Conflict – from “The Valley of Vision:

Conflict

from The Valley Of Vision *

O LORD GOD

Thou art my protecting arm,

            fortress, refuge, shield, buckler.

Fight for me and my foes must flee;

Uphold me and I cannot fall;

Strengthen me and I stand unmoved, unmovable;

Equip me and I shall receive no wound;

Stand by me and Satan will depart

Anoint my lips with a song of salvation

            and I shall shout thy victory.

Blessed Lord Jesus, at thy cross,

            may I be taught the awful miseries from which I am saved,

                        ponder what the word ‘lost’ implies,

                        see the fires of eternal destruction;

Then may I cling more closely to thy broken self,

            adhere to thee with firmer faith,

            be devoted to thee with total being,

            detest sin as strongly as thy love to me is strong,

And may holiness be the atmosphere in which I live.

 

* From The Valley of Vision, A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust, 1975

“The prayers in The Valley of Vision are steeped in Scripture, yet never succumb to mere formula. They are theologically fresh and vibrant, yet they are rooted in confessionalism. They range over a huge sweep of Christian experience and devotion… They brim with deep emotion and transparent passion, but they carefully avoid mere sentimentalism. This is a book that teaches readers to pray by example.” — D. A. Carson

 

Photo courtesy of Mark Francis, Beirut; Scripture annotation by Michael Vetter

Hymn: Jesus Is All The World To Me

This hymn came to me a few days ago when I was awake in the middle of the night and couldn’t go back to sleep. The words of the first two lines repeated in my mind until I fell asleep later. When I got up in the morning I immediately had to look up the tune and the other verses in a hymnal. It was such a blessing to hum the words (I don’t actually sing, you understand) and fragments of the hymn stuck with me during the day. I may not remember many of the words today, but I can attest that having the tune and words of a hymn going through your mind during the day does wonders for your thinking and attitude!

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;” Ephesians 5:19

Jesus Is All The World To Me

by Will L. Thompson

Jesus is all the world to me:

  My life, my joy, my all.

He is my strength from day to day;

  Without Him I would fall.

When I am sad, to Him I go;

No other one can cheer me so.

When I am sad, He makes me glad;

  He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,

  My Friend in trials sore.

I go to Him for blessings, and

  He gives them o’er and o’er.

He sends the sunshine and the rain;

He sends the harvest’s golden grain:

Sunshine and rain, harvest of grain—

  He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,

  And true to Him I’ll be.

Oh, how could I this Friend deny

  When He’s so true to me?

Following Him I know I’m right;

He watches o’er me day and night.

Following Him by day and night,

  He’s my Friend.

Jesus is all the world to me,

  I want no better friend.

I trust Him now; I’ll trust Him when

  Life’s fleeting days shall end.

Beautiful life with such a Friend;

Beautiful life that has no end!

Eternal life, eternal joy,

  He’s my Friend.

Will L. Thompson, (1847-1909) was a noted American composer. Thompson graduated from Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, in 1870. In 1873, he attended the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and later continued his musical studies in Leipzig, Germany. Rebuffed in an ear­ly at­tempt to sell his secular songs to a com­mer­cial pub­lish­er, Thomp­son start­ed his own pub­lish­ing com­pa­ny. He founded the W. L. Thompson Music Company and tried his hand with some success at secular compositions before finding his forte in hymns and gospel songs.

Both a lyr­i­cist and com­pos­er, he would al­ways record words or mel­o­dies that came to him at odd times:  “No mat­ter where I am, at home or ho­tel, at the store or tra­vel­ing, if an idea or theme comes to me that I deem wor­thy of a song, I jot it down in verse. In this way I ne­ver lose it.” Thompson took ill dur­ing a tour of Eur­ope and his fam­i­ly cut short their tra­vels to re­turn home. He died a few weeks lat­er in New York City.

His most well-known work is the classic and enduring gospel song, “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling” which has been translated into countless languages. The Thompsons built a large hilltop mansion on Park Boulevard in East Liverpool, Ohio. The house still stands and is known locally as “the Softly and Tenderly House.”

