PRAYER

GOD’S WILL IN PRAYER

“The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth” (Ps 145:18 ESV).

“While our prayers should express faith in God’s hidden, sovereign plan for all things, God directs us to pray particularly for what we know to be His revealed will.  That will is not hidden from us.  It stands in full view throughout the pages of Scripture” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p112).

“Examine the character of your devotions; are they such as will stand the test of God’s Word?  Will they compare with the holy breathings of David, Job, Solomon, and the New Testament saints?  Is the life of God breaking forth within you when you pray?  Are your prayers often accompanied by brokenness, lowliness of spirit, and humble and contrite confession of sin?  Pay attention to your prayers” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, July 20th)!  “Prayer is a call to admit weakness” Pastor Brent Nelson.  He is seen as glorious and we are seen as needy.

“God’s revealed will appears as broad general principles, not specific directives for every circumstance” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p112).

“God purposes, therefore He promises….’Therefore I pray the promises, so that God’s purposes might come to reality.’” Lorne Sanny (ref#302, p193).  FATHER, remind me to look for GOD’s purposes, then His promises, that I may hold Him to them.

“We can pray with confidence for the increase of our faith, for the improvement of our obedience, and for the furtherance of our dependence on our Lord.  The answer to all of these prayers, of course, requires obedience to God’s Word.  God does not increase our holiness in any other way” Bryan Chapell (ref#66, p146).

“Draw near with the lowly boldness of a child and the humble confidence of a son….You cannot come too boldly, you cannot come too frequently, you cannot come with too difficult a request….” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).

PRAYER

WHAT TO PRAY FOR

“Our prayers should be expectant enough to offer God the largest possible stage on which to enact His glory” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p115).

“Come with your spiritual need…it shall be granted you….I want more grace to glorify Thee.  I want more simplicity of mind and singleness of eye.  I want a more holy, upright, honest walk.  I want more meekness, patience, lowliness, and submission.  I want to know more of Jesus, to see more of His glory to feel more of His preciousness, and to live more simply on His fullness.  I want more of the sanctifying, sealing, witnessing, and anointing influences of the Spirit….

Prayer is what keeps every grace of the Spirit in active, holy, healthy exercise….the channel through which all grace comes is prayer, ardent, wrestling, importunate, believing prayer.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).

“We do not pray to inform God.  Neither do we pray to persuade Him, for His love needs neither to be induced nor coaxed” Samuel Chadwick (ref#4, p66).

“A true prayer is an inventory of needs, a catalogue of necessities, a revelation of hidden poverty.  While it is an application to divine wealth, it is a confession of human emptiness.  The healthiest state of a Christian is to be always empty and poor in self, constantly depending on the Lord for supplies, rich in Jesus, weak as water personally, but mighty through God to do great exploits” Charles Spurgeon (ref#34, Oct 11th AM).

“Prayer is your only safety—prayer for grace to help in your time of need, for reviving grace, for quickening, restraining, sanctifying grace; prayer to be kept from falling, to be held up in the slippery paths; prayer for the lowly mind, for the contrite spirit, for the broken heart, and for the soft, close, humble walk with God” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 2nd).

“The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (Prov 15:29 ESV).

PRAYER

WHERE TO PRAY—AT THE THRONE ROOM

“…the throne of grace.  It is a throne set up on purpose for the dispensation of grace…” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p33).

“What a God our God must be, to thus appoint a meeting place….That God should have developed a throne of grace, a mercy-seat around which may gather the helpless, the burdened, the friendless, the vile, the guilty, and the needy, in clustering and welcome multitudes; that no poor one should meet with refusal or rejection, be his poverty never so great, his burden never so heavy, or his case never so desperate—this greatly develops and magnifies the riches of His grace, wisdom, and love to sinners.” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 11th).

FATHER, You have given me access to Your throne room through the greatest of sacrifice and I neglect too often to stop in and see You!!  Where is my head?  If I deem life is going well, I don’t think of praying.  But the throne room is not just for ‘hollering help.”  I forget the SPIRIT is always ready to point out my sins.  There is always reason to frequent the throne room.  Therefore, overwhelm me with my sins.

“…come you that are reduced to a beggarly bankruptcy by Adam’s fall and by your own transgressions.  This is not the throne of majesty which supports itself by the taxation of its subjects, but a throne which glorifies itself by streaming forth like a fountain with floods of good things” Charles Spurgeon (ref#212, p36).

HEAVEN

AN EXPERIENCE OF HEAVEN

“If heaven is our country, what can the earth be but a place of exile?  If departure from the world is entrance into life, what is the world but a sepulcher, and what is residence in it but immersion in death?  If to be freed from the body is to gain full possession of freedom, what is the body but a prison?  If it is the very summit of happiness to enjoy the presence of God, is it not miserable to want it?  But ‘whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord’ (2 Cor 5:6)” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).

