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THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

THE CHRISTIAN LIFE

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to seek Him above…
who sought me.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to acknowledge Him…
who found me.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to let God’s Spirit…
guide my life.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to reflect in life…
Jesus Christ.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to pray fervently…
constantly.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to live a pure life…
in God’s sight.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to live the new life…
before all.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to increase talents…
I received.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to preach Gospel truth …
to the lost.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to always practice…
what I preach.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to bring some succour…
to the poor.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to encourage all…
Christ’s brethren.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to bring constant praise..
to our God.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to ever prepare…
to meet God.

All my Life should be…
a God Glorifying…
opportunity…
to humbly give thanks…
EVERMORE.

© Jeff Maxwell 6th April 2018

AN EVENING PRAYER

AN EVENING PRAYER

O God, your greatness is unsearchable. Your name is most excellent in all the earth. You have set your glory above the heavens. Thousands minister unto you and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before you.

We feel ourselves in your awesome presence to be nothing, less than nothing, and vanity: we do not presume to approach you because we are deserving of your notice, for we have sinned, we have incurred your righteous displeasure,  we acknowledge that you are justified when you speak, and clear when you judge. 

But our necessities compel us to come; and your promises encourage us. You are near to those with a broken heart, and save those with a contrite heart. You have provided and revealed a Mediator, who has not only obeyed, but magnified the law, and made it honourable; and you have made us accepted in the beloved. We behold an innumerable multitude returning from your throne of grace, successful, rejoicing, and encouraging us to go forward. They were not, though guilty and destitute, refused, nor upbraided; but freely obtained pardon, holiness, righteousness, strength, and were blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

O look upon us Lord, and be merciful unto us, as you have done to those that love your name ! Convince us of sin both in its penalty, and in its pollution; and may we mourn over it with a godly sorrow. Give us that faith by which we shall be enabled to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; and believing may we have life through His Name. May we not only have life, but have it more abundantly.

We often question the reality of our grace; because  the imperfections of our Christian life are too obvious not to be acknowledged, and to great not to be deplored. Our souls cleave unto the dust; quicken us according to your Word. Strengthen us in the things that are ready to die. May we not only live in the Spirit, but also walk in the Spirit. May we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. May the same mind be in us which was also in Him; and may we feel our dignity and delight to go about doing good. As He suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in His footsteps, may we learn to suffer with the same spirit as He did. When reviled, may we not revile again, but commit ourselves to Him that judges righteously. Who ever is the instrument of our grief, may we never lose sight of your over-ruling agency, in preparing and presenting it, but be able to say, “The cup which my Father gives me shall I not drink it ?” In patience may we possess our souls. May we calmly enquire what you are doing with us. Let us not by weeping, hinder sowing, nor by sorrowing, hinder duty.

We live in a world of changes, and have no continuing city, so we seek one to come; having our minds kept in perfect peace, being stayed upon God. Be with us Lord to the end of our journey, and after honouring you by the life we have lived, may we glorify you by the death we shall die. When heart and flesh shall fail, be the strength of our heart and our portion for ever, for at death we shall fall asleep in Jesus, and in the resurrection morning, He will change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like His own glorious body, so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Who can understand his errors ? Forgive O God, the sins of the past day, in thought, word, and deed, against your divine majesty. We bless you for our preservation, in our going out and coming in, and in all our ways. We bless you for all the supplies and indulgences which your good providence has afforded us.

Now, O Lord, keeper of Israel, we commit our souls and our bodies to your all sufficient care. Suffer no evil to befall our persons, and no plagues to come near our dwelling. May our sleep be sweet, or if you hold our eyes waking, may we remember you upon our bed, and meditate on you in the night watches. So now with the innumerable company who never slumber nor sleep, who rest not day or night, we would join in ascribing blessing, honour, glory, and power unto him that sits on the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever Amen.

William Jay (1769  – 1853)

English nonconformist Pastor for sixty years at Argyle Chapel in Bath.

From  1st week Thursday Evening.

The Domestic Minister’s Assistants; or, Prayers for the use of Families. (Twelfth Edition 1830)

© Reproduced and Modernised  Jeff Maxwell March 2016

 

YOU HAVE NOT CHOSEN ME … John 15:16

John 15:16

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

This verse, especially the first part of it, is often quoted in support of God’s Decree of Election proper, while the context  is of being chosen disciples (v 8), appointed Apostles, preachers of the Gospel (v 27).

This work is God’s free gift to them out of undeserved grace and favour; to live out and preach the Gospel.
The main thrust of the verse and indeed most the chapter, is that they “go and bring forth fruit and that their fruit should remain” this is what they have been chosen to and appointed to bring forth.

