Posted tagged ‘Valley of Vision’

Not by my experience, nor by my resolutions, but by the grace of Jesus

June 4, 2012

I have been especially helped this Monday morning with this prayer and petition. I encourage you to consider it and meditate on it. May our strength not be in our experiences or our resolve, but in the grace of Jesus.

Grant that I may never trust my heart,
depend upon any past experiences,
magnify any present resolutions,
but be strong in the grace of Jesus:
that I may know how to obtain relief
from a guilty conscience
without feeling reconciled to my imperfections.

Sustain me under my trials
and improve them to me;
give me grace to rest in thee,
and assure me of deliverance.

May I always combine thy majesty
with thy mercy,
and connect thy goodness
with thy greatness.
Then shall my heart always rejoice
in praises to thee.

– Taken from “Self-Noughting” in The Valley of Vision

The Deeps

July 27, 2011

It still amazes me how much a particular prayer from The Valley of Vision resonates with my soul at various seasons or periods in my spiritual journey.  This particular prayer, called “The Deeps”, has been the source of meditation and supplication for me recently, and I thought I’d pass it along.  BTW, if you are looking to pray the prayers from The Valley of Vision, be sure to see Joe Thorn’s excellent guide.

The Deeps

Lord Jesus,
Give me a deeper repentance,
a horror of sin,
a dread of its approach;
Help me chastely to flee it,
and jealousy to resolve that my heart shall be thine alone.

Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in thee,
the ground of my rest, the spring of my being.

Give me a deeper knowledge of thyself as Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.

Give me deeper power in private prayer,
more sweetness in thy Word,
more steadfast grip on its truth.

Give me deeper holiness in speech, thought, action,
and let me not seek moral virtue apart from thee.

Plough deep in me, great Lord, heavenly Husbandman,
that my being may be a tilled field,
the roots of grace spreading far and wide,
until thou alone art seen in me,
thy beauty golden like summer harvest,
thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.

I have no Master but thee,
no law but thy will,
no delight but thyself,
no wealth but that thou givest,
no good but that thou blessest,
no peace but that thou bestowest.

I am nothing but that thou makest me,
I have nothing but that I receive from thee,
I can be nothing but that grace adorns me.

Quarry me deep, dear Lord, and then fill me to overflowing with living water.

Love Lustres at Calvary

April 20, 2011

This prayer from the Valley of Vision ministered to me this morning.

My Father,

Enlarge my heart, warm my affections,
open my lips,
supply words that proclaim ‘Love Lustres at Calvary.’
There grace removes my burdens
and heaps them on thy Son,
made a transgressor, a curse, and sin for me;
There the sword of thy justice smote the man,
thy fellow;
There thy infinite attributes were magnified,
and infinite atonement was made;
There infinite punishment was due,
and infinite punishment was endured.

Christ was all anguish that I might be all joy,
cast off that I might be brought in,
trodden down as an enemy
that I might be welcomed as a friend,
surrendered to hell’s worst
that I might attain heaven’s best,
stripped that I might be clothed,
wounded that I might be healed,
athirst that I might drink,
tormented that I might be comforted,
made a shame that I might inherit glory,
entered darkness that I might have eternal light.

My Savior wept that all tears might be wiped from my eyes,
groaned that I might have endless song,
endured all pain that I might have unfading health,
bore a thorny crown that I might have a glory-diadem,
bowed his head that I might uplift mine,
experienced reproach that I might receive welcome,
closed his eyes in death that I might gaze on unclothed brightness,
expired that I might forever live.

O Father, who spared not thine own Son
that thou mightest spare me,
All this transfer thy love designed and accomplished;
Help me to adore thee by lips and life.
O that my every breath might be ecstatic praise,
my every step buoyant with delight,
as I see my enemies crushed,
Satan baffled, defeated, destroyed,
sin buried in the ocean of reconciling blood,
hell’s gates closed, heaven’s portal open.
Go forth, O conquering God, and show me
the cross, mighty to subdue, comfort and save.

~ Love Lustres at Calvary, in The Valley of Vision

The Greatest Gift – The Incarnation

December 13, 2010

O Source of all good,

What shall I render to You for the gift of gifts,
thine own dear Son, begotten, not created,
my Redeemer, proxy, surety, substitute,
his self-emptying incomprehensible,
his infinity of love beyond the heart’s grasp.

Herein is wonder of wonders:
he came below to raise me above,
was born like me that I might become like him.

Herein is love;
when I cannot rise to him he draws near on
wings of grace,
to raise me to himself.

