From Every Stormy Wind That Blows

From ev’ry stormy wind that blows,
From ev’ry swelling tide of woes,
There is a calm, a sure retreat,
‘Tis found beneath the mercy seat.

There is a place where Jesus sheds
The oil of gladness on our heads,
A place than all besides more sweet;
It is the blood-stained mercy seat.

There is a spot where spirits blend,
Where friend holds fellowship with friend,
Tho’ sundered far; by faith they meet
Around the common mercy seat.

Ah, whither could we flee for aid,
When tempted, desolate, dismayed,
Or how the hosts of hell defeat,
Had suff’ring saints no mercy-seat?

There, there on eagle wings we soar,
And time and sense seem all no more,
And heav’n comes down our souls to greet,
And glory crowns the mercy seat.

O may my hand forget her skill,
My tongue be silent, cold, and still,
This bounding heart forget to beat,
If I forget the mercy seat.

-Hugh Stowell (1828), revised.

Practical and Helpful Thoughts About Personal Devotions

George Müller, a man of deep and earnest prayer, gives some helpful advice on personal devotions and advice for time spent alone with God.

He found that “the most important thing was to concentrate on first reading the Bible [and] meditating on the chosen portion:

That thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, instructed; and that thus, by the means of the Word of God, whilst meditating upon it, my heart might be brought into [conscious or experienced] communion with the Lord….

The first thing I did (early in the morning), after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was, to begin to meditate on the Word of God, searching, as it were, into every verse to get blessing out of it; not for the sake of preaching on what I had meditated upon; but for the sake of obtaining food for my soul.

The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that, though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer, but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer….

With this mode I have likewise combined the being out in the open air for an hour, an hour and a half, or two hours before breakfast, walking about in the fields, and in the summer sitting for a while on little [benches], if I find it too much to walk all the time.

I find it very beneficial to my health to walk thus for meditation before breakfast, and am now so in the habit of using up the time for that purpose, that when I get in the open air, I generally take out a New Testament of good-sized type, which I carry with me for that purpose, besides my Bible: and I find that I can profitably spend my time in the open air, which formerly was not the case for want of habit….

The difference, then, between my former practice and my present one is this. Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible, and generally spent all my time till breakfast in prayer, or almost all the time….

But what was the result?

I often spent a quarter of an hour, or half an hour, or even an hour on my knees, before being conscious to myself of having derived comfort, encouragement, humbling of soul, etc; and often, having suffered much from wandering of mind for the first ten minutes, or a quarter of an hour, or even half an hour, I only then really began to pray.

I scarcely ever suffer now in this way. For my heart being nourished by the truth, being brought into [conscious or experienced] fellowship with God, I speak to my Father, and to my Friend (vile though I am, and unworthy of it!) about the things that He has brought before me in His precious Word.

It often now astonishes me that I did not sooner see this point.”

– George Müller, as recorded in Delighted in God by Roger Steer (Christian Focus Publications, 1997), 91-92.

Evangelism, Prayer & Scripture

“I find it tremendously valuable to have my prayers guided by Scripture. As I pray about sharing the gospel with others, or as I pray for those who do not yet know the Lord, there are many passages from the Bible that can give focus and direction. Here are just a few of them.

1. There is work to be done

Matthew 9:37-38
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.”

2. Jesus has commanded you to do it

Matthew 28:18-20
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

3. Success is guaranteed

John 10:16
And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.

4. Jesus is the only salvation

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

5. You were given the Holy Spirit for this purpose

Acts 1:8
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses inJerusalem and in all Judea andSamaria, and to the end of the earth.

6. People won’t be saved without hearing

Romans 10:11-15
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

7. Evangelism is necessary for your own growth in Christ

Philemon 6
And I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.”

-Tim Challies, 03-19-2012, http://www.challies.com/resources/7-scripture-texts-about-evangelism

Post-Prayer Satanic Whispers

Here’s an awesome post from David Murray which I found very encouraging. Too often, I think my struggles are unique to me. What joy comes knowing that my spiritual state is in God’s hands and that doubts are common to all believers.

““…and forgive my sins. In Jesus name, Amen.”

Within seconds the wicked whispers start.

“Too short.”

“Too shallow.”

“Too distracted…again.”

“Missed out her, and him, and them…”

“Yawn. Nothing new to say?”

“You call that a prayer?”

“Not enough faith…not enough passion…not enough anything.”

“You don’t actually believe that made a difference, do you?”

“You’ll probably not even think about prayer for the rest of the day”

And on, and on, and on it goes.

Relentless, cruel, malicious Satanic whispers that begin the second I end my morning prayer with, “Amen.”

Anyone else get that? It’s so discouraging, isn’t it. I mean, why pray if all you get at the end of it is an even heavier feeling of guilt and failure? Prayer should be a delight not a dread.

I’d really welcome your own input on this, but here’s how I try to fight back, silence the whispers, and turn prayer into a soul-refreshing delight again.

