Friday, January 30, 2009

Grace must captivate

I hope this writing from Newton will give you a heart to worship God throughout the weekend:

"Redemption is not an act of mere mercy, but of mercy harmonizing with justice. It is not an act of power only, but of unexampled and expensive love. 'Thou hast redeemed us by thy blood!'

The sentence announced by the law against transgressors was death. And therefore when Messiah became our surety to satisfy the law for us, he must die...His was a bloody death. When he was in great agony in Gethsemane, his 'sweat was as great drops of blood, falling down to the ground'. His blood flowed when he gave his back to smiters, under the painful strokes of the scourging he endured previous to his crucifixion. It flowed from his head when the soldiers, having mocked his character of King, by crowning him with thorns, by their rude blows forced the thorns into his temples. His blood streamed from the wounds made b the spikes, which pierced his hands and feet, when they fastened him to the cross. When he hung upon the cross, his body was full of wounds, and covered with blood. And, after his death, another large wound was made in his side, from which issued blood and water. Such was the redemption-price he paid for sinners, his blood, the blood of his heart...

This Saviour is very precious to those who believe in him, and who obtain redemption by his blood. How can it be otherwise? Grace like this, when known, must captivate and fix the heart! Not only to save, but to die, and to die for his enemies! Such costly love, productive of such glorious consequences, and to such unworthy creatures" (John Newton quoted by Todd Murray, Beyond Amazing Grace)!

God is so good.

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How the Spirit works

So what is the work of the Holy Spirit? It seems there is much talk about the Father and Son and less talk about the Spirit. J.I. Packer says, "Down the ages, he (the Spirit) testifies by illuminating: opening blinded eyes, restoring spiritual vision, enabling sinners to see that the gospel is indeed God's truth, and Scripture is indeed God's Word, and Christ is indeed God's Son." So the revelation of the truth comes from the work of the Spirit. Knowing God, in Christ, is from the work of the Spirit.

Packer goes on to talk about the effects of the Spirit on Christianity: "It is not for us to imagine that we can prove the truth of Christianity by our own arguments; nobody can prove the truth of Christianity except the Holy Spirit, by his own almighty work of renewing the blinded heart. It is the sovereign prerogative of Christ's Spirit to convince men's consciences of the truth of Christ's gospel; and Christ's human witnesses must learn to ground their hopes of success not on clever presentation of the truth by man, but on powerful demonstration of the truth by the Spirit" (Knowing God).

That is freeing thought for how we evangelize to the lost. We speak the truth revealed by the Spirit and the Spirit does his work. May we press on to pray fervently by the Spirit. May he do whatever is according to the will of the Father through the blood of Christ.

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Call to Discernment

Chapter 9 - Developing Discernment

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent."
Philippians 1:9-10

"Discernment is not a pursuit that stands on its own in the life of the Christian. Rather, it is inexorably connected to others. Those who wish to be discerning must have a posture of discernment. They must commit to reading and studying the Bible, to participating in the local church, and to pursuing the character traits of a Christian. The lives of these people will display the proof of discernment in their obedience to the Bible and in their maturity as Christians."
-Tim Challies

Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Fab Five

I was recently asked the following questions by a fellow blogger of mine so I thought I'd share my answers with you all. If you are not a reader become one quickly because there are many great books to help you down the narrow road.

Please answer the following questions:

What are five non-fiction books that have had a significant impact on your life (other than the Bible)?

  • Desiring God by John Piper
  • The Valley of Vision edited by Arthur Bennett
  • Amazing Grace in the life of William Wilberforce by John Piper
  • Humility by C J Mahaney
  • Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave by Ed Welch

What are your five favorite fiction books of all time?
(Since I don't read fiction let me give you five authors to read)

  • Charles Spurgeon
  • John Piper
  • C J Mahaney
  • C S Lewis
  • R C Sproul

What were five of your favorite books (or series) when you were growing up?
(I also never read as a kid, unfortunately, so hear are my top 5 favorite songs)

  • Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing by Robert Robinson
  • O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus by Samual Trevor Francis
  • Through the Precious Blood by Sovereign Grace Ministries
  • What a Savior by NA Band
  • The Power of the Cross by The Getty's
Name five books you would like to read this year.

  • Knowing God by J I Packer
  • Finally Alive by John Piper
  • Not Even a Hint by Josh Harris
  • Prodigal God by Timothy Keller
  • Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp

Feel free to comment on your favorites in any category or all of them.