Herein is power;
when Deity and humanity were infinitely apart
he united them in indissoluble unity,
the uncreated and the created.

Herein is wisdom;
when I was undone, with no will to return to him,
and no intellect to devise recovery,
he came, God-incarnate, to save me
to the uttermost,
as man to die my death,
to shed satisfying blood on my behalf,
to work out a perfect righteousness for me.

O God, take me in spirit to the watchful shepherds,
and enlarge my mind;
let me hear good tidings of great joy,
and hearing, believe, rejoice, praise, adore,
my conscience bathed in an ocean of repose,
my eyes uplifted to a reconciled Father;
place me with ox, ass, camel, goat,
to look with them upon my Redeemer’s face,
and in him account myself delivered from sin;
let me with Simeon clasp the new-born child
to my heart,
embrace him with undying faith,
exulting that he is mind and I am his.

In him, you have given me so much
that heaven can give no more.

~ “The Gift of Gifts”
taken from The Valley of Vision

Resurrection

April 4, 2010

O God of my Exodus,

Great was the joy of Israel’s sons,
when Egypt died upon the shore,
Far greater the joy
when the Redeemer’s foe lay crushed
in the dust.

Jesus strides forth as the victor,
conqueror of death, hell, and all opposing might;
He bursts the bands of death,
tramples the powers of darkness down,
and lives forever.

He, my gracious surety,
apprehended for payment of my debt,
comes forth from the prison house of the grave
free, and triumphant over sin, Satan, and death.

Show me herein the proof that his vicarious offering is accepted,
that the claims of justice are satisfied,
that the devil’s sceptre is shivered,
that his wrongful throne is levelled.

Give me the assurance that in Christ I died,
in him I rose,
in his life I live,
in his victory i triumph,
in his ascension I shall be glorified.

Adorable Redeemer,
Thou who was lifted up upon a cross
art ascended to the highest heaven.
Thou, who as Man of sorrows
wast crowned with thorns,
art now as Lord of life wreathed with glory.

Once, no shame more deep than thine,
no agony more bitter,
no death more cruel.
Now, no exaltation more high,
no life more glorious,
no advocate more effective.

Thou art in the triumph car leading captive
thine enemies behind thee.

What more could be done than Thou hast done!
Thy death is my life,
Thy resurrection my peace,
Thy ascension my hope,
Thy prayers my comfort.

– “Resurrection” from The Valley of Vision

In Prayer

March 28, 2010

This prayer from the Valley of Vision is working me over. Had to pass it along to you.

“In Prayer”

O LORD,

In prayer I launch far out into the eternal world, and on that broad ocean my soul triumphs over all evils on the shores of mortality.
Time, with its gay amusements and cruel disappointments, never appears so inconsiderate as then.

In prayer I see myself as nothing;
I find my heart going after thee with intensity,
and long with vehement thirst to live to thee.
Blessed be the strong gales of the Spirit
that speeds me on my way to the New Jerusalem.

In prayer all things here below vanish,
and nothing seems important
but holiness of heart and the salvation of others.

In prayer all my worldly cares, fears, anxieties disappear,
and are of as little significance as a puff of wind.

In prayer my soul inwardly exults with lively thoughts
at what thou art doing for thy church,
and I long that thou shouldest get thyself a great name
from sinners returning to Zion.

In prayer I am lifted above the frowns and flatteries of life,
and taste heavenly joys;
entering into the eternal world
I can give myself to thee with all my heart,
to be thine for ever.

In prayer I can place all my concerns in thy hands,
to be entirely at thy disposal,
having no will or interest of my own.

In prayer I can intercede for my friends, ministers, sinners,
the church, thy kingdom to come, with great freedom, ardent hopes,
as a son to his father, as a lover to the beloved.

Help me to be all prayer and never to cease praying.

Lord, increase my faith.

January 8, 2010

This Sunday, I’m preaching on “the sin” of unbelief which ensnares believers in the Christian race.  I have been meditating on this prayer from The Valley of Vision called “Faith and the World” as it has been very fruitful in my thinking.  Would that God increase our faith and cause us to run with our eyes fixed on Jesus.

O LORD,

The world is artful to entrap,
approaches in fascinating guise,
extends many a gilded bait,
presents many a charming face.

Let my faith scan every painted bauble,
and escape every bewitching snare
in a victory that overcomes all things.

In my duties give me firmness, energy, zeal,
devotion to thy cause,
courage in thy name,
love as a working grace,
and all commensurate with my trust.

Let faith stride forth in giant power,
and love respond with energy in every act.