They should earnestly engage in the work God has given them, they must labour and toil to make Christ known and bring forth fruit that will remain. What fruit ? Fruit in their own lives as they abide in the vine, then the fruit of the Gospel, lives transformed by the message that is preached. Hearts of stone changed to hearts of flesh having the love of God shed abroad in their hearts.

Another fruit of the Gospel is obedience to the Lord’s commands specifically in this context it is to love one another as He has loved us (v 12 & 17). The quality of that love is to be the same as His love for us. The example is this  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (v 13) and you are my friends if you do what I command you (v 14) Christ’s life, that He laid down, is the supreme example of this love.

Now there are three immediate applications for this love,

firstly love among those who preach the Gospel, sometimes not evident today,

secondly love to those who respond to and believe the Gospel, a love for the brethren.

Lastly love to all whom the Gospel is preached, in reality love for mankind, even those who are naturally hard to love. Are we bringing forth this fruit ?

Now we must remember that although they are appointed to bring forth fruit that remains, it is not in their power to produce fruit in their own lives or to produce fruit for the Gospel or fruit in the lives of men or women.

They must abide in the vine, they must be diligent, faithful labourers, working together with God, waiting and expecting God the Father to give the increase and the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in their lives and in the lives of men and women. This is why the last clause is included  “that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

Producing fruit of the Gospel in themselves and in the lives of men or women is impossible for them or us; But the Lord graciously adds the promise to ask of Him and He will give it them and indeed us.

So they must be diligent in asking God, but be careful why and how they do it,  “you have not, because you ask not. You ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts” (James 4:2-3)

How many disciples today and preachers of the Gospel  seem to want the fruit of the Spirit in their lives to boost their own standing and egos. ?

How many long for much increase for the Gospel so that they may “Profit” out of  and “Lord” it over what is God’s heritage ?

How many are there who humbly long for fruit in their own lives, fruit from Gospel proclamation, and fruit in the lives of believers ? how many are there who plead with God constantly for this ? and with no other motive than the Glory of God.

© Jeff Maxwell March 16th 2016

Lord continue to work in me and bring forth fruit to thy Glory. Amen.

A WELCOME DEAFNESS AND BLINDNESS

A WELCOME DEAFNESS AND BLINDNESS

Neither give place to the devil. Eph. 4:27

As Christians it is possible to give place to the devil. It is possible to be overcome for  a season, to give way to the old man instead of putting on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

Pride goes before a fall, so let him that thinks he stands take heed in case he falls, for it is possible to be tossed to and fro, and carried away with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

Even more so, when the devil turns his immediate attention to us, to undermine us and attempt to bring us down, all be it, by the permission of God and with the limitations of the Father.

We are in a spiritual warfare and while we often fight against the flesh and members of our own household, we also wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
 

You need a deafness in your life, let your ears be deaf to the devil, do not give any opportunity, occasion, scope, or room for the devil, do not yield to him, resist him with everything within you, resist unto the shedding of your blood. 

Be willing to give your very life not to be overcome by the devil, do not to listen to him, do not heed his suggestions, do not give in to his influences, do not let the devil get a foothold in your mind or heart, let not Satan take possession of your mind or move your heart to disobey.

 You need a blindness in your life, a blindness to all that the devil would set before your eyes, and he will try to use this means to overcome you, stimulating  the lust of the eyes, the inordinate desires for what you see,  greed for the material things, the love of money,  the desire to have power, influence, to be well thought of and popular in the wrong circles.

All these things and more will he set before your physical eyes and ears, the eyes of your understanding, and the deep desires of your heart, be blind to them, set your affections on things above, desire spiritual things, desire spiritual growth, desire the fruit of Spirit above all other things.

The devil can be very subtle, he tries to appear as an angel light, to deceive and to destroy. He tries every means, fair and foul. He uses our nearest and dearest, he delights in lies, he is the father of lies, he uses half truths, misrepresentations, insinuations, and all deviousness.

He will exploit all weakness in character, in thought processes, in understanding, in affections, any weakness he can find. He uses a full frontal attack and he comes in an indirect way, by a circuitous route to achieve his abominable purposes and undermine our faith.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed, to be aware makes it possible to be prepared.

We should be both forearmed and prepared;  not letting Satan get an advantage over us, we should not be ignorant of his devices.

To be conscious of the sins that so easily overcome us, helps us to be able stand against the wiles of the devil and to be able stand in the evil day. To be aware of the sins of youth, the  sins of the middle years, and the sins of old age make it possible for us to be prepared and armed for the battle.

Think not that the battle is ever ended or won, we face our foe till the end of our days, but with the knowledge, that to each one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ and  strength sufficient for each day.

