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Quotes

November 16, 2008

I have the privilege of preaching tonight on the topic of the Trinity. It seemed appropriate, then, that I would combine this topic with the prayers I often post on Sundays—prayers drawn from The Valley of Vision. This prayer is the first in the book and is known simply as “The Trinity.” What a great prayer it is.

Three in One, One in Three, God of my salvation,

Heavenly Father, blessed Son, eternal Spirit,

I adore thee as one Being, one Essence,
one God in three distinct Persons,
for bringing sinners to thy knowledge and to thy kingdom.

O Father, thou hast loved me and sent Jesus to redeem me;

O Jesus, thou hast loved me and assumed my nature,
shed thine own blood to wash away my sins,
wrought righteousness to cover my
 unworthiness;

O Holy Spirit, thou hast loved me and entered
my heart, implanted there eternal life,
revealed to me the glories of Jesus.

Three Persons and one God, I bless and praise thee,
for love so unmerited, so unspeakable,
so wondrous, so mighty to save the lost
and raise them to glory.

O Father, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
thou hast given me to Jesus, to be his sheep,
jewel, portion;

O Jesus, I thank thee that in fullness of grace
thou hast accepted, espoused, bound me;

O Holy Spirit, I thank thee that in fullness of
grace thou hast
exhibited Jesus as my salvation,
implanted faith within me,
subdued my stubborn heart,
made me one with him for ever.

O Father, thou art enthroned to hear my prayers,

O Jesus, thy hand is outstretched to take my
 petitions,

O Holy Spirit, thou art willing to help my
infirmities, to show me my need,
to supply words, to pray within me,
to strengthen me that I faint not in
 supplication.

O Triune God, who commandeth the universe,
thou hast commanded me to ask for those
things that concern thy kingdom and my soul.

Let me live and pray as one baptized into the
threefold Name.

October 19, 2008

In his sermon this morning our pastor quoted John Paton’s Autobiography (still in print almost 120 years after it was first published). It’s a quote I’ve heard often and one that has stirred me every time. It describes Paton leaving his home in Torthorwald to attend missionary school in Glasgow (just to get to the train he had to walk some forty miles). His godly father accompanied him for the first portion of the journey. Here is what happened:

My dear father walked with me the first six miles of the way. His counsels and tears and heavenly conversation on that parting journey are fresh in my heart as if it had been but yesterday; and tears are on my cheeks as freely now as then, whenever memory steals me away to the scene. For the last half mile or so we walked on together in almost unbroken silence - my father, as was often his custom, carrying hat in hand, while his long flowing yellow hair (then yellow, but in later years white as snow) streamed like a girl’s down his shoulders. His lips kept moving in silent prayers for me; and his tears fell fast when our eyes met each other in looks for which all speech was vain! We halted on reaching the appointed parting place; he grasped my hand firmly for a minute in silence, and then solemnly and affectionately said: “God bless you, my son! Your father’s God prosper you, and keep you from all evil!”

Unable to say more, his lips kept moving in silent prayer; in tears we embraced, and parted. I ran off as fast as I could; and, when about to turn a corner in the road where he would lose sight of me, I looked back and saw him still standing with head uncovered where I had left him - gazing after me. Waving my hat in adieu, I rounded the corner and out of sight in instant. But my heart was too full and sore to carry me further, so I darted into the side of the road and wept for time. Then, rising up cautiously, I climbed the dike to see if he yet stood where I had left him; and just at that moment I caught a glimpse of him climbing the dike and looking out for me! He did not see me, and after he gazed eagerly in my direction for a while he got down, set his face toward home, and began to return - his head still uncovered, and his heart, I felt sure, still rising in prayers for me. I watched through blinding tears, till his form faded from my gaze; and then, hastening on my way, vowed deeply and oft, by the help of God, to live and act so as never to grieve or dishonor such a father and mother as he had given me.

October 12, 2008

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving up here in Canada and we’ll be gathering with family to celebrate the day. I thought it would be appropriate to offer this prayer, drawn once more from The Valley of Vision.

