Devotionals by Alistair Begg

February 19

The Forerunner of Mercy

Thus says the Lord God: this also I will let the house of Israel ask me to do for them. - Ezekiel 36:37

Prayer is the forerunner of mercy. Turn to sacred history, and you will find that scarcely ever did a great mercy come to this world unheralded by supplication. You have found this true in your own personal experience. God has given you many an unsolicited favor, but still great prayer has always been the prelude of great mercy with you.

When you first found peace through the blood of the cross, you had been praying much and earnestly interceding with God that He would remove your doubts and deliver you from your distresses. Your assurance was the result of prayer. When at any time you have had high and rapturous joys, you have been obliged to look upon them as answers to your prayers. When you have had great deliverances out of sore troubles and mighty help in great dangers, you have been able to say, "I sought the LORD, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears."1

Prayer is always the preface to blessing. It goes before the blessing as the blessing's shadow. When the sunlight of God's mercies rises upon our necessities, it casts the shadow of prayer far down upon the plain. Or, to use another illustration, when God piles up a hill of mercies, He Himself shines behind them, and He casts on our spirits the shadow of prayer, so that we may rest confident, if we are much in prayer, that our pleadings are the shadows of mercy.

Prayer is thus connected with the blessing to show us the value of it. If we had the blessings without asking for them, we should think them common things; but prayer makes our mercies more precious than diamonds. The things we ask for are precious, but we do not realize their preciousness until we have sought them earnestly.

Prayer makes the darken'd cloud withdraw;
Prayer climbs the ladder Jacob saw;
Gives exercise to faith and love;
Brings every blessing from above.

1) Psalm 34:4

Family Bible reading plan

verse 1 Exodus 2

verse 2 Luke 5

Holiness - It's Nature, Hindrances, Difficulties and Roots

J. C Ryle wrote this timeless classic on holiness over a hundred years ago, yet how poignant his words still are for us today. Sadly, we all know how easy it is to appear godly in public, while behind closed doors to continue in our own sin.
  
This modern English version will challenge a new generation of readers to live a Christ–like life. Ryle’s timeless wisdom reminds us that holiness shouldn’t be cold, distant and unobtainable, but that Christ himself is the root of our godliness. Be exhorted not to simply settle for half–hearted holiness, but to strive to be holy in every area of our lives. Holiness, Ryle argued, was not simply a matter of believing and feeling, but of doing.
  

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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright  © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.

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About Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg has been in pastoral ministry for more than 30 years. Following graduation from The London School of Theology he served eight years in Scotland at both Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh and Hamilton Baptist Church. For the last 22 years he has been the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He has written several books and is heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life. The teaching on Truth For Life stems from the week by week Bible teaching at Parkside Church. He was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Cedarville University. He and his wife, Susan, have been married 30 years and have three grown children.

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