jesus to the accusing Pharisees. I should sit in judgment on myself.

Blessed Redeemer! your word proclaims pardon and peace to a ruined world; your ministers preach salvation, through your atoning blood, to all who repent and believe; your Spirit strives with sinners by powerful convictions; and still they withstand these workings of your love. And had not your grace been as omnipotent, as it is sovereign, I would even now have been in arms against you. But Oh! the mighty, the almighty power of Love; you did graciously draw me to Yourself, and shed abroad in my heart the kindly influences of your Spirit. Jesus, O Friend of sinners, O Physician of souls, how can I sufficiently adore and praise you. As you had compassion on the leper, the paralytic, the deaf, the dumb, the maimed, and the blind, so have you had pity on me. Yes, as you did raise Lazarus from the dead, so have you bid me live. Oh! that I may live to your glory while on earth; and live with you in glory, when time shall be no more.

22 December, 2014

What is Prayer? Success in Prayer 5

We call prayer a success, when we get audience with God and receive the things we desire of him. This is a wonderful privilege. When we go to God in the right manner — he will extend the golden scepter.

In order to get an answer to our prayers, we must have sincere desire. This arises from a sense of need. The desire will be to the extent of our sense of need. If we have but a slight sense of need — then we have but little desire. "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24. "There is no lack to those who fear him." God supplies every need of his redeemed children. Desire, as we have said, arises from a sense of need, and God will supply our needs; therefore what we desire — we shall receive.

Again, we read in the Word of Truth that "the desire of the righteous shall be granted." Thus we understand that in order to pray successfully — we must experience a sense of need. Do you want more love for God? Do you feel in your soul a deep sense of such need? Then you have great desire for it — and "the desire of the righteous shall be granted." God will not hear cold, dead, formal prayers! He will not give us that for which we feel no need.

In order to be successful in prayer, we must come to God humbly. It is the cry of the humble, that God hears. He heard the prayer of the publican because he came feeling a sense of need, and also came in a humble, dependent spirit. He did not hear the proud Pharisee. God heard the prayer of Abraham, when this patriarch came to him asking him to spare Sodom if a certain number of righteous people could be found there. God heard this prayer because of the manner in which the suppliant came. Abraham said, "Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord — I who am but dust and ashes." If we come to the Lord feeling that he is under some obligation to us because of something we have done or because of what we are — then he will not hear us. O Lord, help us to be humble, to feel our dependence.

In order for prayer to prevail with God — it must come from a submissive and obedient heart. "Submit yourselves therefore to God" is the exhortation of the Bible. And "whatever we ask, we receive from him, because we obey his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight." When we keep the commandments of God and love his will — he will hear our prayers.
The Lord would have us come to him with reverence. We should come into the presence of God with a holy awe resting upon our souls. If we were to step into the presence of an earthly monarch, we would have a profound feeling of awe and reverence — then how much more on coming into the majestic presence of God. Oh! do not dishonor him by bowing down so unfeelingly, as if God were no more than an ordinary man! We should address him with reverence.

Do not rush hurriedly and casually into his presence — but come before him as Moses did at the burning bush. Prayer should be sacred and hallowed. We feel constrained to bow our heads when devout men pray. When we come upon anyone in secret communion with God, we feel impelled to withdraw in silence. In your worship around your family altar, let there be reverence. Teach your little ones to revere the name of Jesus. Let everything else be laid aside and come before him with profoundness of thought and feeling.

We should come before the Lord in childlikeness. Being reverential, does not necessitate being in slavish bondage. We can come to the Lord with reverence — and also in childlike confidence and cheerfulness. We should come with a filial spirit filling our hearts. When we come in this manner, the Lord will hear us, and prayer will be availing.


21 December, 2014

What is Prayer? Prayer is Supplication and Supping with Jesus 4

Prayer is SUPPLICATION. In Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, we find these words: "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit." And again, in his letter to the saints at Philippi, he says, "But in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God." He does not mean that prayer is one thing, and supplication something else. Supplication is prayer.

Petition is for the obtaining of some special object, for which there is to be the definite act of faith. Supplication is not so much a desire for the obtaining of any special object — as a more general longing and intense love for God and his glory. There is not such a definite act of faith — but an earnest pleading with a submission to the will of God. Supplication is more earnest and intense than petition — and rises above it into a longing, yearning, pleading in love with a resignation to the divine will. Many people pray the prayer of petition — but fewer pray the prayer of supplication.