 

The Believer is a Sojourner in the World

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

In his book The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs observes that contentment comes only when the believer understands his relationship to the world. He explains, “By that I mean as follows: God comes to instruct the soul effectually through Christ by His Spirit, on what terms it lives here in the world, in what relation it stands. While I live in the world, my condition is to be but a pilgrim, a stranger, a traveler, and a soldier. …God has set me in this world, not as in my home but as a mere stranger and a pilgrim who is traveling to another home, and that I am here a soldier in my warfare. I say that a right understanding of this is a mighty help to contentment in whatever befalls one.”

“When you are at sea, though you have  not as many things as you have at home, you are not troubled at it; you are contented. Why? Because you are at sea. Thus it should be for us in this world, for the truth is, we are all in this world but as seafaring men,, tossed up and down on the waves of the sea of this world, and our haven is Heaven here we are traveling, and our home is a distant home in another world. We are going away to another country; you are as it were, only lodging here for a night. If you were to live a hundred years, in comparison to eternity, it is not as much as a night, it is as though you are traveling and had come to an inn.”

“Then again, we are not only travelers, but soldiers; this is the condition in which we are here in this world and therefore we ought to behave ourselves accordingly. The Apostle Paul makes us of this argument in writing to Timothy, ‘Thou therefore endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ,’ (II Timothy 2:3) When a soldier is away, he does not enjoy such comforts in his quarters as he has in his own home. He must lie out in the fields when he is a soldier and the very thought of the condition in which he stands calms him in all things. This only suitable to the condition in which God has put him. What an unseemly thing it would be to see a soldier go whining up and down with his finger in his eye, complaining that he does not have hot meat at every meal and his bed warmed as he had at home!”

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2

 

Hymn: Is Your All on the Altar?

Elisha Hoffman’s hymns hold a special place in our evangelical hymnals alongside the uplifting melodies and edifying words written by well-known hymnists like Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, Fanny Crosby, Ira Sankey, Robert Lowry, and others. “Is Your All on the Altar?” is a congregational singing favorite at Salem Bible Church because it reminds us of the Biblical identification truths in Romans chapter 6, John chapter 15 and elsewhere that teach the way to sanctification through the believer’s death to self and complete surrender to God’s will.

Is Your All on the Altar?

by Elisha Hoffman *

You have longed for sweet peace,

And for faith to increase,

And have earnestly, fervently prayed.

But you cannot have rest,

Or be perfectly blest,

Until all on the altar is laid.

Refrain:

Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?

Your heart does the Spirit control?

You can only be blest,

And have peace and sweet rest,

As you yield Him your body and soul.

Would you walk with the Lord

In the light of His Word,

And have peace and contentment alway?

You must do His sweet will

To be free from all ill–

On the altar your all you must lay. [Refrain]

Oh, we never can know

What the Lord will bestow

Of the blessings for which we have prayed,

Till our body and soul

He doth fully control,

And our all on the altar is laid. [Refrain]

Who can tell all the love

He will send from above,

And how happy our hearts will be made,

Of the fellowship sweet

We shall share at His feet

When our all on the altar is laid! [Refrain]

* Elisha Hoffman (1839-1929) was the son of an Evangelical minister and grew up singing sacred hymns both in church and in the home with his parents. Hoffman furthered his education at Union Seminary in New Berlin, Pennsylvania, and was subsequently ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1873. Following his seminary education, Hoffman began work with the publishing branch of the Evangelical Association in Cleveland, Ohio. After serving in this position for eleven years, he held several pastoral positions in the Midwest. He pastored churches in both Cleveland and Grafton, Ohio, in the 1880s; moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan and the First Presbyterian Church in the mid-1890s; and finished his ministry in Cabery, Illinois from 1911-22. He died in 1929 in Chicago, Illinois.

During the course of his life, Hoffman composed over 2,000 hymns, and edited over 50 song books, including: Spiritual Songs for Gospel Meetings and the Sunday School, 1878; Temperance Jewels, 1879); Bells of Victory, 1888; Favorite Gospel Songs: A Tune Book, 1894; and Jubilant Voices, 1907.

