For it is by grace you have been saved...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Preaching to Yourself

Last week was a frustrating week. I had a relapse of the bug that our family has been passing around, and round two was worse than round one. Lost my voice for the whole week, felt lousy, etc. Then Cheryl blew a tire on the van. Praise God she was ok, but in the midst of my deathly illness I had to drive out and change her tire and go buy a new one (ok, so deathly illness is a slight exaggeration, but that’s who I am!).

Then, my truck leaves me stranded on a busy city street, and the nearest parking lot I coasted into was…a bar. Not good for the guy whose most popular blog post is An Argument Against Alcohol! Managed to get it running and to my car guy, who thought he had it fixed, but when I picked it up I only made it a couple miles down the road when it shut down again. (His wife, ever the encourager, told me…”now you know how we feel when one of your sermons doesn’t quite get going!” She was kidding…I hope.) So after the second “stranding” in one day, I had it towed back.

Then word comes that my father is back in the hospital with blood clots in his lungs, making everything else look as trivial as it was all along. All in all, a stressful week. I know others have it worse, much worse, but this was one of those times when I really thought, ok, enough is enough already. Poor me. Pity party time.

Every have a day like that, or a week, or a month?! What’s nice in the midst of times like this is to have someone nearby to help put things in perspective, to give you a kick in the pants, to remind you of the goodness of God, etc. But sometimes, that person might not be there. And at times like that we may just have to learn to preach to ourselves.

I’ve always enjoyed David’s ability to do that, and one of my favorites is the duo found in Psalms 42 and 43, which many consider one Psalm. (And yes, I know the title says that it is a song given to the Choirmaster, a Maskil, either of the Sons of Korah, or for the Sons of Korah, depending on your translation. The Hebrew there is vague enough that it can be either, and if it is “for” the author can easily be David. In fact, Spurgeon said: “Although David is not mentioned as the author, this Psalm must be the offspring of his pen; it is so Davidic, it smells of the son of Jesse, it bears the marks of his style and experience in every letter.” That’s good enough for me).

Anyway, in the midst of his struggles, in the midst of the trials that have assaulted him both from within and without, David takes the time in this Psalm to preach to himself. To call his own soul to get a proper perspective on things. The common refrain throughout this song is in verses 5 and 11 of Psalm 42, and then verse 5 of Psalm 43. David says to himself: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.” The rest of the psalm, or psalms, then fills in both the trials he faces and the reasons for him to be reminded of this hope in God.

Why are you downcast? Why are you in turmoil? Have you ever said that to yourself? As someone who deals occasionally with anxiety, I’ve preached this to myself more than once. We might paraphrase it like this: What’s wrong with you? I know things might be bad. I know there are those who oppose you, and there are other trials facing you, but don’t you remember who it is that you serve? Remember. That’s the key. Remembering.

And through the course of these combined psalms our minds are called to remember several different things as we preach to ourselves, to encourage ourselves out of the muck and mire in our own hearts. So for anyone who might be a bit like me and occasionally feel the need to give yourself a little kick, very quickly, here are six things David encourages us to remember in preaching to yourself.

I. REMEMBER OUR PASSION. Psalm 42 begins: As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

My soul thirsts for Him! This should be our priority. Actually, this should be our priority at all times, not just when things are difficult; but David reminds us that when things are difficult, the first place we should be looking, the first thing we should be seeking, the most dominate thought in our mind should be a passionate desire for God. When life’s struggles get to us, the first place we ought to look is to our passionate desire for God. Preach to yourself to cry out to God: I desperately want you. I desperately need you. Seek him with every ounce of your being, and remember that being in his presence leads us to worship. Which is the second thing David causes us to remember

II. REMEMBER OUR WORSHIP. Part of the reason David is longing for God so passionately seems to be because he has been separated from the corporate worship of God’s people in Jerusalem. Verse 2 ends with the question: when shall I come and appear before God? Obviously God is present at all times and all places, so David must be referring to appearing in God’s tabernacle. Verse four carries on with that theme as the king remembers those times when he was there, leading the throng in procession to the house of God; remembering the glad shouts and the songs of praise that he shared with God’s people in worship.

