A Temporary Hiatus

Hello there,

As you may have noticed, this blog has been on a temporary hiatus. Don’t worry, we will be back soon! When we come back at the beginning of July, we will have a new format and some new features! We don’t want to give too much away yet but there will be a new weekly schedule of blogs and a new blog contributor. We will introduce you to him later this summer!

So…. be patient with our progress and be on the lookout at the beginning of July! See you then.

Yours,
Ardent Worship Team

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REblog: When you feel weak and weary… (Aaron Armstrong)

Martyn Lloyd-Jones

I’ve been doing a lot of travelling recently—at least a lot for a guy who normally sits at a desk or a Starbucks to work. One of the great difficulties I have when being away from my wife and family for a long period of time (this morning I leave home and will be away for up to 12 consecutive days) comes in the form of mopiness.

Feeling sorry for myself and focusing on where I’m not rather than where I am.

Because it’s so easy to start feeling like a sad sack when I’m gone for a long period of time, it’s no surprise these words from Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled are so encouraging to me:

Do you feel your will is weak? Do you feel your energy is low? He will come to you; he will strengthen and energize your feeble will; he will enable you to resist temptation. He will take you above the obstacles and difficulties, he will empower you—that is what he has promised to do. He is life, and he will awaken you to life and a knowledge of God and fill you with his power. He will lead you along the journey so that, whatever your circumstances, you will be able to say with the apostle Paul, “I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound. . . . I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:11–13). A branch that is in the vine and experiencing the power of the living Christ is alive with life itself.

Where we are weak, Christ is strong for us. And where we are tempted to sin—whether by feeling sorry for ourselves or some more blatant sin—he will enable us to resist temptation. If that’s not encouraging, I don’t know what is.

A Piper Devotion For Today

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive.” (Genesis 50:20)

The story of Joseph in Genesis 37–50 is a great lesson in why we should have faith in the sovereign future grace of God.

Joseph is sold into slavery by his brothers, which must have tested his patience tremendously. But he is given a good job in Potiphar’s household. Then, when he is acting uprightly in the unplanned place of obedience, Potiphar’s wife lies about his integrity and has him thrown into prison — another great trial to his patience.

But again things turn for the better, and the prison-keeper gives him responsibility and respect. But just when he thinks he is about to get a reprieve from the Pharaoh’s cupbearer, whose dream he interpreted, the cupbearer forgets him for two more years.

Finally, the meaning of all these detours and delays becomes clear. Joseph says to his long-estranged brothers, “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. . . . As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive” (Genesis 45:7; 50:20).

What would have been the key to patience for Joseph during all those long years of exile and abuse? The answer is: faith in future grace — the sovereign grace of God to turn the unplanned place and the unplanned pace into the happiest ending imaginable.

FREE Ebooks from R.C. Sproul

To further help Christians know what they believe, why they believe it, how to live it, and how to share it, from today the eBook editions of R.C. Sproul’s Crucial Questions series will be free forever.

Here’s the link: http://www.ligonier.org/blog/rc-sprouls-crucial-questions-ebooks-now-free/

Please share these resources with your church, family, and friends.

Frequently Asked Questions (from our FAQ section)

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iPhones, the iPod Touch, iPads, Sony Readers, and Nooks are a few of the devices that read ePub files. You may also view ePub files on your computer by using Adobe Digital Editions (http://www.adobe.com/products/digitaleditions/). Additional devices and reader applications may be found here: http://www.epubbooks.com/ebook-readers.

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iTunes instructions on adding ePub files to iBooks: http://www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-news/2010/04/using-itunes-to-add-epub-files-to-ibooks.html

REblog: Hymn Story “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”

If Isaac Watts is known as the father of English hymnody, William Williams (1717-1791) is considered by many to be the father of Welsh hymnody.

In 1738 Williams heard a sermon by the revivalist preacher Howell Harris, a fiery Welsh layman who had been influenced by the Methodist movement in England. It was through this sermon that Williams discerned his calling to go into the ministry.

Williams first pursued becoming an Anglican priest (in the Church of Wales) and entered as a deacon in 1740. However, he soon came to discover that his heart was with Harris and his itinerant work, and before long he left his small curacy in the mountains to join with the traveling Methodist preachers.

The revivalists realized that the Welsh language was lacking in hymns–the church in Wales was still primarily singing metrical psalms in their worship services. In order to promote the creation of hymns, Harris put together a hymn-writing competition between the different preachers.

As Louis Benson relates, “the prize fell easily to Williams Williams, who had the poet’s passion and a gift of verse-writing. Therefore it was not very long before he was recognized as poet laureate of the Welsh revival.”

Williams would go on to write many hymns in both Welsh and English. “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” appeared in Welsh in 1745. Twenty six years later, in 1771, a Rev. Peter Williams translated the first verse into English, prompting William Williams to translate the rest of it into English as well.

