by William Cowper
In coming to a mercy seat!
Yet who that knows the worth of prayer,
But wishes to be often there?
Prayer makes the darken’d cloud withdraw,
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw,
Gives exercise to faith and love,
Brings every blessing from above.
Restraining prayer, we cease to fight;
Prayer makes the Christian’s armour bright;
And Satan trembles when he sees
The weakest saint upon his knees.
While Moses stood with arms spread wide,
Success was found on Israel’s side;
But when through weariness they fail’d,
That moment Amalek prevail’d.
Have you no words? Ah, think again,
Words flow apace when you complain,
And fill your fellow-creature’s ear
With the sad tale of all your care.
Were half the breath thus vainly spent
To heaven in supplication sent,
Your cheerful song would oftener be,
“Hear what the Lord has done for me.”
Fault…a deep crack in the earth revealing instability beneath. Rough places, breaches in the surface where the rock below has been moving in contradictory directions…
Faults…breaks in a in a person’s smooth, exterior character that diffuse a distinctly carnal scent. God, help me. I know this subject well.
A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)
The movement of his divided mind against itself, rumbling tumultuously beneath, causes breaks in the surface, painfully evident to all. I know instability…I know the feeling of being stretched between Heaven and earth, yearning for one while being pulled toward the other. It’s no wonder my faults are many.
But I read in this glorious Book that there is hope. Where the fault runs deep, the Blood flows deeper still.
Can it be true? Can He heal this wound in my character? Yes–only when I surrender both halves of my double mind to Him who is able to keep me from falling, and present me faultless!
Faultless! As if the very plates of the earth were fused again to an immovable whole, He bridges the gap in the soul and presents it as if no destructive crack ever existed!
The agonizing, guilty soul would despair…how can one expect to be worth anything to God with such blemishes? Doesn’t He require perfection?
Be ye holy, for I am holy
He says (1 Peter 1:16). Yet NO one is perfect. Is there hope at all?
Glorious revelation! It’s not from the damaged, human soul that He requires this perfection…rather, it’s from Himself that He required it. Spotless. Faultless. Blameless.
Only when a life is hid in Christ with God can anyone hope for righteousness, or peace, or faultlessness. It’s by adoption that we become His children..but not just children..joint-heirs with the Firstborn of all creation, miraculously taking on His perfect likeness!
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and for ever. Amen. -Jude 24,25
“Lord, I know that I need to talk to you first thing in the morning. But it is so hard for me to wake up…”
This quote (and what followed it) read my mail today. It is Nona Freeman’s ‘Prayer for Night People,’ and it continues with a challenge.
Being a ‘night person,’ guilty of the above confession, I have often been haunted by the words of David, “Early will I seek Thee..”
Are you ready to pray this prayer with me?
“The church at large…never has learnt, and never can learn, this truth in such a way as to be beyond the danger of forgetting it…” (C.K. Barrett)
(This quote borrowed from a great blog I stumbled across today).
It is always shocking to me how quickly I forget the details in a Bible story, or the reference for a well-known Scripture.
It is the called the Living Word for a reason. We are meant to constantly return to it, ‘sharpening the axe’ (RIP, Stephen Covey), eating it as we do food, recognizing our constant need for it, like a desperate thirst for water. And if we don’t constantly partake, ingest, and apply….
This sobering thought reveals the reason why Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is so central to traditional Jewish life, and why it should be taken seriously by every Christian.We are to constantly repeat the Word of God, talking of it when rising, lying down, going out, coming in, sitting in our home, running errands… Otherwise, the warnings in Deuteronomy 11:16-21 come to pass, as they did for Israel.
“Remember” comes from the Latin word rememorari meaning “to recall to the mind” or “be mindful of again.” This is an active term, one that requires effort. Remembering doesn’t just happen to someone–it is a purposeful act.
When we learn a new memory verse in our little homeschool, we Read, Rehearse (read aloud), add Rhythm, and Repeat. And Repeat. And Repeat again. This is the only way to keep it firmly planted in little hearts (and big ones, too).
