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PRAYER JOURNAL ENTRY OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
When George Washington was about 20 years old he wrote this in his prayer journal: "O most Glorious God, in Jesus Christ my merciful and loving father, I acknowledge and confess my guilt, in the weak and imperfect performance of the duties of this day. I have called on thee for pardon and forgiveness of sins, but so coldly and carelessly, that my prayers are become my sin and stand in need of pardon. I have heard thy holy word, but with such deadness of spirit that I have been an unprofitable and forgetful hearer, so that, O Lord, tho’ I have done thy work, yet it hath been so negligently that I may rather expect a curse than a blessing from thee."
[George Washington’s Prayer Journal From William J. Johnson George Washington, the Christian (New York: The Abingdon Press, New York & Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 24-35. From a sermon by David Scudder, Prayer is Seeking Our Father, 9/11/2011]
Bryan Chapell tells this story that happened in his hometown: Two brothers were playing on the sandbanks by the river. One ran after another up a large mound of sand. Unfortunately, the mound was not solid, and their weight caused them to sink in quickly.
When the boys did not return home for dinner, the family and neighbors organized a search. They found the younger brother unconscious, with his head and shoulders sticking out above the sand. When they cleared the sand to his waist, he awakened. The searchers asked, "Where is your brother?"
The child replied, "I’m standing on his shoulders"
With the sacrifice of his own life, the older brother lifted the younger to safety. The tangible and sacrificial love of the older brother literally served as a foundation for the younger brother’s life.
Hebrews 2:10-12 and 14-16 describes Jesus Christ’s willingness to be like the older brother to us: "In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy [Jesus] and those who are made holy [Christians] are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers....
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he (Jesus) might destroy him (Satan) who holds the power of death and [that Jesus might] free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.... For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people."
Blessed are the merciful. I learned the truth of this Beatitude from Henri Nouwen, a priest who used to teach at Harvard University. At the height of his career, Nouwen moved from Harvard to a community called Daybreak, near Tornonto, in order to take on the demanding chores required by his friendship with a man named Adam. Nouwen now ministers not to the intellectuals but to a young man who is considered by many a useless person who should have been aborted.
Nouwen describes his friend: “Adam is a 25-year-old man who cannot speak, cannot dress or undress himself, cannot walk alone, cannot eat without much help. He does not cry or laugh. Only occasionally does he make eye contact. His back is distorted. His arm and leg movements are twisted. He suffers from severe epilepsy and, despite heavy medication, sees few days without grand-mal seizures. Sometimes, as he grows suddenly rigid, he utters a howling groan. On a few occasions I’ve seen one big tear roll down his cheek.
“It takes me about an hour and a half to wake Adam up, give him his medication, carry him to his bath, wash him, shave him, clean his teeth, dress him, walk him to the kitchen, give him his breakfast, put him in his wheelchair and bring him to the place where he spends most of his day with therapeutic exercises.”
On a visit to Nouwen in Toronto, I watched him perform that routine with Adam, and I must admit I had a fleeting as to whether this was the best use of his time. I have heard Henri Nouwen speak, and have read many of his books. He has much to offer. Could not someone else take over the menial task of caring for Adam? When I cautiously broached the subject with Nouwen himself, he informed me that I had completely misinterpreted what was going on. “I am not giving up anything,” he insisted. “It is I, not Adam, who gets the main benefit from our friendship.”
Then Nouwen began listing for me all the benefits he has gained. The hours spent with Adam, he said, have given him an inner peace so fulfilling that it makes most of his other, more high-minded tasks seem boring and superficial by contrast. Early on, as he sat beside that helpless child-man, he realized how marked with rivalry and competition, how obsessive, was his drive for success in academia and Christian ministry. Adam taught him that “what makes us human is not our mind but our heart, not our ability to think but our ability to love.” From Adam’s simple nature, he had glimpsed the “emptiness that desert monks achieved only after much searching and discipline.