I often mourn the absence of my beloved Lord
whose smile makes earth a paradise,
whose voice is sweetest music,
whose presence gives all graces strength.

But by unbelief I often keep him outside my door.
Let faith give entrance that he may abide with me forever.

Thy Word is full of promises,
flowers of sweetest fragrance,
fruit of refreshing flavour when culled by faith.

May I be made rich in its riches,
be strong in its power,
be happy in its joy,
abide in its sweetness,
feast on its preciousness,
draw vigour from its manna.

Lord, increase my faith.

Praying in the New Year

January 1, 2010

O Lord,
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise;
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.

I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbour,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.

Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.

– Valley of Vision

Continual Repentance

October 4, 2009

This week (and maybe longer), I am going to give particular attention to the subject of repentance in the Christian life.  By that I do not mean repentance at the point of conversion but the ongoing work of repentance at every point from conversion until complete conformity to Christ.  Martin Luther, signaling the start of the Reformation through his 95 Theses, began on this note:

“When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt. 4:17), he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

I believe this is one of the most underrated truths in contemporary evangelicalism, and I want to draw our attention to the fact that our entire lives should be one of repentance.  Here is a prayer from the Valley of Vision called “Continual Repentance” that I am praying for myself and those who seek to join me in the upcoming days.

(more…)

Join the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge!

January 7, 2008

Update 1: Some have brought up the fact that I forgot to actually list the books for each month in this post (although they are in the prior post). I have included them so that everyone can know what books scheduled to read. However, if you would like to develop your own PP reading schedule, then you are free to do so.

Update 2: Many of you have already purchased the entire set for $65, so many that we are experiencing a shortage on some of the Puritan Paperbacks. This is a great thing! Would that all the PP’s become best-sellers in 2008. 🙂 However, if there is a problem with obtaining the books by the time of the scheduled read, we will rearrange the reading to make that possible.

Update 3: Some have asked about how to insert the HTML code for the blog button. I cannot simply copy and paste the code because WordPress will convert it to the image. So you need to insert this url http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2052/2172676863_e1315a3839_o.jpg where the code says “INSERT JPEG HERE.”

<a href=”http://timmybrister.com/2008/01/07/join-the-2008-puritan-reading-challenge/”><img src=”INSERT JPEG URL HERE”></a>

Then copy and paste the entire code into your template sidebar or text widget (if you are using WordPress). Please let me know if you have any more questions!

Update 4: A word from Tim Keller from Justin Taylor’s post:

For what it’s worth, I read all but one of the books on this list during seminary and my early ministry, and they had an enormous, life-changing, ministry-shaping impact on me. A couple of them almost literally saved my life. I couldn’t recommend them more highly. I’d only add: a) Read Owen on Temptation as well as Mortification. It’s short and well worth the read. b) Consider adding Baxter’s Saints Everlasting Rest. Other than those, I’d agree that these are the best short, accessible Puritan works. A great list.

Tim Keller

Update 5: After three days, over 100 people have signed on!  I am super-excited.  Also I have tallied 55 blogs plugging or blogging the challenge.  Thanks to everyone who has helped get the word out!  Perhaps we can see 200?! 

__________________________________________

Towards the close of 2007, I began thinking of a way I could challenge myself to grow spiritually through a reading regiment and schedule. While riding home from work one morning, I came up with the idea of reading one Puritan Paperback a month, along with incorporating the Valley of Vision in my devotional meditations and prayers. I shared my personal challenge publicly, not thinking much about it.

To my surprise, this Puritan reading challenge has resonated with more people than I could have ever imagined. Due to the high level of interest and encouragement from many people wanting to take on this reading challenge together, I have worked to make this Puritan reading project the best it could be. Allow me to briefly share with you some of the developments, but before I do, let me ask a personal favor:

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have decided to join the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge, please take a moment and comment on this post, providing your first and last name. If you are going to blog through the books or promote the challenge on your blog, please express your intentions as well. This way I will have a general idea of who’s in and how to communicate with everyone throughout the year.

