Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Sunday Sermon
Having the Form,  But Denying the Power 
(Part 1)
by B.H. Carroll  
Edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

-Having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. - 
2 Timothy 3:5

Everything in this world takes on a form, and the form serves an excellent purpose; it  is by no means to be despised, but the form by itself is nothing. You may understand  the two thoughts by selecting from a tree a ripe hickory nut, fully ripe. Now, there is  a form around it; that form is for its protection; first, the form of the hull, and then of  the shell, but sometimes you find one that has an external seeming, yet it feels very  light and there is nothing in it; now, there is a mere form -- an empty shell.

The apostle here declares that in the last days there shall be a class of Christians who  have the form of Godliness, but who deny its power, or, as he expresses it they profess that they know God, but in works they deny it, and that here may be no misunderstanding about this class, he describes their characteristics. (Titus 1:16;)

They are selfish people; they love themselves; they love silver; covetous -- that is what the word in the original means, lovers of silver-they are proud, heady,  unthankful people; they receive favors and are not grateful for them. They have no  respect for the relations of life; as children, they are disobedient to their parents; as  wives, they are disobedient to their husbands; as those who have entered into a  covenant, they break the agreements that they have made with other people’; nothing  binding; no sort of an agreement that is made with them will hold. (James 5:12;) They consider not that they are bound by obligations into which they enter with other men; they are  treacherous; they are blasphemers; they love pleasure more than they love God. ( 2 Timothy 3:4;)  Now, those are some of the characteristics of these people.

He says that when that class prevail it makes perilous times, hazardous, dangerous  times; when those who claim to be Christians are only shells, empty shells; when they  have the form of Godliness and deny its power; when they profess to be Christians  and in their lives go directly contrary to the teachings of Christianity. (Matthew 23:27;) If he is an old  man and a Christian, he will be sober, grave, temperate, sound in the faith; if she is  an old woman, she, too, will be sober and grave, and a thoughtful teacher of younger  women, and if she be a young woman and a Christian, she will be chaste and  discreet, and love her husband, and love her children, and will regard it as a religious  obligation to take due care of her home; if it is a servant and a Christian, that servant  will be impelled by his Christianity to do faithful, honest service for the wages that are  paid; not answering back to his employer, not stealing little things, purloining; not one  who serves as under the eye of another, an eye servant, but one who, whether the  master is present and looking on or not, for conscience’s sake renders a faithful  amount of work for the compensation which is paid. (Titus 2:9; 1 Peter 4:11; Galatians 6:6;)

Now, it does seem to me that there is an opportunity at this time in the world for the  highest and holiest demonstration of Christianity ever known in the case of  employees. There is a vast deal of unhealthy sentimentalism prevalent, that kind of  sentimentalism which encourages a man to think that an employer is necessarily a  tyrant; that an employer is necessarily an oppressor of the poor. Oh! What a  revolution it would work, if throughout the length and breadth of this land today all  employees who claim to be Christians would for Christ’s sake do genuine honest  work when they are paid to do the work; that they would give fair service, and that  they would not rely upon this unhealthy sentimentalism that leads men to think that a  contract does not mean anything; that a man’s obligation amounts to nothing; that a  question of honor is nothing ( Leviticus 19:15;)

I do not hesitate to say today that if I were not a preacher, and I knew how to  perform such service, I would like to be for a short time a cook, just to show what  honest, faithful service ought to be in that department, in order to adorn the principles  of the Christian religion. There is a state of demagogism prevalent which arises from the dominion of politics that is absolutely sapping the vitals of a sturdy, rigorous manhood.

Christianity does teach a man to be honest; it does teach that he shall give fair service  for a fair compensation; it does teach that men as they get older should become riper  for salvation; it does teach that in the home its graces should be illustrated; it does  teach that in matters of obligation and word we should be faithful; and this is true,  sound doctrine, the doctrine preached by the apostle, and who, while himself poor  and a laborer, took that high moral ground that if a man would not labor he should  not eat; that he was not entitled to it, and I do believe that if we would, for Christ’s  sake, frown down upon beggary as coming from strong men, that kind of sponging  on others when there is strength in the right arm, when there is ability to render good  service; I believe if we would, for Christ’s sake, frown down upon it, that we would  have a more vigorous, sturdy manhood among our people.

