A Prayer of John Newton

Alas! most gracious Lord, what shall I say?

I have nothing to offer for all Thy goodness but new confessions of my guilt.

That thou art kind to the unthankful and the evil I am one of the most remarkable instances.

Forgive me, I beseech Thee, this year of misspent life, and charge me not with the long abuse of Thy bounty.

I owe Thee ten thousand talents, and have nothing to pay,

yet I entreat Thee to have patience with me;

not for that it will be ever in my power to make any amends by the best I can do,

but because my Saviour Jesus Christ, Thy beloved Son, has done and suffered more than sufficient to atone for all my offences, and to supply all my defects.

Let me plead his merits on behalf of myself and Forgive us all that is amiss,

and bless the beginning year to us in turning us from all our iniquities,

and give us grace to confirm our former resolutions of serving thee,

and order all our concerns to the advancing thy glory and our spiritual interests.

Taken from http://www.forgottenbooks.com/readbook_text/John_Newton_of_Olney_and_St_Mary_Woolnoth_1000227791/59

 

An Evening of Eschatology

A discussion that took place a few years ago between Douglas Wilson, Sam Storms, John Piper and Jim Hamilton about some differing views on Eschatology, in particular the millennium. The video is embedded and hopefully edifying to you.

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 thy 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 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 for ever live.

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.

from The Valley of Vision Collected by Arthur Bennett

The Apostle John and The Wayward Boy

“Listen to a story that is not a story but a true account of John the apostle preserved in memory.” These words are recorded by Clement, an early church father, about an extra-biblical story of the Apostle John. It is not God’s Word, but it is informative and a great story of love and courage in the Lord.

John, now an old man, returned from Patmos to Ephesus, after the tyrant who sent him there had died. He would travel the surrounding areas appointing bishops and other ministerial duties. Near Smyrna he happened upon a young boy and committed him to the bishop with the words: “I leave this young man in your keeping, with Christ as my witness.”

The bishop raised the young boy and baptised him, but then afterwards relaxed his oversight. He fell in with some bad kids and together they began committing robberies and worse crimes. Clement says: “Renouncing God’s salvation, he went from petty offenses to major crimes and formed the young renegades into a gang of bandits with himself as chief, surpassing them all in violence and blood cruelty.”

After some time, John returned to the city and said to the bishop, “Come now, Bishop, return the deposit that Christ and I left in your keeping with the church as witness.” After some confusion, the bishop replied, “He is dead.”

“How did he die?” John asked.

“He is dead to God. He turned out vile and debauched: an outlaw. Now he is in the mountains, not the church, with an armed gang of men like himself.”

John was distraught and ordered a horse brought to him and someone to show him the way to the boy. The old man rode to the hideout and demanded to be taken to their leader. As he approached the young man, he was recognized and the youth began to flee. John ran after him as hard as he could, despite his age, and cried out:

“Why are you running from me, child – from your own father, unarmed and old? Pity me, child, don’t fear me! I will give account to Christ for you and, if necessary, gladly suffer death and give my life for yours as the Lord suffered death for us. Stop! Believe! Christ sent me.”

The man stopped, threw away his weapons and wept. He threw himself onto the old man’s shoulders and begged for forgiveness “…baptized a second time with his own tears but keeping his right hand hidden.” He withheld his hand, because of all the violence he had committed. John instead took that hand and pronounced that he had found forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Together they returned and John stayed with them awhile until he was restored to the church.

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Adapted from pages 111 and 112 of with direct quotes from Eusebius: The Church History Trans. Paul L. Maier.

5 Reflections on Human Sinfulness

The Bible knows the nature of mankind very well and it is put well in Paul’s epistle to the Romans:

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Rom 3:10-18)

Our rebellious and wicked hearts are easily seen in this world and, if we have the courage, the mirror. This terrible state we are in, however, brings to my mind five important reflections, though nowhere near comprehensive.

  1. It Puts Us All in the Same State Before God

All humanity is locked away in sin, all lost and all under God’s Judgement. We are all sinners and no one is exempt. We all do terrible things to each other and think worse things in the depth of our hearts. All mankind stands guilty, therefore the answer for mankind’s problem must come from outside humanity.

  1. It Takes Away Hypocritical Judgement

If we are all under sin, then who are we to judge others. Christians are given this command in Matthew 7:1-3:

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (Mat 7:1-3)

Knowing your own heart, how can you look down on others? When we do much the same as others, who are we to lord it over them?

  1. It Should Create Humility When Dealing With Others

We should rather act in humility before others, knowing that we are not better than them. Universal sinfulness cuts down our pride. It breaks apart our trust in ourselves. As a Christian especially, knowing these things and knowing that salvation had no origin in you, should lead to love and gentleness and kindness to those around us.