Grace upon grace,


Monday, January 26, 2009

Our love for the World is Ugly

"In brief, God loves the world, and Christians had better not. The impression is pretty strong that if people love the wolrd, they remain under God's wrath: the love of the Father is not in them...God's love for the world is commendable because it manifests itself in awesome self-sacrifice; our love for the world is repulsive when it lusts for evil participation. God's love for the world is preaiseworthy because it brings the transforming Gospel to it; our love for the world is ugly because we seek to be conformed to the world. God's love for the world issues in certain individuals being called out from the world and into the fellowship of Christ's followers; our love for the world is sickening where we wish to be absorbed into the world. So, 'do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the not in him' (1 John 2:15). But clearly we are to love the world in the sense that we are to go into every part of it and bring the glorious Gospel to every creature. In this sense we imitate, in our small ways, the wholly praiseworthy love of God for the world."
-D.A. Carson (The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God)

Grace upon grace,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Do you love your local family?

What does it mean to strive side by side in love as a local body? What does it take? Josh Harris offers some great insight, "Only when you and I reject self-centeredness, prideful independence, and a critical spirit can the beauty of the local church come into focus. Then we'll see that committing to a church isn't a burden, but a gift and a necessity. It doesn't tie us down; it anchors us in the storm of life. And even its faults become an opportunity for us to love and serve" (Stop Dating the Church)

The point is not what can we get out of the church rather how can we pour into the church. Pat Howell loves to remind us what the problem is with the church: "There are people there." Where there are people there are sinners (Romans 3:23). Your local body won't be perfect but don't quit on them. There are sinners from every leader to every layman. Mark Dever lays out the challenge, "Do you want to know that your new life is real? Commit yourself to a local group of saved sinners. Try to love them. Don't just do it for three weeks. Don't just do it for six months. Do if for years. And I think you'll find out, and others will, too, whether or not you love God. The truth will show itself" (As quoted by Josh Harris in Stop Dating the Church).

Do you love Jesus? Then build relationships with His people in the expression of the local church. Be passionate and stay committed!

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

7 Biblical Principles on Worldliness

"Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."
1 John 2:15

On Sunday evening Pastor Quinn gave 7 Biblical Principles on Worldliness that I thought were excellent. I now want to share them with you:

1. Ask yourself what most occupies your time and desires.
2. Actively seek to put off/kill/mortify the flesh with its passions and desires.
3. Aggressively seek to put on/live/walk in the Spirit, in accordance with His will/desires/character.
4. Acknowledge the battle between the flesh and the Spirit.
5. Ascertain which side of the conflict between the flesh and the Spirit you are on.
6. Assimilate the life of Christ into yours.
7. At every circumstance and at all times we are called upon to arm ourselves for battle and to pray.

Great words to challenge ourselves to see whether we want worldliness or godliness. If you see yourself leaning toward worldliness look at the book of 1 John. Read and meditate on John's words to the church. Praise God for His convicting Word.

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Heart of Christ

A story I cannot resist sharing. When you see the love of Christ in action it is just obvious. The world sees it going on and is so intrigued but when I read this story it just made me say, "Wow, You are so amazing God to give a person that heart." God is so good. This was on ESPN written by Rick Reilly titled There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning.

They played the oddest game in high school football history last month down in Grapevine, Texas.

It was Grapevine Faith vs. Gainesville State School and everything about it was upside down. For instance, when Gainesville came out to take the field, the Faith fans made a 40-yard spirit line for them to run through.

Did you hear that? The other team's fans?

They even made a banner for players to crash through at the end. It said, "Go Tornadoes!" Which is also weird, because Faith is the Lions.

It was rivers running uphill and cats petting dogs. More than 200 Faith fans sat on the Gainesville side and kept cheering the Gainesville players on—by name.

"I never in my life thought I'd hear people cheering for us to hit their kids," recalls Gainesville's QB and middle linebacker, Isaiah. "I wouldn't expect another parent to tell somebody to hit their kids. But they wanted us to!"

And even though Faith walloped them 33-14, the Gainesville kids were so happy that after the game they gave head coach Mark Williams a sideline squirt-bottle shower like he'd just won state. Gotta be the first Gatorade bath in history for an 0-9 coach.