Now, do not misunderstand me. While I have not, as a Christian, one atom of  respect for the demagogy that is debauching the morals of the masses of the people  --not an atom--  neither have I for that power of wealth, for that power of  monopoly that would, under the guise of contract, grind a man to powder and crush  his very soul out of him. ( 2 Peter 2:19;) What I mean to say is, that it is a practical teaching of  Christianity and one that is too much ignored, that for Christ’s sake we ought to be  faithful men and women in every department of life. It is contrary to the life of Jesus  Christ and His precepts to make religion a cloak for idleness in any direction, or for a trifling character. ( Galatians 5:13; James 1:25; James 2:12; 1 Peter 2:16;)

I thought it right --I thought the times called for the pressing of this primal thought of  the text, that a man who professes to be a Christian and has a form of Godliness is  under obligation to recognize the power of that Christianity in the little things of life,  and in the business of life, and in our homes, and in all of our social interchanges. ( 1 Corinthians 10:31;)

Unquestionably that is the teaching of Jesus Christ and all His apostles and we can  be faithful to Jesus by attending to the smallest details of household affairs. We can  recognize the light of the authority of Jesus Christ by being careful concerning the  most insignificant duty of this life, and it is by the massing together of these little things  that a great character is ever formed. A great character is never formed by an  exceptional act; it is never brought about by some sensational surrounding; it is the  development, it is the outgrowth of habit, and by attention to everything that is right in  the sight of God, making His teachings the rule of our life in the most infinitesimal affairs. (a)

(a) Editor’s notation - In order to fully appreciate this last sentence, it is suggested the reading of Psalm 119 in its entirety. Focus on such words/expressions  as, precepts, instruction, your ways, your words. In it the Psalmist David gives glory to God by living his life according to His Word. 
Dr. RVZ – Servant of the King Jesus Christ

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Christ Revealing the Father
by F.B. Meyer (1847-1929)

Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father - John 14:8-9

The longing of the universal heart of man was voiced by Philip, when he broke in, rather abruptly, on our Lord's discourse with the challenge that He should answer all questions, dissipate all doubt, by showing them the Father. Is there a God? how can I be sure that He is? what does He feel toward us?--these are questions which men persistently ask, and wait for the reply. And the Master gave the only satisfactory answer that has ever been uttered in the hearing of mankind, when He said in effect, "The knowledge of God must be conveyed, not in words or books, in symbols or types, but in a life. To know Me, to believe in Me, to come into contact with Me, is to know the deepest heart of God. 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?'"

It bore witness to the possible growth of the human soul. Only three short years before, as we are told in the first chapter of this Gospel, Christ had found him. At that time he was probably much as the young men of his age and standing. Not specially remarkable save for an interest in, and an earnestness about, the advent of the Messiah; his views, however, of his person and work were limited and narrow: he looked for his advent as the time for the reestablishment of the kingdom of David, and deliverance from the Roman yoke. But three years of fellowship with Jesus had made a wonderful difference in this young disciple. The deepest mysteries of life and death and heaven seemed within his reach. He is not now content with beholding the Messiah, he is eager to know the Father, and to stand within the inner circle of His presence-chamber.

The highest watermark ever touched by the great soul of Moses was when he said, amid the sublimities of Sinai, "I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory." But in this aspiration Philip stands beside him. There is a close kinship between the mighty lawgiver and the fishermen of Bethsaida. How little there is to choose between, "Show me Thy glory," and "Show us the Father." Great and marvelous is the capacity of the soul for growth!

