what we should ask of the Spirit

On Sundays we have condensed our service times so that we are finished with all three services by about 2:15 pm. Occasionally we take the opportunity to drive up-island to Courtenay BC where my brother pastors Grace Baptist Church of the Comox Valley and take in his service at 6:30 pm. It makes it a long day, but that way my wife and kids (and me) get to hear some good preaching for a change!

This last Sunday night was one of those occasions. (I was also heading up to pick up my beloved pickup truck which had been repaired by a man up there. A perfect Father’s Day, getting one’s truck back!) My brother preached a fine sermon from Daniel 9 (but ran out of time to finish everything – rats!)

The service included a number of favorites requested by the people. One of them especially ministered to my heart, a hymn we don’t have in our hymnal, but one well worth our consideration. To me, it encapsulates everything a believer should ask of the Holy Spirit, and one people so often miss in this age.

Note especially the second stanza: we aren’t asking for an experience, a vision, a sign, but rather that we might see and know our God better. And also note the line about unanswered prayer. Even in that there is a spiritual blessing we need from the Holy Spirit.

Spirit of God, descend upon my heart;
Wean it from earth; through all its pulses move;
Stoop to my weakness, mighty as Thou art;
And make me love Thee as I ought to love.

I ask no dream, no prophet ecstasies,
No sudden rending of the veil of clay,
No angel visitant, no opening skies;
But take the dimness of my soul away.

Teach me to feel that Thou art always nigh;
Teach me the struggles of the soul to bear.
To check the rising doubt, the rebel sigh,
Teach me the patience of unanswered prayer.

Hast Thou not bid me love Thee, God and King?
All, all Thine own, soul, heart and strength and mind.
I see Thy cross; there teach my heart to cling:
O let me seek Thee, and O let me find!

Teach me to love Thee as Thine angels love,
One holy passion filling all my frame;
The kindling of the heaven descended Dove,
My heart an altar, and Thy love the flame.

As you think on this hymn, I hope it might minister to your heart as well. You can hear the tune here at the cyberhymnal.


Answered prayer

[This update is by Duncan Johnson, written at his father’s behest.]

KJV Psalm 34:1-8 <A Psalm of David, when he changed his behaviour before Abimelech; who drove him away, and he departed.> I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

I found out yesterday about the medical procedure that my Dad underwent today. Dad called me at my home in South Carolina to tell me about it because it did involve some risk. The risk involved a very, very small percentage, but our family tries to avoid even the smallest risks, maybe because my grandfather sold insurance during his working days.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say, and my brothers (who were at my house at the time) weren’t either. We assured him of our prayers, and then we all tried to think of more pleasant things to discuss.

My sister kept us updated throughout the day today, first sending us an email at 2 PM Eastern time to tell us that Dad’s treatment had been delayed. Nothing serious, just part of life with Canadian socialized medicine. There was a possibility that Dad’s procedure would be delayed until tomorrow because of limited treatment space.

Fortunately, Dad was able to be treated today anyway, and the results of his test came back far better than we expected. Dad is doing fine, and no surgery is required — but no more Tim Horton’s donuts.

I’m so glad that even if the test results had returned with more serious news, our prayers would be addressed to the same God who helped David when he fled from Saul. Our weakness and distress today may not seem as dramatic as David’s trouble, but our God is always the same. We can still trust Him.

prayer request

I am scheduling this to post at the same time I will be checking in to our local hospital for a medical procedure. I anticipate that I will be back at it later in the day. The procedure has some risk attached to it, but the risk is quite small. I am confident in the Lord, wherever this journey takes me… but I am probably going to have to give up doughnuts. Alas!

If you have a moment, your prayers would be appreciated.


some sympathy for the sheep

… from an under-shepherd.

The last two weeks have been overtime weeks for me. Our men and I decided to renovate our fellowship room – to improve insulation and keep our heating costs somewhat in control next winter.

Of necessity, I became the designated painter for the project. [Note: this is not due to skill but due to availability.] Two days of painting last week, and two days of painting this week added hours to my responsibilities.

This is not a complaint, but an observation. In the midst of all this, I managed to listen to a Minnick message from his Whetstone Conference last summer on the value of personal devotional time for ministers. Yes! It is valuable. But…

[Read more…]

on daily grace

A post of praise to God for his daily grace: Yesterday, along with many others, we enjoyed Christmas with family. This year we gathered at my brother’s home in Courtenay, BC, a few hours north of us on the Island. Our family made the three hour trek up the Island in the early morning, then headed back down in the evening.

Our journey home was a little longer than expected…

[Read more…]