1. Reformation Heritage Books Partnership and Specials

I am excited to share with you that Reformation Heritage Books, has agreed to partner with us in the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge. Several of you have contacted me via the blog, Facebook, and email about getting them all at one time at a discounted price, and RHB has delivered on that request. Although RHB already has the lowest prices on Puritan Paperbacks (usually around 30% off), they have created a 2008 Puritan Reading Special where you can buy all 12 Puritan Paperbacks together in one bundle, saving you 36% off the retail price. The 12 books retail for $101.00, and RHB is selling them for only $65.00. Here is the line-up of books we are reading this year:

January: The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes (128 pp)
February: The Mystery of Providence by John Flavel (221 pp)
March: The Godly Man’s Picture by Thomas Watson (252 pp)
April: Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks (253 pp)
May: Come and Welcome to Jesus Christ by John Bunyan (225 pp)
June: The Mortification of Sin by John Owen (130 pp)
July: A Lifting Up for the Downcast by William Bridge (287 pp)
August: The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment by Jeremiah Burroughs (228 pp)
September: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton (224 pp)
October: The Christian’s Great Interest by William Guthrie (207 pp)
November: The Reformed Pastor by Richard Baxter (256 pp)
December: A Sure Guide to Heaven by Joseph Alleine (148 pp)

Secondly, RHB is offering a special discounted price for an excellent Puritan resource, Meet the Puritans by Joel Beeke and Randall Pederson. The book retails for $35.00, and on their website it sells for $25.00. But RHB is now offering a special price of only $20.00. To get this great deal, you must order either via phone or email, letting them know that you heard about the 2008 Puritan Reading Special for Meet the Puritans for only $20.00. The number to call and place your order is (616) 977-0599, or you can email them at orders@heritagebooks.org. These specials are a fantastic way for you to get you copies of Puritan literature at the most affordable price anywhere, and I am grateful to the good people at RHB for joining in this exciting project.

2. Beneath and Behind the Pages

To make this project more beneficial to you, I have considered ways to provide more context both historically and biographically to each book we are reading. At the beginning of each month, I will post a brief biographical sketch of the author, providing general information about his life, ministry, and other available works. Second, I am going to hunt down online resources related to the author and make them available in one place. Third, if the author’s works are available, I hope to “mine the works” and provide additional topical or thematic reading material that might be of interest to you. Fourth, I hope to provide some quotes from other individuals who have had something to say either about the author or the book we are reading. Last, I am looking to highlight either the thesis or key doctrinal themes in the work we are reading for interaction and discussion. I would love for you to join in sharing your thoughts!

3. Prospective Interviews

It is always good to hear from pastors and theologians who have studied and benefited from the Puritans. With each month, I am hoping to provide an interview of respected leaders who have expressed their appreciated of and indebtedness to the Puritans. I am really excited about this opportunity!

4. Monthly Giveaways

At the close of each month, I am going to post an open thread to conclude each book. The Puritans were intensely practical in their works, often spending the majority of their sermons and literature focusing on the “uses” or application for any given doctrine or biblical truth. They did not want mere head knowledge but a deep, experiential (experimental) knowledge of God. In light of that, the open thread will be an opportunity to answer the question, “How has this book impacted your life? What use will it have in your ministry or service in the kingdom?” In 500 words or less, I would love to hear your testimony regarding your experience that month while reading the Puritan Paperback and internalizing the truths into your heart and life. For January’s giveaway, we are going to randomly select from among those in the comments of this post who sign on to the Puritan Reading Challenge, so be sure sign on!

5. Blog Button Promotional

Over 30 bloggers have been kind enough to mention the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge, encouraging their readers to check it out. Realizing the potential for this challenge to spread exponentially through the blogosphere, I have created a small button you can use on your sidebar to direct people to this post where they can sign up, order books, or ask any questions they might have. The dimensions of the button are 185×98 at a resolution of 72 dpi and can be downloaded by clicking here.

A Word of Encouragement

I know many of you have never heard of the Puritans. Some of you may have never read literature older than a decade, much less three centuries. Let me sincerely encourage you to consider this challenge. You may not have time or be able to read all twelve books. That’s totally fine. If you read just one, I promise you will have not wasted your time! Inevitably, some of you will read about this challenge sometime during the year. It’s never too late to join in! The goal behind this challenge is to introduce you to some of the godliest men who have ever lived through their writings. While their books may never make the front shelves of your local bookstore, for 2008, they will be on the front of the virtual bookshelf for all who are interested. I pray you are among them!

REMEMBER, if you have decided to join the 2008 Puritan Reading Challenge, please take a moment to leave your first and last name in the comments, expressing your intentions to take the challenge. To the bloggers who want to use the blog button to help promote the project, if you have any questions or problems, please let me know.

I am looking forward to this year sitting at the feet of great teachers like Richard Sibbes, Thomas Watson, John Owen, Richard Baxter, and others along with you. May we pursue the heart of God with greater affections, and may we renew our minds with higher thoughts of the greatness and glory of God.