It truly interpreted the need of man.--"It sufficeth us." From nature, with all her voices that speak of God's power and Godhead; from the page of history, indented with the print of God's footprints; from type and ceremony and temple, though instituted by God Himself; even from the unrivalled beauty of our Saviour's earthly life--these men turned unsatisfied, unfilled, and said, "We are not yet content, but if Thou wouldest show us the Father, we should be."
And would it not suffice us?--Would it not be sufficient to give new zest and reality to prayer, if we could realize that it might be as familiar as the talk of home, or like the petitioning of a little child? Would it not suffice to make the most irksome work pleasant, if we could look up and discern the Father's good pleasure and smile of approval? Would it not suffice to rob pain of its sting, if we could detect the Father's hands adjusting the heat of the furnace? Would it not suffice to shed a light across the dark mystery of death, if we felt that the Father was waiting to lead us through the shadows to Himself? How often the cry rises from sad and almost despairing hearts, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us."
But surely this request was based on a mistake: Philip wanted a visible theophany, like that which Moses beheld, when the majestic procession swept down the mountain pass; or as the elders saw, when they beheld the paved sapphire work; or after the fashion of the visions vouchsafed to Elijah, Isaiah, or Ezekiel. He wanted to see the Father. But how can you make wisdom, or love, or purity visible, save in a human life?

Yet this is the mistake we are all liable to make. We feel that there must be an experience, a vision, a burst of light, a sensible manifestation, before we can know the Father. We strain after some unique and extraordinary presentation of the Deity, especially in the aspect of Fatherhood, before we can be completely satisfied, and thus we miss the lesson of the present hour. Philip was so absorbed in his quest for the transcendent and sublime, that he missed the revelations of the Father which for three years had been passing under his eyes. God had been manifesting His tenderest and most characteristic attributes by the beauty of the Master's life, but Philip had failed to discern them; till now the Master bids him go back on the photographs of those years, as fixed in his memory, to see in a thousand tiny illustrations how truly the Father dwelt in Him, and lived through His every word and work.

Are you straining after the vision of God, startled by every footstep, intently listening till the very atmosphere shall become audible, expecting an overwhelming spectacle? In all likelihood you will miss all. The kingdom comes not with outward show. When men expected Christ to come by the front door, He stole in at the back. Whilst Philip was waiting for the Father to be shown in thunder and lightning, in startling splendor, in the stately majesty that might become the Highest, he missed the daily unfolding of the Divine Nature that was being afforded in the Life with which he dwelt in daily contact.

Philip's request emphasized the urgent need of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.--"If ye had known Me". . . the Saviour said. "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" They failed to know the Father, because they failed to know Christ, and they failed in this because they knew Him only after the flesh. They were so familiar with Him as their Friend, His love was so natural, tender, and human, He had become so closely identified with all their daily existence, that they did not recognize the fire that shone behind the porcelain, the Deity that tabernacled beneath the frail curtains.

Often those who dwell amid the loveliest or grandest scenery miss the beauty which is unveiled to strangers from a distance. Certain lives have to be withdrawn from us before we understand how fair they were, and how much to us. And Jesus had to leave His disciples before they could properly appreciate Him. The Holy Spirit must needs take of the things of Christ, and reveal them, before they could realize their true significance, symmetry, and beauty.
Two things are needful, then: first, we must know Christ through the teaching of the Holy Ghost; and next, we must receive Him into our hearts, that we may know Him, as we know the workings of our own hearts. Each knows himself, and could recognize the mint-mark of his own individuality; so when Christ has become resident within us, and has taken the place of our self-life, we know Him as we know ourselves. "What man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him?--but we have the mind of Christ?"

He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."

He did not rebuke the request, as unfit to proffer, or impossible to satisfy. He took it for granted that such a desire would exist in the heart, and that His disciples would always want to be led by Him into the Father's presence. In this His ministry resembled that of the great forerunner, who led His disciples into the presence of the Bridegroom, content to decrease if only He might increase. The Master's answer was, however, widely different from John's. The forerunner pointed to Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God"; Jesus pointed to Himself, and said, "I and My Father are One; to have seen Me is to have seen the Father; to have Me is to possess the Father."