Bear in mind that although the devil is powerful he is a defeated foe, defeated by Christ on the Cross of Calvary and in Christ we shall be victorious, we shall overcome if we faint not, those that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

So be not ignorant of his devices, know the wiles of the devil, be ready, be prepared, put on the whole armour of God for your protection, so that in the evil day, you may stand your ground, and having faced all, remain standing.

Stand firm then, with the belt of truth around your waist, wearing the breastplate of righteousness, with your feet prepared with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  Taking also the shield of faith to extinguish all the devil’s  flaming arrows; with the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.  Praying always in the Spirit  with every kind of prayer and supplication and be alert praying for all the Lord’s people with perseverance for  the spiritual warfare that we are ALL called to who love the Lord and who are the children of God.

Is there a welcome Deafness and Blindness,         yes there is.  

Be deaf and blind to the devil and all his lies, neither give place to the devil. Eph 4:27

© Jeff Maxwell 2015

RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

RECENTLY READ AND RIPE FOR CONTEMPLATION

COUNTING THE COST

If any reader of this paper really feels that he has counted the cost, and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint, and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.

The time is very short. A few more years of watching and praying, a few more tossing’s on the sea of this world, a few more deaths and changes, a few more winters and summers, and all will be over. We shall have fought our last battle, and shall need to fight no more.

The presence and company of Christ will make amends for all we suffer here below. When we see as we have been seen, and look back on the journey of life, we shall wonder at our own faintness of heart. We shall marvel that we made so much of our cross, and thought so little of our crown. We shall marvel that in “counting the cost” we could ever doubt on which side the balance of profit lay. Let us take courage. 

We are not far from home. It may cost much to be a true Christian and a  consistent believer; but it pays. 

J C RYLE   (Holiness page 81/82 James Clark & Co. Edition 1956)

FOOD OF LOVE

The food of love is a sense of sin,

and a grateful sense of forgiveness.  

If you and I felt more deeply the guilt of our past lives, we should love Jesus Christ better.

If we had but a clearer sense that our sins deserve the deepest hell, that Christ suffered what we ought to have suffered in order to redeem us from our iniquities, we should not be the cold hearted creatures we are.

We are perfectly monstrous in our want of love to Christ, but the true secret of it is a forgetfulness of our ruined and lost estate, and a forgetfulness of the sufferings by which we have been redeemed from that condition.

O that our love might feed itself and find renewal of its strength in remembering what Sovereign Grace has done.

C H Spurgeon

( Flashes of Thought No:508 1880)

DIFFICULT TIMES

Steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise of faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace Him, this is the patience of the saints.

Matthew Henry

When in prosperity, we are ready to think our mountain will never be brought low; so when in adversity, we are ready to think that our valley shall never filled up. But to conclude that tomorrow must be as this day, is absurd as to think that the weather, when fair or foul, will be always so.

Matthew Henry

Oh, He is a sweet Master! One smile from Jesus sustains my soul amid all the storms and frowns of this passing world. Pray to know Jesus better. Have no other righteousness, no other strength, but only Jesus. Soon we shall see Him coming in the clouds of heaven. May you be kept faithful to death. 

Robert Murray M’Cheyne

TEARS FOR SIN

Let your tears fall because of your sins;

but,

at the same time,

let the eye of faith steadily behold the Son of Man lifted up,

as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,

those that are bitten by the old serpent  my look unto Jesus and live.

Our sinnership is that emptiness into which our Lord pours His Mercy.

C H Spurgeon

 From Breaking the Silence   ( A Letter written from Menton  31/12/1891 approx 1 month before his death on 31/1/1892)

Adversity

Adversity is the best University.

Schola crucis est Schola lucis. 

School of the Cross is the School of Light.
Or

The School of Affliction is the School of Instruction.

Afflictions teach us to know God, not only in His power and greatness, in His anger, and His hatred for sin, but also in His Goodness and Mercy: For God so sweetens the bitter cup of affliction that a Child of God will taste more of God’s love in one month’s affliction than in many years of prosperity.

Add to this – afflictions teach us to know God experimentally and affectionately not just cerebrally but cordially (not just with the mind but the heart) so to know Him, as to love and fear  Him, and to fly to Him as our Rock and Hiding place in the day of our distress.

He that seeks after God in the night of adversity does not seek Him to see Him, to know Him formally or superficially, but to embrace Him, lean on Him, and know Him experimentally.

Here is rich comfort for the Children of God, under the greatest afflictions.
For the best of  Saints are subject to the worst afflictions.
This is the lot of all God’s children, Christ Himself was not excepted or exempt.

Let us labour that we may reap good by our afflictions and that “the good” may abide upon us after our recovery from the afflictions.

Let us labour that the good we get by afflictions may not vanish away with our afflictions after we are recovered; so we may be able to say with David ” It was good that I was afflicted” and to say that it was good; not only after the event but to say “it is good that I am afflicted now and it will be good if I am afflicted in the future.”

