PRAYER

WE ASK, GOD GIVES

“’You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer 29:13 ESV).

“…the faults of the petitioner himself shall not prevent the success of his prayer” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“…when you can do least yourselves, you may engage God, by prayer, to do most” John Collins (ref#225, Dec 13th).

“And if there should be grave defects in our spirit and failures in the fervency or in the humility of the prayer, though these should not be there and are much to be deplored, grace overlooks and forgives all this, and still its merciful hand is stretched out to enrich us according to our needs” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p37).

“Blessed be God, neither the faults of the prayer nor yet of the suppliant shall shut out our petitions from God who delights in broken and contrite hearts” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

“He does withhold His aid when we forget our need of it and do not ask Him for it” Jerry Bridges (ref#192, p145).

“…as the father likes the child to keep on coming because he likes the personal contact, so God desires us to come into His presence….we must know that God is much more ready to give than we are to receive” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#212, p83).

“If I cannot find words in which to utter my desires, God in His grace will read my desires without the words….God…will dive into the soul of our desires and will read there what we cannot speak with the tongue” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p35).

PRAYER

HOW PRAYER AFFECTS GOD

“The answering hand of God waits for the lifted hand of man…” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p17).

“That which is true of the promises’ of God is equally true of the purposes of God.  We might say that God does nothing without prayer.  His most gracious purposes are conditioned on prayer.  His marvelous promises in the thirty-sixth chapter of Ezekiel are subject to this qualification and condition: “Thus says the Lord GOD: This…I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them…” (Ezek 36:37 ESV) E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p37-38).

“God’s ultimate will is unchanging, but the way in which he chooses to realize this will is dependent on the prayers of his children” Donald Bloesch (ref#31, p31).

“Prayer affects God more powerfully than His own purposes.  God’s will, words, and purposes are all subject to review when the mighty potencies of prayer come in.  How mighty prayer is with God may be seen as He readily sets aside His own fixed and declared purposes in answer to prayer” E.M. Bounds (ref#54, p38).

“The God who determines the end determines the means; and if God in His infinite wisdom is determined that He is going to bring certain things to pass as a result of and in answer to the prayers of His people, I ask with reverence, why shouldn’t He Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 21st)?

“That it can alter His purpose, effect any change in His will, or afford Him information, no one supposes for a moment.  And yet, that it should be an ordained medium by which finite weakness seems to overcome infinite strength, a human will seems to turn the divine will, and man’s shallow mind seems to pour knowledge into the fathomless mind of God; that it should arrest a threatened judgment, remove an existing evil, or supply for a present need—these are marvels in which, like all others of divine revelation, I submit my reason to my faith, receiving and adoring what my reason cannot completely comprehend, unless I were God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135. June 3rd).

PRAYER

MEDITATE UPON THE LORD

“…Make me know the way I should go…Teach me to do your will, for you are my God!  Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground” (Ps 143:8,10 ESV).

“…thinking right thought about God…that is essential to praying good prayers” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p9).

“…take more time to be still before God without saying one word….We are not ready to offer our petition until we are fully conscious of having secured the attention of God” Andrew Murray (ref#272, p48).

“It is difficult to steadfastly and unweariedly persevere in prayer….as fuel must frequently be added to preserve a fire, so prayer requires helps so that it will not languish and at length be extinguished….by meditating on…truth” John Calvin (ref#164, Feb 13th).

“A short, unhurried meditation on some fragment of Scripture and then silence quickens the spirit of devotion” William E. Sangster (ref#212, p157).

“We must meditate upon Him [CHRIST], upon what He is, what He has done, His love to us, and God’s care for us who are His people….we must look at ‘these things’ (John 17:13) that He speaks of, these truths that He unfolded.  Let us meditate upon them, contemplate them, dwell upon them, revel in them, and I will guarantee that as we do so, either in our own personal meditation or in reading books about them, we will find ourselves experiencing a joy we have never known before” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, March 13th, brackets mine).

HEAVEN

ETERNAL LIFE

“…Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!…” (1 Pet 1:3-5 MSG).

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (John 17:3 ESV).

“…it is not said merely this is the way to eternal life, but this is life eternal itself – ‘to know thee.’  Eternal life then, is not mere conscious and unending existence, but it is ‘to know thee.’…that living, personal, and experimental knowledge – that knowledge, which includes oneness in will with God, and partaking of his nature; it is the knowledge, love, and enjoyment of him” Charles Ross (ref#241, p206).