Prayer is a pouring out of the soul to God. I do not attempt to discriminate between "supplication" and "pouring out the soul," for my mind is scarcely capable of conceiving any difference. The latter term seems to me to be but another form of expression, which may enable us to grasp more clearly the full meaning of the other. By the expression "pouring out of the soul" we can see more distinctly the labor and intensity of supplication.

Hannah, in her prayer, did not speak audibly. She spoke only in her heart. Her lips moved as in the formation of words — but there was no voice. In reply to the high priests accusation, she said, "I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink — but have poured out my soul before the Lord." As David's soul was panting after God and tears were his food day and night, he exclaims, "I pour out my soul within me." And again, when beholding God as his strength and refuge, he said, "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us." Pouring out the soul is deep, close communion with God. It is the losing of consciousness of earth and earthly things — and the bringing of the soul up into the presence of God. It is leaving the body behind, so to speak, and talking to God in the spirit. Every Christian should occasionally have such communion with the Lord.

Prayer is a SUPPING with Jesus. The voice that was heard by one in the Spirit said, "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." Rev. 3:20. Elsewhere we said something about conceiving of God both as being on his throne — and as being a companion by our side, and again as an abiding guest in our heart. The text just quoted pictures him to us as abiding in our hearts. There we can commune with him. We sup with him, and he sups with us. The heart is the communion chamber.

In the Canticles we read, "While the king sits at his table, my spikenard sends forth the smell thereof." Jesus brings his viands of grace and places them on the table — and we bring our viands of joy, praise, and thanksgiving and place them on the table, and then we sup — Jesus and we. We sup of His grace to the full need and satisfaction of our souls — and He sups of the joy and the praise we bring, and delights himself in their sweetness and fragrance. And should we have burdens or sorrows, we may bring them, too — and he will share them with us. Bless his name! This is prayer.


20 December, 2014

What is Prayer? Prayer is Confession and Petition-3

Prayer is CONFESSION. Adoration is only a part of prayer. There is much that such dependent creatures as we, need to confess. We need to confess our dependence, and our weakness, and our faults. To confess our dependence does not make us independent, to confess our weakness does not make us strong, and to confess our faults does not make us faultless; but to do these things manifests a proper attitude of the heart.
God can make us strong — if we but feel our weakness. It is for this reason — that the weak can say that they are strong. But God cannot make us strong — until we feel our weakness, any more than He can save a sinner who does not realize his sinfulness. We should feel our unprofitableness, our weakness, our need of help. We can draw so much closer to God in prayer — if we feel the great need of His help. It is really precious to become terrified at the hideousness of sin and the devil and the world — and to flee to our refuge under the shadow of God's wing! The blessedness is not found in the terror — but in the feeling of security we experience — when hiding in the secret of the Lord's pavilion.
Prayer is PETITION. God delights in having us ask Him for the things we need. He gives many encouraging promises. One is this: "Ask, and you shall receive." We are told to be anxious for nothing — but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving to let our requests be made known unto God. To have a kind heavenly Father to whom we can come for everything we need — is a blessing too great to conceive! He is faithful to fulfill all He has promised. May the Lord increase the faith of His children.
The "if" is not on the Lord's side — but on man's side. A father brought his son that had a dumb spirit to Jesus and said, "If you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us." Christ, in His reply, gave the man to know that the "if" was on the latter's part. "If you can believe," said Jesus, "all things are possible to him that believes." The question is not whether Jesus can — it is whether we will ask and believe.
Some people object to the petitioning side of prayer. They say that the Fatherhood of God is in opposition to all reasonableness in petitioning prayer. Since he knows our every need and is disposed to give us all we need — there is, they say, no necessity to ask him. Being a God of infinite goodness and love, he is disposed to grant all our needs without our asking, the same as he gave his Son to die for us. They go further and illustrate, by referring to the readiness of earthly parents to supply the needs of their children without their asking. But the illustration is not perfectly analogous to God's manner of dealing with his children. Though parents provide everything good for their children, it is certainly respectful on the part of the children to ask for things they need.
The prayer of petition does not change God's disposition and influence him to a willingness to grant us our needs — but it prepares our heart for the receiving of them in thankfulness. Prayer does not change God — so much as it changes us! I am indeed glad that God has obligated us to ask. It brings us in such close personal contact with him. We would not be likely to come feelingly near to him in thanksgiving — if we did not come feelingly near to him in petition. But of this we shall have more to say in another chapter.