But then you saw the 12 uniformed officers escorting the 14 Gainesville players off the field and two and two started to make four. They lined the players up in groups of five—handcuffs ready in their back pockets—and marched them to the team bus. That's because Gainesville is a maximum-security correctional facility 75 miles north of Dallas. Every game it plays is on the road.

This all started when Faith's head coach, Kris Hogan, wanted to do something kind for the Gainesville team. Faith had never played Gainesville, but he already knew the score. After all, Faith was 7-2 going into the game, Gainesville 0-8 with 2 TDs all year. Faith has 70 kids, 11 coaches, the latest equipment and involved parents. Gainesville has a lot of kids with convictions for drugs, assault and robbery—many of whose families had disowned them—wearing seven-year-old shoulder pads and ancient helmets.

So Hogan had this idea. What if half of our fans—for one night only—cheered for the other team? He sent out an email asking the Faithful to do just that. "Here's the message I want you to send:" Hogan wrote. "You are just as valuable as any other person on planet Earth."

Some people were naturally confused. One Faith player walked into Hogan's office and asked, "Coach, why are we doing this?"

And Hogan said, "Imagine if you didn't have a home life. Imagine if everybody had pretty much given up on you. Now imagine what it would mean for hundreds of people to suddenly believe in you."

Next thing you know, the Gainesville Tornadoes were turning around on their bench to see something they never had before. Hundreds of fans. And actual cheerleaders!
"I thought maybe they were confused," said Alex, a Gainesville lineman (only first names are released by the prison). "They started yelling 'DEE-fense!' when their team had the ball. I said, 'What? Why they cheerin' for us?'"

It was a strange experience for boys who most people cross the street to avoid. "We can tell people are a little afraid of us when we come to the games," says Gerald, a lineman who will wind up doing more than three years. "You can see it in their eyes. They're lookin' at us like we're criminals. But these people, they were yellin' for us! By our names!"

Maybe it figures that Gainesville played better than it had all season, scoring the game's last two touchdowns. Of course, this might be because Hogan put his third-string nose guard at safety and his third-string cornerback at defensive end. Still.

After the game, both teams gathered in the middle of the field to pray and that's when Isaiah surprised everybody by asking to lead. "We had no idea what the kid was going to say," remembers Coach Hogan. But Isaiah said this: "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank You, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."

And it was a good thing everybody's heads were bowed because they might've seen Hogan wiping away tears.

As the Tornadoes walked back to their bus under guard, they each were handed a bag for the ride home—a burger, some fries, a soda, some candy, a Bible and an encouraging letter from a Faith player.

The Gainesville coach saw Hogan, grabbed him hard by the shoulders and said, "You'll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You'll never, ever know."
And as the bus pulled away, all the Gainesville players crammed to one side and pressed their hands to the window, staring at these people they'd never met before, watching their waves and smiles disappearing into the night.

Anyway, with the economy six feet under and Christmas running on about three and a half reindeer, it's nice to know that one of the best presents you can give is still absolutely free.


Grace upon grace,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Love what Christ loves

"The strongest argument I know for why you and I should love and care about the Church is that Jesus does. The greatest motivation we could ever find for being passionately committed to the Church is that Jesus is passionately committed to the Church."
-Josh Harris (Stop Dating the Church:Fall in Love with the Family of God)

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Wedding at Cana

We find Jesus doing His first miracle at a wedding feast in Cana. Most people know the story of Jesus turning the water into wine. I recently heard Tim Senn teach over this text and my mind started to think on the implications of Jesus’ miracles. Keep in mind the purpose of John’s gospel, “Now Jesus did many other signs ​in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; ​but these are written so that you may ​believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name” (John 20:30-31).

In John 2 we see a dilemma of the wine running out at the wedding feast. Jesus says to the servants of the feast, “Fill the jars with water” (7). The servants proceed to fill the jars to the brim. Jesus then commands the servants, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast” (8). The text goes on to say, “When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine” (9). Off into the sunset go the servants. Nothing more is said of these men. We don’t know whether they came to know Christ or not because it is not documented in the text. John, who was a detailed person, never mentions the servants being in awe of what they had just seen Jesus do.

As I thought of this text it got me thinking about those who say, “If I could only see I would believe.” With that in mind if man had written the Bible all who saw Jesus perform miracles – healing the lame, making the blind see, cleansing the lepers and raising the dead – would have believed. This is not the case in God’s holy Word. Why? Because many still could not see (Matthew 13:13). Yes, the physical miracles happened but I hope we can see the beauty about what they teach: God still miraculously heals! He heals the spiritually lame, blind, filthy and dead.

