Puritan Prayers - The Valley of Vision, The Word

The Father’s Care

I have recently been struck by the extent of the care my Father has for me. He loved me long before my birth, and will love me unto death and beyond. This love is demonstrated in the death of Christ, and His affection continues and will never cease to amaze me. He is so long-suffering; He endures my betrayal and treason, welcoming me home with open arms, even though I sin against Him time and time again.  A passage that has recently impacted me: Isaiah 46: 3, 4 “Listen to Me, O house of Jacob, all the remnant of the house of Israel, who have been borne by me from before your birth, carried from the womb; even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” 

Love Lustres At Calvary

My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections, open my lips, 

supply words that proclaim, ‘Love lustres at Calvary.’

There grace removes my burdens and heaps them on thy Son, made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;

There the sword of the justice smote the man, thy fellow;

There thy infinite attributes were magnified, and infinite atonement was made;

There infinite punishment was due, and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy, cast off that I might be brought in, trodden down as an enemy

that I might be welcomed as a friend, surrendered to hell’s worst that I might attain heaven’s best,

stripped that I might be clothed, wounded that I might be healed, athirst that I might drink,

tormented that I might be comforted, made a shame that I might inherit glory, entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Saviour wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,

groaned that I might have an endless song,

endured all pain that I might have unfading health,

bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,

bowed His head that I might uplift mine,

experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,

closed His eyes in death that I might gaze on unclouded brightness,

expired that I might live forever.

O Father, who spared not thine only Son that thou mightest spare me,

All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;

Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise, my every step buoyant with delight, as I see my enemies crushed,

Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed, sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood, hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open. 

Go forth, O conquering God, and show me the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort, and save.

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Holiday

Merry CHRISTmas!!!

Isaiah 9:6-7 “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over His kingdom, to establish it and uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.”

Christmas. The very utterance of this word carries hundreds of images to the mind at once. Lights, trees, decorations, candy, fudge(white chocolate in my case), love, friends, family, comfort, Santa, and Jesus are examples of the kinds of images that would scurry through one’s brain at this word. There are so many topics I could write about under the Christmas category that I will not be able to expound upon them all. I’ll fit as many as I can in this post though.

First off, the TRUE meaning of Christmas. Watch any secular children’s Christmas movie and you’ll get a different spin on it. “It’s about getting gifts from Santa for being good,” and “The true meaning of Christmas is giving stuff to people you love,” are the most common meanings that the culture projects. Looking in from the outside, one can see that for the typical family, Christmas is a holiday filled with discontentment and spawned from greed. People will become angered if they don’t like what they got or didn’t get as much as they wanted. One might feel jealousy over a friend who received something better than they. One could become greedy, hoarding as much as he can get, giving nothing in return. For an unbeliever, Christmas is a holiday rampant with sin. This should be in direct contrast with the conduct of a believer on this holiday, or really any time. For a follower of Christ, CHRISTmas is just that: a designated time that we offer up praise to God for the gift of His Son being sent into this world, as a perfect and holy sacrifice for our constant sin. Really this is nothing we shouldn’t already be doing everyday of the year, everyday of our lives. Jesus Christ has given us the greatest gift that only God could give; why should we only praise Him for it once a year? No, as already stated, we should do much the opposite!

So then, why should we participate in the traditions of our culture? Why should we give gifts? Is God not enough? If we have accepted the free gift of God of eternal life, we know He is enough. As I have said before, “no money, cars, relationships can compare to joy in Christ,” to borrow from the Christian rapper Lecrae. Nothing we can possibly desire on this earth can match up to who Christ is.

Psalm 73:25-26, 28 “Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. But as for me, the nearness of God is my good; I have made the Lord God my refuge, that I may tell of Your works.”

See, to become discontent would defeat the purpose of Christmas: praising God because HE is enough! Each of us has been blessed beyond measure, so to sin in greed and discontentment would be like sneering at the Mighty God saying, “You are not enough. I want more! Your sacrifice was nothing.” How could we? Our Eternal Father deserves our lives and more for the boundless love which He has for us! We give gifts as a reflection of the gift we have been given, and should be proclaiming Christ the whole time we do.

In light of the fact that we must have this praise for Christ all the time, I believe many Christians should change their perspective of the Christmas season. To paraphrase John MacArthur, “When the world throws you a pass, catch it.” For the unbeliever, Christmas is a time of sin. For the child of God, Christmas is a tool. A tool for the furtherance of the gospel, of the good news of Jesus Christ, so that more may come to know Him. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is the only reason we celebrate Christmas. Far from it. We are finite humans, bound in weak flesh, and Christmas season serves to remind us of the gift of our Savior’s birth. We commemorate and celebrate the day of His birth at one time, together as a body.

I hope and pray that you will keep your focus on Christ throughout the Christmas season, throughout the year, and throughout your life.

Here is a little something I was shown on youtube. It’s a hilarious narrative of the birth of Christ by a British pastor. Enjoy!

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