To Be Fit for God

He came to us, sent by the Father. But was mankind ready? This time of year we begin to take an account of our life in this past year. We look back, and consider who we are, and Who He is. Those of us who are his children must consider our life of following. And this coming year, we must ask ourselves if we are ready in this year to follow the prayer of the Puritans in this prayer…To Be Fit for God. Blessings to all of you as you seek Him out because he has sought us out.

To Be Fit for God

Thou Maker and Sustainer of All Things,
Day and night are thine, heaven and earth
declare thy glory: but I, creature of thy power
and bounty, have sinned against thee by resisting
the dictates of conscience,
the demands of thy law,
the calls of thy gospel;
yet I live under the dispensation of a given hope.
deliver me from worldly dispositions, for I am
born from above and bound for glory.
May I view and long after holiness as the beauty
and dignity of the soul.
Let me never slumber, never lose my assurance, never
fail to wear armor when passing through enemy land.
fit me for every scene and circumstance; Stay my mind upon thee
and turn my trials to blessings, that they may draw out my
gratitude and praise as I see their design and effects.
Render my obedience to thy will holy, natural, and delightful.
Rectify all my principles by clear, consistent, and
influential views of divine truth.
Let me never undervalue or neglect any part of thy revealed will.
May I duly regard the doctrine and practice of the gospel,
prizing its commands as well as its promises.
Sanctify me in every relation, office, transaction and condition
of life, that if I prosper I may not be unduly
exalted, if I suffer I may not be over-sorrowful.
Balance my mind in all varying circumstances and help me to
cultivate a disposition that renders every duty a spiritual
privilege.
Thus may I be content, be a glory to thee and an example to
others.

Amen

The Infinite and the Finite

Here is a wonderful prayer from The Valley of Vision:

Thou Great I Am,
Fill my mind with elevation and granduer at the thought of a Being
with whom one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,
A mighty God, who, amidst the lapse of worlds,
And the revolutions of empires,
feels no variableness,
But is glorious in immortality,
May I rejoice that, while men die, the Lord lives; that while all creatures are
broken reeds, empty cisterns, fading flowers, withering grass, he is the Rock
of Ages, the Fountain of living waters.
Turn my heart from vanity, from dissatisfactions, from uncertainties of the
present state, to an eternal interest in Christ.
Let me remember that life is short and unforeseen, and is only an opportunity
for usefulness;
Give me a holy avarice to redeem the time, to awake at every call to charity and
piety, so that I may feed the hungry, clothe the naked, instruct the ignorant,
reclaim the vicious, forgive the offender, diffuse the gospel, show neighbourly
love to all.
Let me live a life of self-distrust, dependence on thyself, mortification, crucifixion,
prayer.

Godly Silence and Solitude

wordpress_silence_bird
Silence has always seemed lonely to me. Paul Simon sang,
hello darkness my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again….
The sounds of silence

If you have ever been left on your own when you really didn’t want to be, or even need to be, you understand these words more than most. Too many in this modern world are too connected all the time, and being disconnected with no technology to hold onto is terrifying.
Silence. No phones, no texts, no social media, no internet. Silence. It is in the silence they discover that they do not and cannot live in silence. And then, there are those who are truly alone. Real silence. No connections with people, and no desire for a connection. People who feel alone because of hurts, failures; just life itself.
It is the sounds, of quiet, madness, failure, discontent, anger, and distrust of anything or anyone. And the sounds are deafening. You and I, as followers of Christ, live in this same world. We experience hurts and failures, and all of the emotions mentioned a moment ago, but we are to look to our Savior in those times and know we are His.
We are much more likely to focus on Him in those times when we realize that instead of fearing the silence, we must instead spend time in silence and solitude.
Solitude is to be seen as a “means of grace”, or way of receiving grace from God. It has been practiced by believers for centuries, but lost in the modern world. We are in desperate need of recovering it, and practicing it in our lives. Solitude is meant to focus our hearts in “Godly silence”.
We are called, as believers, to community. We are meant to fellowship, worship, and live with other believers. And yet, there are times we crave time away from all of this. Our souls need refreshing and rest.
Historically, in the practice of spiritual disciplines, when someone is called to silence, they spend time away from people, and refrain from speaking for a specific time. And in this time, they are meant to meditate on scripture, read, keep a journal, etc.
The practice of solitude on the other hand is meant to be used in a variety of ways, with no real time frame. We hear of people needing solitude, but rarely needing silence. Except in classrooms, libraries, and the homes of frantic and tired moms.
The bigger the city, the faster the pace, the harder it is to find time for, and even to find, silence and solitude. We were created for communion with our Creator. We were created to worship Him, to fellowship with Him, to talk with Him. The Psalmist said it better in Psalm 62:1,