Truth doesn’t happen to someone..it is sought and found like treasure, and it is pure, like precious gold. It is daily handled with care, revered, cherished. It is worth the effort.
Don’t forget to remember!
“Have you ever wondered if this is it? Is this true Christianity? Am I as close to God as I can be until I reach Heaven?”
This book chronicles the path of a faithful Baptist couple who found that there was MORE God had to offer them. It is drawn from the personal journal of a woman who sought God herself and was surprised to find what awaited her. And it had been there in the Scriptures all along!
I can’t recommend it highly enough.
Jeremiah chapter 35. Jerusalem.
The threat of invading Chaldeans is heavy in the air, and ‘weeping prophet’ Jeremiah is pleading in vain with the people of Judah to abandon their idols and return to God.
God speaks to Jeremiah:
“Assemble all the men from the clan of the Rechabites in a room in the Temple. Bring wine, and tell them to drink it.”
Jeremiah obeys. He sets the jugs of wine and cups in front of them. He says, “Drink.”
“But we can’t.”
is the unanimous reply.
“Jonadab our ancestor instructed us never to drink wine, nor to build or own houses or vineyards, nor to sow seed, but to live in tents, that we may live long in the land in which we are aliens. We –with all our wives, sons, and daughters– have carefully obeyed these instructions.”
This clan of Rechabites were longtime sojourners in Canaan, descendants of the family of Jethro (Hobab), Moses’ father-in-law. They had lived among the Israelites from the days of Mount Sinai (Num10:29-32), and had entered the Promised Land with them. They feared the God of Israel, and it was due to the zeal of Jonadab their father that they were spared when Jehu went ‘cleaning house’ in Israel after the days of Ahab. (2 Kings 10:15-17)
God speaks again to Jeremiah:
“Speak to Judah and Jerusalem: will you never learn? These Rechabites have meticulously followed the commandment of their ancestor, a man, not to drink wine.
“But I have spoken to you urgently, untiringly, sending servants and prophets to say ‘Turn back, change your ways, do not serve other gods, and you will live long on the land I have given you.’ Yet you have not listened to me nor paid attention to me.
“Therefore, I will bring upon these people all the disaster I have decreed for them…but as for the sons of Jonadab the Rechabite, because they have obeyed their ancestor and observed all his rules, they will never lack a descendant to stand before me.” (Jeremiah 35:12-18, paraphrased)
A small group, the Rechabites were faithful for generations. They didn’t put down roots anywhere, but sojourned. When the need arose, they moved without being bound to property or possession. Though not of the stock of Jacob, they feared the God of Israel.
And when the time came to be tested of God, they passed.
No doubt they were subject to ridicule.
“You don’t have to do all that…the Torah doesn’t require that!”
Living ‘in and not of’ Israel, they were a different breed, walking to the beat of a different drum. The cares of the world around them did not draw them. They had no ‘continuing city.’
They weren’t required to follow the Torah to the letter, yet they bound themselves faithfully to the conservative guidelines of an ancestor who feared God…and their convictions, borne of zeal, proved more ‘strict’ than those of the Jews.
They were a people set apart in a nation set apart. And because of their sincere faithfulness and obedience, God made of them an example to His own people.
The question of ‘standards’ is so often raised by so many. Countless hours of study have gone into the task of ‘rightly dividing the word of truth’ as to how the church is to live in our day and age.
Perhaps the issue isn’t where exactly the lines are to be drawn for the church as a whole; perhaps we have lost focus of the goal in our attempts to clearly define ‘modesty’ and ‘holiness.’
What is my goal? To be faithful to the God I love, in every way possible, regardless of how it may change my lifestyle.
One might see me in my skirt and uncut hair, and say “you don’t have to do all that..”
Maybe what we do is over and above what is ‘required’ by the New Covenant. But what if God is using us to show faithfulness to His Word? Who else is watching?
Will we pass the test of faithfulness?
