The Grace of the Cross — Puritan Prayer

O my Savior, I thank You from the depths of my being
for Your wondrous grace and love
in bearing my sin in Your own body on the tree.

May Your cross be to me
as the tree that sweetens my bitter Marahs,
as the rod that blossoms with life and beauty,
as the brazen serpent that calls forth the look of faith.

By Your cross crucify my every sin;

Use it to increase my intimacy with Yourself;

Make it the ground of all my comfort,
the liveliness of all my duties,
the sum of all Your gospel promises,
the comfort of all my afflictions,
the vigor of my love, thankfulness, graces,
the very essence of my religion;

And by it give me that rest without rest,
the rest of ceaseless praise.

O my Lord and Savior,

You have also appointed a cross for me to take up and carry,
a cross before You give me a crown.

You have appointed it to be my portion,
but self-love hates it,
carnal reason is unreconciled to it;
without the grace of patience I cannot bear it,
walk with it, profit by it.

O blessed cross, what mercies do you bring with you!

You are only esteemed hateful by my rebel will,
heavy because I shirk your load.

Teach me, gracious Lord and Savior,
that with my cross You send promised grace
so that I may bear it patiently,
that my cross is Your yoke which is easy,
and Your burden which is light.

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Fear Not the Attacks at Christmas

Have you noticed in the news how it seems that more and more people are getting forceful in their attack on Christianity? I don’t just mean not hanging signs that say “Merry Christmas” and substituting “Happy Holidays.” I mean out and out pointed attacks on not just the holiday but on Christianity itself. Indeed, a frontal attack on God.

For instance, in our nation’s capital this Christmas season the American Humanist Association has initiated a campaign to putatheist-signs-in-dc signs on city buses and the Metro system that say, “Why Believe in God? Just be good for goodness’ sake”. In 2007 the Pew Research Center found out, in a survey, that the majority of Americans believe that it is not possible to be good apart from a belief in God.. This may very well be so, but I believe that the pulpits in our churches have contributed to this sad state of affairs. Too many times each week sermons concentrate on “being good” or “trying your best” and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is never proclaimed. The Christianity of the 21st Century has become both Christ-less and Gospel-less in many instances. There are many sermons preached over the airways and in the pulpits of our nation that would support the atheists in their claim that we need to “just be good for goodness’ sake.” But that is not the Gospel. We must pray this Christmas season that we will return to a Christ-filled, and Gospel-filled Christmas, and way of life as the church in America.

Another example is taking place on the other side of the country in the state of Washington. Each year a nativity scene is set up in the atheist-sign-in-wash-state2state capitol. This year the Governor of Washington allowed an atheists group to put up a sign right next to the nativity scene — it simply proclaims that “there are no gods” among other things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe that the atheists have a right under our constitution, to free speech. They can and should be able to speak freely their foolishness without any fear. However it seems to me to be simply in “bad taste” to allow a vicious attack placed alongside the nativity of our Lord. In fact under some situations, with a few words changed this would be classified as “hate speech” and punishable by law.

My friend, Walter Price, in California, sent me a quote today from G.K. Chesterton written in 1922. Chesterton said, “If there were no God, there would be no atheists.” Think about that! He’s right, you know.

We should not fear the atheists’ attack on the faith. We must not change one thing in light of their signs and statements. We simply must, in this Christmas season, be certain that we are proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ with boldness and clarity.

I love this season . . . Not because of the gifts and parties and decorations. I love it because it gives us a major opening to talk about Jesus . . . who came as a baby, but didn’t stay in the manger. He grew up and spoke with authority as no one had ever heard . . . He did miracles like no one had ever seen . . . But this was not the important part in a real sense. He voluntarily went to the cross at Calvary to atone for sin . . . To become the Savior of the world. This is why I love this season!!!

It is Well With My Soul — One of my favorites!!

What if you had received this telegram? The words of the telegram are simple yet startling: “Saved alone. What shall I do. Mrs Goodwin, children, Willie Culver lost. Go with Lorriaux until answer. Reply Porclain 64 Rue Aboukin, Paris”

These were the words that Horatio Spafford received when he lost his children in a tragic shipwreck as his family was sailing for Europe on vacation. He was supposed to be with them but business caused Spafford to have to return home before they boarded the ship. He had his family go ahead and told them he would come as soon as the business was finished. Before he could leave America this telegram arrived and there was nothing he could do.

Spafford was a man of deep faith in Christ. He immediately set out to sail to Europe to be with his grieving wife and to begin putting his broken life and dreams back together again. As he sailed to meet up with his wife the ships captain called him to the bridge of the ship and told him that they were at that time passing over the spot where his daughters had perished days earlier. He went back to his quarters, and taking a piece of letterhead from a hotel in Chicago which he had in his possession, he penned the words to the great Christian hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul.” Below is a copy of the original of that hymn which was penned:

The words:

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

A great hymn . . . filled with truth and borne out of tragedy. May God make Himself clear to us in times of trouble through which we pass.

Sola Scriptura ~~ Solo Christo ~~ Sola Gratia ~~ Sola Fide ~~ Soli Deo Gloria