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Ray Rice and the Verse No One is Talking About


Ray Rice, former RB for the Baltimore Ravens, punched his future wife in the head, knocking her out. Video has recently come out that clearly depicts this ugly incident. It is sickening to watch, media and society all seem to agree. The NFL, Baltimore Ravens, and Nike have all broken ties with Rice. Most of us grew up being taught, you never hit a woman, but Rice did. Now most have seen him do it, and they have loudly declared it absolutely wrong and want justice.
Few if any are quoting, “Do no judge, so that you might not be judged” (Matthew 7:1). This is good news. No on is arguing that we don’t understand how difficult it is to be Ray Rice or that we don’t understand his difficult childhood, or that we don’t even know all the circumstances surrounding the video. They are simply and correctly judging his actions were wrong. Maybe now, light can be shed on this verse and it will be seen and used correctly. Jesus is not telling us to never make moral judgements. He is not forbidding us to differentiate between good and evil, right and wrong. He is not saying our actions don’t matter. Jesus is simply warning us to be fair and humble in our judgments.

Even though society may be trying to limit absolutes, there are absolute rights and wrongs. We are taught to live by them in God’s Word and discern what is right and wrong according to them, looking first to ourself before we examine our neighbor. Even though society often wants to make everything grey, instead of right and wrong, and therefore wrongly apply Matthew 7:1, the Ray Rice incident has shown that we have to make moral judgments for ourself and at times others. (John 7:24 “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.”)

25 Days of Christmas Music, December 22, 2013

You need to listen to this at least once every December, the Hallelujah Chorus form Handel’s Messiah.

25 Days of Christmas Music, December 20, 2013 Friday Fun

Falling is always good for a laugh, even at Christmas.

25 Days of Christmas Music, Dec 9, 2013 Monday Memories

I happened to see on the TV Guide a few weeks ago that the Muppets Holiday special was with Lady Gaga (head to desk). I feel I must remedy this for all the young children out there. Of all the Christmas Albums in our house I cannot remember one better than John Denver and Muppets. Here are two classics from the album.

Updated Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices: Device #9

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DEVICE 9: Satan presents the crosses, losses, reproaches, sorrows, and sufferings, that those who walk in the way of holiness face daily. Satan says, Don’t you see that there are no more troubled, afflicted, and tossed people in the world than those who walk more conservatively and holily than their neighbors? They are a joke at home, and a reproach abroad; their miseries come upon them like Job’s messengers, one the heals of another, and there is no end of their sorrows and troubles. Therefore, Satan says, you were better to walk in ways that are less troublesome, and less afflicted, though they are more sinful; for only a madman would spend his days in sorrow, trouble, and affliction, if it can be prevented by walking in the ways that I set before him?

Remedy (1). The first remedy against this device of Satan is, to carefully consider, That all the afflictions that come upon the people of God, are the kind that will be for their profit and glorious advantage.  In their affliction they will discover the depth of the filthiness and vileness in sin.

A Christian in Germany once said of his own sickness, ‘In this disease I have learned how great God is, and what the evil of sin is; I never knew in my experience, who God was, nor what sin meant—until now.’ Afflictions are a crystal glass, where we see the clearest sight of the ugly face of sin. In this glass the soul comes to see sin as something bitter-sweet; yes, in this glass the soul comes to see sin not only to be an evil—but to be the greatest evil in the world, to be an evil far worse than hell itself.

Again, afflictions will contribute to the mortifying and purging away of their sins (Isa. 1:15, and 27:8, 9). Afflictions are God’s furnace, by which he cleanses his people from their dross. Affliction is a fire to purge out our dross, and to make virtue shine. Afflictions are medicines which heal spiritual diseases, better than all the remedies of physicians. Aloes kill worms; colds and frosts do destroy vermin; so afflictions remove the corruptions that are in our hearts. The Jews, under all the prophet’s thunderings, retained their idols; but after their Babylonian captivity, we see no idols found among them.

Again, Afflictions are sweet preservatives to keep the saints from sin, which is a greater evil than hell itself. As Job spoke, ‘Surely it is fit to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more. That which I see not, teach me; if I have done iniquity, I will do it no more. Once have I spoken foolishly, yes, twice, I will do so no more’ (Job 34:31, 32; 40:5). The burnt child dreads the fire. Ah! says the soul under the rod, sin is but a bitter-sweet; and for the future I intend, by the strength of Christ, that I will not buy repentance at so dear a rate.

