Posts Tagged ‘ puritans ’

on Knowing and Doing

“To profess to know much is easy; but to bring your affections into subjection, to wrestle with lusts, to cross your wills and yourselves, upon every occasion, this is hard.” -John Preston

(HT:immoderate)

Book Review: Valley of Vision

By Derek

Pick this up, pick this up, pick this up. I can’t recommend this book enough. For followers of Jesus Christ prayer is an absolute necessity. This is a book filled with the prayers of Puritan that loved to pour out there heart before God and show their commitment to Jesus Christ. Many of us do not know how to pray, what to pray, or why to pray, and this book will give you a glimpse into the hearts of men who we stand on their shoulders in the faith. Meditate on the truths of the words written and remember that they are men like us and wanted to show God affection through how they spoke about Him through prayers and supplications. Pick up this book and read it daily as a devotional (5 minutes everyday).

Click here to get it in paperback.

Click here to get it in a nice leather edition.

Click here to have max Mclean read it to you.

A Walk with Jonathan Edwards

By Mike Henderson

I would like to invite you all to embark on a journey with me. We are at the beginning of a new year and like most of you; I have hope that through diligence will flesh themselves out in ways that will manifest God’s glory more clearly through me. So to the journey I have undertaken; I have begun what I am calling “A Walk with Jonathan Edwards.”

If you are not familiar with this since glorified saint, he was a simple under rower of God in the 18th century. By human standards he is not to be counted among ordinary men; in fact he is almost unanimously touted as the greatest thinker in American History. However, this title can only be considered because of the amazing work that God had so called him to do. Now, at this point in my acquaintance with this man what I have been led to believe is that he is most remembered for a particular sermon he gave entitled Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, which is said to have been the spark for one of the greatest revival since Pentecost. This leads me to why I have been drawn to Edwards, I am inclined to think as I come in contact with the totality of his writings that I will be profoundly challenged in every way to be conformed to the image of Christ.

I will be reading Volume One of The Works of Jonathan Edwards published By the Banner of Truth Trust. This is a large volume; therefore I have decided to push aside all extra biblical works so I can finish it over the next year. How I plan to incorporate you all into my endeavor is by regularly posting Edwards’ insights into God’s Word and the sanctification of him is doing to spur me on in the faith. This, I believe, is in line with Paul’s admonition to those at Philippi , “brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us (Phil. 3:17),” and I pray that in our time spent Walking with Jonathan Edwards, that we would all observe (or pattern) Jonathan Edwards who walked according to the pattern of the Apostles.

Help Me to Adore Thee by Lips and Life; Praying for Balance

By Russ

Help me to adore thee by lips and life.

The above line is taken from a puritan prayer. I found it to be a wonderful thing to pray. What makes this prayer so helpful is it asks God to do two things that we all need him to do inour lives. First, to make us less like ourselves with our extremes ( it seems that we either are very good at bold speaking of truth or humble service, but rarely do we do both well.). Second, to makes us more like Him; balanced. Just look at Christ’s earthly ministry. He healed the sick, washed feet, and cast out demons.Simply put, He made it his life to meet people where they were and to serve them. However at the same time, he told the Samaritan woman to go get her husband. He told the pharisees that there blindness remained. He asked Peter, “do you love me?” Jesus dealt with hearts by applying truth to them. What a way to live.

So let us ask that we adore Christ with our mouths by not keeping this joy to ourselves and let us at the same time ask that he gives us such a deep belief in the gospel that our sins fall away and we live what we speak and what the bible teaches. This balance is not something that comes naturally to us, we must ask for it. So, lets ask.

Treat Your Trials Right, Seeking Comfort In God

By Matt Kellso

In a previous post (Treat Your Trials Right), I discussed our need to treat as gifts the circumstances of life we would normally qualify as trials.  They are meant as a vessel of joy sent to us by God through His grace so that we can bring the Gospel to those around us.  Great!  Easy!  Now that I know this, life is suddenly and instantly a cake walk.  I wish someone had explained this so clearly years ago, life would have been different.

Umm…no.  Truth doesn’t make life instantly easy, applied truth honors God and that is our goal with this knowledge.  So how do we apply this truth?  What can we practically do with this newfound knowledge of trials?  We all know that it is way easier to say “count it all joy my friends when we encounter many trials” than it is to actually count it as joy.  I have proven that time and again in trials in my life.