“And if the distant, sporadic glimpses of the glorified Christ are so ravishing, what will be the ecstatic and overpowering effect of the full unclouded vision, when we shall see Him face to face” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, June 24th).

“Thus when the earthly is compared with the heavenly life, it may undoubtedly be despised and trampled under foot.  We ought never, indeed, to regard it with hatred, except insofar as it keeps us subject to sin; and even this hatred ought not to be directed against life itself.  At all events, we must stand so affected toward it in regard to weariness or hatred as, while longing for its termination, to be ready at the Lord’s will to continue in it, keeping far from everything like murmuring and impatience.  For it is as if the Lord had assigned us a post, which we must maintain till he recalls us” John Calvin (ref#113, p467).

John Burke, in his book, Imagine Heaven, quoted George Ritchie who encountered a near-death experience.  See below:

“I have no idea what the next life will be like.  Whatever I saw was only—from the doorway, so to speak.  But it was enough to convince me totally of two things from that moment on.  One, that our conscience does not cease with physical death—that it becomes in fact keener and more aware than ever.  And two, that how we spend our time on earth, the kind of relationships we build is vastly, infinitely more important than we can know” George Ritchie (ref#297, p24).

HEAVEN

THE JOURNEY TOWARD HEAVEN

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2 ESV).

“…there is not only an outward preparation of the place for the people, but also an inward preparation of the people for the place.  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people….Jesus is…preparing the place for the people…at the same time prepares the people for the place” Charles Ross (ref#241, p71).

“This life ought so to be spent by us as to be only a journey toward heaven.  We ought not to rest in the world and its enjoyments, but should desire heaven” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).  “We ought to make use of worldly enjoyments and worldly business as shall best forward our journey heavenward, and no otherwise”  Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p73).  “We ought to seek heaven by traveling in the way that leads there.  The way is the way of holiness” Jonathan Edwards (ref#229, p72).

“God rests in the unchangeableness of His love towards His saints.  Nothing can move Him from it…He foresaw and foreknew all that was in them….In this day of easy and abounding nominal Christianity; this day when human authority is exalted above the Word of God; this day of error, rebuke, and blasphemy; this day of rapid and excited action; this last solemn dispensation of the world, the events of which are rapidly ushering in the coming of the Son of Man; let us, under the influence of more simple faith, more fervent love, and brightening hope, “ go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach (Heb 13:13).  Let us rest from our conflict and toil where the Father rests, where the sinner rests, where we may rest—in Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Apr 23rd).

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil 3:14 NLT).

HEAVEN

A FINAL REST

“…we will always be with the Lord” (1 Thes 4:17 ESV).

“…eternity…is…called a perpetual now.  Christ’s presence now where we are, is a choice blessing.  Believers wish for it, when they are without it; and would wish to have more of it.  But they cannot always have His presence when they would; nor can they always keep it, when they have got it.  It may please Him to awake and leave them,(Canticles 3:5, 8:4) even when they are best pleased with His company….But in the state of glory above, when we shall be with Him where He is, no fears, no ground or suspicion of any such thing, shall ever enter into the heart of any of the glorified” Robert Traill (ref#225, p124).

“…departing to the Christian is not to die, but to sleep…In view of this truth, how chastened and cheered should be our sorrow when visiting the graves of the holy dead.  No wave disturbs their calm repose.  No painful sufferings, no convulsive throes, no affrighting dreams, no mental wanderings, no confused sounds, no imaginary thoughts disturb their peaceful slumber…The body rests in the tomb, the soul in the paradise of God…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Oct 19th).

“…the souls of the righteous, after their warfare is ended, obtain blessed rest where in joy they wait for the fruition of promised glory, and that thus the final result is suspended till Christ the Redeemer appear.  There can be no doubt that the reprobate have the same doom as that which Jude assigns to the devils, they are ‘reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day’ (Jude 5-6)” John Calvin (ref#113, p659).

“And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt” (Dan 12:2 ESV).

“…Daily expect the Day of God, eager for its arrival.  The galaxies will burn up and the elements melt down that day—but we’ll hardly notice.  We’ll be looking the other way, ready for the promised new heavens and the promised new earth, all landscaped with righteousness” (2 Pet 3:11-13 MSG).

HEAVEN

REJOICING IN THE FUTURE

“…stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36 ESV).

“…I do not read in so many words that the saints are predestinated to Paradise, but I do read that they are predestinated to be conformed to the image of His dear Son.  This is the end of the whole predestination of God: to make His elect like their elder Brother that He may be the first-born among many brethren” Charles Spurgeon (ref#232, p10).