“Yahweh says this, ‘Stand at the crossroads and look, ask for the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it and you will find rest for yourselves..” (Jeremiah 6:16, NJB)
I came across a great post today on The Master’s Artist (see my blogroll). While it is about writing, to me it spoke more about the idea of work. Rather than spoil the effect by telling you too much, I will let you read it for yourself..
..this would describe a heart seized by the Spirit of God. Unapologetically consumed by Him.
Words fail utterly to describe this experience. It is glory, it is rest, it is comfort, it is beauty, it is holy anguish, it is power, it is JESUS. Himself. Deep calleth unto deep…so much so that the flesh can hardly bear it.
This is when you know it’s real. As a book I’ve been reading so aptly puts it, This is That. It is exquisitely described, alluded to, and promised in Scripture. All of nature points to it. From the beginning, all of history, line upon line, precept upon precept, saturated with prophecy, type, and shadow, swelled to fill the universe with glorious Power, bursting forth on Pentecost. And the gates of hell could not prevent it.
And to this day, it will not. Greater is HE! He is the Rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest. He is the Peace that transcends every fear.
Yet so many prevent Him from entering. No, the gates of hell won’t prevail. But He will not force Himself upon those who don’t truly want Him.
Counterfeit, yes. Substitute, no.
Does your experience with God reflect this? Am I describing your walk with Jesus? If not, what hinders you?
For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
~2 Corinthians 6:2
But if…thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
It’s two in the morning, and I can’t sleep. I have a question to ask:
Do you know Jesus?
I lay here, almost asleep, and the beating of my heart awoke me. This soul housed in my body is important enough to Him to DIE for. So is yours. Do you know this God?
I do not say this for poetic effect. I ask you sincerely.
Sure, you’ve been to church. Maybe you’ve been faithful. Do you hear Him speaking? He wants a closer walk with you. Are you listening?
Okay, maybe you’ve read His Word: His voice recorded on the page. But do you know the God of the Word?
Yes, there are enough cliches about knowing God to fill your twitter feed and Facebook status updates for years, but the question remains:
Do you know Jesus?
He speaks, pleads, screams, shouts, whispers through all the instruments of nature and circumstance to divert your attention to Him…have you noticed?
How long has it been since you felt His presence? How long has it been since you’ve seen Him move in your life? How long since you spoke in other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance? (Yes it’s for YOU) How long has it been since the Witness of the Holy Ghost entered into your conversation and suddenly, you knew He was THERE in your midst?
Jesus won’t let me sleep, until I tell you: He is not willing that any should perish, but that all come to repentance: turning away from sin, to Him. That means YOU. His ear is not deaf that it cannot hear; His arm is not short that it cannot save!
If you have never seen Him move, or heard Him speak, or felt His presence, You CAN! He longs for you to walk with Him. He is not a God who dwells in houses made with hands..He wants your heart.
Please, please, seek Him now, while you still have time. Call on the name of Jesus. All power is His in heaven and earth, and He knocks on your door right now, ready to transform your mind, and place His eternal law in your soul.
There are no perfect words to say; He is not asking for ritualistic, vain repetition. He wants the desperate cry of a hungry heart, broken and contrite before Him. This is the acceptable sacrifice.
Sure, shrug this off as just another blogger wanting to increase traffic (If you’ve seen how often I post, you know this isn’t priority). I’m nobody. But He’s everything! He’s worth listening to, if I’m not.
I cannot any longer call myself “gospelmom” if I don’t preach the Gospel to somebody! Have you heard that Jesus died for YOU, that He was buried and ROSE AGAIN to release you from the bonds of sin and set you FREE from the law of sin and death? And that ALL THIS He did so He could walk with you, live in you, rescue you?
This is not cliche, it is TRUTH!!
Call me a crazy fundamental nutjob, or a pentecostal freak. You’re free to do that…
but please do not ignore His voice. He calls now; will you answer?
But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. ~Jeremiah 31:33,34