“God All-Sufficient” – The Valley of Vision

O LORD OF GRACE,

The world is before me this day,
and I am weak and fearful,
but I look to Thee for strength;
If I venture forth alone I stumble and fall,
but on the Beloved’s arms I am firm
as the eternal hills;
If left to the treachery of my heart
I shall shame Thy Name,
but if enlightened, guided, upheld by Thy Spirit,
I shall bring Thee glory.
Be Thou my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.
To enrich me will not diminish Thy fullness;
All Thy lovingkindness is in Thy Son,
I bring Him to Thee in the arms of faith,
I urge His saving Name as the One who died for me.
I plead His blood to pay my debts of wrong.
Accept His worthiness for my unworthiness,
His sinlessness for my transgressions,
His purity for my uncleanness,
His sincerity for my guile,
His truth for my deceits,
His meekness for my pride,
His constancy for my backslidings,
His love for my enmity,
His fullness for my emptiness,
His faithfulness for my treachery,
His obedience for my lawlessness,
His glory for my shame,
His devotedness for my waywardness,
His holy life for my unchaste ways,
His righteousness for my dead works,
His death for my life.”

–“God All-Sufficient,” in The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions, Ed. Arthur Bennett (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1983), 155.

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“The anguish and tears of others” by Dane Ortlund

“Twice in the Gospels we are told that Jesus broke down and wept. And in neither case is it sorrow for Himself or His own pains.

In both cases it is sorrow over another– in one case, Jerusalem (Luke 19:41), and in the other, His deceased friend, Lazarus (John 11:35).

What was His deepest anguish? The anguish of others.

What drew His heart out to the point of tears? The tears of others.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 26.

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“Not a pointed finger but open arms” by Dane Ortlund

“Meek. Humble. Gentle.

Jesus is not trigger-happy. Not harsh, reactionary, easily exasperated.

He is the most understanding person in the universe.

The posture most natural to Him is not a pointed finger but open arms.”

–Dane Ortlund, Gentle and Lowly: The Heart of Christ for Sinners and Sufferers (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2020), 19.

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“Let me love You” by Augustine of Hippo

“Let me remember You,

let me understand You,

let me love You.

Increase these things in me

until You refashion me entirely.”

–Augustine of Hippo, The Trinity, The Works of Saint Augustine, Vol. 5, Ed. John Rotelle (Brooklyn, NY: New City Press, 1991), 436. (XV.28.51)

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“Having God’s Son, we have all we can ever wish for” by John Calvin

“We may always come boldly to God’s throne, assuring ourselves that His majesty will no more be terrifying to us, seeing He shows Himself a Father towards us in the person of His only Son. We see then that St. Paul’s intention is to keep us close to Jesus Christ.

And therein we also see what our perversity is. For it is certain that the care and zeal which St. Paul had, to make us cleave steadfastly to the Son of God, came through the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, who knew our frailty and inconstancy. If we had (in a manner of speaking) one drop of sound sense, it would be enough to make us understand that by the gospel we may possess God’s Son who gives Himself to us, and that by having Him, we have all we can ever wish for.

It would have been enough to have spoken this in one word, as St. Paul has shown already, (Rom. 8:32) but we see how he repeats and confirms his saying, as though it were hard to believe. And indeed it is hard, because we are too much given to distrust and unbelief. Again, to believe for one day is not all that we have to do.

It is necessary for us to persevere, which is found as a very rare thing in this world, because we are always fluttering about, by reason of which men, as it were, willfully deprive themselves of what was given them. Furthermore, since all the world is in this case, and we cannot be won or persuaded without great pains to come to our Lord Jesus Christ and to rest on Him, let us use the remedy St. Paul proposes here.

And first of all we must carefully observe that Jesus Christ is the door to open heaven to us, (John 10:9) for we know that at His death the veil of the Temple was rent in two, (Matt. 27:51) and that in such a way, that we may now enter without inhibition into the sanctuary of God—not of such a material temple as was then— so that we may approach into the presence of our God and come to Him for refuge, just as a child throws himself into the lap of his father or mother, for it is certain that God surpasses all the fathers and mothers of the world in all kindness and favour.

