Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Muslim Christian Dialogue: Zawadi & Anyabwile (Parts 1-8)

The following videos are from the Muslim Christian Dialogue held on March 2, 2009 held in Dubai, UAE. Check this out.

Part 1: Welcoming Comments

Parts 2-4: Zawadi's Opening Remarks

Parts 5-8: Anyabwile’s Opening Remarks

Monday, April 27, 2009

Mortify Sin Even in Grief (John Owen)

To Mrs Polhill.

Dear Madam,

-----The trouble express in yours is a great addition to mine; the sovereignty of divine wisdom and grace is all that I have at this day to retreat unto; God direct you thereunto also, and you will find rest and peace. It adds to my trouble that I cannot possibly come down to you this week. Nothing but engaged duty could keep me from you one hour: yet I am conscious how little I can contribute to your guidance in this storm, or your satisfaction. Christ is your pilot; and however the vessel is tossed whilst he seems to sleep, he will arise and rebuke these winds and waves in his own time. I have done it, and yet shall farther wrestle with God for you, according to the strength he is pleased to communicate. Little it is which at this distance I can mind you of; yet some few things are necessary. Sorrow not too much for the dead; she is entered into rest, and is taken away from the evil to come. Take heed lest, by too much grief, you too much grieve that Holy Spirit, who is infinitely more to us than all natural relations. I blame you not that you so far attend to the call of God in this dispensation as to search yourself, to judge and condemn yourself: grace can make it an evidence to you that you shall not be judged or condemned of the Lord. I dare not say that this chastisement was not needful. We are not in heaviness unless need be; but if God be pleased to give you a discovery of the wisdom and care that is in it, and how needful it was to awaken and restore your soul in any thing, perhaps in many things, in due time you will see grace and love in it also. I verily believe God expects, in this dealing with you, that you should judge yourself, your sins and your decays; but he would not have you misjudge your condition. But we are like froward children, who, when they are rebuked and corrected, neglect other things, and only cry that their parents hate and reject them. You are apt to fear, to think and say, that you are one whom God regards not, who are none of his; and that for sundry reasons which you suppose you can plead. But, saith God, this is not the business; this is a part of your frowardness. I call you to quicken your grace, to amend your own ways; and you think you have nothing to do but to question my love. Pray, madam, my dear sister, child and care, beware you lose not the advantage of this dispensation; you will do so, if you use it only to afflictive sorrows, or questioning of the love of God, or your interest in Christ. The time will be spent in these things which should be taken up in earnest endeavours after a compliance with God’s will, quickening of grace, returns after backsliding, mortification of sin and love of the world, until the sense of it do pass away. Labour vigorously to bring your soul to this twofold resolution: ----- 1. That the will of God is the best rule for all things, and their circumstances; 2. That you will bring yourself into a fresh engagement to live more to him: and you will find the remainder of your work easy; for it is part of the yoke of Christ. I shall trouble you no farther, but only to give you the assurance that you are in my heart continually, which is nothing; but it helps to persuade me that you are in the heart of Christ, which is all.

-----I am, dear madam, your very affectionate servant,
J. Owen

[Owen, John The Glory of Christ; The Works of John Owen Volume 1: Life of Dr. Owen by Rev. A. Thomson (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), 117-8.]

Every Work of God Is Good, Even in Sorrow (John Owen)

To the Lady Hartopp

Dear Madam,

-----Every work of God is good; the Holy One in the midst of us will do no iniquity; and all things shall work together for good unto them that love him, even those things which at present are not joyous, but grievous; only his time is to be waited for, and his way submitted unto, that we seem not to be displeased in our hearts that he is Lord over us. Your dear infant is in the eternal enjoyment of the fruits of all our prayers; for the covenant of God is ordered in all things, and sure. We shall go to her; she shall not return to us. Happy she was in this above us, that she had so speedy an issue of sin and misery, being born only to exercise your faith and patience, and to glorify God’s grace in her eternal blessedness. My trouble would be great on the account of my absence at this time from you both, but that this also is the Lord’s doing; and I know my own uselessness wherever I am. But this I will beg of God for you both, that you may not faint in this day of trial, ----- that you may have a clear view of those spiritual and temporal mercies wherewith you are yet intrusted (all undeserved), ----- that sorrow of the world may not so overtake your hearts as to disenable to any duties, to grieve the Spirit, to prejudice your lives; for it tends to death. God in Christ will be better to you than ten children, and will so preserve your remnant, and so said to them, as shall be for his glory and your comfort. Only consider that sorrow in this case is no duty; it is an effect of sin, whose cure by grace we should endeavour. Shall I say, Be cheerful? I know I may. God help you to honour grace and mercy in a compliance therewith.

My heart is with you, my prayers shall be for you, and I am, dear madam, your most affectionate friend and unworthy pastor,
J. Owen

[Owen, John The Glory of Christ; The Works of John Owen Volume 1: Life of Dr. Owen by Rev. A. Thomson (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), 116-7.]

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Don't Waste Your Bereavement (Robert Murray M'Cheyne)

Another to one bereaved. Betake yourself to Him that is ever the same.