We need to be good Scholars in the School of Afflictions; for if we are, God will either deliver us out of affliction with much blessing or send us to Heaven by our afflictions to our eternal blessing. Amen

Extracted, edited and compiled by Jeff Maxwell ©

© Jeff Maxwell 2014

Prayer for the week 8

Prayer for the week 8

Almighty and Eternal God, we desire to praise Your Holy Name, for graciously raising us up, in soundness of body and mind to see the light of this new week.

We bless You on the behalf of all Your creatures; for the eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due season. But, above all, we acknowledge the inestimable benefits given to mankind in Christ Jesus. We thank You for His miraculous birth, for His most Holy life, His bitter agony and death, for His glorious resurrection, His ascension into heaven, His triumph over all the powers of darkness, and His sitting at Your right hand for evermore.

O God, how great was Your love to the sinful sons of men!

O the riches of Your Grace in sending the Holy Spirit, to make us abound in hope, that we shall rise one day from the dead, and after our short labours here, rest with You in  eternal glory.

We would begin this week in devout meditation, in joy unspeakable, and in such blessing and praising You, who have given us good hope and everlasting consolation. Lift up our minds above all the little things below, which are apt to distract our thoughts; and keep our thoughts  above those things, till they are fully bent to seek You and the WAY which Jesus has gone before.

We are ashamed, O Lord, to think that we have disobeyed You, who redeemed us by the precious blood of Your own Son. O that we may agree with Your Will in all things! May all the powers of our souls and bodies be wholly dedicated to Your service! We desire unreservedly that all the thoughts and designs of our minds, all the affections and tempers of our hearts, and all the actions of our lives, may be pure, holy, and unreprovable in Your sight.

Search us, O Lord, and prove us. Look well if there be any wicked way in us and lead us in the way everlasting. Let Your favour be better to us than life itself; so that in all things we may approve our hearts before You, and feel the sense of Your acceptance of us, giving us a joy which the world cannot give.

O Lord, hear us, and make Your face to shine upon us, that we may enter into Your gates with thanksgiving and into Your courts with praise; that we may be thankful unto You and bless Your Name, for Jesus Christ’s sake, and so we conclude our imperfect prayer.

John Wesley
From page 50-51 of John Wesley’s Prayers Edited by F C Gill 1959.

Edited, adapted, and modernised by Jeff Maxwell ©2012

Prayer for the Week 7

Prayer for the week 7

 O Lord our God we are grateful and thankful for Your great goodness to us.

For our Salvation in Christ Jesus, for the Forgiveness of our sins, for Your presence at our side, for our Glorious Inheritance laid up in Heaven, for Your Word given to us, for Your Holy Spirit and His guidance, for our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, for Your  World in which we live, for our Homes, friends and families. We have O Lord so much to be truly grateful and thankful for.

O Lord God we are conscious that we are not always grateful enough and often forget to be mindful, thankful enough, for what You have done for us and what You give to us. Help us O Lord to seek to put this right in the coming week, to more conscientiously, more fully, give You the adoration of our hearts for Your Grace towards us.

This coming week Lord we would pray for those who are suffering. We are aware Lord that you are in control of all things, but you still allow suffering in this present evil world.  We do not however, as many, lay the blame at Your feet, but use these circumstances to draw near to you, to pray for those in any need, to support those who are in any trouble, to sympathise and encourage, to show our love because Your Son, Christ Jesus has done all theses things for us and He is our example.

Gracious God help us each one to bring by name those, known to us, who are suffering for whatever reason, those who suffer in their bodies, those who suffer in their minds and emotions, those who suffer by their circumstances in life, those who suffer for the Faith, those who suffer because of repressive governments and laws, those who suffer because of the evil  power at loose in this world. Lord teach us and help us to pray.

Our Father, our great and powerful God, we pray especially for your children who are  coming to the end of their earthly pilgrimage, who are going to die and come before Your very presence. We ask Lord that you will turn their minds away from the present weakness of their bodies. Remove from them any fearfulness of mind because of death, their final adversary. Give them patience in their trying circumstances, enable them to rise above them and concentrate their minds on You alone. Lord ease their eventual passing, let them, as they are able, to witness to your faithfulness and goodness to them through their lives whether they be long or short.

Father we are mindful that you can call for OUR presence before You at any time, prepare us for this, let us live in the light of this truth Lord, for so often we live as if we are going to live forever. Lord help us not to be forgetful of You, help us not to live carelessly, forgetting to give thanks, being by our practice ungrateful  of Your grace and Goodness to us.
 
Our gracious Father as we close our prayer, may we continue to pray, give us clean hands and a pure heart, for the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, not because of our prayer, but because of you willingness to hear and answer. Amen.

 © Jeff Maxwell 2012

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