Salt brine preserves from putrefaction, and salt marshes keep the sheep from the rot: so do afflictions the saints from sin. The ball in the Emblem says, the harder you beat me down in affliction, the higher I will bounce in affection towards heaven and heavenly things.

The Rabbis, to scare their scholars from sin, were accustomed to tell them, ‘That sin made God’s head ache.’ And saints under discipline have found by woeful experience, that sin makes not only their heads—but their hearts ache also.

Augustine, by wandering out of his way, escaped one who was waiting to harm him. If afflictions did not put us out of our way, we would many times meet with some sin or other, that would harm our precious souls.

Again, They will cause the saints to be more fruitful in holiness (Heb. 12:10, 11): ‘But he afflicts us for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.’ The flowers smell sweetest after a shower; vines bear the better fruit, after pruning; the walnut tree is most fruitful when most beaten. Saints spring and thrive most internally when they are most externally afflicted. Afflictions are called by some ‘the mother of virtue.’ Manasseh’s chain was more profitable to him than his crown. Luther could not understand some Scriptures until he was in affliction. The Christ-cross is no letter, and yet that taught him more than all the letters in the row. God’s house of correction is his school of instruction. All the stones that came about Stephen’s ears only knocked him closer to Christ, the corner-stone. The waves lifted Noah’s ark nearer to heaven; and the higher the waters grew, the more near the ark was lifted up to heaven.

Afflictions lift up the soul to more rich, clear, and full enjoyments of God (Hosea 2:14): ‘Behold, I will allure her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably to her’ (or rather, as the Hebrew has it), ‘I will earnestly or vehemently speak to her heart.’ God makes afflictions to be but inlets to the soul’s more sweet and full enjoyment of his blessed self. When was it that Stephen saw the heavens open, and Christ standing at the right hand of God- when the stones were about his ears, and there was but a short step between him and eternity? And when did God appear in his glory to Jacob—but in the day of his troubles, when the stones were his pillows, and the ground his bed, and the hedges his curtains, and the heavens his canopy? Then he saw the angels of God ascending and descending in their glistering robes.

The plant grows with cutting; after being cut, it flourishes; it resists with the axe, it lives by dying, and by cutting it grows. So do saints by their afflictions; they gain more experience of the power of God supporting them, of the wisdom of God directing them, of the grace of God refreshing and cheering them, and of the goodness of God quieting and quickening of them, to a greater love to holiness, and to a greater delight in holiness, and to a more passionate pursuing after holiness.

It is reported of Tiberius the emperor that, passing by a place where he saw a cross lying in the ground upon a marble stone, and causing the stone to be dug up, he found a great deal of treasure under the cross. So many a precious saint has found much spiritual and heavenly treasure under the crosses they have met as well.

I have read of a fountain, that at noon is cold, and at midnight it gets warm; so many precious souls are cold God-wards, and heaven-wards, and holiness-wards, in the day of prosperity; but grow warm God-wards and heaven-wards, and holiness-wards, in the midnight of adversity.

Again, Afflictions serve to keep the hearts of the saints humble and tender (Lam. 3:19, 20): ‘Remembering my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. My soul has them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me,’ or bowed down in me, as the original has it. So David, when he was under the rod, could say, ‘I was mute, I opened not my mouth; because you did it’ (Psalm 39:4).

I have read of Gregory Nazianzen, who, when anything seemed to be prosperous, would read over the Lamentation of Jeremiah, and that kept his heart tender, humbled, and low. Prosperity does not contribute more to the puffing up the soul, than adversity does to the bowing down of the soul. This the saints by experience find; and therefore they can kiss and embrace the cross, as others do the world’s crown. The more the purest spices are beaten and bruised—the sweeter scent and fragrance they send abroad. So do saints when they are afflicted.

Again, They serve to bring the saints nearer to God, and to make them more persistent and earnest in prayer with God. ‘Before I was afflicted, I went astray; but now have I kept your word.’ ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.’ ‘I will be to Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away: I will take away, and none shall rescue him.’ ‘I will go and return to my place, until they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.’ And so they did. ‘Come,’ say they, ‘and let us return unto the Lord: for he has torn, and he will heal us; he has smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.’ (Psalm 119:67, 71. Hosea 5:14, 15; 6:1, 2.)

So when God had lined their way with thorns, then they say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it with me better than now’ (Hosea 2:6, 7). Ah the joy, the peace, the comfort, the delight, and contentment we had, when we kept close communion with God, this implies our return to God. ‘We will return to our first husband; for then was it with us better than now.’

