O Almighty God, who alone can order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant to your people that they may love the thing which you command, and desire that which you do promise, that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
From the Book of Common Prayer.
But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. “Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. “It is like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. “Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming–in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning– “lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. “And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:32-37
At the conclusion of His teaching Christ repeatedly called His disciples to watch, watch, watch. The biblical doctrine of Christ’s second coming is not something to stimulate curiosity and speculation about a timetable of events. It is a summons to spiritual alertness and constant prayer, since we do not know when the Lord will appear.
—- Copied from notes in The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible
“It remains therefore a truth, in defiance of all the cavils of the ignorant, that the Holy Spirit does influence the hearts of all the children of God, or, in other words, they are inspired, not with new revelations, but with grace and wisdom to understand, apply, and feed upon the great things already revealed in the Scriptures, without which the Scriptures are as useless as spectacles to the blind.” — From Letters to a Nobleman (XV)
Here, in one long sentence, Mr. Newton reminds us of at least three things; 1) that God has given all his children the Holy Spirit in order “that we might understand the things freely given us by God“, 2) no one can comprehend the Word of God apart from the work of the Holy Spirit. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.” and 3) there are no new revelations apart from the truths revealed in the Holy Scriptures.
Thy Will Be Done (II)
If with my lips I call You Lord
Then be Your law in heart adored.
And let me choose what You command
As in Your presence sweet I stand.
Let me, my God, love purity
of heart, and be it found in me.
And may it so my sin displace
That e’en my words be filled with grace
That Heaven’s King my friend may be
If purity be found in me.
Man’s goings are of the Lord: how can a man then understand his own way?
To know that our daily experiences are of the Lord must encourage our continual trust of Him and submission to His mysterious ways. He will provide for all His people who follow Him. Think of your past and how you have been guided and carried through to this point in your life. Praise the One who has richly sustained you. Look to the future glory that will follow those who have trusted and continue to live “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Heb 12:2). Walking by faith rather than by sight is the theme of much Scripture and Christian experience. Though we may not fully understand the meaning of our lives, how can we build up our faith and trust in the God who rules over us?
I would suggest by using the means that God has given us; the regular gathering together with God’s people in worship, submitting to the faithful preaching of the Word of God, prayer and participation in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
The note above, with the exception of my suggestion, is from The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. —Joel R. Beeke is the General Editor.
The Mystery of Providence
I do not understand, my God,
Why You thus deal with me,
And yet I need not understand
But only bow the knee.