O My God,
You fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
My heart admires, adores, loves You,
For my little vessel is as full as it can be,
And I would pour out all that fullness before You in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with You
Ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
Ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
Ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
Crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless You for the soul You have created,
For adorning it, for sanctifying it,
Though it is fixed in barren soil;
For the body You have given me,
For preserving its strength and vigor,
For providing senses to enjoy delights,
For the ease and freedom of limbs,
For hands, eyes, ears that do Your bidding;
For Your royal bounty providing my daily support,
For a full table and overflowing cup,
For appetite, taste, sweetness,
For social joys of relatives and friends,
For ability to serve others,
For a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
For a mind to care for my fellow-men,
For opportunities of spreading happiness around,
For loved ones in the joys of heaven,
For my own expectation of seeing You clearly.
I love You above the powers of language to express,
For what You are to Your creatures.
Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

October 05, 2008

I’ve met Terry Stauffer a few times—at Together for the Gospel and at least one or two other conferences. He has been a regular commenter at this blog and maintains a blog of his own. He serves as pastor of Edson Baptist Church in Edson, Alberta. Earlier this week I was shocked to receive an email from my pastor pointing to this entry on Terry’s blog. “Last night at about 4:45 our precious 14 year-old daughter Emily was attacked and killed as she was out for a walk. We don’t know a lot of details, but we know that two young men came upon the scene right away, but it was too late for Emily.” On Friday the Staffer’s celebrated Emily’s life and said their goodbyes to her.

Capture.JPGThrough it all, the Stauffer’s have, at least publicly, been pillars of strength; they have been showing such clear evidence of the grace of God in their lives. They have been quoted widely in the media and clips from the funeral have been broadcast across the nation.

Here are a few words from the grieving mother:

“If it was not for the prayers of God’s people and for the arms of God holding us up, we would be puddles on the floor. God gives strength to the weak, and we are weak,” said Emily’s mother, Juanita Stauffer.

“I heard about another father this week, who said he gave the eulogy for a child, and he said, ‘You know it wasn’t hard. I could talk about my child forever.’ And when I heard that, I thought, that is so true. I could talk about Emily for a long time, and I probably will,” she said.

And from heart-broken father:

“Emily loved Jesus. But now her faith has turned to sight,” he said. “The dream is over. The endless day has begun.”

“When Emily’s death was confirmed on Saturday night, I was shocked and bewildered. And when I got on my knees, all I could pray was, ‘Oh Lord, help, help, help,’” he said.

“But right into that, one of my first thoughts was, ‘If this gospel I’ve been preaching is not true today, it was never true at all.’”

God is carrying us. He is using our family, church family and friends. God is also carrying us by His promises which were precious last week and tested and precious this week.

That gospel he has preached for so many years is true; it is the gospel that saved Emily, the gospel that will sustain this family without her, and the gospel that will reunite them in that endless day. May God continue to bless and to sustain the Stauffers and may He continue to magnify Himself through them.

September 28, 2008

Here is another prayer drawn from The Valley of Vision. It is a prayer of penitence. What particularly appealed to me in this prayer was the first section which sets much of a days’ sin in the neglect of private prayers. “My first sin of the day leads into others…” I think every Christian can identify with this and pray with this old Puritan, “O quicken my conscience to feel this folly, to bewail this ingratitude.”

O Lord of grace,
I have been hasty and short in private prayer,
    O quicken my conscience to feel this folly,
    to bewail this ingratitude;
My first sin of the day leads into others,
    and it is just that thou shouldst withdraw
    thy presence
    from one who waited carelessly on thee.
Keep me at all times from robbing thee,
    and from depriving my soul of thy due worship;
Let me never forget
    that I have an eternal duty to love, honour
    and obey thee,
    that thou art infinitely worthy of such;
    that if I fail to glorify thee
I am guilty of infinite evil that merits infinite punishment,
    for sin is the violation of an infinite obligation.
O forgive me if I have dishonoured thee,
Melt my heart, heal my backslidings,
    and open an intercourse of love.
When the fire of thy compassion warms my
    inward man,
and the outpourings of thy Spirit fill my soul,
    then I feelingly wonder at my own depravity,
    and deeply abhor myself;
    then thy grace is a powerful incentive
    to repentance,
    and an irresistible motive to inward holiness.
May I never forget that thou hast my heart
    in thy hands.
Apply to it the merits of Christ’s atoning blood
    whenever I sin.
Let thy mercies draw me to thyself.
Wean me from all evil, mortify me to the world,
    and make me ready for my departure hence
    animated by the humiliations of penitential love.
My soul is often a chariot without wheels,
    clogged and hindered in sin’s miry clay;
Mount it on eagle’s wings
    and cause it to soar upward to thyself.

