Monday, April 12, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 4/12/10

Agony in the Garden, Andrea Mantegna, 1460

Today's devotions are taken from Spurgeon's Daily Meditations.

First Devotion:

“My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.”
Psalm 22:14

Our blessed Lord experienced a terrible sinking and melting of soul. “The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit who can bear?” Deep depression of spirit is the most grievous of all trials; all besides is as nothing. Well might the suffering Saviour cry to his God, “Be not far from me,” for above all other seasons a man needs his God when his heart is melted within him because of heaviness. Believer, come near the cross this morning, and humbly adore the King of glory as having once been brought far lower, in mental distress and inward anguish, than any one among us; and mark his fitness to become a faithful High Priest, who can be touched with a feeling of our infirmities. Especially let those of us whose sadness springs directly from the withdrawal of a present sense of our Father’s love, enter into near and intimate communion with Jesus. Let us not give way to despair, since through this dark room the Master has passed before us. Our souls may sometimes long and faint, and thirst even to anguish, to behold the light of the Lord’s countenance: at such times let us stay ourselves with the sweet fact of the sympathy of our great High Priest. Our drops of sorrow may well be forgotten in the ocean of his griefs; but how high ought our love to rise! Come in, O strong and deep love of Jesus, like the sea at the flood in spring tides, cover all my powers, drown all my sins, wash out all my cares, lift up my earth-bound soul, and float it right up to my Lord’s feet, and there let me lie, a poor broken shell, washed up by his love, having no virtue or value; and only venturing to whisper to him that if he will put his ear to me, he will hear within my heart faint echoes of the vast waves of his own love which have brought me where it is my delight to lie, even at his feet forever.

First Prayer:

By Your faith endowed upon us as a gift of grace we lay all of this worlds grief at Your feet O Lord knowing the mercy of Your transcending love. Let us not be encompassed by despair, let us not be stricken by desperation or destitution but let us find compassion in Your tender precepts according to the hope of Your blessed assurances for our lives.

Be not far then O Lord from the lives of the crew of the MV Yasin C and the Rak Afrikana, hijacked and held captive, as they find the weight of bitter and brutal bondage now upon them. Walk beside these who are held in such grim estate and let not the sorrow of their bitter and brutal estate bear down on them. Let not their lives be held in the hands of wicked and unrighteous men, let not their souls be cast to the pits of despair but uplift them by Your love and hope as they are guided from to the places of Your peace and comfort.

Cast upon them Your Holy Spirit that they may find the courage to endure and the strength to stand firm, and by Your enduring grace set them free amidst the righteousness of Your hand that they shall find a new hope in their lives.

Then shall the light of Your love guide and protect Your people through all that they are and all that they face, carrying them from all darkness and destitution to the places where they may find rest from this weary world as the chains are broken and all bondage is set to flight.

Then shall Your name be praised for the mercy You bestow.... that mercy that always and forever shall be beyond compare.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Second Devotion:

But the gate of the fountain repaired Shallun the son of Colhozeh, the ruler of part of Mizpah; he built it, and covered it, and set up the doors thereof, the locks thereof, and the bars thereof, and the wall of the pool of Siloah by the king's garden, and unto the stairs that go down from the city of David.
Nehemiah 3:15

Mention of the king’s garden by Nehemiah brings to mind the paradise which the King of kings prepared for Adam. Sin has utterly ruined that fair abode of all delights, and driven forth the children of men to till the ground, which yields thorns and briers unto them. My soul, remember the fall, for it was thy fall. Weep much because the Lord of love was so shamefully ill-treated by the head of the human race, of which thou art a member, as undeserving as any. Behold how dragons and demons dwell on this fair earth, which once was a garden of delights.
See yonder another King’s garden, which the King waters with his bloody sweat—Gethsemane, whose bitter herbs are sweeter far to renewed souls than even Eden’s luscious fruits. There the mischief of the serpent in the first garden was undone: there the curse was lifted from earth, and borne by the woman’s promised seed. My soul, bethink thee much of the agony and the passion; resort to the garden of the olive-press, and view thy great Redeemer rescuing thee from thy lost estate. This is the garden of gardens indeed, wherein the soul may see the guilt of sin and the power of love, two sights which surpass all others.

Is there no other King’s garden? Yes, my heart, thou art, or shouldst be such. How do the flowers flourish? Do any choice fruits appear? Does the King walk within, and rest in the bowers of my spirit? Let me see that the plants are trimmed and watered, and the mischievous foxes hunted out. Come, Lord, and let the heavenly wind blow at thy coming, that the spices of thy garden may flow abroad. Nor must I forget the King’s garden of the church. O Lord, send prosperity unto it. Rebuild her walls, nourish her plants, ripen her fruits, and from the huge wilderness, reclaim the barren waste, and make thereof “a King’s garden.”

Second Prayer:

By Your love anointed do we bow before Your throne most High O Lord, seeking Your mercy in a lost and fallen world so prone to captivity and bondage. Let Your hope, Your grace, Your peace encompass the lives of Your creation and look upon the plight of those who suffer and struggle and hear their cries.

Cast Your Spirit upon Your people that they may be uplifted by the endowment of Your blessed gifts even as destitution and despair, hurt and sorrow, darkness and desperation seem so near at hand. Let not the agony and the anguish of captivity and bondage, slavery and persecution, poverty and disease so chain Your beloved children to a life of hopelessness and misery. Show forth Your mercy in their lives and give them rest.

O Lord there is so much unrighteousness, so much hurt, so much suffering. Yet it is You who restores the spirit and offers hope to the soul, it is You who mends the broken heart and binds up all wounds. Let the mercy of Your love and compassion encompass then their lives in the hope that You can offer unto them as Your light sets to flight all darkness that would so seek to break them.

Then shall the transcending grace of Your Holy works be glorified as Your children find freedom as they are delivered from all the bondage that would so seek to destroy them. Then shall Your Holy name be sanctified for the blessings that You have bestowed upon Your creation in the mercy of Your liberty granted in Your love.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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