It troubled the Lord greatly that He had been so long time with them, and yet they had not known Him; that they had not realized the source of His words and works; that they had concentrated their thought on Him, instead of passing, as He meant them to do, from the stream to the source, from the die to the seal, from the beam of the Divine Glory to its Sun. He bade them, therefore, from that moment realize that they knew and had seen the Father in knowing and seeing Himself. Not more surely had the Shechinah dwelt in the tabernacle of old, than did it indwell His nature, though too thickly shrouded to be seen by ordinary and casual eyes.

Let us get help from this. Many complain that they know Christ, pray to Christ, are conscious of Christ, but that the Father is far away and impalpable. They are therefore straining after some new vision or experience of God, and undervaluing the religious life to which they have already attained. It is a profound mistake. To have Jesus is to have God; to know Jesus is to know God; to pray to Jesus is to pray to God. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. Look up to Him even now from this printed page, and say, "My Lord and my God."

Jesus is not simply an incarnation of God in the sense in which, after the fashion of the Greek mythology, gods might come down in the likeness of men, adopting a disguise which they would afterward cast aside; Jesus is God. All the gentle attributes of His nature are God's; and all the strong and awful attributes of power, justice, purity, which we are wont to associate with God, are His also.

Happy is the moment when we awake to realize that in Jesus we have God manifest and present; to know this is the revelation of the Father by the Son, of which our Saviour spoke in Matthew 11:27.

This Gospel is the most lucid and profound treatise in existence on His inner life. It is the revelation of the principles on which our Saviour lived. So absolutely had He emptied Himself that He never spake His own words: "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself." He never did His own works: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. . . . The Father abiding in Me doeth His works." This was the result of that marvellous self-emptying of which the Apostle speaks. Our Lord speaks as though, in His human nature, He had a choice and will of His own. "Not My will, but Thine be done," was His prayer. Perhaps it was to this holy and divine personality that Satan made appeal in the first temptation, bidding Him use His powers for the satisfaction of His hunger, and in independence of His Father's appointment. But however much of this independence was within our Lord's reach, He deliberately laid it aside. Before He spoke, His spirit opened itself to the Father, that He might speak by His lips; before He acted. He stilled the promptings of His own wisdom, and lifted Himself into the presence of the Father, to ascertain what He was doing, and to receive the inflow of His energy (Read John 5:19; John 12:44, John 12:49).

These are great mysteries, which will engage our further consideration. In the meanwhile, let us reason that if our Lord was so careful to subordinate Himself to the Father that He might be all in all, it well becomes us to restrain ourselves, to abstain from speaking our own words or doing our own works, that Jesus may pour His energies through our being, and that those searching words may be fulfilled in us also, "Striving according to His working, which worketh in Me mightily."

Friday, January 6, 2017

Word of God
But he answering, said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The Gospel According to Matthew 4:4

The Acts of the Apostles 2:39

Commentary prefaced & edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

39 For the promise is made unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

This promise is of the Holy Spirit, that is given unto all believers upon their rebirth as children of the King. It gives authority to all those that posses it to speak freely and truthfully about Christ the Redeemer and Messiah. To make His gospel known to all men, and to do so without fear. Remember Jesus has said to us via the Apostle Paul, to be of good courage, (Read Acts 23:11), and likewise to remain steadfast in our belief and doing the work of the Lord. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:58, Hebrews 4:14)

