give_thanks

Praise and Thanksgiving

O My God,

You fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves You,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before You in ceaseless flow.

When I think upon and converse with You
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.

I bless You for the soul You have created,
for adorning it, for sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body You have given me,
for preserving its strength and vigor,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do Your bidding;
for Your royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing You clearly.

I love You above the powers of language to express,
for what You are to Your creatures.

Increase my love, O my God, through time and eternity.

The Valley of Vision,
Puritan Prayers and Devotions

Robert Dingley

Give Yourself to Taste

Give yourselves to Christ, to taste and see how good the Lord is

Christ tasted gall for you, that you might taste ambrosia for Him. He tasted death for you, that you might taste life for Him, and drink of the heavenly Nepenthe, that ocean of pleasure. He did sweat and faint in His agonies, that He might stay you with flagons, and comfort you with apples. He fasted forty days that you might be feasted to eternity. He wore a crown of thorns, that you may wear a crown of glory. He suffered among base evil doers, that you may be blessed among those sweet companions in heaven. In a word, He endured the sorest pains, that you may enjoy the greatest pleasures.

O make not His death to be of no effect to you; forbear to fetch any more sighs from that heart that is so full of love to you, and now at length be persuaded to give yourselves to Christ, to taste and see how good the Lord is.

—Robert Dingley

William-Gurnall

Truth by Prayer not Dogmatism

We stand at better advantage to find truth, and keep it also, when devoutly praying for it, than fiercely wrangling and contending about it

Disputes toil the soul, and raise the dust of passion; prayer sweetly composes the mind, and lays the passions which disputes draw forth; and I am sure a man may see further in a still, clear day, than in a windy and cloudy.

When a person talks much, and rests little, we have great cause to fear his brain will not long hold; and truly, when a person shall be much in talking and disputing about truth, without a humble spirit in prayer to be led into it, God may justly punish that man’s pride with a spiritual frenzy in his mind, that he shall not know error from truth.

—William Gurnall

NPG D26818; Henry Scudder by William Sherwin

Holiness

If any person or thing is holy, it is honorable.

When Christ (in the Lord’s Prayer) signified that God was to be esteemed and acknowledged with the most absolute honor that could be, He said “hallowed,” that is, “let Thy Name be known and acknowledged to be holy.”

We may infer from this that holiness is the highest title of honor and glory that can belong to any person, yes, to the most high God.

If any person or thing is holy, it is honorable. When the seraphims would give God the greatest honor and glory, they cried, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts” (Isa 6:3). The four living creatures said, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty” (Rev 4:8). It was the honor of Jerusalem to be a holy city. It is the glory of the third heaven to be the high and holy place (Isa 57: 15). David counted holy men to be excellent (Ps 16:3). And when Christ Jesus will present His church unto Himself as a glorious church, He will sanctify it and present it holy and without blemish.

Holiness in God is the rectitude and perfection of His power, mercy, justice, and all of His other attributes, which, if they were not all holy, could not be good, much less goodness. God could not be God if He were not holy, yes, holiness itself.

And as for other creatures, the more they partake of holiness, the more like they are to God, and are therefore the more glorious. Man at the first was therefore the most glorious of all creatures here below, because he was made according to God’s image, most holy.

—Henry Scudder

NPG D25900; Gervase Babington after Unknown artist

Careful Faithfulness

Wait upon God and be sure of remembrance

It is said, “The Lord remembered Noah,” wherein is discovered to us the most faithful care and careful faithfulness that is in Almighty God for His true servants.

He looks upon their perils, He sees their dangers, and in His due time He remembers to relieve and release them, as He did here Noah and his family. Can the bride forget her ornaments? Can the mother forget her child? These things are not easily done, though they might be done, but the Lord cannot forget His, who making Him their God, He has made His servants, and written them in His hand, and has made them as signets on His right finger, that He may never forget them, “O Lord,” said David, “what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou so regardest him?” (Ps 8:4). Wait then upon God’s leisure as Noah did, and be sure of remembrance in due time as he had.

—Gervase Babington (1550-1610)

John Rogers

Little Faith

Little faith is true faith, as well as great.

A little man is a man as well as a great man; a little water is as truly water as the ocean sea. The disciples had true faith, and yet very weak, weak in knowledge, though they believed that Jesus was the Messiah that should save the world, yet how, they could not tell.

They were ignorant of His death, for when He told them of His sufferings, it is said they understood not that word. And Peter took his Master aside and counseled Him not to go to Jerusalem to die. They were ignorant also of His resurrection. For when Mary told them of it, they believed it not. Of His ascension, when He spoke of a little tarrying with them, and then of His going away, they understood it not, they knew not where He went, they said, and knew not the way Now how weak was this their knowledge, to be ignorant of such main articles? . . .