All during the rest of our interview, Henri Nouwen circled back to my question, as if he could not believe I could ask such a thing. He kept thinking of other ways he had benefited from his relationship with Adam. Truly, he was enjoying a new kind of spiritual peace, acquired not within the stately quadrangles of Harvard, but by the bedside of incontinent Adam. I left Daybreak convicted of my own spiritual poverty, I who so carefully arrange my writer’s life to make it efficient and single-focused. The merciful are indeed blessed, I learned, for they will be shown mercy.
Philip Yancey, The Jesus I Never Knew (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Pub. House, 1995), 119-121
Dr. S.M. Lockridge was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, San Diego CA from 1953 - 1993. He entered heaven in 2000. He is well-known for a passage out of his sermon titled “He’s My King”:
“He’s enduringly strong, He’s entirely sincere, He’s eternally steadfast. He’s immortally graceful. He’s imperially powerful. He’s impartially merciful. He’s God’s Son. He’s a sinner’s savior. He’s the centerpiece of civilization. He stands alone in Himself. He’s unparalleled. He’s unprecedented. He’s supreme. He’s preeminent. He’s the loftiest idea in literature. He’s the highest idea in philosophy. He’s the fundamental truth in theology. He’s the miracle of the age. He’s the only one able to supply all of our needs simultaneously. He supplies strength for the weak. He’s available for the tempted and the tried. He sympathizes and He saves. He guards and He guides. He heals the sick, He cleans the lepers. He forgives sinners, He discharges debtors, He delivers captives, He defends the feeble, He blesses the young, He serves the unfortunate, He regards the aged, He rewards the diligent, He beautifies the meek. Do you know Him?
Well, my king is the king of knowledge, He’s the well-spring of wisdom, He’s the doorway of deliverance, He’s the pathway of peace, He’s the roadway of righteousness, He’s the highway of holiness He’s the gateway of glory, He’s the master of the mighty, He’s the captain of the conquerors, He’s the head of the heroes, He’s the leader of the legislators, He’s the overseer of the overcomers, He’s the governor of governors, He’s the prince of princes, He’s the king of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
His life is matchless. His goodness is limitless. His mercy is everlasting. His love never changes. His word is enough. His grace is sufficient. His reign is righteous. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Well. I wish I could describe Him to you. But He’s indescribable. Yes. He’s incomprehensible. He’s invincible, He’s irresistible. I’m trying to tell you, the Heavens cannot contain Him, let alone a man explain Him. You can’t get Him out of your mind. You can’t get Him off of your hands. You can’t outlive Him, and you can’t live without Him. Well. The Pharisees couldn’t stand Him, but they found out they couldn’t stop Him. Pilate coul...
DR. HENRY BRANDT told of going to visit a friend whose wife had died. While there he shared these wonderful words of the apostle Paul from II Cor. 1:3-4, 8-11a: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.
"We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers."
His friend thanked Dr. Brandt, saying that he was the first person to offer him strength and hope. All the others had said things like, "I don’t know how you can stand it. I just couldn’t take it. You poor thing. Oh, how awful!"
The Psalmist declared, "Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me" (Ps. 54:4). Pray with the Psalmist, "Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me; O Lord, be my help"
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, and put an end at Thy good pleasure to this my miserable life; for justice and truth are not to be found among the sons of men…Be merciful unto me, O Lord…Now after many battles, I find nothing in me but vanity and corruption. For in quietness I am negligent, in trouble impatient, tending to desperation…pride and ambition assault me on the one part, covetousness and malice trouble me on the other, briefly, Oh Lord, the affections of the flesh do almost suppress the operation of Thy Spirit…In none of the aforesaid I do delight; but I am troubled, and that sore against the desire of my inward man which sobs for my corruption, and would repose in Thy mercy alone; to which I claim, and that in the promise that Thou hast made to all penitent sinners of whose number I profess myself to be one.
“Answer to a Letter of James Lurie, a Scottish Jesuit,” in John Knox—A Great Intercessor, by Bessie G. Olson, Hall of Fame Series, Des Moines: Walfred, 1956, pp. 45-46, quoted in Mark Bubeck, The Adversary, Moody Press, pg. 33.
Back in the 13th century St. Richard of Chichester prayed:
"Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits and blessings which Thou has borne for me. O most merciful Friend, Brother, and Redeemer: may I know Thee more clearly, love Thee more dearly, and follow Thee more nearly."