September 21, 2008

Today is going to be a busy day. Our church is having a members’ meeting in the mid-afternoon, which means that we’ll have only a couple of hours after morning worship before heading back to church first for the meeting and then for evening worship. And then, after it all, we have a small group of sorts to attend. Put it all together and it is going to be a busy day, though a blessed one, I am sure. Yesterday evening I opened The Valley of Vision to see what prayers I could find that would seem appropriate for so busy a day. But before I found one that fit that particular mold, I found one that seemed more than a bit strange. It is a prayer that is meant to follow prayer. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I enjoyed the prayer and thought I would share it with you. The author has certainly tapped into the Christian’s inability to do anything—even something that seems to “holy” as prayer—without needing the presence and power of God.

O God of grace,
I bewail my cold, listless, heartless prayers;
their poverty adds sin to my sin.
If my hope were in them I should be undone,
But the worth of Jesus perfumes my feeble breathings, and wins their acceptance.
Deepen my contrition of heart,
Confirm my faith in the blood that washes from all sin.
May I walk lovingly with my great Redeemer.
Flood my soul with true repentance that my heart may be broken for sin and unto sin.
Let me be as slow to forgive myself as thou art ready to forgive me.
Gazing on the glories of thy grace may I be cast into the lowest depths of shame.
and walk with downcast head now thou art pacified towards me.
O my great High Priest,
pour down upon me streams of needful grace,
bless me in all my undertakings,
in every thought of my mind,
every word of my lips,
every step of my feet,
every deed of my hands.
Thou didst live to bless,
die to bless,
rise to bless,
ascend to bless,
take thy throne to bless,
and now thou dost reign to bless.
O give sincerity to my desires,
earnestness to my supplications,
fervour to my love.

September 14, 2008

Continuing this theme of Sunday prayers, here is a wonderful prayer drawn once more from The Valley of Vision. This prayer is titled “Regeneration” and you may recognize it as the foundation of the Sovereign Grace song “O Great God.” I read this one yesterday and was just drawn to the amazing descriptions the beautiful language and the deep spiritual truths.

O God of the highest heaven,
occupy the throne of my heart,
take full possession and reign supreme,
lay low every rebel lust,
let no vile passion resist thy holy war;
manifest thy mighty power,
and make me thine forever.
Thou art worthy to be
praised with my every breath,
loved with my every faculty of soul,
served with my every act of life.
Thou hast loved me, espoused me, received me,
purchased, washed, favored, clothed,
adorned me,
when I was a worthless, vile soiled, polluted.
I was dead in iniquities,
having no eyes to see thee,
no ears to hear thee,
no taste to relish thy joys,
no intelligence to know thee;
But thy Spirit has quickened me,
has brought me into a new world as a
new creature,
has given me spiritual perception,
has opened to me thy Word as light, guide, solace, joy.
Thy presence is to me a treasure of unending peace;
No provocation can part me from thy sympathy,
for thou hast drawn me with cords of love,
and dost forgive me daily, hourly.
O help me then to walk worthy of thy love,
of my hopes, and my vocation.
Keep me, for I cannot keep myself;
Protect me that no evil befall me;
Let me lay aside every sin admired of many;
Help me to walk by thy side, lean on thy arm,
hold converse with thee,
That I may be salt of the earth
and a blessing to all.

September 07, 2008

Here is a prayer from that collection of Puritan prayers known as The Valley of Vision. This is a prayer of confidence—confidence in the greatness and the grace of God. It is a bold prayer made through a right apprehension of the character of God.

*****

O God, Thou art very great,
My lot is to approach thee with godly fear and humble confidence,
for thy condescension equals thy grandeur,
and thy goodness is thy glory.