Worship is powerful medicine. During our times of trial, one of the things that we should call to mind is the joy and gladness we’ve had while with God’s people, worshipping and adoring His holy name together. And once God brings us through the trials, our hearts are again brought back to worship. Verse 4 of Psalm 43, says “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with they lyre, O God, my God.” God is my exceeding joy. Remember that. Preach that to your soul as you struggle. Remember the worship of God’s people and the joy of that fellowship, and let that encourage you.

III. REMEMBER HIS LOVE. Verse 8 of Psalm 42 calls us to remember that by day the Lord commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. By day and by night, remember His steadfast love, and let that be a song of joy to us. In fact, the word here for steadfast love is the word Chesed, which describes God’s covenantal love; His merciful kindness towards the objects of that love. It implies an active work on His part, a kindness that He exhibits, a mercy and love He demonstrates. And we see the demonstration of that over and over. Remember His love and what He has done for us.

IV. REMEMBER HIS TRUTH. Verse 3 of Psalm 43. “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!” God’s truth, like His love, is concrete and unmovable. His light and His truth remain intact no matter what the outward circumstances of our lives might look like. It may seem like we are failing and falling. It may seem like the enemy is gaining ground and that the shadows and darkness of evil are growing and winning. But His light and His truth will prevail. We need to remember and look to that light and truth. We need to let His Word, His truth lead us and guide us and pull us out of our despair. Because included in that truth are the myriads of precious promises God has given to His children.

Among His promises is never the promise to keep us from every trial, but He does give us the truth that in all things, He is at work, and He will uphold us in and through any trial. Which is the next thing to remember.

V. REMEMBER OUR REFUGE. Psalm 43, verse 2, for you are the God in whom I take refuge. Verse 9 of the previous psalm calls God our rock. He is our rock and our refuge, our hiding place.

He is the stronghold of my life, my rock, my fortress, my refuge. Of whom shall I be afraid? When the enemy attacks, know that God is our defense. When trials threaten to overcome, know that God is our strong tower to hide in. When things seem to be getting shaky, know that God is our rock, our firm ground to stand on. Preach this to yourself. God is my rock. God is my refuge. Run to Him. Take cover in Him. Hide in Him. He will vindicate His people. As Paul said in Romans, If God is for us, who can be against us? Good question, isn’t it.

VI. REMEMBER OUR HOPE. Look again at this recurring theme: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Hope in God. He is our hope. Nothing else is worth holding on to.

He is our hope and our salvation. In fact, He is our hope because He is our salvation. Christ is the only one worth holding on to because Christ is the one who brings us salvation. He died to give us that. He paid the ultimate price to bring us into a relationship with the Father. That ought to give us the ultimate hope and confidence.

Again, preach that to yourself. Tell yourself over and over again: He is my hope and my salvation. He is my refuge and my rock. His truth and His love are solid foundations on which to stand, and they both promise me His presence through all things. And that presence ought to be the one thing I desire more than anything. Even more than the removal of this trial, I long for Him. I long to worship Him, to enjoy the fellowship of His people as we worship Him together.

So why are you downcast? Remember these things. Hold on to these things. Preach it to yourself over and over. No one said it would be easy. Of course, that’s why even better than preaching to yourself is having a good, solid church family to embrace you and encourage you and uplift you. But in addition, we need to continue preaching to ourselves.

I hope this might encourage someone today. I hope it helps you move forward in faith and confidence, preaching these truths to yourself and to others who may need to hear it. And may God be glorified in us as we live for Him each day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Open Letter to Sen. Claire McCaskill

(One of our Senators from Missouri came through the area last night touting her effort to reduce spending. What follows is my response; merely the opinion of one voter)

Dear Honorable Senator:

We all know that we are in tough economic times. We all know the Federal Deficit is outrageous and spending is out of control. It is very refreshing to hear one of our elected officials admit these things. It’s nice to hear you speak of a new package of reforms you are proposing to "make sure the same rules apply for members of Congress as they do for everyday Americans." It’s nice to hear you say the “pain must be shared.” However, it is very disappointing to hear in the same breath “recommendations” that seem to be designed more to obtain positive press than to effect any real solution.

