John Bunyan On Prayer

John BunyanSome great quotes from John Bunyan on prayer—

“Prayer is a sincere, sensible, affectionate pouring out of the soul to God, through Christ, in the strength and assistance of the Spirit, for such things as God has promised.”

“The best prayers have often more groans than words.”

“Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for satan.”

“When you pray, rather let your heart be without words than your words without heart.”

Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus

AdventWe began our series on The Carols Of Christmas by looking at the poem written by Charles Wesley in 1744: Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus. As far as I can find, Wesley never shared where he got his inspiration for this prose, but I have a hunch that it might be from a song in the Bible called The Benedictus.

Zechariah had been unable to speak for nearly a year because of his doubt over the message God sent him through the angel (see Luke 1:5-20). When his son was born and Zechariah named him John, his tongue was loosed and he “was filled with the Holy Spirit” and burst into song (Luke 1:67-79). The first word of his song in Latin is benedictus, from which the name is derived.

Here’s what I love about both Zechariah’s and Wesley’s songs—they both look forward to Chris’t first Advent and His second Advent. Mary was still pregnant with Jesus when Zechariah sang his song, but his lyrics reflect the Redemption story that Jesus would fulfill as Emmanuel, God with us. Charles Wesley picks up this same theme, rejoicing over Christ’s birth and His imminent return.

In fact, that’s exactly the point! We aren’t celebrating Christmas as much as we are celebrating Advent. Jesus was born “when the time had fully come” for His first Advent (Galatians 4:4-5), and “this same Jesus, Who has been taken from you into Heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven” (Acts 1:11). That’s the message that should encourage us (see 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Check out the remarkable parallels between the Benedictus and Wesley’s hymn—

Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus & Benedictus

 

If you’d like to download a PDF of this side-by-side comparison, here it is → Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus & Benedictus ←

We are continuing our series on the rich, meaningful messages in the familiar Christmas carols next Sunday, and I’d love to have you join us!

Poetry Saturday—Moment By Moment

It was during the great World’s Fair evangelistic campaign. Dwight Moody and his workers were gathered at the close of the day, as their custom was, in the evangelist’s room, for a word of prayer together. The hymn I Need Thee Every Hour had been selected. When they finished singing, Henry Varley, the English evangelist, said: “I’m not sure that I can subscribe heartily to that sentiment. I feel that I need Christ moment by moment.” That thought impressed Major D.W. Whittle, and after the prayer meeting he went to his room, and, prompted by the Holy Spirit, he wrote and rewrote and wrote again until 2 o’clock in the morning when he completed his song Moment By Moment.

Major D.W. WhittleDying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine,
Living with Jesus a new life divine,
Looking to Jesus ‘til glory doth shine,—
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Moment by moment I’m kept in His love,
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus ‘till glory doth shine.
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,—
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.

Never a heartache and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger, but there on the throne,
Moment by moment, He thinks of His own.

Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus, my Savior, abides with me still. —Major D.W. Whittle

 

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Remember that sin must be punished. Any theology which offers the pardon of sin without a punishment, ignores part of the character of God. God is love, but God is also just, as severely just as if He had no love, and yet as intensely loving as if He had no justice. To gain a just view of the character of God you must perceive all His attributes as infinitely developed; justice must have its infinity acknowledged as much as mercy. … Sin must be punished, or God must cease to be. The testimony of the gospel is not that the punishment has been mitigated or foregone, or that justice has had a sop given it to close its mouth. The consolation is far more sure and effectual. Christ has for His people borne all the punishment which they deserved; and now every soul for whom Christ died may read with exultation, ‘The punishment of her iniquity is accomplished’ [Lamentations 4:22].” —Charles Spurgeon

Very interesting reading: Has the war on poverty hurt American marriage rates? Check out this data.

“I think it wise, if possible, to move one’s main prayers from the last-thing-at-night position to some earlier time: give them a better chance to infiltrate one’s other thoughts.” —C.S. Lewis

This Spirit-filled, last-days Church will not hide, but will be on the front lines, fighting a good fight and bringing in a harvest of souls.” Read more from David Wilkerson in his post On The Front Lines.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

“Go to bed seasonably, and rise early. Redeem your precious time… that not one moment of it may be lost. Be much in secret prayer. Converse less with man, and more with God.” —George Whitefield 

“Lord, let me not live to be useless.” —John Wesley

Jon Bloom looks at narcissism in a different way: Beware The Mirror.

“To be specific, the self-sins are self-righteousness, self-pity, self-confidence, self-sufficiency, self-admiration, self-love and a host of others like them. They dwell too deep within us and are too much a part of our natures to come to our attention till the light of God is focused upon them.” —A.W. Tozer

“Confession isn’t a punishment for sin; it’s an isolation of sin so it can be exposed and extracted.” —Max Lucado

We must learn to tell ourselves the truth on the basis of God’s Word.” —Oswald Chambers

During the cold & flu season, here is a great reason to kiss your sweetie: Kissing helps boost your immune system.

Links & Quotes

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Some good reading from today…

15 good quotes from Soren Kierkegaard.

For the singles, here is 10 guys you should never date and 8 types of women you should never date.

“I can neither teach nor live by the faith of others. I must live by my own faith as the Spirit of the Lord has taught me through His Word.” —Menno Simons

Pretty cool! We just landed a robot on a comet!

Coaches & Parents, Tim Elmore tells us how athletes hide behind their talent and what we can do about it.

Human touch is just as nutritious as the food we eat. So go hug someone!

“The notion that the careless sinner is the smart fellow and the serious-minded Christian, though well-intentioned, is a stupid dolt altogether out of touch with life will not stand up under scrutiny. Sin is basically an act of moral folly, and the greater the folly the greater the fool.” —A.W. Tozer

Thursdays With Oswald—The Discipline In Faith

Oswald ChambersThis is a periodic series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Discipline In Faith

     The element of discipline in the life of faith must never be lost sight of, because only by means of the discipline are we taught the difference between the natural interpretation of what we call good and what God means by “good.” …

     At times it appears as if God has not only forsaken His word, but has deliberately deceived us. We asked Him for a particular thing, or related ourselves to Him along a certain line, and expected that it would mean the fullness of blessing, and actually it has meant the opposite—upset, trouble and difficulty all around, and we are staggered, until we learn that by this very discipline God is bringing us to the place of entire abandonment to Himself.

From Not Knowing Where

Probably every follower of God has experienced what Oswald Chambers describes: We follow God wholeheartedly, fully believing He called us to something, only to get knocked around by trouble.

I’ve been there and done that. It was a whole lot of no-fun while I was in it. And now, looking back on it, I still can’t say that I enjoyed those times. But here’s what I do enjoy now:

  • A closer intimacy with my Savior
  • A greater empathy for others in troubling times
  • An increased sensitivity to the voice of the Holy Spirit
  • A deeper appreciation for God’s Word
  • A strength I wouldn’t have gained without going through that time
  • Discernment and insight I wouldn’t have learned without that trouble

If God calls you, He will not leave you. No matter how painful or difficult your circumstances, if He called you to walk through it, He will do something in it. Discipline yourself to remain totally abandoned to God!

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