John Piper’s answer to this question came in the form of list of “ways to not waste your cancer.”  I’m going to go through many of his points one at a time.  Before reading this section, I ask that you pause, pray and ask God to show you where you are doing Him injustices in the way you’re approaching trials.  Trials (as with all interactions) are a time to point every conversation and interaction to Christ.  Let’s learn how to do that with every moment through this series.

Seek comfort from God rather than your odds.

When we lost our second baby, I was looking at odds everywhere.  When Jenna was pregnant with the 3rd one I don’t think either of us expected a live birth.  We put a lot of stock in the odds and they weren’t very good.  Conversations took us there.  Hope lied in the odds (or a lack of hope).  In the 4th pregnancy, I was finally excited (wrong word…maybe, not completely pessimistic is a better one), because we had a plan that greatly increased the odds of a live birth.

How pathetic of me to not immediately use these trials as a path to the Gospel.  I knew that God opens and closes the womb.  That He was the one to provide the doctors with a knowledge of MTHFR (what ended up being the problem).  I knew that He wanted to be glorified through our loses and I should have been excited about that.  To tell believers and non-believers that I came in contact with anything different showed them that I care more about other’s experiences than I do about using trials as a means of glorifying the Creator of all things.  SHAME ON ME!!!

So, how do we seek comfort from God?  I’ve learned a lot in the 7 years following that period of our life.  These days, I do three things to help.  But at the end of the day, we just have to remember that He is who He says He is.

  1. I read about His attributes.  This comes in a few forms.  My favorite is Pink’s Attributes of God book.
  2. I pray using others’ prayers as a guide.  There is nothing like the heart of someone that has suffered and keeps a good attitude to remind me of where I need to be.  I personally love the old Puritan book of prayers Valley of Vision, which I have in:
  3. Finally, I remind myself the comfort of the cross.  I preach the gospel to myself regularly.  There is nothing like knowing that I was dead, that this world could’ve been the best I would see of His grace and that without the cross, I have nothing to hope for to remind me that life is pretty good, even in trial.
  4. Last (I’ll learn to count later), I look for opportunities to magnify God to others.  Reminding others of Him helps me keep my focus off of myself and my troubles.

Let’s all shepherd our hearts towards the Gospel in ways that keep a focus on the eternal and off the temporal.

John Flavel on God’s Work on You in Regeneration

By Matt Kellso

Last night I started to read “Keeping the Heart” by John Flavel. He was a Puritan who knew the depths of trials and knew what it meant to properly shepherd your heart. I mean not only did he write a book on it, that book was reprinted some 300+ years later. But I’m not writing about the book as a whole, yet. I just want to talk about something he said that struck me as part of the beauty of regeneration.

We as men (and women) became disordered and rebellious creatures at the fall of man.  This played itself out in a complete opposition to our Creator in every aspect of our lives.  John specifically calls out:

Rebellion to God as: By us acting:
The First Cause Self-dependent
The Chief Good In self-love
The Highest Lord In self-will
The Last End Self-seeking

In our nature we are a self-dependent, self-seeking people who act in our love for self and of our will for self continually.  However, one of the joys of salvation and regeneration and the abolition of this self focus.  That abolition is not some immediate elimination of self-focus.  It is something we work at through the tools that God has given us through the transformation of our hearts.  We attack these ’selfs’ with:

The Old Self: Eliminated by:
Self-dependence Faith
Self-love subjection & obedience to the will of God
Self-seeking self-denial
Self-will regeneration to the image of God

So the “soul which sin had universally depraved, is by grace restored.”

Praise God that we (who are regenerated) don’t have to continue to live a life ruined by the destructive power of a self-serving, self-focused, self-exhaulting sin nature!

For more from Matt click here.

PRECIOUS REMEDIES AGAINST SATAN’S DEVICES; Device #4 and its Remedies

Here is the fourth device and set of remedies from Thomas Brooks’ book, “PRECIOUS REMEDIES AGAINST SATAN’S DEVICES.”
Device #4:
By showing to the soul the best men’s sins and by hiding from the soul their virtues, their sorrows, and their repentance.

Remedies:
1) the Spirit of God records not only the sins of the saints, but also their repentance.

2) these saints did not make a trade of sin.

3) though God does not disinherit his sinning people, He punishes them severely.

4) God has two main ends in recording the falls of His saints.

-r

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