Seeing then that we know that, what more do we think would be to our benefit? What better or more excellent thing would we have rather than God? Then we must go and search for it in the bottom of hell. For when we have engaged in wanderings to our heart’s content we shall invariably find that there is nothing in any of all the creatures high or low that is worth a straw in comparison with God, as the prophet Isaiah says. (Isaiah 45:6)

So then, seeing that God has given Himself to us in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ, and that the whole fulness of the Godhead dwells in that great sanctuary which was typified by the visible sanctuary of the law, (Hebrews 9:9) ought we not to be fully satisfied when we have that, and to rest ourselves wholly there?

And although our minds and our affections are fickle, yet they ought to be held in check like prisoners, so that we may say, ‘Let us cleave, let us cleave to our God,’ according to that saying of David, ‘Behold, all my happiness and all my joy is joined to my God! (Psalm 73:28) He is the fountain of light and life. (Psalm 36:9) He is my portion, I cannot have a better lot, I must take all my delight in Him.’ (Psalm 16:5)”

–John Calvin, “Sermon on Ephesians 3:9-12,” Sermons on the Epistle to the Ephesians (trans. Arthur Golding; Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1562/1973), 266-268.

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“Wednesday Evening Prayer” by A Book of Family Worship

“Be patient with us, O God, as the day darkens, and suffer not our hearts to fail beneath the shadow of our sins and the remembrance of our offenses. For with Thee there is forgiveness, and Thy right hand is strong to uphold all them that put their trust in Thee.

Thine, O Lord, is the praise, who hast made us in Thine own image and redeemed us by Thy Son. Help us to open our hearts to the Saviour of the world, and to receive the Spirit whom He has sent.

Guided by Him, may we be led into all truth, strengthened in all temptation, and filled with love to Thee and to all whom Thou hast placed together in family relationships. Let Thy love reign in this household, and hallow all its duties and comforts. Let Thy kingdom be planted in every heart and blossom in every life.

Also we bless Thee for a gospel to all the world, and pray for those who carry the cross of Christ to the world’s end. Let Thy gospel, O God, have a fuller hearing in men’s hearts and a better witness in men’s lives. Kindle the beacon light of Thy Church upon Thy holy hill, and rouse men’s hearts to serve Thee.

Hasten the better day when all shall dwell together in love and brotherhood, and not in mistrust or hate, and when the knowledge of Thee shall fill the earth with peace. To Thy fatherly care we commend those dear unto us, and under Thy protecting wing we lay us down to sleep, in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

—“Wednesday Evening,” A Book of Family Worship (Philadelphia: Presbyterian Board of Publication and Sabbath School Work, 1916), 31.

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“At least, so it ought to be” by Herman Bavinck

“When we are reconciled to God we are reconciled to all things.

When we stand in a right relationship to God we also come to stand in a right relationship over against the world.

The redemption in Christ is a redemption from the guilt and punishment of sin, but it is a redemption also from the world which can so confine and oppress us.

We know that the Father loved the world, and that Christ gained the victory over the world. The world can therefore still oppress us, but it cannot rob us of our good courage (John 16:33).

As children of the Heavenly Father, the believers are not anxious about what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and with what they shall be clothed, for He knows that they have need of all these things (Matt. 6:25ff.).

They do not gather treasures upon earth, but have their treasure in Heaven where neither moth nor rust corrupts, and where thieves do not break through nor steal (Matt. 6:19–20).

As unknown they are nevertheless known; as dying they live; as chastened they are not killed; as sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things (2 Cor. 6:9–10).

They do not torment themselves with the ‘Taste not, touch not’ attitude, but regard every creature of God as good and accept it with gratitude (Col. 2:20 and 1 Tim. 4:4).

They remain and they work in the same calling in which they are called and are not bondservants of men but of Christ alone (1 Cor. 7:20–24).

They see in the trials which fall to them not a punishment but a chastisement and a token of God’s love (Heb. 12:5–8).

They are free over against all creatures because nothing can separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus their Lord (Rom. 8:35 and 39).

Indeed, all things are theirs because they are Christ’s (1 Cor. 3:21–23), and all things must work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28).

The believer who is justified in Christ is the freest creature in the world.

At least, so it ought to be.”

–Herman Bavinck, The Wonderful Works of God (trans. Henry Zylstra; Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 1956/2019), 449-450.

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