But weak faith may prove strong in time: the most learned clerk was in his grammar book, the greatest giant was in swaddling clothes, the tallest oak was a twig, and faith grows from a grain of mustard seed to a tall tree. As from a child to a man, so corn grows from a weak blade to a stalk and ear, and ripe corn therein.

—John Rogers (1572-1636)

Robert Dingley

Taste and See

A saint tastes God, and lives upon God in prayer.

By this he or she draws out of the well of salvation, which is deep, but very sweet. David says that God is nigh, and Paul, “He is rich to all that call upon Him” (Rom 10:12). And Christ says, “Your heavenly Father will give good things to them that ask Him” (Matt 7:11), that is, by and in prayer, they shall taste of His goodness.

For making their requests known to Him, the very peace of God which passeth understanding, shall keep their hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil 4:6-7).

I here appeal to believers. Have you not known the time that you have touched the hem of Christ’s garment, and tasted of the loves of heaven in prayer? Have you not known the holy enlargement of heart, when you have wrestled with God? Have you not seen heaven cleft, and Christ sitting at God’s right hand? There is no believer but frequently tastes the goodness of God in and by prayer, for God says not, “Seek me in vain.”

—Robert Dingley

31-CalmAfterTheStorm.jpg~original

Keep Close to God

Christ is to be trusted not only for the world to come, to give us entrance into heaven, but for this world also, to lead and help us on, to be with us in all our way from first to last.

Our great difficulty, and our great danger of miscarrying, is not so much in our end, as in our way to it: As hard as it is to die well, it is harder to live well. Though the last enemy, death, looks with a more frightful face, yet our enemies that we meet with all along our lives, sin, and lust, and temptation, do us the most deadly mischief.

He that has conquered sin need not fear to encounter death; do but live a holy life, and then be nothing careful how ye shall die. Of those saints in Hebrews 11, Abel, Abraham, Sarah, and the rest of them, it is recorded that they lived by faith; it is said of them, “They all died by faith” (v. 13); not one among them miscarried in death, who by faith kept close to God in their lives.

—Richard Alleine

William-Gurnall

Work Made Light

The divine assistance which Christians have in their work alleviates the labor of it.

Consider the Christian’s work without this help. It is heavy indeed, yes, too heavy to stand under. But God’s helping hand put to it makes this heavy work light. The ship, which when lying on ground, all the teams in the country could not draw off, how easily is it set afloat when the tide comes in?

Thus the heart can rise out of its dullness and indisposition to duty. Oh how soon is it elevated and inspired when God flows in with His secret aspirations and excitations of His blessed Spirit and grace!

He who confessed that he could do nothing of himself, not so much as think a good thought, tells us that he is able to do all things through Christ who strengthens him.

Now this help from the Lord is promised, but it comes not till the Christian’s hand is put to work.

Let us be up and doing, and then God will not fail to be with us. It is easy working while God holds our hand, yes, and puts strength into it. Are you tempted? While you are fighting in the valley below, Christ’s hands are lifted up in heaven above for your victory. “I have prayed that thy faith fail not” (Luke 22:32); yes, He does not only pray above for you, but will be in the field with you, and in you, by the secret succors of His Spirit. “My grace is sufficient for thee” (2 Cor. 12:9), which is not meant of grace inherent in us, that indeed is insufficient of itself, but the auxiliary grace, which He sends in to assist us in a time of need.

—William Gurnall

Flags flying on Veterans Day at North County Park 11-11-2011

A Letter to our Veterans

To veterans of the United States of America:

It is with deep appreciation I take this opportunity to write to you at this time that our nation dedicates to honoring war veterans.

When our country called, you answered. While time goes by and many people seem to go on with life with little or no regard for the sacrifices of our veterans, I want to assure you that we here at Trinity Bible Church hold you in high esteem.

We know that we live in a fallen and cursed world because of sin. We know “wars, and rumors of wars” will persist and increase until the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We also know that true lasting peace will only be known through Christ crucified. He is the Prince of peace and alone can reconcile the enmity of mankind towards God and one another: “For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (Col 1:19-20). We also know that until He returns men will continue in unregenerate passions, and sometimes the only course of action to uphold justice in this broken world will be by national military action. We are grateful to God that He has provisioned and you have served in the responsibility of standing up to enemies of what is good and right around the world.

While you served, mothers continued to mother, and as you served, fathers continued to father. While you served, couples were getting married, children were being born, families were enjoying safety to live out their lives together without the fear of tyranny. While you served, education was continuing, medical discoveries were happening, inventions were being made, new designs and structures were being built, and technology was advancing. While you served, children who would become the next generation of leaders were watching and growing in thought and understanding, farmers were harvesting food for our country and the world, workers were laboring for the economy both local and global, and the ill, afflicted, and defenseless were being cared for. While you served, we were able to continue to gather in freedom to worship the God who created and redeemed us in love; we continued to promote Christ to the glory of God and the joy of all in Him.

Thank you for all you have done for this great country. May God richly bless you.

In Christ,
One grateful pastor