Friday, January 16, 2009

Someday - No More Miscarriages Because of Christ

My sister, April, and her husband Scott Mohler live in Louisville KY. Scott is working on a Masters of Divinity at Southern Seminary as they prepare for full-time ministry.

Last week April had a miscarriage. Her husband, Scott, wrote the following poem that rejoices in the hope of Christ over this fallen world.


Not long ago we learned that we
Should in the year expect to be
The parents of a child, our first—
The wells within our spirits burst
With greatest joy!

But heightened joy would soon descend
To sunken grief. This baby’s end
Had come so soon—we never knew
If hair was dark, if eyes were blue,
A girl, a boy.

Not held, or seen, not ever heard;
Not once would utter a single word;
No fingers formed, nor foot, or face;
And yet no facts as these erase
This truth—a life.

A life so small, yet imaged He,
Who spoke a word, and brought to be
All things as was His perfect will,
Just as this precious life, now still—
But darkness rings.

Alive for only weeks and days
Yet couldn’t escape the darkened haze
Of sin’s cold curse that still remains—
This death! And all these earthly pains
That man has brought!

O wretched curse that drains all men—
Makes off with life again, again!
What will there be to break this curse,
To conquer death, and pains disperse
That Life will reign?

Was long foretold that one would come
To once for all remove the sum
Of darkness covering all the nations,
None exempt—all generations
Down from Adam.

Rich food and ancient wine, refined
He’ll bring when every tear mankind
Would shed will be wiped from the eyes
Of all who’ve waited for His prize—
The Earth’s salvation!

Then came, this One, who told would set
His people free and cancel debt
That but by Him could e’er be paid—
Was God, and faithful ‘til He laid
His own life down.

Was beaten, bruised, spat on, scorned
In thorned crown and robe adorned,
Was crushed by sin and to a tree
Was nailed, till the world would see
His life depart.

But now, would Satan laugh at last?
The King lay still, His life had passed—
The One on whom all hope was placed!
All expectation now replaced
By Death’s defeat!

But three days hence He raised again
The temple walls. No hands of men
This time were used! All worship now
In Spirit, Truth, ever to bow
At Jesus’ feet.

The Hope of Men, shown in that day
The only one that none could say
Of: “Satan has a word on Him”—
The Victor o’er the Grave! Now dim
The course for Death.

There is, therefore, no hope so sure
As this: In Jesus, safe—secure!
For He, the founder of salvation,
Firstfruits of the New Creation,

Though yet, all living now decline
Toward death, His raising is the sign
And guarantee the Church will rise
To meet her Savior in the skies
When He returns!

And while we wait our King’s return,
Through sickness, pain, and death we yearn
That Day when faith will be made sight
And all the darkness turned to light—
All wrongs made right!

Thus, we grieve this child’s death
In hope, believing every breath
Is from the Lord, and by His Hand
Will come and go as He has planned
For His name’s sake.

“The Lord will give, and He will take,”
But never will His Church forsake!
Let all the earth be filled with praise,
For great and mighty are His ways
Above our thoughts!

And would that this, though small a trial,
Sound that only for a while
Death will bide! May God proclaim
This in our baby’s life and name—
Our child, “Hope.”

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Do you Think God Answers Prayer Today?

I recently read and was encouraged by George Mueller's explanation for starting orphan houses in England.

Do you believe God really answers prayer?
Do you believe that He is a LIVING God and is working just as powerfully and faithfully as He did in the Bible?
Mueller knew that God was the same and he was grieved that so many "Christians" seemed not to believe this by how they lived and failed to trust in God.

This is what he says:

by George Mueller in Answers to Prayer

Sometimes I found children of God tried in mind by the prospect of old age, when they might be unable to work any longer, and therefore were harassed by the fear of having to go into the poorhouse. If in such a case I pointed out to them, how their Heavenly Father has always helped those who put their trust in Him, they might not, perhaps, always say, that times have changed; but yet it was evident enough, that God was not looked upon by them as the LIVING God. My spirit was ofttimes bowed down by this, and I longed to set something before the children of God, whereby they might see, that He does not forsake, even in our day, those who rely on Him.

Another class of persons were the brethren in business, who suffered in their souls, and brought guilt upon their consciences, by carrying on their business, almost in the same ways as unconverted persons do. The competition in trade, the bad times, the overpeopled country, were given as reason why, if the business were carried on simply according to the Word of God, it could not be expected to do well. Such a brother, perhaps, would express the wish, that he might be differently situated; but very rarely did I see that there was a stand made for God, that there was the holy determination to trust in the living God, and to depend on Him, in order that a good conscience might be maintained. To this class likewise I desired to show, by a visible proof, that God is unchangeably the same.

