Public Reading and Public Prayer

Standard

The reading of the Word of God and public prayer are two acts of worship in most evangelical churches. Stuart Olyott in his book “Reading the Bible and Praying in Public” provides us with some sound advice so that we form the proper attitude to encounter these graces. he says: “Every time we open the Bible, we do so in the presence of the Author. No one can read it well unless they are living in communion with God, asking for the help of His Spirit in voicing the sacred text. Preaching, even at its best, has error in it. But, . .  the moment when Scripture is read is unique. No error is present. The reader speaks the Word of God. No other speech is heard.. . It is then a moment for which both reader and hearer should prepare. ( A wonderful point, do we prepare to hear God speak when Scripture is read in our services?).”

On public prayer he says: “As you lead in public prayer, you become the mouthpiece of the congregation, offering up our desires to God, confessing our sins. People can stir up people who do not pray, to pray. If you draw them into glory and leave them with ravished souls. They should sense that it is the Spirit of adoption who animates our prayers.” (Do we pray for the Spirit to help us lead His people into His glory when we stand to pray as church leaders?)

The Foolishness of Sin

Standard

In David W. Saxton’s book “God’s Battle Plan for the Mind” The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation, he provides some wonderful helps for our growth into the likeness of Jesus Christ, by placing before us, the practice of puritan meditation.

On page 80 – 81 we listen to the puritans as they discuss the foolishness and consequences of sin;

A second way to overcome sin is to meditate on the folly, tragedy, stupidity, and eternal consequences of sin. As (Thomas) Manton taught, “Men are the more bold in adventuring upon sin because they do not know the danger.” George Swinnock lamented, “Oh, what a wretch am I, should the soul think, to harbor such a traitor against my sovereign! What a fool am I to hug such a serpent in my bosom!” Stephen Yulle concluded that “Swinnock firmly believes that meditation is the starting point for mortification in the regenerate.” When the believer meditates on the foolishness of sin, Swinnock continued to explain that the goal is to “get our hearts broken for sin, ashamed of sin, and fired with indignation against sin.” . . . Thomas Manton taught the greatest folly of sin is that it is against the great and gracious love of God.

(emphasis mine)

I recommend this book, it is a great resources for the Christian in their ongoing fight against sin, a fight that is to be waged to the glory of God.

This book is published by Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Christ knows those who are His

Standard

In David Clarkson’s Works – He says that Christ’s love is personal. He chooses man by name personally and distinctly: “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3).

God’s love is infinite and eternal, without beginning and without end. It has no limits to its endurance. How shall we enter into Christ’ Love? Seek to be like him in holiness and obey all his commands. Avoid all Christ hates and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

When there is disobedience, there is a covenant with hell and a league with Satan. O what madness it is to prefer a lust before the love of Christ. Use all means to know his will, and obey it immediately and cheerfully. God lover a cheerful doer.

Humility

Standard

John Calvin offers some sound Biblical counsel on the subject of humility, we do well to consider what is stated here.

“God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5). “Thou wilt save the afflicted people: but wilt bring down high looks” (Psalm 18:27). Commenting on these verses about humility, John Calvin in his Institutes of the Christian Religion (3,12,6) says; “consider first, that there is no access to salvation unless all pride is laid aside and true humility embraced; secondly, that that humility is not a kind of moderation by which you yield to God some article of your right (thus men are called humble in regard to each other when they neither conduct themselves haughtily nor insult over other, though they may still entertain some consciousness of their own excellence), but that it is the unfeigned submission of a mind overwhelmed by a serious conviction of its want and misery. Such is the description everywhere given by the word of God. When in Zephaniah the Lord speaks thus, “I will take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty because of my holy mountain. I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord” (Zeph. 3:11-12). Calvin says that we can see who God says the humble are; those who lie afflicted by a knowledge of their poverty. Calvin states that to the humble whom God designs to save, he leaves nothing but hope in the Lord. Thus, also, in, Isaiah, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (Isaiah 57:15). Calvin says that contrition is a wounded heart, which, humbling the individual to the earth, allows him not to rise. With such contrition must your heart be wounded, if you would, according to the declaration of God, be exalted with the humble. If this is not your case, you shall be humbled by the mighty hand of God to your shame and disgrace.