Every one of you. Even those of you that have been the greatest sinners, if they repent and believe, are welcome to be baptized; and those who think they have been the greatest saints have yet need to repent, and believe, and be baptized. There is grace enough in Christ for every one of you, be you ever so many, and grace suited to the case of every one. Israel of old were baptized unto Moses in the camp, the whole body of the Israelites together, when they passed through the cloud and the sea for the covenant of peculiarity was national; but now every one of you distinctly must be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and transact for himself in this great affair.’’ (Read Colossians 1:28). He gives them encouragement to take this course: It shall be for the remission of sins. Repent of your sin, and it shall not be your ruin; be baptized into the faith of Christ, and in truth you shall be justified, which you could never be by the law of Moses. Aim at this, and depend upon Christ for it, and this you shall have. As the cup in the Lord’s supper is the New Testament in the blood of Christ for the remission of sins, so baptism is in the name of Christ for the remission of sins. Be washed, and you shall be washed. You shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost as well as we; for it is designed for a general blessing: some of you shall receive these external gifts, and each of you, if you be sincere in your faith and repentance, shall receive his internal graces and comforts, shall be sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Note, All that receive the remission of sins receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. All that are justified are sanctified. Your children shall still have, as they have had, an interest in the covenant, and a title to the external seal of it. Come over to Christ, to receive those inestimable benefits; for the promise of the remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost, is to you and to your children. It was very express (Read Isaiah 44:3 ): I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed. And (Read Isaiah 59:21 ), My Spirit and my word shall not depart from thy seed, and thy seed’s seed. When God took Abraham into covenant, he said, I will be a God to thee, and to thy seed (Read Genesis 17:7 ); and, accordingly, every Israelite had his son circumcised at eight days old. Now it is proper for an Israelite, when he is by baptism to come into a new dispensation of this covenant, to ask, "What must be done with my children? Must they be thrown out, or taken in with me? Taken in’’ (says Peter) "by all means; for the promise, that great promise of God’s being to you a God, is as much to you and to your children now as ever it was. Though the promise is still extended to your children as it has been, yet it is not, as it has been, confined to you and them, but the benefit of it is designed for all that are afar off; we may add, and their children, for the blessing of Abraham comes upon the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ, (Read Galatians 3:14 . The promise had long pertained to the Israelites (Read Romans 9:4 ); but now it is sent to those that are afar off, the remotest nations of the Gentiles, and every one of them too, all that are afar off. To this general the following limitation must refer, even as many of them, as many particular persons in each nation, as the Lord our God shall call effectually into the fellowship of Jesus Christ. Note, God can make his call to reach those that are ever so far off, and none come but those whom he calls.
Matthew Henry - 17th Century Theologian ,

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Word of God
But he answering, said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The Gospel According to Matthew 4:4

The Acts of the Apostles 1:8

Commentary prefaced & edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

8 But ye shall receive power of the holy Ghost, when he shall come on you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Continuing with yesterday’s study, we read above how that spirit will give us courage and power to witness to the world the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are commissioned (Read John 20;21)1 by Him to do so, and to present Him in the light that He would wish us to, in order that we by our words, and more importantly our actions will guide others to Him.

There is a tool, a study site, that this editor uses in my studies; it is an interlinear bible. Within it’s pages, (actually a PDF), there are both Hebrew (for the Old Testament), and Greek (for the New Testament) written in the grammatic formats of those languages. It helps in the understanding of what has been written. Please find below, the translation, as written in the Greek formant of the
above verse.

But Ye shall be getting (obtaining) ability (power) of on coming of the Holy Spirit on You. And Ye shall be to me witness in besides (both) Jerusalem and in every (entire) the Judea and Samaria and till of last (as far as limits) of the land (earth)
Admittedly it can be difficult to read, (even more so typing it), but it is thought by this editor, to be of a good use.

Additionally, it is also useful to use commentary from others; theologians, past and present to see their thoughts on the verse or verses that is used. Herein below we read:
You shall receive power. Our Savior Christ doth here call them back as well unto the promise of God as also unto his commandment, which was the readiest way to bridle their curiosity. Curiosity doth rise almost always either of idleness or else of distrust; distrust is cured by meditating upon the promises of God. And his commandments do tell us how we ought to occupy ourselves and employ our studies. Therefore, he commandeth his disciples to wait for the promise of God, and to be diligent in executing their office whereunto God had called them. And in the mean season he noteth their great hastiness, in that they did preposterously catch at those gifts which were proper unto the Holy Spirit, when as they were not as yet endued with the same. Neither did they take the right way herein, in that being called to go on warfare, they desire (omitting their labor) to lake their ease in their inn. Therefore, when he saith, you shall receive power, he admonisheth them of their imbecility, lest they follow before the time those things whereunto they cannot attain. It may be read very well either way, You shall receive the power of the Spirit; or, The Spirit coming upon you; yet the latter way seemeth to be the better, because it doth more fully declare their defect trod want, until such time as the Spirit should come upon them.