FATHER, how easily I skip over a relationship with You as satan constantly puts in my head the importance of working for You.  Work now and rest in heaven is such a logical thought to me.

But, in fellowship with You I feel its solid, unchangeableness —its eternalness. “Eternal life really means that we are sharers of the life of God and are in communion with Him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Feb 28th).

This is just another reminder to put relationship with GOD at the top of my priority list and not evangelism or Christian service or any activity that I can accomplish on my own.  FATHER, alert me when I fall into glorifying myself with Christian things and guide me to Your presence where I see and glorify You.

SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

THE UNCHANGEABLE PLAN OF GOD

“…I the LORD do not change…” (Mal 3:6 ESV).  “…he is unchangeable…What he desires, that he does” (Job 23:13 ESV).

“…from eternity God has had an unchangeable plan…God never has an afterthought…He is omniscient and omnipresent; He knows everything from the beginning to the end…Nothing is accidental, haphazard, uncertain, or…happening by chance….Everything that God has done and has brought to pass is according to His own eternal plan, and it is fixed, certain, unchangeable, and absolute” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#233, p11).

“When we say that God is sovereign, we affirm His right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases….He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any….He is sovereign in all His attributes, He is sovereign in the exercise of His power.  His power is exercised as He wills, when He wills, where He wills” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p19-20).

“…I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish.  I am the LORD; I have spoken, and I will do it’” (Ezek 17:24 ESV).

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17 ESV).

God is sovereign in the exercise of His grace….grace is favor shown to the underserving, yea, to the hell-deserving.  Grace is the antithesis of justice.  Justice demands the impartial enforcement of law….Justice…shows no pity and know no mercy.  But after justice has been fully satisfied, grace flows forth.  Divine grace is not exercised at the expense of justice, but ‘grace reigns through righteousness’ (Rom 5:21); and if grace ‘reigns,’ then grace is sovereign” A.W. Pink (ref#234, p23).

FATHER, as a changeable creature—deciding one thing one minute and changing it the next, I don’t take lightly Your rock-solid unchangeableness.  You give me peace that my life is under control.  All praise to You.

REDEMPTION

NOW UNDER GRACE

“…a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit.  For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor 3:6 ESV).

“…the covenant of grace, of which Christ is the Mediator and surety; called “new”, not because newly made, for it was made with Christ from everlasting; nor newly revealed, for it was made known to Adam after his fall, and to all the Old Testament patriarchs, and was exhibited under the legal dispensation, though but darkly, in types, shadows, sacrifices, &c. which therefore waxing old is vanished away; and the covenant of grace is now more clearly revealed under the Gospel dispensation, free from all the obscurity it before laboured under; and therefore is called “new”, as well as because it will always continue so, and never give way to another covenant: now the Gospel, and the ministry of it, is nothing else but an exhibition of the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises…” John Gill (ref#283).

“You are ‘not under the law,’ Paul says, ‘but under grace’ (Rom 6:14)….you are in an entirely new position.  You are under grace, and grace is unmerited favor.  It is kindness shown to people who deserve nothing but punishment. Grace means that God, because He is God, looks upon us with favor when we do not deserve anything at all.  That is what ‘under grace’ means” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

“God is no longer just a lawgiver to you—He is your Father….It is the difference between being in a relationship of law and a relationship of love.  You are in an entirely new position….You know that He is determined to bring you back to the perfection in which He originally made you, and that all the forces of His love and grace and compassion are working in your favor” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, April 25th).

FATHER, through Your grace of unmerited favor I have become new.  You have removed my heart of stone and given me a heart of flesh—“…the recovery of a fully sensitive, fully functioning moral conscience…” Doug Newton (ref#166, p108).  Hallelujah!

REDEMPTION

RENEWED AND RECTIFIED

“…a new man…is but the original man ‘renewed’” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p55).

“he saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,” (Titus 3:5 ESV).

“In regeneration nature is not ruined, but rectified.  The convert is the same man, but new made….God in conversion does not bestow a new understanding, but a new light to the old; not a new soul, but a new life to the old one…We put off the rags of the old man, and put on the robes of the new man, and continue in regard of substance the same man” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“…when this new building of regeneration is erected, the Spirit of God makes use of the old substantial materials—the soul and its faculties, the body and its members which were in man before, only he now polishes and purifies them, and squares them according to the rule of God’s Word” George Swinnock (ref#225, March 1st).