When Tiribazus, a noble Persian, was arrested, he drew out his sword, and defended himself; but when they told him that they came to carry him to the king, he willingly yielded. So, though a saint may at first stand a little out, yet when he remembers that afflictions are to carry him nearer to God, he yields, and kisses the rod. Afflictions are like the prick at the nightingale’s bosom—which awakens her, and puts her upon her sweet and delightful singing.

Again, Afflictions serve to revive and recover decayed graces; they inflame that love that is cold, and they quicken that faith that is decaying, and they put life into those hopes that are withering, and spirits into those joys and comforts that are languishing. Most men are like a top, which will not go unless you whip it, and the more you whip it the better it goes. You know how to apply it. Those who are in adversity, says Luther, do better understand Scriptures; but those who are in prosperity read them as a verse in Ovid. Bees are killed with too much honey, but quickened with vinegar. The honey of prosperity kills our graces—but the vinegar of adversity quickens our graces. Musk, says one, when it has lost its fragrance, if it is put into the sink among filth—that recovers it. So do afflictions recover and revive decayed graces. The more saints are beaten with the hammer of afflictions, the more they are made the trumpets of God’s praises, and the more are their graces revived and quickened. Adversity abases the loveliness of the world which strives to entice us; it abates the lustiness of the flesh within, which strives to incite us to folly and vanity; and it assists the soul in his quarrel to the two former, which tends much to the reviving and recovering of decayed graces.

Now, suppose afflictions and troubles attend the ways of holiness, yet seeing that they all work for the great profit and singular advantage of the saints, let no soul be so mad as to leave an afflicted way of holiness, to walk in a smooth path of wickedness.

Remedy (2). The second remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, that all the afflictions which befall the saints, only reach their worse part; they reach not, they hurt not, their noble part, their best part. ‘And who shall harm you, if you be followers of that which is good,’ says the apostle (1 Peter 3:13). That is, none shall harm you. They may thus and thus afflict you—but they shall never harm you. The Christian soldier shall ever be master of the day. He may suffer death—but never conquest.

It was the speech of an heathen, when as by a tyrant he was commanded to be put into a mortar, and to be beaten to pieces with an iron pestle, he cries out to his persecutors: ‘You do but beat the vessel, the case, the husk; you do not beat me.’ His body was to him but as a case, a husk; he counted his soul himself, which they could not reach. You are wise, and know how to apply it.

Socrates said of his enemies, ‘They may kill me—but they cannot hurt me.’ So afflictions may kill us—but they cannot hurt us; they may take away my life—but they cannot take away my God, my Christ, my crown.

Remedy (3). The third remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the afflictions which attend the saints in the ways of holiness, are but short and momentary. ‘Sorrow may abide for a night—but joy comes in the morning’ (Psalm 30:5). This short storm will end in an everlasting calm, this short night will end in a glorious day, that shall never have end. It is but a very short time between grace and glory, between our title to the crown and our wearing the crown, between our right to the heavenly inheritance and our possession of the heavenly inheritance. What is our life but a shadow, a bubble, a flower, a runner, a span, a dream? Yes, so small a while does the hand of the Lord rest upon us, that Luther cannot get diminutives enough to extenuate it, for he calls it a very little cross that we bear. The prophet in Isaiah 26:20, says the indignation does not pass—but overpass. The sharpness, shortness, and suddenness of it is set forth by the travail of a woman (John 16:21). And that is a sweet scripture: ‘For you have need of patience, that after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise.’ ‘For yet a little while, he who shall come will come, and will not tarry’ (Heb. 10:36, 37). ‘A little, little, little while.’

There are none of God’s afflicted ones that have not their intermissions and respites whiles under their short and momentary afflictions. When God’s hand is on your back, let your hand be on your mouth, for though the affliction be sharp, it shall be but short.

When Athanasius’s friends came to bewail him, because of his misery and banishment, he said, ‘It is but a little cloud, and will quickly be gone.’ It will be but as a day before God will give his afflicted ones beauty for ashes, the oil of gladness for the spirit of heaviness; before he will turn all your sighing into singing, all your lamentations into consolations, your sackcloth into silks, ashes into ointments, and your fasts into everlasting feasts!