You shall be my witnesses He correcteth two errors of theirs in this one sentence. For, first, he showeth that they must fight before they can triumph; and, secondly, that the nature of Christ’s kingdom was of another sort than they judged it to have been. Therefore, saith he, You shall be my witnesses; that is, the husbandman must first work before he can reap his fruits. Hence, nay we learn that we must first study how we may come unto the kingdom of God, before we begin to dispute...Let every man, therefore, apply himself in his work which he hath in hand; let us fight stoutly under Christ’s banner; let us go forward manfully and courageously in our vocation, and God will give fruit in due time (and tide.)

In all Judea Here he showeth, first, that they must not work for the space of one day only, while that he assigneth the whole world unto them, in which they must publish the doctrine of the gospel. Furthermore, he refuteth the opinion which they had conceived of Israel. They supposed those to be Israelites only which were of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. Christ testifieth that they must gather thereunto all Samaria; which, although they were nigh in situation, yet were they far distant in mind and heart. He showeth that all other regions far distant, and also profane, must be united unto the holy people, that they may be all partakers of one and the same.” - John Calvin
1 - “So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you”.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Word of God
But he answering, said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
The Gospel According to Matthew 4:4

The Acts of the Apostles 1:4-5

Commentary by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades

4 And when he had gathered them together, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which said he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the holy Ghost within these few days.


Our Redeemer has stated that He would not leave us orphans (Read John 14:18), but would send us a helper, that being the Holy Spirit, (Read John 14:26, 16:7). It is this spirit that burns within us and guides us in many ways. It give us authority to speak in His name. Remember also that when questioned by the religious leaders of that time how our Savior said that the spoke only what the Father had given Him to speak, that the authority given unto Him was from the Father. (Read John 12:49-50) Likewise recall how in the Gospel of Luke1, Jesus says to not meditate on what to say for He will fill your mouth along with wisdom with which to speak. He said to use it as a testimony for His name.

This can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit that as mentioned above burns within us, consuming all that comes into its path, so that the Gospel of Christ could be brought forward. Therefore friends let us be bold in our words when speaking the truth, and shining the light of the Good News upon the lost.

1 See Luke 21:11-15

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Who Do You Seek?
by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades


Last evening, as I was preparing to retire, it was impressed upon my mind the question, “who do you seek?” Upon self examination, I began to confess, that I sought to seek out the wisdom of God’s word. To enrich my mind in it, to be able to understand it. Taking down notations, and searching for other sources, from great theologians to various translations. Constantly and with all good intent to learn more and more of His word.

Friends, the mind, is an amazing computer given unto us by the Creator. It desires knowledge, learning and understanding of all things made by Him, for such all things were done so. Yet, for me there was always a feeling of a piece, missing. It was a feeling of incompleteness. All that I had studied, and learned had come from in part reading God’s word, but also from the impressions and words of other men, who no doubt were strong in the word, and had much wisdom with which to impart, yet in the end, were still men. As such it was their thoughts, their comments on various topics based on scripture, that I was reading and studying.

Now, friends do not misunderstand, as stated above, there is much to be learned from those that have trod upon this temporal plane before, and those that still walk alongside us. And yet I still felt uneasy about my studies. The question or perhaps the realization came into focus that I had given myself over to study, that is to say my mind, and my lips had dedicated my heart, but, my heart had somehow held back a small part of itself. It was as if, while being baptized, and confessing, Him, my heart hadn’t been fully given.

As I drifted of to sleep, I thought of the Gospel of John, and how it was different from the preceding three of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Each of those spoke of the Christ, from a different viewpoint, yet all three were interlocked with each other. However, John, speaks upon the deity of the Christ, the Messiah. Therefore, I determined to read John in its entirety, chapter by chapter, without notations, without aids, but to just read, and meditate.