In the latter part of the 20th century part of that prayer was set to music in Godspell’s song, "Day by Day."
"Day by day, day by day,
O dear Lord, three things I pray:
To see Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly,
Day by day, by day, by day."
(Bob Fox "The Messenger", Newsletter Of Georges Road Baptist Church)
FOX SPORTS PLAY OF THE DAY
"Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’" (Acts 2:38).
Pat Summerall spent 50 years with the national Football League. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in 1952 and played with the Chicago Cardinals and New York Giants until 1961. After his retirement from the game, he joined CBS as a broadcaster, and in 1993 switched to Fox. During his CBS years he and a fellow broadcaster partied hard off the field. "We raised Cain. I was the first guy at the bar and the last to leave." Summerall was told that if he kept on drinking he was going to die.
After checking himself into the Betty Ford Clinic, his counselor urged him to seek a better life through faith. At age 66, Pat Summerall was baptized. In USA Today he told a reporter that when the minister "leaned me back in the water, I never felt so helpless." Summerall testified, "I knew I just became a Christian. I can’t tell you how great life has been since then."
Baptism is a faith response to the gospel of Christ. In baptism we are indeed helpless. We are sinners in t...
Reformation’s Two Martins At the beginning of the Reformation, Martin of Basle came to a knowledge of the truth, but, afraid to make a public confession, he wrote on a leaf of parchment: “O most merciful Christ, I know that I can be saved only by the merit of thy blood. Holy Jesus, I acknowledge thy sufferings for me. I love thee I love thee” Then he removed a stone from the wall of his chamber and hid it there. It was not discovered for more than a hundred years. About the same time Martin Luther found the truth as it is in Christ. He said: “My Lord has confessed me before men, I will not shrink from confessing Him before kings.” The world knows what followed, and today it reveres the memory of Luther, but as for Martin of Basle, who cares for him? —Sunday School Times
Bad judges have highlighted the news more than ever the last few months as investigations into rulings doled out to child predators have revealed so many judges exercising extreme lenience that is not helping our kids safety. It’s one thing for a judge to be merciful, but quite another thing to give a slap on the wrist that means nothing, with no justice being accomplished. John Couey-who abducted, raped, and killed 9 year old Jessica Lunsford, buried alive in a trash bag, was sentenced to death a couple weeks ago. You may ask, where’s the injustice in that? The injustice was in the form of previous judges who gave him probation even though he was a repeat sex offender of little ones, and despite Couey stating in a recorded deposition his desire to be locked away because he would do it again if not "Jessica’s Law" is saving lives in 40 states now, w/ a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years for first time offenders, and repeat offenders get mandatory life in prison. I’m sad to report that our state is one of the 10 not pursuing the law. Not only am I ashamed of this, but fearful because of my children and yours. Other examples: In Rhode Island, 18-year-old Josh Maciorski was convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old girl, but sentenced to probation. Two years later he molested a 14-year-old girl and served just one year. Then, when he got out, Maciorski raped a 16-year-old girl. His sentence after this third strike - an unbelievable three years in prison. In Missouri, 19-year old Darrell Jackson pleaded guilty to repeatedly sexually abusing a little girl, beginning she was just eight. But when Jackson came up for sentencing, a soft judge gave him four months in prison and five years probation. In Minnesota, Joseph Duncan stood in front of a judge, accused of molesting a young boy. Despite the fact that Duncan had previously served 16 years for raping another young boy at gunpoint, the judge released him on just $15,000 bail. Duncan promptly skipped bail and headed for Idaho, where he allegedly kidnapped, raped, and killed a 9-year old boy, molested his sister, and killed their family. And just this week a man in Seattle, WA is in the news for his "how to" child predator website, teaching others how to abduct children, abuse them, and get away with it. Shockingly, he is breaking no laws, and in an interview said he would do what he writes about if not for the stiff laws now in place. Washington is this week trying to push thru a law making his website illegal as well. The point of all of this is justice being done, for injustice is a travesty. And tonite’s parable is not about an unjust judge as it is about the Just Judge of the universe, Jehovah God.