Wednesdays with Words – February 26, 2014

I’m continuing to read through The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel.  We all need to read more of the Puritan writings.  They are rich and deep and very convicting.

“Must we not conclude that, ” he withdraweth not his eye from the righteous?” Job xxxvi. 7, and that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect towards him,” 2 Chron. xvi. 9. His providences proclaim him to be a God hearing prayers.”  – p. 42

I must confess that I am drawing great comfort in knowing that the Lord hears my prayers.

But such hath been the special care of Providence towards us, that our turn to be brought upon the stage of this world was graciously reserved for better days : so that if we had had our own option we could not have chosen for ourselves as Providence hath. p. 50

Here you have, or may have, the help and assistance of Christians to direct your way, resolve your doubts, support your burdens, and help you through those difficulties that attend the new birth. p. 52

Here, he is talking about the times and places in which we are born and how that is a blessing.  I couldn’t help but think that we are blessed to live in a land that still allows us, for the most part, freedom to worship, to assemble, and to talk about the Lord publicly. Unlike Mr. Flavel’s day, our pastors are still allowed to preach the gospel without being hounded by the government rules on what they can believe.  We can still meet with our brothers and sisters in the Lord and be helped by them without fear of being turned in as in other countries around the world.  I am deeply thankful for being born in such a time and place.

for whether the families in which we grew up were great or small in Israel ; whether our parents were of higher or lower class and rank among men, yet if they were such as feared God, and wrought righteousness, if they took any care to educate you righteously, and trained you up ” in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” you are bound to reckon it among your chief mercies, that you descended from such parents, for from this spring a double stream of mercy rises to you. p. 53

Yes, it is indeed a mercy to be born to Christian parents.  As exciting as it always was to hear dramatic conversion stories, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that growing up in a Christian home is a great blessing.  When I was young, I thought my conversion story was boring.  I hardly even can tell the time when I first knew the Lord.  However, I now realize that it was the goodness of God that has allowed me to have always known who Jesus was and how He died for me.  I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know that and my life has only been better as a result.

What a mercy was it to us to have parents, who prayed for us before they had us, as well as in our infancy, when we could not pray for ourselves 1 Thus did Abraham, Gen. xv. 2, and Hannah, 1 Sam. i. 10, 11, and some here, likely, are the fruits and returns of their parents’ prayers. This was that holy course they continued all their days for you, carrying all your concerns, especially your eternal ones, before the Lord with their own, and pouring out their souls to God so affectionately for you, when their eye-strings and heartstrings were breaking. O ! put a value upon such mercies, for they are precious I It is a greater mercy to descend from praying parents, than from nobles.  p. 54

There is none in the world so likely, as you, to be instruments of their eternal good. You have peculiar advantages that no others have, as the interest you have in their affections : your opportunities to instil the knowledge of Christ into them, being daily with them, Deut. vi. 7, and your knowledge of their tempers. If therefore you neglect, who shall help them ?  p. 58

And, for you, in whose hearts grace hath been planted by the blessing of education, I beseech you to admire God’s goodness to you in this providence. Oh ! what a happy lot has God cast for you ! How few children are partakers of your mercies ! p. 58

It is a great responsibility and privilege to raise children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.  On the flip side, it is a great blessing to have Christian parents who pray for you, encourage and admonish you, and lead you to the Lord from a young age.  Never minimize the immense mercy in having Christian parents.

See that you honour such parents; the tie is double upon you so to do. Be you the joy of their hearts, and comfort of their lives, if living; if not, yet still remember the mercy while you live, and tread in their pious paths, that you and they may both rejoice together in the great day, and bless God for each other to all eternity.  p. 59

I thought of my mother when I read these words.  She is already with the Lord and I look forward to the day when I will rejoice together in heaven with her.  In the meantime I do remember the blessing she was to me and “tread in [her] pious path” in honor to her faithfulness while she was still with us.

This book is a challenge and a blessing.  I look forward to reading (and sharing) more over the weeks to come.

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4 thoughts on “Wednesdays with Words – February 26, 2014

  1. The quote about Providence is so wise. We probably wouldn’t choose the circumstances and times we find ourselves in. I felt so convicted about this some years ago while we were singing a hymn at church and I was close my due date to have my 6th child: ‘Have you not seen, How your desires ‘ere have been, Granted in what He ordaineth.’

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    • I’m glad I wasn’t in charge of choosing my own time and place. I’m certain I would have chosen foolishly. I look forward to one day seeing how the Lord worked all things together in my life and in the lives of those around me. It will be a beautiful tapestry, I know.

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  2. I struggle with the Puritans but these quotes are helpful for me today as I have been confronted with my own sins and with the sins of those around me. It is comforting to know that all is not lost but that God can weave these into the tapestry.

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  3. The Puritans can be tough to read, not just the reading itself but also because their faith was so robust and mine is so paltry in contrast. I read them a little tiny bit at a time. It’s kind of like eating dark chocolate–I can only eat a little bit in a sitting or it’s too much.

    Whenever the circumstances or people around me are difficult for me, I find great, great comfort in the sovereignty of God. He never makes mistakes and He reigns over all of the earth so I can trust that He is not surprised by what is occurring in my life or yours but is working all of those things out for our good and for His glory. Isn’t that a glorious thought?

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