For example, the “reforms” you recommend would create an independent “watchdog” to give oversight to Senate spending, etc. The idea sounds good: someone who isn’t beholden to either party keeping an eye on things. However, only in Washington does this make sense: create a new job, spending tax payer money to do so, in an effort to save tax payer money. More bureaucracy, more spending, is not the way to save money. This is a shell game, smoke and mirrors; not a real solution.

Furthermore, you suggest that Senators give up 10% of their office budget to help pay down the deficit. Again, may sound good at first, but let’s think about this. First of all, I don’t know how much your budget is, but I have a hard time believing that this %10 is going to even make a dent in the $14 trillion debt. It’s a token amount at best, though we appreciate the effort.

And second, you are giving up the part of your budget which pays your office staff. In other words, you are generously offering up someone else’s paycheck. It’s easy to “share the pain” when putting it on someone else. If you really care about the state and the nation, if you are really concerned about the overspending, etc., and if you really want to make an offer that will not only resonate with the voters but will make a real difference, how about cutting your own salary.

Public information shows that the average rank and file member of the U. S. House and Senate makes a salary of $174,000 per year. That’s salary. Of course we all know there are other benefits. According to the recent census, that is nearly four times the salary of the “everyday Americans” you represent in Missouri. Four times.

In the last several years, businesses right here in Missouri have had to make tough decisions: either cut back salaries or lay off workers. In some cases, they’ve had to do both. If you are truly concerned about helping the economy, how about truly running the Senate like any other business; when you are that far in debt, cut salaries; stop spending in general.

I’m sorry, but it’s hard to accept your sincerity when your only offer is to create more tax payer funded bureaucracy and to take away money from the people who work for you, while you continue to make well above the average income of those who are taxed so heavily to pay your own salary.

It’s nice that you admit there is a problem. It’s nice that you claim to want to do something about it. It’s very nice that you have cut your own office budget, reportedly, by 10%. However, I would strongly urge you to go back and consider making some real changes, not just some token effort to make it look like you’re trying to save tax payer money.

Homeschooler Moment #3

So I went to the library and checked out a copy of the old classic Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I told the kids I wanted to watch it for a number of reasons: it’s a good old movie, it has lots of historical value, it teaches a lot about how government works, how bills are passed, etc.

My 16 years old son listens patiently and then asks: how many subjects do we get to count it for? At least I’m teaching them the value of getting the most out of every situation, right?

Monday, February 21, 2011

God's Word Battles the World's Lies

In light of the recent post regarding the reminder for God's Word to be our central source of all truth, combatting the world's lies, etc. I thought this might be useful. This is from a series of lessons Paul Washer is teaching on the Children's Catechsim. Though it's aimed at children, this is a wonderful lesson.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

How Would You Respond?

Back in January, I posted a piece about Jacob’s encounter with God, and how it reminds us that coming to know God should change us. Just recently, I received a long comment (covering two comments actually) from someone who said that they had a “vision” of God, an encounter with Him, and are looking for some answers.

I almost didn’t post those comments, but then realized that this person needed some answers. I honestly fired off the response pretty quickly, so it’s probably not as good, nor nearly as complete, as it could/should have been.

What I’d like to do is re-post some of that here in hopes that others might be able to offer more to this person. I’ll begin by giving just a brief version of their post, followed by my response. If you have some good word to offer this person, please post it here. My prayer is that they will see through the deception of the enemy and seek the truth of God in His Word. Thanks in advance for any and all responses.

This person wrote in part:
Thank you for a very good post that happens to speak volumes to me at this moment... I suppose also that I am looking for a response from you or anyone else who may come across this comment.
As I noted above, I feel I have had a physical encounter with God.

