Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My Portion

YOUR portion is to love, to be silent, to suffer, to sacrifice your inclinations, in order to fulfil the will of God, by moulding yourself to that of others. Happy indeed you are thus to bear a cross laid on you by God's own hands, in the order of His Providence. The discipline which we choose for ourselves does not destroy our self-love like that which God assigns us Himself each day. All we have to do is to give ourselves up to God day by day, without looking further. He carries us in His arms as a loving mother carries her child. In every need let us look with love and trust to our Heavenly Father.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

One Grand Providence

To the dim and bewildered vision of humanity, God's care is more evident in some instances than in others; and upon such instances men seize, and call them providences. It is well that they can; but it would be gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.
George Macdonald

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I Look to Thee in Every Need

I look to Thee in every need,
and never look in vain;
I feel Thy strong and tender love,
and all is well again.
The thought of Thee is mightier far
than sin and pain and sorrow are.
Discouraged in the work of life,
disheartened by its load,
Shamed by its failures or its fears,
I sink beside the road.
But let me only think of Thee
and then new heart springs up in me.
Thy calmness bends serene above,
my restlessness to still;
Around me flows Thy quickening life,
to nerve my faltering will.
Thy presence fills my solitude,
Thy providence turns all to good.
Enfolded deep in Thy dear love,
held in Thy law, I stand;
Thy hand in all things I behold,
and all things in Thy hand.
Thou leadest me by unsought ways,
and turn my mourning into praise.
- Samuel Longfellow

Monday, August 13, 2007

Light Shining out of Darkness

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints,
fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy,
and shall break In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
William Cowper

Monday, August 6, 2007

Our God-Appointed Lot

THE occupations of every day seem often trifling, we may do them without thinking as ordinary things, yet they are the scenes of our appointed lot--appointed by God for you and me. The ordering, the application of these ordinary occupations, is the appointing of the Divine purpose; it is for ourselves to carry them out. And secretly our character forms according as we handle them. Give thy heart to God Eternal, since thou art thyself eternal. join thy heart to what He has given thee to do. Join thy heart to His teaching, and thou becomest of a will like to His own will. Nothing comes by pure accident, not even the interruptions in our busy day. And such as follow on to know God's will see in all events what may lead to good, and so trust grows into a habit, as habit grows by perpetual use, till every circumstance may be seen to be but a fresh manifestation of the will of God working itself out in us.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Of Providence

5:1 God the great Creator of all things doth uphold (Heb 1:3), direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things (Job 38:1-41:34; Psa 135:6; Dan 4:34, 35; Acts 17:25, 26, 28), from the greatest even to the least (Matt 10:29-31), by His most wise and holy providence (Psa 104:24; 145:17; Prov 15:3), according to His infallible fore-knowledge (Psa 94:8-11; Acts 15:18), and the free and immutable counsel of His own will (Psa 33:10, 11; Eph 1:11), to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy (Gen 45:7; Psa 145:7; Isa 63:14; Rom 9:17; Eph 3:10).

5:2 Although, in relation to the fore-knowledge and decree of God, the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and infallibly (Acts 2:23): yet, by the same providence, He ordereth them to fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either necessarily, freely, or contingently (Gen 8:22; Ex 21:13; Deut 19:5; 1 Kin 22:28, 34; Isa 10:6, 7; Jer 31:35).

5:3 God in His ordinary providence maketh use of means (Isa 55:10, 11; Hos 2:21, 22; Acts 27:31, 44), yet is free to work without (Job 34:10; Hos 1:7; Matt 4:4), above (Rom 4:19-21), and against them at His pleasure (2 Kin 6:6; Dan 3:27).

5:4 The almighty power, unsearchable wisdom, and infinite goodness of God so far manifest themselves in His providence, that it extendeth itself even to the first fall, and all other sins of angels and men (2 Sam 16:10; 24:1; 1 Kin 22:22, 23; 1 Chr 10:4, 13, 14; 21:1; Acts 2:23; 4:27, 28; Rom 11:32-34); and that not by a bare permission (Acts 14:16), but such as hath joined with it a most wise and powerful bounding (2 Kin 19:29; Psa 76:10), and otherwise ordering and governing of them, in a manifold dispensation, to His own holy ends (Gen 1:20; Isa 10:6, 7, 12); yet so, as the sinfulness thereof proceedeth only from the creature, and not from God, who, being most holy and righteous, neither, is nor can be, the author or approver of sin (Psa 50:21; James 1:13, 14, 17; 1 John 2:16).

5:5 The most wise, righteous, and gracious God doth oftentimes leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations, and the corruption of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption, and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled (2 Sam 24:1; 2 Chr 32:25, 26, 31); and, to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support unto) Himself, and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for sundry other just and holy ends (Psa 73:1-28; 77:1-10, 12; Mark 14:66-72; John 21:15-17; 2 Cor 12:7-9).

5:6 As for those wicked and ungodly men whom God, as a righteous Judge, for former sins doth blind and harden (Rom 1:24, 26, 28; 11:7, 8), from them He not only withholdeth His grace, whereby they might have been enlightened in their understandings, and wrought upon in their hearts (Deut 29:4); but sometimes also withdraweth the gifts which they had (Matt 13:12; 25:29), and exposeth them to such objects as their corruption makes occasions of sin (Deut 2:30; 2 Kin 8:12, 13); and, withal, gives them over to their own lusts, the temptations of the world, and the power of Satan (Psa 81:11, 12; 2 Thes 2:10-12); whereby it comes to pass that they harden themselves, even under those means which God useth for the softening of others (Ex 7:3; 8:15, 32; Isa 6:9, 10; 8:14; Acts 28:26, 27; 2 Cor 2:15, 16; 1 Pet 2:7, 8).

5:7 As the providence of God doth in general reach to all creatures, so after a most special manner it taketh care of His Church, and disposeth all things to the good thereof (Isa 43:3-5, 14; Amos 9:8, 9; Rom 8:28; 1 Tim 4:10).