My soul waits in silence for God only

When was the last time you were quiet enough in your soul to hear God’s voice? And when have you had the time recently to “wait in silence” for God only? We are created souls who constantly need our Creator’s guidance in our lives. Isaiah 30:15 is an instructive verse for us

Thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and
rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’

We need to return to Him, and rest in Him. He is our salvation. He strengthens us when we are quiet, and trust in His voice and His leading in our lives. Many times it is in silence and solitude that we find our strength in Him, when in the noise of life, we may miss it.
In his book, The Listening Life[^1], Adam McHugh reminds us,

Even though we do not feel God’s listening presence upon us, God is
listening and silently working through our doubts and struggles. God
may not be directly answering our prayers, but he is silently walking
through our lives, beckoning us closer, working new things into us.

God is “silently walking through our lives”. When we are unable to experience biblical silence and solitude in our own lives, God Himself draws us closer to Himself, calling for us. So many of us are desperate for times of refreshing in our walk with God. We have experienced highs and lows, and many too close together. Our lives are hectic, and we need the refreshment offered in God’s solitude. Spend time in short times or prayer, bible reading, journal writing, individual worship, or meditation of scripture. We need this time to draw close to Him, because we need Him. And He is calling.

[1] The Listening Life, Adam S. McHugh, p.52

To Be Fit for God

From the Valley of Vision:

Thou Maker and Sustainer of All Things,
Day and night are thine,
heaven and earth declare thy glory;
but I, a creature of thy power and bounty,
have sinned against thee by resisting
the dictates of conscience,
the demands of thy law,
the calls of thy gospel;
yet I live under the dispensation of a given hope.
Deliver me from worldly dispositions,
for I am born from above and bound for glory.
May I view and long after holiness.
as the beauty and dignity of the soul.
Let me never slumber, never lose my assurance,
never fail to wear armour when passing though
enemy land.
Fit me for every scene and circumstance; Stay my mind upon thee and turn my trials
to blessings, that they may draw out my gratitude and praise
as I see their design and effects.
Render my obedience to thy will holy, natural, and delightful.
Rectify all my principles by clear, consistent, and
influential views of divine truth.
Let me never undervalue or neglect any part of thy revealed will.
May I duly regard the doctrine and practice of the gospel,
prizing its commands as well as its promises.
Sanctify me in every relation, office, transaction and condition of life,
that if I prosper I may not be unduly exalted, if I suffer I may not be over-sorrowful.
Balance my mind in all varying circumstances and help me to cultivate
a disposition that renders every duty a spiritual privilege.
Thus may I be content, be a glory to thee and an example to others.

Journeying On

Our blog takes its name from a prayer in the Valley of Vision. We wanted to share that prayer with you today:

Lord of the cloud and fire,
I am a stranger, with a stranger’s indifferences;
My hands hold a pilgrim’s staff,
My march is Zionward,
My eyes are toward the coming of the Lord,
My heart is in thy hands without reserve.
Thou has created it,
redeemed it,
renewed it,
captured it,
conquered it,

Keep from it every opposing foe,
crush in it every treacherous passion,
annihilate every earthborn desire.

All faculties of my being vibrate to thy touch;
I love thee with soul, mind, body, strength, might,
spirit, affection, will, desire, intellect, understanding.
Thou are the very perfection of all perfections;
All intellect is derived from thee;
My scanty rivulets flow from thy unfathomable fountain.
Compared with thee the sun is darkness, all beauty deformity,
all wisdom folly, the best goodness faulty.

Thou art worthy of an adoration greater than my dull
heart can yield:
Invigorate my love that it may rise worthily to thee,
tightly entwine itself round thee,
be allured by thee.
Then shall my walk be endless praise.

Amen.