I was sitting, with music playing in my headphones, at the computer reviewing a comment I had posted a day or so earlier on another blog about my belief in God's purpose for humanity … the space between myself and the computer was filled with the image of a desolate plain, massive flat topped mountains with a valley in between and with a dim sun in the distance. This was not a scene on my computer because I could still see my blog screen through these opaque images. I could also still hear the music in my headphones...but there was this literal image or vision in front of my eyes. It was like watching a movie…

Immediately, an immense robed smokey, gray being appeared in the valley. It towered above the mountains. It appeared to be searching for me, caught sight of me and advanced toward me. My perspective changed and I was watching myself standing on a plateau that the figure approached. I knew immediately that He was God and I was afraid…

A giant hand grabbed me by the throat and lifted me into the air…His hand was so immense around my neck that I couldn't grab hold and felt like a rag doll in His grip. He tightened the grip and drew me higher up into the sky. I didn't feel like I was being choked just held very firmly.

I stared at the Being that I thought was God but He never spoke to me. I thought that he was going to crush me but I couldn't speak... I honestly felt like He was annoyed with me as a parent might be with a pestering child. His hand dropped me back to the ground and His smokey gigantic form turned from and walked back through the valley...

Thank you for indulging my rambling comment. Any insight you might have on my experience would be greatly appreciated.

Much has been edited here. Go to the original post and read the comments if you want the full story. Here now was my hasty response:

KE: To be honest, I almost did not allow these comments to be posted. But I wanted to share some things with you and this was the only way I could figure out. I hope you come back and read this.

I don’t doubt that you had a real “experience.” But not all experiences are necessarily of God. We spent several years on an Indian reservation where folks had all sorts of encounters with spiritual power. But we must always remind ourselves that God is not the only One at work in the spiritual realm. We have an enemy who is called the Father of Lies. He is a deceiver and does all he can to trick people into thinking he is divine, on par with God. He is not.

The experience you relate is not at all consistent with God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture. Since He chose to reveal Himself to us in this way, we are to then interpret any other experiences by what He has already said and done. He has never, and will never contradict Himself, or act out of “character.” Your experience does not “jive” with the God of Scripture.

John Wycliffe wrote: “The true Christian was intended by Christ to prove all things by the Word of God, all churches, all ministers, all teaching, all preaching, all doctrines, all sermons, all writings, all opinions, all practices. These are his marching orders. Prove all by the Word of God; measure all by the measure of the Bible; compare all with the standard of the Bible; weigh all in the balances of the Bible; examine all by the light of the Bible; test all in the crucible of the Bible. That which cannot abide the fire of the Bible, reject, refuse, repudiate, and cast away. This is the flag which he nailed to the mast. May it never be lowered!”

God has already reached out to His people, ultimately and permanently in the person of Christ. If you want a true touch from God, to truly experience Him, seek a relationship with the Father through the Son; and search for Him in His Holy Word. Only there will you find Him. In fact, He tells us clearly that you can’t know the Father apart from the Son.

The truth is, God is more than “annoyed.” Because of our sin, we have become separated from Him. Because He is pure and righteous, He must punish that sin. He must! But in His grace and mercy, He chose to send His Son to die in our place, to take that punishment upon Himself, and give the righteousness of His Son in its place. There’s the only “sign” you need. If you’re seeking an experience, seek the experience of God’s grace through faith in Christ.

Seek Christ. Seek Him in His Word. This is the only way to know Him, the only way to experience Him. Everything else is a fake and a fraud. Don’t be deceived. Seek Christ. Confess you sinfulness and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Again, my purpose for reposting all this is simply to ask for others to provide more help to this person. The simple answer is still “seek Him in His Word,” but some may offer more practical/pointed help. In the end, I ask that you would also pray for this person, that they would find God’s Truth in Christ and the enemy’s deception would be destroyed. And to God be the Glory.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Birthday Wish

As I celebrate another anniversary of life in this world, I can’t help but reflect on the whole idea of getting older. And as I think of that, I begin to consider the issue of what’s truly important. On May 15th, 1887, C. H. Spurgeon preached a message from John 12:36 – “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” The emphasis of that message is on the importance of believing the light of Christ while that light is still available, because the time will come when that’s no longer the case.