Remedy (4). The fourth remedy against this device of Satan, is seriously to consider, That the afflictions which befall the saints are such as proceed from God’s dearest love. ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten’ (Rev. 3:19). Saints, says God, think not that I hate you, because I thus chide you. He who escapes discipline may suspect his adoption. God had one Son without corruption—but no son without correction. A gracious soul may look through the darkest cloud, and see God smiling on him. We must look through the anger of his correction to the sweetness of his countenance; even as by the rainbow we see the beautiful image of the sun’s light in the midst of a dark and watery cloud.

Augustine asks—If he were beloved, how came he to be sick? So are wicked men apt to say, because they know not that corrections are pledges of our adoption, and badges of our sonship. God had one Son without sin—but none without sorrow.

When Munster lay sick, and his friends asked him how he did and how he felt himself, he pointed to his sores and ulcers, whereof he was full, and said, ‘These are God’s gems and jewels, with which he decks his best friends, and to me they are more precious than all the gold and silver in the world.’ A soul at first conversion is but rough cast; but God by afflictions does square and fit, and fashion it for that glory above, which shows that discipline flows from precious love; therefore the afflictions which attend the people of God should be no bar to holiness, nor no motive to draw the soul to ways of wickedness.

Remedy (5). The fifth remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That it is our duty and glory not to measure afflictions by the smart—but by the end. When Israel was dismissed out of Egypt, it was with gold and ear-rings (Exod. 11:3); so the Jews were dismissed out of Babylon with gifts, jewels, and all necessary utensils (Ezra 1:7-11). Look more at the latter end of a Christian—than the beginning of his affliction. Consider the patience of Job, and what end the Lord made with him. Look not upon Lazarus lying at Dives’s door—but lying in Abraham’s bosom. Look not to the beginning of Joseph, who was so far from his dream that the sun and moon should reverence him, that for two years he was cast where he could see neither sun, moon, nor stars; but behold him at last made ruler over Egypt. Look not upon David as there was but a step between him and death, nor as he was envied by some, and slighted and despised by others; but behold him seated in his royal throne, and dying in his bed of honor, and his son Solomon and all his glistering nobles about him.

Afflictions, they are but as a dark entry into your Father’s house; they are but as a dirty lane to a royal palace. Now, tell me, souls, whether it be not very great madness to shun the ways of holiness, and to walk in the ways of wickedness, because of those afflictions which attend the ways of holiness.

Afflictions, they are but our Father’s goldsmiths, who are working to add pearls to our crowns. Tiberius saw paradise when he walked upon hot burning coals. Herodotus said of the Assyrians, Let them drink nothing but wormwood all their life long; when they die, they shall swim in honey. You are wise, and know how to apply it.

Remedy (6). The sixth remedy against this device of Satan is, seriously to consider, That the design of God in all the afflictions which befall them, is only to try them; it is not to wrong them, nor to ruin them, as ignorant souls are apt to think. ‘He knows the way that I take: and when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold,’ says patient Job, 33:10. So in Deut. 8:2, ‘And you shall remember all the way which the Lord your God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, and to prove you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not.’ God afflicted them thus, that he might make known to themselves and others what was in their hearts. When fire is put to green wood, there comes out abundance of watery stuff that before appeared not; when the pond is empty, the mud, filth, and toads come to light. The snow covers many a ash-heap, so does prosperity many a rotten heart. It is easy to wade in a warm bath, and every bird can sing in a sunshine day. Hard weather tries what health we have; afflictions try what sap we have, what grace we have. Withered leaves soon fall off in windy weather, rotten boughs quickly break with heavy weights. You are wise, and know how to apply it.

Afflictions are like pinching frosts, which will search us; where we are most unsound, we shall soonest complain, and where most corruptions lie, we shall most shrink. We try metal by knocking; if it sound well, then we like it. So God tries his by knocking, and if under knocks they yield a pleasant sound, God will turn their night into day, and their bitter into sweet, and their cross into a crown; and they shall hear that voice, ‘Arise, and shine; for the glory of the Lord is risen upon you, and favors of the Lord are flowing in on you’ (Is. 60:1).

Dunghills raked send out a filthy stream; ointments crushed send out a sweet perfume. This is applicable to sinners and saints under the rod.

Remedy (7). The seventh remedy against this device of Satan is, solemnly to consider, That the afflictions, wrath, and misery which attend the ways of wickedness, are far greater and heavier than those which attend the ways of holiness. Oh, the galling, girding, lashing, and gnawing of conscience, which attend souls in a way of wickedness! ‘The wicked,’ says Isaiah, ‘are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.’ ‘There is no peace to the wicked, says my God.’