It is fitting that Williams should be the author of a hymn about the Christian’s pilgrimage on earth since as a traveling Methodist preacher, he was a pilgrim in both the spiritual and physical sense.

Williams made an extraordinary record as an itinerant evangelist. He took the whole of Wales for his parish. His travels for forty-three years are said to make an average of 2230 miles a year, at a time when there were no railroads and few stage-coaches. In this way the greater part of Williams’ life was spent, not in a preacher’s study, but in the great world of out of doors. …

It was a picturesque life, but it was not an easy one; for nature is not always kind. It involved much exposure and constant fatigue. It incurred also that menace of the mob of which all these revival preachers were victims. …

Such self-sacrificing years of evangelism and those weary thousands of miles sum up the remainder of Williams’ life.

Here is the English text of the hymn (which is known also as “Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer”):

Guide me, O thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, but thou art mighty;
Hold me with thy powerful hand:
Bread of heaven,
Feed me till I want no more.

Open now the crystal fountain
Whence the healing stream doth flow;
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
Lead me all my journey through:
Strong deliverer,
Be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
Bid my anxious fears subside;
Death of deaths, and hell’s destruction,
Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
Songs of praises,
I will ever give to thee.

Two stanzas have since been added. One appears to have been added by Williams when he translated it to English (“Musing on my habitation…”). I am not sure about the other.

Lord, I trust Thy mighty power,
Wondrous are Thy works of old;
Thou deliver’st Thine from thralldom,
Who for naught themselves had sold:
Thou didst conquer, Thou didst conquer,
Sin, and Satan and the grave,
Sin, and Satan and the grave.

Musing on my habitation,
Musing on my heav’nly home,
Fills my soul with holy longings:
Come, my Jesus, quickly come;
Vanity is all I see;
Lord, I long to be with Thee!
Lord, I long to be with Thee!

The hymn is especially powerful when sung by a choir and has been recorded many times. Here is a good example. You can see a lot of really bored-looking people singing it at the royal wedding of Prince William. Several people have rewritten the melody but, between you and me, I don’t think any of them touch the power and beauty of the original. Having said that, Whitney Houston’s way-too-short rendition sounds like it would have been special, though it also would have been about 20 minutes long.

A Piper Devotion “How To Hate Your Life”

How to Hate Your Life

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” (John 12:24–25)

“Whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.” What does that mean?

It means, at least, that you don’t take much thought for your life in this world. In other words, it just doesn’t matter much what happens to your life in this world.

If men speak well of you, it doesn’t matter much.
If they hate you, it doesn’t matter much.
If you have a lot of things, I doesn’t matter much.
If you have little, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are persecuted or lied about, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are famous or unheard of, it doesn’t matter much.
If you are dead, these things just don’t matter much.

But it’s even more radical. There are some choices to be made here, not just passive experiences. Jesus goes on to say, “If anyone serves me, let him follow me.” Where to? He is moving into Gethsemane and toward the cross.

Jesus is not just saying: If things go bad, don’t fret, since you are dead anyway. He is saying: choose to die with me. Choose to hate your life in this world the way I have chosen the cross.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He calls us to choose the cross. People only did one thing on a cross. They died on it. “Take up your cross,” means, “Like a grain of wheat, fall into the ground and die.” Choose it.

But why? For the sake of radical commitment to ministry: “I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). I think I hear Paul saying, “It doesn’t matter what happens to me — if I can just live to the glory of his grace.”

by John Piper

A Tozer Devotion For Today

Fri, May 17, 2013

FELLOW WORKERS WITH GOD
If this working, yet not working, doing God’s work, yet not doing it, should seem to be confusing, remember there is a parallel for it in the well-known testimony of Paul in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” From all this I think we may draw the following conclusion: We can no more do the work of God than we can live the life of God. In the believing and surrendered soul, Christ lives His life again and continues to live it, and in the obedient, believing man, God will continue to work, reaching out and through the human instrument to accomplish His wonders among men.

It is critically important that we grasp this truth. Much religious work is being done these days that is not owned by our Lord and will not be accepted or rewarded in that great day. Superior human gifts are being mistaken for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and neither they who exercise these gifts nor the Christian public before whom they are exercised are aware of the deception. Never has there been more activity in religious circles and, I confidently believe, never has there been so little of God and so much of the flesh. Such work is a snare because it keeps us busy and at the same time prevents us from discovering that it is our work and not God’s.

“Nothing is wrought by creatures,” said Meister Eckhart; “the Father works alone. The soul shall never stop until she works as well as God. Then she and the Father shall do His work together: she shall work as one with Him, wisely and lovingly. That we may be in unity with Him. God help us. Amen.”

Today’s Devotional was originally found in the writings from A.W. Tozer from the following book:
The Size of the Soul
Chapter 11 – Who Does the Work of God?

Verse
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building. First Corinthians 3:9

Thought
What a sacred privilege to be

Prayer
Lord, only as I fully surrender to You will You use me as You want to use me. May I so give myself to You!