The issue of growing older fits here because of the line in that sermon which says: “as it is with the pastor, so is it with the people, we are all getting older. We have entered middle life, the great mass of us, and consequently our mortality is largely increasing; and every time we meet we may be positively certain that we shall never all of us meet again here.” His plea is that people will hear and respond to the message of Christ’s grace before it’s too late. I would say this fits into the category of “what’s truly important.”

This being Valentine’s Day, this also fits into the category of a message of love. Because I love you, I want you to know the greatest love of all, that which God demonstrated in the death of His Son as an atoning sacrifice for sin. To plea with you to know the light and love of Christ is the most loving message I can offer.

And so, for my birthday, I offer you this gift. Here is a part of that message from Pastor Spurgeon urging you to embrace the light of Christ while there is still time.

"Do not reckon upon always having it, for the light may be removed from you. My dear hearer, the day may come when you will have to go away from this country, and be found far off in the bush of Australia, or the backwoods of America; or you may even in this country be located where you will not be able to hear the gospel, for what you will hear will not be the gospel, and you will be obliged to confess that it is not. Therefore, while you have the light, remember that it is a favorable season for your decision for Christ. The day may come, as I said before, when the voice that has thrilled you again and again, and that wakes the echoes of your soul’s most secret chambers, shall be silent in death; the time may come when, although your minister and you yourself are left still in the same place, yet, so far as you are concerned, the Holy Spirit will be gone, and so the light will have departed from you.

Take heed, I beseech you, lest it really be so; and use the light while you have it. It may, perhaps, seem to some of you that I am raising a needless alarm; but indeed it is not so. I do not think that, for many a day, I have come to this platform to speak to you without being informed, during the day, of some one or two who have passed into eternity out of this congregation. Years ago, the bulk of us, as church-members, were young, and we lost comparatively few by the stroke of death; but, as it is with the pastor, so is it with the people, we are all getting older. We have entered middle life, the great mass of us, and consequently our mortality is largely increasing; and every time we meet we may be positively certain that we shall never all of us meet again here. Between this Sabbath and next Sabbath some in the ranks of our membership will have passed into heaven, and some out of our congregation will have been called to stand before God.

I feel, therefore, like the guard of a train that is just ready to start. The time is up for us to be off, and the guard’s whistle has been blown, but there is somebody who wants to talk to me about politics, or there is another person who wants to discuss a theological difficulty; and I feel bound to say, “Sir, the time is up, we must start at once; will you come on board, or must you be left behind? While the train is here at the platform, enter it, take your place, and journey with us to Zion, for now it is time for us to go. We cannot stop here for ever.” Time and tide wait for no man; neither will God for ever wait for men to turn unto him and live; but the hour shall come when all opportunities will be past, when the gate of mercy will be finally shut. You remember how it was with the wise virgins and the bridegroom, “they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.”

God bless that word of warning! He can bless it, however feebly it may have been spoken."

I pray instead of the light of candles on a cake, you would see the light of Christ’s love and embrace His glorious, saving grace today.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our Goal: To Please God

What are you living for? What is your ultimate goal? Who are you trying to please? The old catechism answer says that our chief aim is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. So what does that mean? Simply, it means our goal is to please God.

In Ephesians 5 we are told that our goal is to “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8b-10, ESV) Take out the parenthetical statement in verse 9 and what we are left with is simply: “Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.”

Find out what pleases the Lord, one translation says. KJV says – Proving what is acceptable to the Lord. The word literally means to test, but has the meaning of discerning or examining. And the word for pleasing or acceptable comes from two words: the word for well or good, and the word for agreeable or pleasing. Literally then it means that which is well pleasing or fully agreeable.

So what we’re told in this verse is that we should be testing or discerning, trying to find or discover that which is well pleasing and fully agreeable to God. To walk as children of light in such a way that we discover what is pleasing to God.

I looked for other places where these words were used and I found almost the same phrase in Romans 12:2. In verses 1and 2 of Romans 12, Paul says:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (ESV)

If we put these two texts together we get somewhat of a circular argument.

1. Our goal is to please God. Our goal is to determine what pleases Him. Our aim is His pleasure. 2 Corinthians 5:9 says, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him,” or to be acceptable to Him. That’s our aim.