There are snares in all their mercies, and curses and crosses attend all their comforts, both at home and abroad. What is a fine suit of clothes with the plague in it? and what is a golden cup when there is poison at the bottom? or what is a silken stocking with a broken leg in it? The curse of God, the wrath of God, the hatred of God, and the fierce indignation of God—always attend sinners walking in a way of wickedness. Turn to Deuteronomy 28, and read from ver. 15 to the end of the chapter; and turn to Leviticus 26, and read from ver. 14 to the end of the chapter, and then you shall see how the curse of God haunts the wicked, as it were a fury, in all his ways. In the city it attends him, in the country hovers over him; coming in, it accompanies him; going forth, it follows him, and in travel it is his comrade. It fills his heart with strife, and mingles the wrath of God with his sweetest morsels. It is a moth in his wardrobe, disease among his cattle, mildew in the field, rot among sheep, and ofttimes makes his children, his greatest vexation and confusion. There is no solid joy, nor lasting peace, nor pure comfort, which attends sinners in their sinful ways. There is a sword of vengeance that every moment hang over their heads by a small thread! And what joy and contentment can attend such souls, if the eye of conscience be but so far open as to see the sword? Ah! the horrors and terrors, the tremblings and shakings, that attend their souls!

Sin brings in sorrow and sickness. The Rabbis say, that when Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, his head ached. Sirens are said to sing curiously while they live—but to roar horribly when they die. So do the wicked.

(Sin often makes men insensible of the wrath of the Almighty. Sin transforms many a man, as it were, into those bears in Pliny, that could not be stirred with the sharpest prickles; or those fish in Aristotle, that though they have spears thrust into their sides, yet they awake not.)

Advantages To Arriving Early to Worship

Although there is no chapter and verse that says one must arrive early to worship, this does not mean there are not advantages or benefits.  During my business classes in college I was taught that anything less than 10 minutes early constituted being late.  The motivation behind this is that it demonstrates what is taking place is important and it acknowledges that other people’s time is valuable.  When it comes to corporate worship these factors still apply but there are also others that are important to realize.

  1. Arriving early prepares one’s heart.  One might argue that worship is a matter of the heart, therefore the externals don’t matter.  This may lead to the conclusion it does not matter when I arrive as long as my heart is right.  I could go into greater depth on the fact that if one is constantly arriving late to worship, then one’s heart is not right because something else is constantly distracting one or coming ahead of the importance of the worship time.  However, positively if one is concerned about their heart, then arriving early allows the heart to be more focused on what is about to take place.  It allows for time to interact with others in the body, prayer, or simply to sit down and relax for a minute.
  2. Arriving early allows for greater fellowship.  Corporate worship involves the whole body, not simply the individual.  Arriving early allows time to share with others and time to listen to what is going on with others.  It allows us to shake hands or hug others (public displays of affection where part of the gathering of the early church, ie holy kiss)  It allows us to speak with others and hear their needs and their joys.  Oneness is a goal in church life, this is difficult to achieve if there is no time to talk and share with one another.
  3. Arriving early allows for greater service.  There are often things that need to be done in order for corporate worship to take place.  Chairs may need to be set up, copies may need to be run, a light bulb may have burnt out, the heat may not have come on, doors need to be unlocked and held for others to come it, visitors may need directions to Sunday School rooms.  Serving others also prepares our hearts.   When we arrive early it allows us to enter into service rather than always being the one served.
  4. Arriving early allows greater unity.  Have you ever felt left out at church?  Something was going on and you had not heard about it?  Could it be that is because you have frequently missed announcements?  Arriving early allows one to hear announcements.  Most churches try their best to make sure everyone know about events and opportunities, not to hide them.  We often view announcements as pre-worship.  However, I believe it has a place in worship.  It informs the body about things going on in the life of the body.  Therefore, it unites and promotes the work of the church.  It also seems that the group that arrives early often has the closeness with one another that many long for in a church.  This is difficult to achieve if you simply arrive right as things start or 5 minutes late.  Closeness only comes through interaction.  Arriving early allows for more interaction of the body.
  5. Arriving early can create better Preaching and Teaching.  Preaching is more interactive than many may think.  Pastors feed off the hearers many times.  If there are many puzzled looks, a pastor will often throw in an extra illustration or go back and restate a point.  If there are many eager hearers, a pastor’s preparation will be fueled, his spirit can be encouraged and emboldened.  Seeing a full lobby 10 minutes before time to start or a full sanctuary will often do this.  It may be more practical than this.  It may allow more time for the Sunday School teacher to complete the lesson because he can start on time.  Or it may allow the teacher or pastor to prepare his own heart more because others are taking care of the details that need to be done before worship can start.
  6. Arriving early allows for better pastoral care.  Many pastors are the first to arrive on Sundays and midweek services.  They have spent a great deal of their time preparing for these services and anticipate them.  They are often eager to see their sheep and hear about their week or simply make sure they are alright.
  7. Arriving early allows for better parental care.  For most of us as parents our number one concern is for the salvation of our children and their spiritual growth.  We know that corporate worship, prayer meetings, and Sunday school play a large part in that.  Rushing them in, being abrupt with them because of being late, or even the thought that this is not important enough to be prepared for is not teaching them the value of meeting with God and learning about him.  Being early also allows for other practical things, like taking our children to the restroom or getting a drink of water so that they don’t have to leave class or worship.  It may give parents time to talk to the teacher and see if there are any verses that their child  should be memorizing or find out how their children are doing in class.