“Regeneration consists…of grace infused into the soul…the powers of the soul are spiritualized and made alive unto God, fitted to enjoy God and hold communion with Him.  Regeneration consists in a radical change of heart, for there is implanted a new disposition as the foundation of all holy exercises; the mind being renovated, the affections elevated, and the will emancipated from the bondage of sin” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p54).

“The change in my disposition does not mean that I have a greater intellect now than I had before….But because the disposition governing it is changed, my mind is operating in a different realm and in a different way…it is exactly the same with the feelings…The will…was obstinate and rebellious, but now it desires, it is anxious, it is concerned about the Gospel” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 16th).

“Salvation is all of the grace of God; damnation is all of the will of man.” Charles Spurgeon

REDEMPTION

THE TRIUNE GOD IN REDEMPTION

“Redemption is the result of the compassion of all three Persons in the Trinity” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p173).

“…one God without division in a Trinity of persons, and three persons without confusion in an unity of essence….The Trinity is a mystery which my faith embraces as revealed in the Word, but my reason cannot fathom” John Arrowsmith (ref#225, May 18th).

“God the Father has made everything through the Son by the Holy Spirit.  The blessed Trinity is operative in the whole work, always, but labor is divided up” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Jan 10th).  “In the economy of redemption all is from the Father, through the Son, by the Spirit.  All proceeds from the foreordination of the Father, all that comes to the believer is through Christ, that is, on account of His infinite merits: all is actually wrought by the Spirit, for He is the Executive of the Godhead, the active Agent in all the works of redemption” A.W. Pink (ref#269, p169).

God said, Let us make man in our image” (Gen 1:26).  Do not let man be content until he knows something of the ‘us’…Endeavor to know the Father…Sit at His table, and let your heart be made merry in His grace.  Then press forward and seek to know much of the Son…Know Him in the unique complexity of His nature: eternal God, yet suffering finite man….Do not forget the Holy Spirit…who first of all moved upon chaos and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul and creates the order of holiness” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, May 8th PM).

FATHER, I marvel at the complexity of the Godhead.  I marvel more that You have shown me love through redemption.

FAITH

WEAK FAITH

“Faith has its trials as well as its temptations….The faith of a child of God may not only be severely assailed, but there are times when that faith may waver greatly….Nothing but the divinity that dwells within that grace keeps it….David: in the strength of faith slaying Goliath, and in the weakness of faith fleeing from Saul!…Nothing but the power of God and its own incorruptible and imperishable nature preserve it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 2nd).

“You don’t have to hide in guilt when weak faith gets you off the path, because your hope in life isn’t your faithfulness, but his.  You can run in weakness and once again seek his strength.  And you can know that in zealous grace he will not leave his craftwork until faith fully rules our heart unchallenged.  He always gives freely what we need in order to do what he has called us to do” Paul David Tripp (ref#190, Feb 12th).

“…this direct faith; it is simply resting upon Christ…realizing our utter weakness and helplessness and hopelessness….” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, Dec 10th).

FATHER, when I recognize weak faith my first reaction is to rely on myself to rise to the occasion.  Misguided, I think I own faith and it is my responsibility to make it better.  But, no; I own nothing; I have given my life to CHRIST.  Now that I know, continually remind me that my strength of faith comes from You.  If I dislike my weak faith let me turn to You and plead and not think twice of trying to raise faith myself.

FAITH

FAITH IN SUFFERING

“…Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through…suffering comes out proved genuine…” (1 Pet 1:6-7 MSG).

“…Paul…had a thorn in the flesh, and he could not understand it.  It seemed all wrong to him.  He wanted to preach the Gospel, but the thorn was a hindrance to him” Martyn Lloyd-Jones (ref#189, May 6th).

“Let us trust this love.  Trust it when veiled, trust it when it threatens to slay, trust it when it seems to frown, trust it even when we cannot trace it” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Sept 6th).

“Jesus…is a…Brother born for your adversity.  His grace and sympathy are sufficient for you….You are now to walk by faith and not by sight.  This, then, is the great secret of a life of faith: to hang on Jesus daily, to go to Him in every trial, to cast every burden on Him, to take the infirmity, the corruption, the cross, as it rises, simply and immediately to Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 4th).

“According to the degree of our faith will be the degree of our peace, our hope, our strength for duty, and our patience in trial” J.C. Ryle (ref#273, p195).  “…your faith may be sharply tempted or severely tried, but it shall never, never quite fail; for Jesus lives in you, and lives in you forever” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 3rd).

“…I am suffering…But I am not ashamed…for I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return” (2 Tim 1:12 NLT).