A Hymn and Prayer for the New Year

Now, gracious Lord, thine arm reveal,
And make thy glory known;
Now let us all thy presence feel,
And soften hearts of stone!

Help us to venture near thy throne,
And plead a Savior’s name;
For all that we can call our own,
Is vanity and shame.

From all the guilt of former sin
May mercy set us free;
And let the year we now begin,
Begin and end with thee.

Send down thy Spirit from above,
That saints may love thee more;
And sinners now may learn to love
Who never loved before.

And when before thee we appear
In our eternal home;
May growing numbers worship here,
And praise thee in our room.

John Newton (1725-1807)

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Daily Bible Reading

For some time at Orwell Bible Church we have put together a daily devotional. We use this to guide and encourage each other to read God’s Word and pray for one another and the Cause of Christ. These are posted every week here, under the “Current Publications” heading.

This year we started off on a two year effort to read the Bible. In the devotional I provide a summary statement (or two) of each chapter, followed by some thoughts based on the text. We read two chapters on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and one chapter on Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Yesterday I started publishing a single post on each chapter (Joshua 5, 6, 7, 8). If you’d like to be updated when new posts are up,

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I hope these are a help and encouragement to you grow in your faith!

Prayer for Ministers

I’ve just started studying the life and ministry of John Newton (1725-1807), and came across this great hymn he wrote called a “Prayer for Ministers.” It is excellent; I’ve been meditating over it for about a week now.

Chief Shepherd of thy chosen sheep,
From death and sin set free!
May ev’ry under-shepherd keep
His eye intent on thee!

With plenteous grace their hearts prepare
To execute thy will;
Compassion, patience, love, and care,
And faithfulness and skill.

Inflame their minds with holy zeal,
Their flocks to feed and teach;
And let them live, and let them feel
The sacred truths they preach.

Oh! never let the sheep complain
That toys, which fools amuse,
Ambition, pleasure, praise, or gain
Debase the shepherd’s views.

He that for these forebears to feed
The souls whom Jesus loves,
Whate’er he may profess or plead,
An idol shepherd proves.

The sword of God shall break his arm,
A blast shall blind his eye;
His word shall have no power to warm,
His gifts shall all grow dry.

O Lord, avert this heavy woe,
Let all thy shepherds say!
And grace, and strength, on each bestow,
To labor while ’tis day.