Do you need healing? Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). Can you see? If you can see it is because God has peeled the scales off your eyes (Acts 9:18). Are you filthy? “He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness (our righteousness is as filthy rags), but according to His own mercy, by washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5). Are you dead? O, the glorious news of Ephesians 2, “You were dead in your transgressions and sins…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved” (2:1,4-5).

Grace upon grace,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Praise the LORD!

"There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice."
-John Calvin

As you go about this weekend look at this world God has created and rejoice. The green grass is there to declare His glory. The blue sky is there to declare His majesty. He created it all so we could praise the Him as Creator.

The Psalms are filled with passages of praise to God. It is only fitting that the last verse of Psalms says, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD" (150:6)!

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Till death do us part"

You ever wish you could go back? I mean some times we don't understand the magnitude of an event until later in life. We have a completely different understanding of what actually took place. Well four years ago today Heather and I got married. Here are some of the promises I made to her, the witnesses and most importantly God:

"I, Jason, take you, Heather, to be my wedded wife; to have and to hold, from this day forward; for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health; to love and to cherish, till death do us part."

Babe, it has been four years and I want you to know I truly mean these words. I understand what they mean more now than I did that day. I understand the real meaning of marriage is to make much of Christ. How? By serving you the way Christ does His church. Christ laid dawn His life as a sacrifice for His people. What a joy to, by God's grace, do the same. I hope next year I can have these same thoughts knowing that we are continuing to grow together in grace.

I love you, Heather!

Grace upon grace,
JRL (your husband)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Legacy on the Hardcourt

Well today I want to talk about a woman who has been an example for the many young women she has been around. I would have to say there are coaches and then there are coaches who really care. What do I mean by care? Well she likes to win but that's not what's ultimately important to her. She wants to train these young women to love Christ and play with an attitude that reflects His glory. Yeah, she works them hard because she knows hard work pays off. But do you see how beautifully that ties into life, especially our Christian walk.

The Christian life is not an easy path to walk on. We need to constantly work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). Paul speaks many times of the work to be put into our Christian walk: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith" (2 Timothy 4:7). "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it" (1 Corinthians 9:24). See we run for a reason: to receive the prize. The prize is eternal life with Christ. The point of coaching young women is to work hard and aim to the prize, not a trophy, but Christ.

Coach K keep up the work you have started, not only on the court but also with your own sweet children and husband. Keep your eyes on the prize and run with endurance until the very end. Oh yeah and Happy Birthday!

Grace upon grace,
JRL (your little brother)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Caring for Others

Here is a great post from my friend Jennifer Rahman based on Phillip Keller's book What Makes Life Worth Living. Please go read her post. Here is a sample:

"In our pilgrimage through life it is inevitable that, unless we live very cloistered, self-centered lives, our daily paths will cross the trails of others. These encounters are no chance meetings or merely random events. Rather, they are opportunities for us to quietly do something beautiful for our Father and for those strangers He sends to us.

As we well know, our lives as God’s people are under the most intense scrutiny from a watching world. Astonishing as it may sound, they not only observe what we do, but they scrutinize what kind of people we are. They may scoff at our devotion to Christ, yet they expect us to be distinct and different in our deportment toward them."

Grace upon grace,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let the Door of Grace swing open wide

"Our tongue is the hinge on which the door into our souls swings open in order to reveal our spirit. In effect, our words are like so many media people rushing to file their reports on the condition of our soul."
-Sinclair Ferguson quoted by C.J. Mahaney (Humility)

This reminds me of Jesus words in Matthew, "Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person" (15:10-11). What comes out our mouths is the swinging door of our soul. What comes out of our mouth reveals our heart. If our hearts are dirty than our words will follow suit.

What can we do to make sure our hearts are pure and words of grace come out the door?Surround yourself with others who love Christ. Pray fervently like David, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer" (Ps. 19:14). Cling to Paul's words, "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear" (Eph. 4:29).

Open the door of a soul that builds others up and gives grace to those who hear!

Grace upon grace,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Unfathomable oceans of grace

"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus!"
Hebrews 12:2

Live near to Jesus--and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.

How many millions of dazzling pearls and gems are hidden
in the deep recesses of the ocean caves.
Unfathomable oceans of grace are in Christ for you.
you will never come to the bottom of these depths!