What is Prayer? Prayer is Adoration


By adoration we mean worship, reverence, esteem, respect, love. The soul adores God — as it beholds his greatness and his goodness. When a person beholds the beauty of God's perfections, the glory of His majesty, and the wonders of His works — he experiences a feeling of awe and of filial fear and dread. When he gives utterance to his feelings, he cries with the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty! The whole earth is full of his glory!"

We have cause to fear there is great deficiency of adoration in prayer, especially in private prayer. Perhaps in silent meditation, there is not enough admiration of God's exalted nature and marvelous works. There is not a due ascription to him of glory and honor. Jesus said, "When you pray, say, Our Father in Heaven,Hallowed be your name." As we bow down before Jehovah, oh, may there be not only the word "hallowed" on our lips — but a hallowed feeling in our soul.

We hear the Psalmist in his meditation exclaiming: "Praise the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty! He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent, and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants." Psalm 104:1-3.
Much adoring prayer is recorded in the Scriptures. Listen to the devotional song of Moses after the deliverance at the Red Sea. "Your right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power: your right hand, O Lord, has dashed in pieces the enemy!" "Who is like unto you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you — glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders!" Exodus 15:6, 11.

The angels are engaged in the prayer of adoration. They are shouting, "Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might — be unto our God forever and ever!" They are singing the song of Moses and the Lamb before the throne of God, saying, "Great and marvelous are your works, O Lord God Almighty; just and true are your ways, O King of saints. Who shall not fear you, O Lord, and glorify your name? for you only are holy!" May the spirit ofMoses and the angels fall upon our souls, as we approach the mercy seat in prayer.


19 December, 2014

What is Prayer?

Prayer is a COMING to God. Some Bible expressions are: "He who comes to God." "He who comes to me." "Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden." "He is able also to save those to the uttermost — who come unto God by him." "Come to the waters." "Come buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk." "Come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."

God is the Christian's tender Father. In prayer, we should come to Him — as a child to its father. God loves this familiarity. This is not irreverence. We can come to Him familiarly — and yet reverently.
We can conceive of God both as the Supreme Ruler of the universe on His throne — and as our tender Father by our side. We should be so conscious of His being with us, that when we go into our prayer closets — we shall almost feel like holding the door ajar to admit Him! Then a little closer still, we can conceive of Him as being in our own hearts. We should turn our voice inward and speak to Him in our own heart. We see Him then, not only as a ruler in Heaven — but as a ruler in our own hearts. When we come to God, we should have this view of Him.

We should come to God in prayer and speak to Him, thanking Him or making a request of Him — as familiarly as with the closest friend. In true prayer, we talk personally with God; we embrace Him as a bosom companion; we see Him and hear Him and speak to Him and feel His presence — as we do that of a friend. This seeing and hearing and making Him a person with us — is in the province of faith. In prayer we close our eyes to things that are seen — and open them to things unseen. Prayer is a coming to God and embracing Him — a drinking in of His life and spirit, a leaning on His bosom, and feeling the beating of His heart warm with love.

Prayer is the Christian pilgrim's staff
To walk with God all day!

Enoch walked with God three hundred years. That long walk we do not suppose was a walk in silence — but a walk in converse. We do not know what was said, and it is not God's purpose that we should know — but we can come to Him, and He will teach us what to say.

Prayer is more than bending the knee and saying some words. It is the shutting of the closet door — and being ALONE WITH GOD. It is the coming of the soul, tremulous with love and holy awe — before His sacred presence; and at the same time — a talking to Him in childlike innocence and confidence.

The little child climbs upon its father's knee and, leaning upon his bosom, delighting itself in his companionship. There in the sacred silence, the heart seems to talk with heart, and the spirit of the child — is fashioned into the likeness of the parent! Just so, prayer is Heavenly Father and His redeemed child — in the most intimate converse and sweetest companionship. There he finds rest.

Wrapped in the bosom of his God,
His head upon his breast,
Forgetful of the cares of life,
He finds the perfect rest!