25 Days of Christmas Music: Dec 13

Many of these free albums are a bit earthy but offer a change of pace in Christmas music. “Fireplace Songs: Holiday Sampler from the Music Bed” has some interesting songs and a few retakes on classic Carols.

I really enjoy the different take on “Star of Wonder”

“Silent Night” by Green River Ordinance is also enjoyable

“Angels We Have Heard on High” is also a nice version of that song.

For just a fun, sentimental Holiday song “You Make the Cold Disappear” is a fun one.

Preparing for Communion

Here is another John Newton hymn to help prepare one’s heart for coming to the Lord’s Table :

“It is good to be here”

Let me dwell on Golgotha,

Weep and love my life away!

While I see him on the tree

Weep and bleed, and die for me!

 

That dear blood, for sinners spilt,

Shows my sin in all its guilt:

Ah, my soul, he bore thy load,

Thou hast slain the Lamb of GOD.

 

Hark! his dying words;

“Forgive, Father, let the sinner live;

Sinner, wipe thy tears away,

I thy ransom freely pay.”

 

While I hear this grace revealed,

And obtain a pardon sealed;

All my lost affections move,

Wakened by the force of love.

 

Farewell world, thy gold is dross,

Now I see the bleeding cross;

JESUS died to set me free

From the law, and sin, and thee!

 

He has dearly bought my soul

LORD, accept, and claim the whole!

To thy will I all resign,

Now, no more my own, but thine.

Prayer for the Lord’s Supper

As we anticipate this Lord’s Day, here is a pray to prepare us for coming to the Lord’s Table.  This prayer is from the Valley of Vision

God of all good,
I bless thee for the means of grace;
teach me to see in them thy loving purposes
and the joy and strength of my soul.

Thou hast prepared for me a feast;
and though I am unworthy to sit down as guest,
I wholly rest on the merits of Jesus,
and hide myself beneath his righteousness;
When I hear his tender invitation
and see his wondrous grace,
I cannot hesitate, but must come to thee in love.

By thy spirit enliven my faith rightly to discern
and spiritually to apprehend the Saviour.
While I gaze upon the emblems of my Saviour’s death,
may I ponder why he died, and hear him say,
‘I gave my life to purchase yours,
presented myself an offering to expiate your sin,
shed my blood to blot out your guilt,
opened my side to make you clean,
endured your curses to set you free,
bore your condemnation to satisfy divine justice.’

Oh may I rightly grasp the breadth and length of this design,
draw near, obey, extend the hand,
take the bread, receive the cup,
eat and drink, testify before all men
that I do for myself, gladly, in faith,
reverence and love, receive my Lord,
to be my life, strength, nourishment, joy, delight.

In the supper I remember his eternal love,
boundless grace, infinite compassion,
agony, cross, redemption,
and receive assurance of pardon, adoption, life, glory.
As the outward elements nourish my body,
so may thy indwelling Spirit invigorate my soul,
until that day when I hunger and thirst no more,
and sit with Jesus at his heavenly feast.

QUOTES: JC Ryle on Prayer

How is it that many true believers often pray so coldly? What is the reason that their prayers are so feeble, wandering and lukewarm, as they frequently are? The answer is very plain: their sense of need is not so deep as it ought to be. They are not truly alive to their own weakness and helplessness, and so they do not cry fervently for mercy and grace. Let us remember these things. Let us seek to have a constant and abiding sense of our real necessities. If saints could only see their souls as the ten afflicted lepers saw their bodies, they would pray far better than they do. ~ J.C. Ryle

(ht:jf)