Now in the Gospel of John, we encounter, a man, likewise named John, known to us today as John the Baptist. It was he that began to prepare the way, the path for the Light of the World to bring us grace and mercy. When inquired by the scribes, as to who he was that they might, “give answer to those that sent us", John replied that he was “one crying in the wilderness”, to bring men to repentance and to be baptized by water to be open to the One that would soon come. For that One would baptize with the Holy Spirit all that confessed Him. Yet those that sent the scribes did not go to inquire themselves.

Who do we seek? Are we to be as the pharisees, sending others to gather info for us, or are we going to find and read for ourselves? Henceforth brothers, give heed to good words from good men, for as Paul has written we are to think upon and consider all things, of good report, that are noble and are in line with God’s word and wisdom. But also, open your Bibles, and see for yourselves. Seek Him, while he may be found. Meditate upon His words. Give not only your mind, and the sacrifice of praise of your mouths, but your whole heart. You will be joyously rewarded.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Of Prayer Part Two
by John Calvin Translated by Henry Beveridge - 1845
Prefaced and Edited by Dr. Riktor Von Zhades


This editor has stated this before, but it is felt that it bares repeating. Back in 1969, the Doors put out an album called the Soft Parade. The title track opened with Jim Morrison sounding imitating a preacher of some sort, reflecting on his years in seminary school. In essence he stated that one could not “petition the Lord with Prayer”. However, those of us, that are of faith and in God’s word know better; for in fact, He encourages us to have a relationship with Him through prayer, and all our divers failings, temptations and tribulations be brought before Him via this medium. Additionally today, dear reader, it is suggested that one meditate on the following of scriptur James 1:6-8, 4:8, 5:16 Ephesians 4:14; 1Peter 4:7  Therefore please find herein below part two of John Calvin’s essay on prayer. - Doktor Riktor Von Zhades - Disciple of our Lord, Jesus Christ

The first rule of right prayer [ought to] be, to have our heart and mind framed as becomes those who are entering into converse with God. This we shall accomplish in regard to the mind, if, laying aside carnal thoughts and cares which might interfere with the direct and pure contemplation of God, it not only be wholly intent on prayer, but also, as far as possible, be borne and raised above itself. I do not here insist on a mind so disengaged as to feel none of the gnawings of anxiety; on the contrary, it is by much anxiety that the fervour of prayer is inflamed. Thus we see that the holy servants of God betray great anguish, not to say solicitude, when they cause the voice of complaint to ascend to the Lord from the deep abyss and the jaws of death. What I say is, that all foreign and extraneous cares must be dispelled by which the mind might be driven to and fro in vague suspense, be drawn down from heaven, and kept grovelling on the earth. When I say it must be raised above itself, I mean that it must not bring into the presence of God any of those things which our blind and stupid reason is wont to devise, nor keep itself confined within the little measure of its own vanity, but rise to a purity worthy of God.

Both things are specially worthy of notice. First, let every one in professing to pray turn thither all his thoughts and feelings, and be not (as is usual) distracted by wandering thoughts; because nothing is more contrary to the reverence due to God than that levity which bespeaks a mind too much given to license and devoid of fear. In this matter we ought to labour the more earnestly the more difficult we experience it to be; for no man is so intent on prayer as not to feel many thoughts creeping in, and either breaking off the tenor of his prayer, or retarding it by some turning or digression. Here let us consider how unbecoming it is when God admits us to familiar intercourse to abuse his great condescension by mingling things sacred and profane, reverence for him not keeping our minds under restraint; but just as if in prayer we were conversing with one like ourselves forgetting him, and allowing our thoughts to run to and fro. Let us know, then, that none duly prepare themselves for prayer but those who are so impressed with the majesty of God that they engage in it free from all earthly cares and affections. The ceremony of lifting up our hands in prayer is designed to remind us that we are far removed from God, unless our thoughts rise upward: as it is said in the psalm, "Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul" (Read Psalm 25:1). And Scripture repeatedly uses the expression to raise our prayers meaning that those who would be heard by God must not grovel in the mire. The sum is, that the more liberally God deals with us, condescendingly inviting us to disburden our cares into his bosom, the less excusable we are if this admirable and incomparable blessing does not in our estimation outweigh all other things, and win our affection, that prayer may seriously engage our every thought and feeling. This cannot be unless our mind, strenuously exerting itself against all impediments, rise upward.

