Two Invaluable Truths from Suffering

“But when we survey all the sources from which trouble comes, it all resolves itself into two invaluable truths: First, that our troubles at last are of the Lord. They come with His consent He is in all of them, and is interested in us when they press and bruise us. And secondly, that our troubles, no matter what the cause, whether of ourselves, or men or devils, or even God Himself, we are warranted in taking them to God in prayer, in praying over them, and in seeking to get the greatest spiritual benefits out of them” (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, 25).

Advertisements

Greater Concern for Spiritual Matters

An important reminder and reproof from E.M. Bounds,

If it be contended that the work of God is progressing, and that we are growing in holiness, then some perplexing questions arise which will be hard to answer. If the Church is making advances on the lines of deep spirituality—if we are a praying people, noted for our prayer habits—if our people are hungering after holiness—then let us ask, why do we now have so few mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit on our chief churches and our principal appointments? Why is it that so few of our revivals spring from the life of the pastor, who is noted for his deep spirituality, or the life of our church? Is the Lord’s hand shortened that He cannot save? Is His ear heavy that He cannot hear? Why is it that in order to have so-called revivals, we must have outside pressure, by the reputation and sensation of some renowned evangelist? This is largely true in our larger charges and with our leading men. Why is it that the pastor is not sufficiently spiritual, holy and in communion with God, that he cannot hold his own revival services, and have large outpourings of the Holy Spirit on the Church, the community and upon himself? There can be but one solution for all this state of things. We have cultivated other things to the neglect of the work of holiness. We have permitted our minds to be preoccupied with material things in the Church. Unfortunately, whether designedly or not, we have substituted the external for the internal. We have put that which is seen to the front and shut out that which is unseen. It is all too true as to the Church, that we are much further advanced in material matters than in matters spiritual (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, 33).

Advancing the Church in Spiritual Matters

It’s difficult to read E.M. Bounds on prayer and leave his work without being convicted or challenged or both.  Here’s another one of his probing paragraphs.

If it be contended that the work of God is progressing, and that we are growing in holiness, then some perplexing questions arise which will be hard to answer. If the Church is making advances on the lines of deep spirituality—if we are a praying people, noted for our prayer habits—if our people are hungering after holiness—then let us ask, why do we now have so few mighty outpourings of the Holy Spirit on our chief churches and our principal appointments? Why is it that so few of our revivals spring from the life of the pastor, who is noted for his deep spirituality, or the life of our church? Is the Lord’s hand shortened that He cannot save? Is His ear heavy that He cannot hear? Why is it that in order to have so-called revivals, we must have outside pressure, by the reputation and sensation of some renowned evangelist? This is largely true in our larger charges and with our leading men. Why is it that the pastor is not sufficiently spiritual, holy and in communion with God, that he cannot hold his own revival services, and have large outpourings of the Holy Spirit on the Church, the community and upon himself? There can be but one solution for all this state of things. We have cultivated other things to the neglect of the work of holiness. We have permitted our minds to be preoccupied with material things in the Church. Unfortunately, whether designedly or not, we have substituted the external for the internal. We have put that which is seen to the front and shut out that which is unseen. It is all too true as to the Church, that we are much further advanced in material matters than in matters spiritual (E.M. Bounds, The Essentials of Prayer, 33).

E.M Bounds on the Inseparable Union of Preaching and Prayer

For [expository preaching’s] successful accomplishment, however, a preacher needs must be a man of prayer.  For every hour spent in his study-chair, he will have to spend two upon his knees.  For every hour he devotes to wrestling with an obscure passage of Holy Writ, he must have two in the which to be found wrestling with God.  Prayer and preaching: preaching and prayer!  They cannot be separated.  The ancient cry was: “To your tents, O Israel!”  The modern cry should be: “To your knees, O preachers, to your knees!” (E.M. Bounds, The Necessity of Prayer, 66)

Short devotions are the bane of deep piety

A brief, but powerful statement from E.M. Bounds–a man who knew something about personal piety. 

Our devotions are not measured by the clock, but time is of their essence. The ability to wait and stay and press belongs essentially to our intercourse with God. Hurry, everywhere unseeming and damaging, is so to an alarming extent in the great business of communion with God. Short devotions are the bane of deep piety. Calmness, grasp, strength, are never the companions of hurry. Short devotions deplete spiritual vigor, arrest spiritual progress, sap spiritual foundations, blight the root and bloom of spiritual life. They are the prolific source of backsliding, the sure indication of a superficial piety; they deceive, blight, rot the seed, and impoverish the soil (E.M. Bounds, Power Through Prayer).

You can read Power Through Prayer online for free through the Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

Post Interval

It has been a while since I’ve posted–over a month to be precise.  I imagine that all my readers (I know, the plural is a stretch) have been anxiously waiting for my next post (talk about an unfounded claim).  Perhaps an exchange between both of them might sound something like this:

“I haven’t seen a post on Roman’s blog lately.”

“Yeah.  I haven’t either.”

“He must be really into his next post.”

“Yeah.”

(As you can see, writing scripts is not my calling.)

Well, sorry to disappoint.  A great post this is not.  So why haven’t I posted in over a month?

World cup?  Nope (but go USA!)

NBA finals?  Nope.  But this easily takes precedence over the world cup (Go Lakers!) 

Minnesota Twins baseball?  Absolutely not.  All Minnesota sports teams annoy me (Go anyone playing a MN team!)

It has been and continues to be a busy ministry season.  When I’m not working on church related stuff, I’m enjoying time with Julie and our kids.  It’s great!

So check back in.  I plan to get on a blog roll again rather quickly.

Before I close this out, however, I don’t want to leave you with a nagging sense (as you might already have) that you just wasted a few precious moments of your life.  So I’ll leave you with this gem of a quote from E.M. Bounds in his Power Through Prayer, chapter 10 “Prayer and Devotion United,”

Prayer is the creator as well as the channel of devotion. The spirit of devotion is the spirit of prayer. Prayer and devotion are united as soul and body are united, as life and the heart are united. There is no real prayer without devotion, no devotion without prayer. The preacher must be surrendered to God in the holiest devotion. He is not a professional man, his ministry is not a profession; it is a divine institution, a divine devotion. He is devoted to God. His aim, aspirations, ambition are for God and to God, and to such prayer is as essential as food is to life.