March 9, 1843

My Dear -----,

----- I did not think I would have been so long in answering you in your time of sorrow, but I have been more than occupied. I earnestly trust that this sad bereavement may be greatly blessed by God to you. Pray that you may not lose this precious opportunity to giving your hand and heart for ever away to the Lord Jesus. May Hosea 2:14 be fulfilled in you all: “Behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her;” and that clear promise: “I will cause you to pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant” (Ezek 20:35-37). This solemn event shows you what I always used to tell you, how short your life is, ----- what a vapour, ----- how soon the joys that depend on the creatures may be dried up; that “one thin is needful,” and that Mary was wise in choosing the good part that cannot be taken away from her. You remember the first night you were in St. Peter’s I showed you this preaching from Psalm 41:6: “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places, and I have a goodly heritage.” I am indeed more than ever anxious about you, that you receive not the grace of God in vain. It is the furnace that tries the metal, and it is affliction that tries the soul whether it be Christ’s or not. I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, lest the furnace should show you to be reprobate silver. Do let me hear how your soul truly is, ----- whether you can see the hand of a Father in this bereavement, ----- and whether you are more than ever determined, through grace, to be the Lord’s. How sweet that Jesus ever liveth! He is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. You will never find Jesus so precious as when the world is one vast howling wilderness. Then He is like a rose blooming in the midst of the desolation, ----- a rock rising above the storm. The Bible, too, is more full of meaning. Have you ever prayed over that verse: “He doth not afflict willingly” ? (Lam 3:33). Oh, precious book, that conveys such a message to the mourner’s dwelling! And does not trial bring more meaning out of that verse: “We know that all things work together for the good of them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose?” (Rom 8:28). The Bible is like the leaves of the lemon-tree – the more you bruise and wring them, the sweeter the fragrance they throw around. “Is any afflicted? let him pray.” Do you not find that prayer is sweeter now? The soul finds vent for its feelings toward God. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” When I had my fever abroad, Mr. Bonar whispered that verse into my ear. I had nearly lost all my faculties, ----- I could remember nothing except that I was far from home; but that verse kept sounding in my ears when I was nearly insensible: “I called, and He delivered me.”

Are you preparing to go to the Lord’s table next Lord’s day? May you indeed have the wedding garment, -----righteousness without works, ----- and see the King in His beauty, ----- and give yourself away to Him, saying, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine!” It should be a solemn sacrament to you. I can add no more. Write me soon, dear G-----, and tell me all that is in your heart, and whether the voice of the Comforter does not say, Be still! when death has left so deep a silence in your family. ----- Believe me ever your friend in Jesus, etc.

[M’Cheyne, Robert Murray Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne Ed. Andrew Bonar (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 331-2.]

Robert Murray M'Cheyne on Bereavement

To one who had met with a bereavement. Sorrow of the world—Incidents

March 8, 1843

My Dear ------,

-----I know you will be wearying to hear from me; but it has scarcely been in my power till now, I have had so many things to do since my return. I trust Jesus is making known to you His power to calm the soul in the deepest trials. “Where is your faith?” He said to the disciples; and He says to you: “All things are possible to him that believeth.”

I was much afflicted for your sakes to read the solemn letter you sent me. Do you remember the words, “He must needs go through Samaria?” We are getting new light upon their meaning.

I was reading to-day about godly sorrow, and the sorrow of the world. Do you know the difference between these two?

Had this blow come upon you in your unconverted state, it would have wrought, perhaps, only the sorrow of the world, ----- carnal sorrow, ----- sorrow that drives us away from God, ----- makes us murmur and complain of His dealings. Like Pharaoh, who turned harder every blow that God struck, ----- even the loss of his first-born only hardened him. But godly sorrow, or, more literally, “sorrow towards God,” ----- grief that brings us to the feet of God, ----- worketh repentance unto salvation, not to be repented of. It is used as an instrument to bring the humbled soul to cleave to Jesus. Oh may it be so with you! Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, and He shall exalt you in due season. Improve the season while it lasts. The farmer improves the seed-time, to cast in the seed into the furrows. Now, when God has made long the furrow by the plough of affliction in your heart, oh, see that you let the sower sow the good seed deep in your hearts. I trust H. B----- may be made a great blessing and comfort to you next Sabbath. May you all be enabled to meet with Jesus at His own table, and to tell Him all your sorrows there, and ask grace to keep you in the evil day.

I would like well to be with you; but in body this may not be. In heart I am often with you, because I can say what I was reading to-day: “Ye are in my heart to live and to die with you” (2 Cor 7:3).

I preached twenty-seven times when I was away, in twenty-four different places. I was very, very tired, and my heart has beat too much ever since, but I am wonderfully well. I have “fightings without the fears within” just now. Do pray earnestly for me, ----- as indeed I know you do. I wish you had been with me last night. When I was away, the people agreed to meet twice a week in the lower schoolroom to pray for me; and now that I have come back, we have continued the meetings. The school is quite crammed. Such sweet loud singing of praise I never heard, and many tears.

I stood by a poor socialist in the agonies of death to-day. He was quite well yesterday. He anxiously wished me to come and pray. Oh to be ready when the Bridegroom comes!

Farewell. Peace from above fill your soul, your friend and brother prays, etc.

[M’Cheyne, Robert Murray Memoir & Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne Ed. Andrew Bonar (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth Trust, 2004), 329-30.]