Unfortunately I don’t think pleasing God is always our aim. In fact, we’re often not even trying to find out what it is that pleases Him. We’re much more concerned about what pleases us, aren’t we? Or what pleases our friends and family, or whatever. But we are clearly told that our aim should be to please God, to determine what it is that pleases Him.

2. To please God we must seek His will. To determine what pleases God is intimately tied up in discerning what His will is. That seems somewhat obvious, since His will is for us to please Him. Paul says in Romans that we need to discern what is His pleasing will.

Again, I don’t think we’re as concerned about that as we are about our own will sometimes. Even when it comes to spiritual matters we seem to want what we want, when we want it. I want God’s blessing. I want a full church every week. I want people to grow up and act mature. And in some cases we can see how our wants overlap with God’s. Certainly God wants His people to grow up and be mature. Certainly He wants His kingdom to grow.

But what we have to remember is that often God’s will is also in the difficulties and the struggles. Often He is more concerned with building character in us than simply skipping forward to the end. He could have used Moses to deliver the people from Egypt in any number of ways. But His will was to mold and shape and test and try Moses for 80 years to become the man He wanted him to be before he could do what God wanted Him to do. The point is, our desire should be for God’s will above all things in all things.

3. To seek his will, we must live transformed lives/live in the light. In both of these passages, Paul tells us that the way to prove God’s will and pleasure is through living obedient to His commands. To walk as children of light. To live transformed lives. By doing so, we begin to see what God is doing in and around us, and ultimately we move to step four…

4. When we walk in the light, we please God. You see the circular nature here. We want to please God, to do that we need to seek His will, to do that we need to live transformed lives, and by doing that, we please God.

John MacArthur sums it up in his commentary on Romans; writing this about the verses in Romans 12: “A transformed mind produces a transformed will, by which we become eager and able, with the Spirit’s’ help, to lay aside our own plans and to trustingly accept God’s, no matter what the cost. This continued yielding involves the strong desire to know God better and to comprehend and follow His purpose for our lives. This divine transformation of our minds and wills must be constant. Because we are still continuously tempted through our remaining humanness, our minds and wills must be continuously transformed through God’s Word and by God’s Spirit. The product of a transformed mind is a life that does the things God has declared to be righteous, fitting and complete. That is the goal of the supreme act of spiritual worship.”

The point is simply that this should be our chief desire. My plans, my wants, my desires don’t mean anything. They’re worthless and pointless. The only thing that matters is the will of God and the pleasure of God as He transforms me into His image and replaces my desires with His. So as we pray, our strongest prayer should be that we would please God by seeking His will above all, that He will continue to transform us in mind and Spirit so that we will indeed live as children of light, which ultimately brings us full circle by pleasing God.

In thinking along those lines, here is one of my favorite prayers from the collection of Puritan prayers called The Valley of Vision:

To Be Fit for God

Thou Maker and Sustainer of all things,
Day and night are thine, heaven and earth declare thy glory;
but I, a creature of thy power and bounty,
have sinned against thee by resisting
the dictates of conscience,
the demands of thy law,
the calls of thy gospel;
yet I live under the dispensation of a given hope.
Deliver me from worldly dispositions,
for I am born from above and bound for glory.
May I view and long after holiness
as the beauty and dignity of the soul.
Let me never slumber, never lose my assurance,
never fail to wear armour when passing through enemy land.
Fit me for every scene and circumstance;
Stay my mind upon you and turn my trials to blessings,
that they may draw out my gratitude and praise
as I see their design and effects.
Render my obedience to thy will holy, natural, and delightful.
Rectify all my principles by clear consistent,
and influential views of divine truth.
Let me never undervalue or neglect any part of thy revealed will.
May I duly regard the doctrine and practice of the gospel,
prizing its commands as well as its promises.
Sanctify me in every relation, office, transaction and condition of life,
that if I prosper I may not be unduly exalted,
if I suffer I may not be over-sorrowful.
Balance my mind in all varying circumstances
and help me to cultivate a disposition
that renders every duty a spiritual privilege.
Thus may I be content,
be a glory to thee and an example to others.