Friday, 20 April 2018

Suffering Patience Victory

'My dear brother, we must not mind a little suffering for Christ's sake.

When I am getting through a hedge, if my head and shoulders are safely through, I can bear the prickling of my legs. Let us rejoice in the remembrance that our Holy Head has surmounted all His suffering and triumphed over death.

Let us follow Him patiently; we shall soon be partakers of His victory.'

Charles Simeon

Saturday, 31 March 2018

Bonhoeffer on Humility

'[true Christian] humility.. is wholly unselfconscious, even as the eye can see other people but can never see itself.

Such hiddenness will one day be made manifest, but that will be God's doing, not ours.'

(Bonhoeffer, Cost of Dicipleship, 117)

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

How firm a foundation!

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
who unto the Saviour for refuge have fled?

"In every condition, in sickness, in health,
in poverty's vale, or abounding in wealth,
at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
as days may demand, shall thy strength ever be."

"Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand."

"When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress."

"When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine."

"The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
that soul, though all hell should endeavour to shake,
I'll never, no never, no never forsake!"

Attributed to: George Keith (1787)

Friday, 16 September 2016

The Low Door of Humility

Whilst speaking on Luke 18:9-17 at the prayer meeting on Wednesday evening I made mention of the 'Door of Humility' in the Church of the Nativity. It seems fitting that the door has been made so low, that all must bow to enter in. All who want to come to King Jesus, and enter his Kingdom, must enter his presence in humility and childlike trust. No matter how prominent or pre-eminent we may be in the eyes of the world, there is one doorway into the Kingdom of God, and no-one can enter through it without bowing down.

In the back of my mind I knew I'd read a quote along these lines. I didn't manage to find it in time for the prayer meeting, but it was Luther. (Luther is writing about the petition in the Lord's prayer 'forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.')
If anyone insists on his own goodness and despises others... let him look into himself when this petition confronts him. He will find he is no better than others and that in the presence of God everyone must duck his head and come into the joy of forgiveness only through the low door of humility.
Martin Luther, Large Catechism, 93 (as quoted in Prayer, Tim Keller, 115)

Friday, 1 July 2016

Importunate in prayer

Following on from the quote from Newton's childhood pastor, I was struck by the similarities in this from Martyn Lloyd-Jones in Joy Unspeakable:

Without an element of importunity and persistence, or urgency and almost a holy violence with God, we have little right to expect that God will hear our prayer and answer it.

MLJ, Joy Unspeakable, 382

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

"Beg it of Him, who is the God of grace..." Pray for your children

John Newton’s mum died when he was 6. His father was a moral man, but not a godly one. Newton said of his dad “I am persuaded he loved me, but he seemed not willing that I should know it.” Newton believed the teaching and prayers of his mum in those early years had a huge bearing on the direction of his life.  

Reflecting on this Marylynn Rousse points to a sermon preached by Newton’s childhood pastor, David Jennings:
'As Newton attributes so much to his mother's early teaching and prayers, it is particularly interesting to note a section of one of David Jennings's Sermons to Young People, preached while Elizabeth Newton was still alive and John would have been about five or younger. Jennings challenged the parents from 1 Chronicles 29:19, “And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart.”

“Did you ever pray this prayer for your children in good earnest? Lord, give them a perfect heart. What pains have you taken to instruct and teach them the good ways of holiness?... O! be earnest and importunate with God, be daily intercessors with him for the souls of your dear children. Beg it of him, who is the God of grace, that he would give your children a perfect heart.”

Such was the faithfulness of both pastor and mother for the child who was later to write, “Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, and grace my fears relieved.”'

The Life of John Newton, Richard Cecil (Updated by Marylynn Rousse), 20

Thursday, 9 June 2016

From this day forward

I'm going to be conducting a wedding for the first time in quite a while tomorrow. 10 years into marriage, 8 years into pastoral ministry, 5 years of battling ill-health I certainly now have a deeper appreciation for the weight of these words:
By this sign you take each other, to have and to hold from this day forward
For better, for worse
For richer, for poorer
In sickness and in health
To love and to cherish
For as long as you both shall live.
Since you have covenanted together in marriage and have declared your love for each other before God and these witnesses, I now proclaim you to be husband and wife
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.