When you gaze upon the sun--it makes everything else dark;
when you taste honey--it makes everything else tasteless.
when your soul feeds on Jesus --it takes away the sweetness of all earthly things;
praise, pleasure, all lose their sweetness. Run, looking unto Jesus.
So the world be crucified to you--and you unto the world!
-Robert Murray McCheyne per Grace Gems

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Word of God

I simply ask you meditate on these two text which speak of God's holy Word:

The Word of God is livng and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the divison of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

"Is not My word like fire" declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks the rocks in peices."
Jeremiah 23:29

Grace upon grace,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

A Call to Discernment

Chapter 8 - Developing Discernment

"And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent."
Philippians 1:9-10

"Discernment is not a pursuit that stands on its own in the life of the Christian. Rather, it is inexorably connected to others. Those who wish to be discerning must have a posture of discernment. They must commit to reading and studying the Bible, to participating in the local church, and to pursuing the character traits of a Christian. The lives of these people will display the proof of discernment in their obedience to the Bible and in their maturity as Christians."
-Tim Challies

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Drink from the Fountain

I hope to some small degree you find the irony in this text but also adhere to the advice of the great preacher, John Newton:

"Books and letters written in a proper spirit, may, if the Lord is pleased to smile upon them, have their use; but an awakened mind that thirst after the Saviour, and seeks wisdom by reading and praying over the Scripture, has little occasion for a library of human writings. The Bible is the fountain from whence every stream that deserves our notice is drawn; and, though we may occasionally pay some attention to the streams, we have personally an equal right with others to apply immediately to the fountain-hear, and draw the water of life for ourselves."
-John Newton as quoted by J. Todd Murray (Beyond Amazing Grace)

Drink from the living fountain "for with You is the fountain of life" (Psalm 36:9). Books by men can serve their purpose but should never replace God's Word that is "living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

Grace upon grace,

Monday, January 5, 2009

"So quick to forget to remember"

“Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day."
Deuteronomy 8:11-18

Yesterday Dr. Zemek's sermon was titled, "The Potential Plague of Plenty" taken from this text in Deuteronomy. Here in the text we see God has provided in abundance in verses 11-16 but we get to verse 17 we see a warning. Moses, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, writes, "Beware lest you say in your heart, 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'." When times are good we tend to think we have done something to earn what we have but God tells us in verse 18 He is the One who gives ALL things. Dr. Zemek says, "We are so quick to forget to remember." May we remember who has given us all good things according to His sovereign plan.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Just a thought...

I'd be curious what others think about this: How many books on the top 5 list at Christian bookstores will stand the test of time? I see plenty of Your best life now, The Shack or even 90 minutes in heaven but in twenty years are those the books Christians will be reading? I bring this up because one of my goals for 2009 is reading J.I Packer's Knowing God. Originally written in 1973 and then re-released in 1993 for the twentieth anniversary this book has stood the test of time. Published 36 years ago and this will be my first reading of this masterpiece that was written before I was born. Books written about who God is cannot go out of date. God is inexhaustible and eternal therefore a book written 36 years ago on the attributes of God is like new. Praise God for men like Packer who realize knowing the Creator causes humility in everyday life. Here is what Packer says in his original preface in 1973:

"Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit: the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God. The modern way with God is to set him at a distance, if not to deny him altogether; and the irony is that modern Christians, preoccupied with maintaining religious practices in an irreligious world, have themselves allowed God to become remote."

Sadly it sounds like much has not changed since 1973. If you have not done a study on the attributes of God please do. The Bible would obviously be the first place to start but here are a few other books I have seen recommended:

Knowing God by J.I. Packer

Doctrine of God by John Frame

The Attributes of God by A.W. Pink

The Existence and Attributes of God by Stephen Charnock

Grace upon grace,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year

Length of days does not profit me except the days are passed
in thy presence, in thy service, to thy glory
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains,
sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from thee,
but may rely on thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth thy praise,
testify thy love,
advance thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with thee, O Father, as my harbour,
thee, O Son, at my helm,
thee, O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me thy grace to sanctify me,
thy comforts to cheer,
thy wisdom to teach,
thy right hand to guide,
thy counsel to instruct,
thy law to judge,
thy presence to stabilize.
May thy fear be my awe,
thy truimphs my joy.
-A puritan prayer (The Valley of Vision)