  1. It Rightly Demands Judgement from a Just God

When someone does wrong, there needs to be justice. Everyone knows this. We feel it every time we hear of a murder or a rape, or someone breaks into our house, or hurts us. God is the ultimate judge and he will bring justice.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Rom 1:18)

God is good and God is just, therefore he must punish sin and sinners alike. He should rightly condemn all mankind for all eternity for its sins.

  1. It Makes the Love of God Unprecedented

And that leads us to the last point. The Bible makes it clear, the only thing we should expect from God is anger and judgement and condemnation, but instead he sends his Son. He loves the unlovable and makes a way to save his people from their sins and from his justice and holiness. Jesus dies and suffers our punishment for us.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:6-8)

The love of God in Jesus Christ surpasses understanding and should be responded to with grateful and thankful hearts.

 

“I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I want to be, I am not what I hope to be in another world; but still I am not what I once used to be, and by the grace of God I am what I am”

John Newton

Athanasius’ Dying Prayer

Thou art Jesus, the Son of the Father, Yea, Amen.

Thou art He who commandeth the Cherubim and the Seraphim, Yea, Amen.

Thou hast existed with the Father in truth always, Yea. Amen.

Thou rulest the Angels, Yea, Amen.

Thou art the power of the Heavens, Yea, Amen.

Thou art the crown of the Martyrs, Yea, Amen.

Thou art the deep counsel of the Saints, Yea, Amen.

Thou art He in whom the deep counsel of the Father is hidden, Yea, Amen.

Thou art the mouth of the Prophets, Yea, Amen.

Thou art the tongue of the Angels, Yea, Amen.

Thou art Jesus my Life, Yea, Amen.

Thou art Jesus the object and boast of the world, Yea, Amen.

 

The Conversion and Ministry of George Mueller

George Mueller was born in Prussia in the early 1800’s. He grew up a wayward child, misusing his father’s money and often stealing from him. He had little parental oversight and spent much of his time in living as however he would. He was confirmed in the Lutheran church, but was still very far from the Lord.

His father desired that he be a clergymen so that he would be well looked after and pushed into those studies. He was a diligent student, studying hard, but also full of rebellion. During this time he wound up in prison for a day for theft and continued drinking heavily and committing acts of debauchery.

He travelled to Switzerland, cheating even his companions then into paying a portion for him and forging documents so he could cross into the country, and continued his studies. It was here that one of his friends had become repentant and started to attend a Bible Study. George desired to come and see and went along with his friend. He was disturbed by what he saw, real piety and commitment to the Lord. It affected him greatly.

In his own words:

“The time was now come when God would have mercy upon me. At a time when I was as careless about Him as ever, He sent His Spirit into my heart. I had no Bible and had not read one for years. I went to church but seldom; but, from custom, I took the Lord’s Supper twice a year. I had never heard the gospel preached. I had never met with a person who told me that he meant, by the help of God, to live according to the Holy Scriptures. In short, I had not the least idea that there were any persons really different from myself.”

His life was changed forever as he met his Saviour.

After his studies, he moved to London where he began to preach and minister, learning to speak English fluently. He married a woman named Mary Grove and together they decided to rely on God alone to provide for them, without asking people for money. George simply placed a box in the chapel without any sign or prompting and they left their requests to God and him alone.

God graciously led them and looked after them both privately and in the great ministry they undertook.

George started a ministry to Schools and Orphanages, desiring to make one himself. Through prayer, people began giving and volunteering and in the space of two years he had opened three orphanage houses.

A famous story relates God’s faithfulness to the Mueller’s and their ministry:

 One morning the plates and cups and bowls on the table were empty. There was no food in the larder, and no money to buy food. The children were standing waiting for their morning meal, when Mueller said, “Children, you know we must be in time for school.” Lifting his hand he said, “Dear Father, we thank Thee for what Thou art going to give us to eat.” There was a knock on the door. The baker stood there, and said, “Mr. Mueller, I couldn’t sleep last night. Somehow I felt you didn’t have bread for breakfast and the Lord wanted me to send you some. So I got up at 2 a.m. and baked some fresh bread, and have brought it.” Mueller thanked the man. No sooner had this transpired when there was a second knock at the door. It was the milkman. He announced that his milk cart had broken down right in front of the Orphanage, and he would like to give the children his cans of fresh milk so he could empty his wagon and repair it. No wonder, years later, when Mueller was to travel the world as an evangelist, he would be heralded as “the man who gets things from God!”

His ministry in establishing many orphanages and 117 schools touched the hearts of many children, thousands coming to the Lord and his steadfastness in prayer and dependence upon the Lord is a great encouragement and example to us as Christians.

 

“Be assured, if you walk with Him and look to Him, and expect help from Him, He will never fail you.”

George Mueller

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For more info: http://www.truthfulwords.org/biography/muller.txt

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