FATHER, I think of Enoch who must have reached such perfect spiritual conformity that You took him to heaven before his bodily death (Gen 5:24; Heb 11:5).  What a smooth transition You have provided.  As You conform me to JESUS I gain eternal life on earth, then, just a small step to move to heaven.  Oh that I may be like kneaded clay in Your hands.

I thank You for Your unseen efforts to mold me into CHRIST’s image.  And, I thank You for the seen.  I rejoice in the future eternal life in heaven and I rejoice in the “now” eternal life.

“…as overpowering as a full unveiling of the majesty of the Lord Jesus would be to us in our present imperfect state, yet it ranks among our most prized and precious blessings that He sometimes so graciously manifests Himself to awaken the exclamation, ‘This is my beloved, and this is my friend!’ (Song 5:16)” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 17th).

HEAVEN

A PLACE OF REST BEFORE HEAVEN

“’Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.’ Song of Solomon 4:6…The Lord has fragrant places of safety and repose for His people until He comes to fetch them to glory.  What a ‘mountain of myrrh’ is Jesus” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Feb 2nd).

“…The promise of ‘arrival’ and ‘rest’ is still there for God’s people.  God himself is at rest.  And at the end of the journey we’ll surely rest with God…” (Heb 4:8-11 MSG).

“It is clearly God’s revealed will that His people should be comforted….The Spirit comforts the believer by unfolding to his eye the near prospect of the coming glory.  Heaven is near at hand.  It is only a step out of a poor, sinful, sorrow-stricken world, into the rest that waits for the people of God.  It is only a moment, the twinkling of an eye, and we are absent from the body and present with the Lord.  Then the days of our mourning will end and sin will grieve no more, affliction will wound no more, sorrow will depress no more, and God will hide Himself no more. There will be the absence of all evil, and the presence of all good…” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Nov 23rd).

“…that promise of resting in him pulls us on to God’s goal for us, we need to be careful that we’re not disqualified….If we believe, though, we’ll experience that state of resting….” (Heb 4:1-3 MSG).

FATHER, I thank You for JESUS the Rock where I can retreat to anytime and find unchangeable grace in my time of need.  What comfort!

ELECTION

CHOSEN

“It pleased God in His eternal purpose, to choose…a company of lost sinners to be saved by and through Christ; therefore, He is said to predestinate them to be conformed to the image of His Son….’That we should be to the praise of his glory’ (Eph 1:12)” Thomas Boston (ref#236, p31-32).

“…you are a chosen race…a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet 2:9 ESV).

It is my due and privilege to return to Him a display of His excellencies that He has created within me.  Thomas Boston (ref#236, p33).

FATHER, thank You not only for choosing me but also giving me what I need to declare Your excellencies.

“…I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds’…I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more” (Heb 10:16-17 ESV).

Also, LORD, thank You not only for carrying out Your work but perfecting it and giving me the assurance of my salvation.  “…the feeblest signs of grace in the soul are indisputable evidences of the inward and effectual call of the Spirit….He who has begun the good work will carry it on and perfect it in glory” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, Dec 18th).

FATHER, since I do not know who You save, and who You will not, You have commissioned me to “preach the Gospel” to everyone, for how can they believe if they have not heard (Rom 10:14).  Thank You for the privilege to declare Your excellencies.   I will declare the good news and You save who You will.

ELECTION

EFFECTUAL CALLING

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jer 1:5 ESV).

“Salvation transforms a person’s nature, giving him or her the ability and the desire to serve and obey God.  The unresponsive heart of stone is changed into a sensitive heart of flesh that responds readily to God’s voice (Ezekiel 36:25-27) and desires to glorify Him out of gratitude for the indescribable gift of salvation” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147-148).

“The foundation is laid in the death of Christ; it commences in the effectual calling of the Spirit; and by all the precious assurances of grace, wisdom, and strength…it is carried forward to glorious completion” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

“All of those who are thus effectually called by God will eventually believe and be saved, even though they may resist for a time (John 6:37).  They cannot forfeit the salvation they have received (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:31-39)” Carol J. Ruvolo (ref#228, p147).

“…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” (Rom 11:29 ESV).

“…the eternal purpose of God, revealed and provided for…is that all who are chosen, called, and justified will be ‘partakers of his holiness’ in order to prepare for complete sanctification.  Heaven is a holy place and its inhabitants are holy people…The very election of the believer to eternal life provides for and secures his holiness” Octavius Winslow (ref#135, March 20th).

FATHER, You knew me and chose me before I was born.  The HOLY SPIRIT is making me holy.  He teaches me the right method of holiness where my inclinations, will and affections are interested in the spiritual only with no more self-interests.  Richard Sibbes (ref#311, p89).  Thus, I happily obey You, FATHER (1 Pet 1:2).  Hallelujah.