Then there was another class of persons, individuals who were in their professions in which they could not continue with a good conscience, or persons who were in an unscriptural position with reference to spiritual things; but both classes feared, on account of the consequences, to give up the profession in which they could not abide with God, or to leave their position, lest they should be thrown out of employment. My spirit longed to be instrumental in strengthening their faith, by giving them not only instances from the word of God, of His willingness and ability to help all those who rely upon Him, by to show them by proofs, that He is the same in our day. I well knew that the Word of God ought to be enough, and it was, by grace, enough to me; but still, I considered that I ought to lend a helping hand to my brethren, if by any means, by this visible proof to the unchangeable faithfulness of the Lord, I might strengthen their hands in God; for I remembered what a great blessing my own soul had received through the Lord's dealings with His servant A. H. Franke, who in dependence upon the living God alone, established an immense Orphan-House, which I had seen many times with my own eyes. I, therefore, judged myself bound to be the servant of the Church of God, in the particular point on which I had obtained mercy: namely, in being able to take God by His word and to rely upon it. All these exercises of my soul, which resulted from the fact that so many believers, with whom I became acquainted, were harassed and distressed in mind, or brought guilt on their consciences, on account of not trusting in the Lord; were used by God to awaken in my heart the desire of setting before the church at large, and before the world, a proof that He has not in the least changed; and this seemed to me best done, by the establishing of an Orphan-House. It needed to be something which could be seen, even by the natural eye. Now, if I, a poor man, simply by prayer and faith, obtained without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House, there would be something which, with the Lord's blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the faith of the children of God, besides being a testimony to the consciences of the unconverted, of the reality of the things of God. This, then, was the primary reason for establishing the Orphan-House. I certainly did from the heart desire to be used by God to benefit the bodies of poor children, bereaved of both parents, and seek in other respects, with the help of God, to do them good for this life; --I also particularly longed to be used by God in getting the dear orphans trained up in the fear of the God; -- but still, the first and primary object of work was (and still is:) that God might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided with all they need, only by prayer and faith without anyone being asked by me or my fellow-laborers whereby it may be seen, that God is FAITHFUL STILL, and HEARS PRAYER STILL. That I was not mistaken, has been abundantly proved since November, 1835, both by the conversion of many sinners who have read the accounts, which have been published in connection with this work, and also by the abundance of fruit that has followed in the hearts of the saints, for which from my inmost soul, I desire to be grateful to God, and the honor and glory of which not only is due Him alone, but, which I, by His help, am enabled to ascribe to Him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Frist Great and Primary Business of the Day

Here is a great quote from George Mueller's Autobiography.
The point is this: I saw more clearly than ever, that the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day was, to have my soul happy in the Lord. The first thing to be concerned about was not, how much I might serve the Lord, how I might glorify the Lord; but how I might get my soul into a happy state, and how my inner man might be nourished. For I might seek to set the truth before the unconverted, I might seek to benefit believers, I might seek to relieve the distressed, I might in other ways seek to behave myself as it becomes a child of God in this world; and yet, not being happy in the Lord, and not being nourished and strengthened in my inner man day by day, all this might not be attended to in a right spirit (Autobiography of George Mueller, compiled by Fred Bergen, [London: J. Nisbet Co., 1906], pp. 152-154].

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Praying for Your Preacher

Please partner with me and Dave as we preach the Word of God. Pastor Dave is preaching tomorrow morning and his sermon is entitled - "Lesson on Prayer from the Saints."

Here are the things I asked you to pray for me in last week's sermon:

1) Pray that I would preach the Word with accuracy. Pray that I would not add to it or leave something out.

2) Pray that I would preach the Word with clarity. Pray that I would be given a gift and I would work hard to make the truth clear and understandable (use of words and language).

3) Pray that I would preach the Word with power. Pray that I would have what the old timers called “unction in the pulpit.” Pray that God would use His Word to bring life.

4) Pray that I would preach the Word with perseverance. Pray that I would not be weary in well doing but faithful regardless of apparent fruitfulness.

5) Pray that I would preach the Word with my life. Pray that my walk would match a faithful preaching of the Gospel.

Spurgeon's Conversion

Last Sunday in my sermon I mentioned the story of Charles Spurgeon's conversion. Here is the story:

On January 6th, 1850 (159 years from Tuesday) there was snowstorm on a Sunday morning in the city of Colchester, Essex (England). A young boy who was not yet born again but knew he needed spiritual help set off to church but because of the snow stopped at an old Primitive Methodist Church.

There were 12-15 people in attendance and the pastor did not even make it because of the snow. So a uneducated deacon got up and without preparation simply read a passage of Scripture and rambled on and on for 10 minutes on that passage. The passage was from Isaiah 45:22:


The young boy later wrote of this account:

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus—"My dear friends, this is a very simple text indeed. It says, 'Look.' Now lookin' don't take a deal of pains. It ain't liftin' your foot or your finger; it is just, 'Look.' Well, a man needn't go to College to learn to look. You may be the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn't be worth a thousand a year to be able to look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, 'Look unto Me.' Ay!" said he, in broad Essex, "many on ye are lookin' to yourselves, but it's no use lookin' there. You'll never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, 'Look unto Me.' Some on ye say, 'We must wait for the Spirit's workin'.' You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, 'Look unto Me.'"
Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—"Look unto Me; I am sweatin' great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin' on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin' at the Father's right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!
When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, "Young man, you look very miserable." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, "and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don't obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live." I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, "Trust Christ, and you shall be saved."

That happy day, when I found the Saviour, and learned to cling to His dear feet, was a day never to be forgotten by me. An obscure child, unknown, unheard of, I listened to the Word of God; and that precious text led me to the cross of Christ. I can testify that the joy of that day was utterly indescribable. I could have leaped, I could have danced; there was no expression, however fanatical, which would have been out of keeping with the joy of my spirit at that hour. Many days of Christian experience have passed since then, but there has never been one which has had the full exhilaration, the sparkling delight which that first day had. I thought I could have sprung from the seat on which I sat, and have called out with the wildest of those Methodist brethren who were present, "I am forgiven! I am forgiven! A monument of grace! A sinner saved by blood! "My spirit saw its chains broken to pieces, I felt that I was an emancipated soul, an heir of Heaven, a forgiven one, accepted in Christ Jesus, plucked out of the miry clay and out of the horrible pit, with my feet set upon a rock, and my goings established. I thought I could dance all the way home. I could understand what John Bunyan meant, when he declared he wanted to tell the crows on the ploughed land all about his conversion. He was too full to hold, he felt he must tell somebody.