You will recognize the following as some of his most popular hymns:

    • “Are You Washed in the Blood?” words

    • “Christ Has for Sin Atonement Made,” words & music

    • “Down at the Cross,” words

    • “Glory to His Name,” words

    • “Have Thine Own Way, Lord!” words

    • “I Must Tell Jesus,” words and music

    • “Is Your All on the Altar?” words and music

    • “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” words

    • “What a Fellowship,” words

    • “What a Wonderful Savior,” words and music

Self-denial and Contentment

Jeremiah Burrough’s thoughts on self-denial as the path to contentment needs some explanation. The Biblical concept that he termed self-denial at the turn of the 17th century is the theological term we would today call co-crucifixion from verses in Romans Chapter six and Galatians 2:20.

To be very clear, Biblical self-denial is NOT the practice of the ancient Greek philosophers – asceticism, cynicism, or stoicism. It is NOT abstinence from material objects or denial of worldly pleasures in order to achieve some spiritual goal or benefit. It is not the payment of some indulgence or performance of an outward penance as taught by religion. Paul taught in Romans 14:5-6, Colossians 2:20-23. and elsewhere that not eating or drinking things has no spiritual value. A painful ritual or elaborate religious ceremony will never gain favor with God. Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart. (I Samuel 16:7)

The Biblical principle of spiritual self-denial IS surrendering ourselves completely to God and His will. Self (the flesh) and the world (Galatians 5:24; 6:14) are reckoned dead on the cross and alive unto God. (Romans 6:6-18)

With that in mind, Jeremiah Burroughs offers us these gems on how self-denial brings us closer to spiritual contentment:

“Just as no one can be a scholar unless he learns his ABCs, so you must learn the lesson of self-denial or you can never become a scholar in Christ’s school, and be learned in this mystery of contentment. The lesson of self-denial is the first lesson that Jesus Christ teaches those who are seeking contentment.”

“When you strike something soft it makes no noise, but if you strike a hard thing it makes a noise. So it is with the hearts of men who are full of themselves and hardened with self-love. A self-denying Christian yields to God’s hand and makes no noise. That is the first lesson that Christ teaches any soul—self-denial—which brings contentment, which brings down and softens a man’s heart.”

  1. A person must learn that he is nothing—“He comes to this, to be able to say, ‘Well, I see I am nothing in myself.’”

  2. I deserve nothing—“I am nothing and I deserve nothing. We deserve nothing and therefore why should we be impatient if we do not get what we desire?”

  3. I can do nothing—“Christ said, ‘Without me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5) Consider of what use you are in the world and if you consider what little need God has of you, and what little use you are, and you will not be much discontented.”

  4. I cannot receive any good—“I am so vile that I cannot of myself receive any good. I am not only an empty vessel, but a corrupt and unclean vessel that would spoil anything good that comes into it.”

  5. We are worse than nothing—“Sin makes us more vile than nothing and contrary to all good. We are not empty pitchers in respect of good, but we are like pitchers filled with poison and is it much for such as we are to be cut short of our outward comforts?”

  6. Any good I do is nothing without God—If God cleans our vessel and puts in something good, some grace of His Spirit, we can do nothing with it without God.”

  7. If we perish, we will be no loss—If God should annihilate me, what loss would it be to His purposes? God can raise up someone else in my place to serve Him in a different way.” [See Esther 4:14]

“I beseech you to notice this: If a man is selfish and self-love prevails in his heart, he will be glad of those things that suit with his own ends, but a godly man who has denied himself will suit with and be glad of all things that shall suit with God’s ends. When a man is selfish, he cannot but have a great deal of trouble and vexation of spirit, for if I regard myself, my ends are so narrow that a hundred things will come and jostle me and I cannot have room in those narrow ends of my own. Those whose hearts are enlarged and make public things their ends, and can deny themselves, have room to walk and never jostle with one another as others do.”

 

Hymn: At Calvary

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

At Calvary

by William R. Newell *

Years I spent in vanity and pride,

Caring not my Lord was crucified,

Knowing not it was for me He died on Calvary.

Refrain

Mercy there was great and grace was free,

Pardon there was multiplied to me,

There my burdened soul found liberty – At Calvary.

By God’s Word at last my sin I learned–

Then I trembled at the Law I’d spurned,

Till my guilty soul imploring turned to Calvary.

[Refrain]

Now I’ve giv’n to Jesus ev’rything,

Now I gladly own Him as my King,

Now my raptured soul can only sing of Calvary.

[Refrain]

O the love that drew salvation’s plan!

O the grace that brought it down to man!