Charles Orr 

17 December, 2014

Common Proverbs and Wise Sayings

A bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush.
A chain is no stronger than its weakest link.
A fool and his money are soon parted.
A friend in need, is a friend indeed.
A good beginning, makes a good ending.
A house divided cannot stand.
A house is not a home.
A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
A man is known by the company he keeps.
A man's home is his castle.
A penny for your thoughts.
A penny saved, is a penny earned.
A picture paints a thousand words.
A place for everything, and everything in its place.
A problem shared, is a problem halved.
A stitch in time saves nine.
A volunteer is worth twenty pressed men.
A watched pot never boils.
A woman's place is in the home.
A woman's work is never done.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Actions speak louder than words.
Advice when most needed, is least heeded.
After a storm comes a calm.
All good things must come to an end.
All roads lead to Rome.
All that glitters is not gold.
All is well, that ends well.
All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
A man's home is his castle.
An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.
Appearances are deceptive.
April showers bring May flowers.
As soon as man is born, he begins to die.
As you make your bed, so must you lie in it.
As you sow, so shall you reap.
Ask no questions, and hear no lies.
Bad news travels fast.
Barking dogs seldom bite.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Beauty is only skin-deep.
Beggars cannot be choosers.
Behind every great man, there's a great woman
Better late, than never.
Better safe, than sorry.
Better die with honor, than live with shame.
Better the devil you know, than the devil you don't know.
Better to be alone, than in bad company.
Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
Birds of a feather flock together.
Blood is thicker than water.
Boys will be boys.
Business before pleasure.
Charity begins at home.
Children are poor men's riches.
Cleanliness is next to godliness.
Count your blessings.
Crime does not pay.
Curiosity killed the cat.
Dead men have no friends.
Dead men tell no tales.
Death closes all doors.
Death is the great leveler.
Death pays all debts.
Diligence is the mother of good fortune.
Discretion is the better part of valor.
Divide and conquer.
Do not wear out your welcome.
Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.
Don't bite the hand that feeds you.
Don't burn your bridges behind you.
Don't change horses in midstream.
Don't cross the bridge until you come to it.
Don't count your chickens before they are hatched.
Don't judge a book by its cover.
Don't go near the water until you learn how to swim.
Don't put all yours eggs in one basket.
Don't rock the boat.
Don't try to walk before you can crawl.
Don't upset the apple-cart.
Don't wash your dirty linen in public.
Early to bed and early to rise, make a man healthy, wealthy and wise.
Easier said, than done.
Easy come, easy go.
Empty vessels make the most noise.
Enough is as good as a feast.
Enough is enough.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining.
Every family has a skeleton in the closet.
Every garden has some weeds.
Every man has his faults.
Every man has his price.
Every man is his own worst enemy.
Every picture tells a story.
Every stick has two ends.
Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Experience is the best teacher.
Experience is the mother of wisdom.
Failing to plan, is planning to fail.
Failure teaches success.
Faint heart never won fair lady.
Familiarity breeds contempt.
Fear of death, is worse than death itself.
Fight fire with fire.
Finders keepers, losers weepers.
First come, first served.
First things first.
First think, and then speak.
Fish and guests smell after three days.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
Fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.
Garbage in, garbage out.
Give credit where credit is due.
Give him an inch, and he'll take a mile.
Good fences make good neighbors.
Goodness is better than beauty.
Gray hairs are death's blossoms.
Great minds think alike.
Hard work never did anyone any harm.
Haste makes waste.
He who is master of himself, will soon be master of others.
He who knows nothing, doubts nothing.
He who marries for money, will earn it.
He who plants a tree, plants for posterity.
He who plants thorns, must never expect to gather roses.
He who seeks trouble, never misses.
He who laughs last, laughs longest.
He who would climb the ladder, must begin at the bottom.
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty.
History repeats itself.
Home is where the heart is.
Honesty is the best policy.
If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well.
If God had meant us to fly, he'd have given us wings.
If at first you don't succeed try, try and try again.
If you can't beat them, join them.
If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
In the kingdom of the blind, the one eyed man is king.
In the midst of life, we are in death.
Into every life, a little rain must fall.
It never rains, but it pours.
It is a bold mouse that nestles in the cat's ear.
It is an equal failing to trust everybody--and to trust nobody.
It's best to be on the safe side.
It's better to give, than to receive.
It's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
It's never too late.
It's no use locking the stable door, after the horse has bolted.
It's not worth crying over spilt milk.
It's the early bird that gets the worm.
It's the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.
It takes one to know one.
It takes two to tango.
Jack of all trades, master of none.
Keep your mouth shut, and your ears open.
Kill not the goose that lays the golden eggs.
Laugh and the world laughs with you, weep and you weep alone.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Lend your money, and lose your friend.
Let bygones be bygones.
Let sleeping dogs lie.
Let the buyer beware.
Let the punishment fit the crime.
Life is what you make it.
Like father, like son.
Like mother, like daughter.

Live and learn.