Our second proposition [is], that we are to ask only in so far as God permits. For though he bids us pour out our hearts (Read Psalm 62:8), he does not indiscriminately give loose reins to foolish and depraved affections; and when he promises that he will grant believers their wish, his indulgence does not proceed so far as to submit to their caprice1. In both matters grievous delinquencies are everywhere committed. For not only do many without modesty, without reverence, presume to invoke God concerning their frivolities, but impudently bring forward their dreams, whatever they may be, before the tribunal of God. Such is the folly or stupidity under which they labour, that they have the hardihood to obtrude upon God desires so vile, that they would blush exceedingly to impart them to their fellow men. Profane writers have derided and even expressed their detestation of this presumption, and yet the vice has always prevailed. Hence, as the ambitious adopted Jupiter as their patron; the avaricious, Mercury; the literary aspirants, Apollo and Minerva; the warlike, Mars; the licentious, Venus: so in the present day, as I lately observed, men in prayer give greater license to their unlawful desires than if they were telling jocular tales among their equals. God does not suffer his condescension to be thus mocked, but vindicating his own light, places our wishes under the restraint of his authority. We must, therefore, attend to the observation of John: "This is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us" (Read 1 John 5:14)2.

But as our faculties are far from being able to attain to such high perfection, we must seek for some means to assist them. As the eye of our mind should be intent upon God, so the affection of our heart ought to follow in the same course. But both fall far beneath this, or rather, they faint and fail, and are carried in a contrary direction. To assist this weakness, God gives us the guidance of the Spirit in our prayers to dictate what is right, and regulate our affections. For seeing "we know not what we should pray for as we ought," "the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered" (Read Romans 8:26) not that he actually prays or groans, but he excites in us sighs, and wishes, and confidence, which our natural powers are not at all able to conceive. Nor is it without cause Paul gives the name of groanings which cannot be uttered to the prayers which believers send forth under the guidance of the Spirit. For those who are truly exercised in prayer are not unaware that blind anxieties so restrain and perplex them, that they can scarcely find what it becomes them to utter; nay, in attempting to lisp they halt and hesitate. Hence it appears that to pray aright is a special gift. We do not speak thus in indulgence to our sloths as if we were to leave the office of prayer to the Holy Spirit, and give way to that carelessness to which we are too prone. Thus we sometimes hear the impious expression, that we are to wait in suspense until he take possession of our minds while otherwise occupied. Our meaning is, that, weary of our own heartlessness and sloth, we are to long for the aid of the Spirit. Nor, indeed, does Paul, when he enjoins us to pray in the Spirit (Read 1 Corinthians 14:15), cease to exhort us to vigilance, intimating, that while the inspiration of the Spirit is effectual to the formation of prayer, it by no means impedes or retards our own endeavours; since in this matter God is pleased to try how efficiently faith influences our hearts.

1 Editor’s notation - Be careful for what you pray for. If I might be allowed to digress from the reading above with personal relation of a story. One time this editor and family were hurting in a big way. It is recalled that while walking down the road to the rail station, I uttered in a voice of desperation “ oh Lord, I don’t need a lot of lotto (that is a lottery), just a little bit would do nicely. The next day my winning ticket yielded one dollar. One could picture in one’s mind, God, saying, “I gave you what you wanted, now get to the back of the prayer line”
2 Editor’s notation - Take heed in the scripture the words “according to His will”. This is say, not to seek vain things, or treasures that will canker and be moth eaten by the whims of this carnal world