I am unworthy, but thou dost welcome;
guilty, but thou art merciful;
poor, but thy riches are unsearchable.

Thou hast shown boundless compassion towards me
by not sparing thy son,
and by giving me freely all things in him;
This is the foundation of my hope,
the refuge of my safety,
the new and livnig way to thee,
the means of that conviction of sin,
brokenness of heart, and self-despair,
which will endear me to the gospel.

Happy are they who are Christ’s
in him at peace with thee,
justified from all things,
delivered from coming wrath,
made heirs of future glory;

Give me such deadness to the world,
such love to the Saviour,
such attachment to his house,
such devotedness to his service,
as proves me a subject of his salvation.

May every part of my character and conduct
make a serious and amiable impression on others,
and impel them to ask the way to the Master.

Let no incident of life, pleasing or painful,
injure the prosperity of my soul,
but rather increase it.

Send me thy help,
for thine appointments are not meant
to make me independent of thee,
and the best means will be vain
without super-added blessings.

August 24, 2008

I had a bit of a rough week—or at least a rough end to the week. I was struggling with a strange infection through the week and by Friday and Saturday was pretty well laid out, unable even to stand up a lot of the time (since the pain was far worse standing than lying flat on my back). Thankfully it seems that I’m on the mend. While I was lying around I thought of The Valley of Vision and sought out prayers for times of illness or trial and here is an old Puritan prayer that I enjoyed.


Father of Mercies, Hear me for Jesus’ sake. I am sinful even in my closest walk with thee; it is of thy mercy I died not long ago; Thy grace has given me in the cross by which thou hast reconciled thyself to me and me to thee, drawing me by thy great love, reckoning me as innocent in Christ though guilty in myself.

Giver of all graces, I look to thee for strength to maintain them in me, for it is hard to practise what I believe. Strengthen me against temptations. My heart is an unexhausted fountain of sin, a river of corruption since childhood days, flowing on in every pattern of behaviour; Thou hast disarmed me of the means in which I trusted, and I have no strength but in thee.

Thou alone canst hold back my evil ways, but without thy grace to sustain me I fall. Satan’s darts quickly inflame me, and the shield that should quench them easily drops from my hand: Empower me against his wiles and assaults. Keep me sensible of my weakness, and of my dependence upon thy strength. Let every trial teach me more of thy peace, more of thy love.

Thy Holy Spirit is given to increase thy graces, and I cannot preserve or improve them unless he works continually in me. May he confirm my trust in thy promised help, and let me walk humbly in dependence upon thee, for Jesus’ sake.

August 16, 2008

Recently I’ve been reading Media Unlimited, a book I stumbled upon while searching Amazon one day. It is written by Todd Gitlin, a professor of sociology and journalism at Columbia University. The book deals with the sticky subject of “how the torrent of images and sounds overwhelms our lives.” Through a couple of [long!] chapters, I’ve already been given much to think about.

This brief excerpt of the book caught my attention. It deals with the consumerism inherent to our society and shows how this consumerism came about and how it now leads to constant dissatisfaction.


[T]he Great Depression was a turning point, frightening workers with the burden of an impoverished free time. After World War II, pent-up consumer demand for a high-consumption way of life was boosted by government subsidies (via the low-interest mortgages and expensive highways that helped suburbanize the country). The die was cast: the public would choose money over time, preferring to seek its pleasures and comforts in the purchase of goods guaranteed to grow ever more swiftly obsolescent rather than in the search for collective leisure—or civic virtue…

Of course, the curious thing about consumer pleasures is that they don’t last. The essence of consumerism is broken promises ever renewed. The modern consumer is a hedonist doomed to economically productive disappointment, experiencing, as sociologist Colin Campbell writes, “a state of enjoyable discomfort.” You propel your daydreams forward, each time attaching them to some longed-for object, a sofa, CD player, kitchen, sports car, only to unhook the desires from the objects once they are in hand. Even high-end durable goods quickly outwear the thrill of their early arrival, leaving consumers bored—and available. After each conquest comes a sense of only limited satisfaction—and the question, what next?

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