O the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.

[Refrain]

 

* William R. Newell (1868-1956) was born in Savannah, OH. He earned degrees from Wooster College, Princeton and Oberlin Theological Seminary. He served as Assistant Superintendent of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago. The words for his hymn “At Calvary” came to him on his way to teach a class at the Bible Institute. He slipped into an empty classroom and wrote them quickly on the back of an envelope.

Holocaust Remembrance Day – 2021

More days of trouble will surely come, but God has promised that He will never forsake His people, Israel. The Apostle Paul stated in his epistle to the Romans, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not!” Likewise, God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah,

“Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The LORD of hosts is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, saith the LORD, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me forever.”  Jeremiah 31:35

The Hebrew name of Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance DayYom Hashoah (יום השואה), comes from Zephaniah 1:15. When describing the devastating destruction of YerushalayimTzefanya refers to that day as yom shoah umishoah (יום שואה ומשואה), ‘A day of calamity and desolation’. Yom Hashoah was established by the Israeli Knesset in memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis during World War II. It coincides with the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, remembering not only the destruction of European Jewry, but also the heroic revolt which serves as a symbol of defiance against oppression. Yom Hashoah is commemorated in Israel with a siren that is sounded in the morning, bringing everyone, even highway traffic, to a standstill for a minute of silence in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Memorial ceremonies are held throughout Israel, and entertainment establishments are closed in the evening, to focus on the solemness of the day.  Source: http://theisraelbible.com

There is a wonderful future hope for Israel and its people in the Messiah’s new covenant. Like all of God’s promises, this too will surely come to pass:

“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD,

that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:

Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers

in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt;

which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel;

After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts,

and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother,

saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me,

from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD:

for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”

Jeremiah 31:31-34

 

Contentment in the Strength of Another

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

Jeremiah Burroughs continues on the mysteries of contentment… “There is still a further mystery, for I hope you will find this a very useful point and that before we have finished you will see how simple it is for one who is skilled in religion to get contentment, though it is hard for one who is carnal.

“I say that another mystery in contentment is this: A gracious heart has contentment by getting strength from Jesus Christ; he is able to bear his burdens by getting strength from someone else. Now this is a riddle, and it would be counted ridiculous in the schools of the philosophers to say. If there is a burden on you you must get strength from someone else.

“A Christian finds satisfaction in every circumstance by getting strength from another, by going out of himself to Jesus Christ, by his faith acting upon Christ, and by bringing the strength of Jesus Christ into his own soul, he is thereby enabled to bear whatever God lays on him, by the strength that he finds from Jesus Christ.

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:13

 “…strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” Colossians 1:11

“Indeed, our afflictions may be heavy, and we cry out, ‘Oh, we cannot bear them, we cannot bear such affliction!’ Though you cannot tell how to bear with your own strength, yet how can tell what you will do with the strength of Jesus Christ? You say you cannot bear it? So you think that Christ could not bear it?

“For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted [tested, tried] as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

“But if Christ could bear it, why may you not come to bear it? You will say, ‘Can I have the strength of Christ?’ Yes, it is made over to you by faith: the Scripture says that the Lord is our strength, God himself is our strength and Christ is our strength.”

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

“Trust ye in the LORD forever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:4

 

Father, forgive them…

A Sermon Delivered October 24th, 1869,

by C. H. SPURGEON,

at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, London, England

“Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.”

Luke 23:34

OUR LORD was at that moment enduring the first pains of crucifixion; the executioners had just then driven the nails through his hands and feet. He must have been, moreover, greatly depressed, and brought into a condition of extreme weakness by the agony of the night in Gethsemane, and by the scourgings and cruel mockings which he had endured all through the morning, from Caiaphas, Pilate, Herod, and the Praetorian guards. Yet neither the weakness of the past, nor the pain of the present, could prevent him from continuing in prayer. The Lamb of God was silent to men, but he was not silent to God. Dumb as sheep before her shearers, he had not a word to say in his own defense to man, but he continues in his heart crying unto his Father, and no pain and no weakness can silence his holy supplications. Beloved, what an example our Lord herein presents to us! Let us continue in prayer so long as our heart beats; let no excess of suffering drive us away from the throne of grace, but rather let it drive us closer to it.