  1. God has forgiven me all my sins – even my sinful prayers.
  2. Jesus is perfecting my prayers and presenting them absolutely flawless to my Heavenly Father.
  3. My salvation does not depend on my prayers but on Jesus’ prayers.
  4. My Heavenly Father listens even to the raven’s ugly grating squawks (Ps. 147:9) and gives it food; how much more will he hear and answer the ugly grating squawks of one of His children?
  5. God delights in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy (Ps 147:9).
  6. God knows I’m a limited creature who cannot possibly pray for everyone everyday.
  7. Surely the Devil would simply leave me alone if my prayers were really so pathetic and useless.
  8. Just because my children don’t (can’t) tell me everything about their lives doesn’t make me love them less, nor does it reflect a lack of love on their part.
  9. But maybe best of all, “You, Satan, are going to be crushed under my feet shortly” (Rom. 16:2o).

Anyone got any more armor or weapons to fight this battle with? Any effective rebuttals or even prebuttals?”

Complements of: http://headhearthand.org/blog/2012/01/27/post-prayer-satanic-whispers/

Grace to the Heathen

Isaiah 56:1-8 Rewards for Obedience to God
 
Thus says the LORD, 
“Preserve justice and do righteousness, 
For My salvation is about to come 
And My righteousness to be revealed. 
 
“How blessed is the man who does this, 
And the son of man who takes hold of it; 
Who keeps from profaning the sabbath, 
And keeps his hand from doing any evil.”
 
 Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the LORD say, 
“The LORD will surely separate me from His people.” 
Nor let the eunuch say, “Behold, I am a dry tree.”
 
For thus says the LORD,
“To the eunuchs who keep My sabbaths, 
And choose what pleases Me, 
And hold fast My covenant,   
 
To them I will give in My house and within My walls a memorial, 
And a name better than that of sons and daughters; 
I will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.
 
 “Also the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, 
To minister to Him, and to love the name of the LORD, 
To be His servants, every one who keeps from profaning the sabbath 
And holds fast My covenant; 
 
Even those I will bring to My holy mountain 
And make them joyful in My house of prayer. 
Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be acceptable on My altar; 
For My house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.”
 
The Lord GOD, who gathers the dispersed of Israel, declares, 
“Yet others I will gather to them, to those already gathered.”

Articulating Your Prayers

Let us pray more, and let us pray more earnestly. Let those who never prayed begin to pray. Let those who have prayed pray better.

Pray for yourselves — that you may know the Lord Jesus, and cleave to Him — that you may be kept from falling — that you may serve your generation — that you may be sober in prosperity, patient in trial, and humble at all times.

Pray for the congregation to which you belong — that the word of the Lord may have free course in it, and be glorified — that the household of faith may become stronger and stronger, and the household of unbelief weaker and weaker.

Pray for your country — that her ministers may preach the Gospel, and be sound in the faith — that her rulers may value the Bible, and govern according to it — and that so her candlestick may not be taken away.

And pray for your minister — that he may be strong to work, and willing to labor for your good, that all his sicknesses may be sanctified, and all his health given to the Lord — that he may be ever taught of the Spirit, and thus be able to teach others — that he may be kept faithful unto death, and so be ready to depart when he is called.

Let us all pray, one for the other — I for you, and you for me — and we shall be blessed in our deed!

-J.C. Ryle, Tract: Consider Your Ways, Complements of: http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/12/13/articulating-your-prayers/

May Jesus Christ Be Praised

When morning gilds the skies my heart awaking cries:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Alike at work and prayer, to Jesus I repair:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When you begin the day, O never fail to say,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
And at your work rejoice, to sing with heart and voice,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Whene’er the sweet church bell peals over hill and dell,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
O hark to what it sings, as joyously it rings,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

My tongue shall never tire of chanting with the choir,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
This song of sacred joy, it never seems to cloy,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Does sadness fill my mind? A solace here I find,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Or fades my earthly bliss? My comfort still is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

To God, the Word, on high, the host of angels cry,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals, too, upraise their voice in hymns of praise,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this at meals your grace, in every time and place;
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this, when day is past, of all your thoughts the last
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When mirth for music longs, this is my song of songs:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evening shadows fall, this rings my curfew call,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

When sleep her balm denies, my silent spirit sighs,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
When evil thoughts molest, with this I shield my breast,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

The night becomes as day when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The powers of darkness fear when this sweet chant they hear:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

No lovelier antiphon in all high Heav’n is known
Than, Jesus Christ be praised!
There to the eternal Word the eternal psalm is heard:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Let all the earth around ring joyous with the sound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
In Heaven’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Sing, suns and stars of space, sing, ye that see His face,
Sing, Jesus Christ be praised!
God’s whole creation o’er, for aye and evermore
Shall Jesus Christ be praised!

In Heav’n’s eternal bliss the loveliest strain is this,
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let earth, and sea and sky from depth to height reply,
May Jesus Christ be praised!

Be this, while life is mine, my canticle divine:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Sing this eternal song through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

-18th Century German, Translated by Edward Caswall

Need

“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, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke volume 2, 232. {Luke 17:11-19}

http://jcrylequotes.com/2011/09/23/possessing-a-sense-of-your-helplessness/