"There can be no question where the blame must be placed for our spiritual poverty. Every sin problem reveals a prayer problem. There is no sin that the Christian will ever commit that could not have been avoided by prayer. Jesus instructed his disciples: 'Pray that you enter not into temptation' (Mark 14:38) and he taught his disciples to pray that they would be delivered from temptation and from the evil one (Matt 6:13, Luke 11:4). James declares: 'You do not have, because you do not ask God'... Paul's experience highlights the simple yet profound truth that prayer is not the means by which we from God what we want. Rather, 'prayer is a means God uses to give us what He wants.' We have completed our discussion of the three means of grace, the Word of God, the two divinely instituted sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and prayer... Their faithful, worthy employment will strengthen the Christian and equip him for every good work in life. Their willful neglect can only result in spiritual loss. Christians should faithfully attend upon these gracious helps that the wise God has established for their growth and health."
As I read that in the park today, it caused me to stop and think. At first it seemed too harsh and abrasive, but the more I thought about it and reflected on scripture, the more truth I saw in it. I am responsible for my sinfulness. Not, thankfully, ultimately before God. But I think in my heart I often chalk my poor behavior up to my sin nature, so I think it isn't really my fault. If I want to be more holy, I must make use of the means God has given me. I can't just expect to wake up one morning more patient or kind. I must ask God to make me that way, and I must read the Word, and spend much time in prayer and meditation on God and his goodness to me. God doesn't forsake me if I don't do these things, and he is no less pleased with me salvifically. Through Christ, he is eternally pleased with me and I am justified. But for my own spiritual life and sense of encouragement and strength in the faith, I must pursue God. Why should I be surprised at his seeming far off when I spend so little time seeking his face? At any rate, Dr. Reymond is far more eloquent than I.
We spent the day at Preston Park. I spent time praying and Brian did some of his reading. (There is a lot of reading involved in getting your PhD!) If you are a Grace gal, or a friend from Ft Lauderdale, or a new friend from England, I prayed for you today! I hope that God makes my prayers powerful and effective in your life. Iain enjoyed the swings there. You can watch a video of him swinging by opening this link:
Tonight is Iain's first Halloween. They don't quite know what to do with this holiday here in England. They've realized that Americans have a lot of fun with it, so I guess that is why they decided to try it, but nobody seems to know what to do. They're always putting on costumes (they call it fancy dress) over here, so they like that part. We went to a party tonight for the kids here on campus and they served a "traditional American supper" of hot dogs! Everyone was asking us if this is how we did it back home. Ha ha! But, travesty of travesties, there was no candy anywhere to be seen at the party! I brought a bag along to give to the "trick o' treaters" which they enjoyed, but were surprised to receive. I'm not a real big fan of Halloween, but it was kind of a funny evening. Here's a few pictures of the old cowhand for you all to enjoy!
Behold the throne of grace!
The promise calls me near:
There Jesus shows a smiling face,
And waits to answer prayer.
My soul, ask what thou wilt;
Thou canst be too bold;
Since his own blood for thee he spilt,
What else can he withhold?
Thine image Lord bestow;
Thy presence and they love;
I ask to serve thee here below,
And reign with thee above.
Teach me to live by faith;
Conform my will to thine;
Let me victorious be in death,
And then in glory shine.