Monday, July 19

How To Spend the Day With God - R. Baxter

Richard Baxter (1615-1691), English Puritan is perhaps known best for "near" death-bed tome, The Saint's Everlasting Rest. I say, "near death-bed" because after writing this he recovered! You don't think God had his hand in that do you? ;-)  We ministers also love, and wince at his The Reformed Pastor (by reformed he means "changed, improved"). Very convicting, and therefore, very necessary! In his ministry, Baxter preached much for the practical benefit of his congregation (which at one time I believe numbered at about 800). Over the next few days I am going to publish his paper entitled, "How To Spend the Day With God." I only divide it to keep it somewhat brief for each day.
A holy life is inclined to be made easier when we know the usual sequence and method of our duties - with everything falling into its proper place. Therefore, I shall give some brief directions for spending the day in a holy manner.
Measure the time of your sleep appropriately so that you do not waste your precious morning hours sluggishly in your bed. Let the time of your sleep be matched to your health and labour, and not to slothful pleasure. 

First Thoughts
Let God have your first awaking thoughts; lift up your hearts to Him reverently and thankfully for the rest enjoyed the night before and cast yourself upon Him for the day which follows. Familiarize yourself so consistently to this that your conscience may check you when common thoughts shall first intrude. Think of the mercy of a night's rest and of how many that have spent that night in Hell; how many in prison; how many in cold, hard lodgings; how many suffering from agonizing pains and sickness, weary of their beds and of their lives. 

Think of how many souls were that night called from their bodies terrifyingly to appear before God and think how quickly days and nights are rolling on! How speedily your last night and day will come! Observe that which is lacking in the preparedness of your soul for such a time and seek it without delay.
Let prayer by yourself alone (or with your partner) take place before the collective prayer of the family. If possible let it be first, before any work of the day.
Family Worship
Let family worship be performed consistently and at a time when it is most likely for the family to be free of interruptions.
Ultimate Purpose
Remember your ultimate purpose, and when you set yourself to your day's work or approach any activity in the world, let HOLINESS TO THE LORD be written upon your hearts in all that you do. 

Do no activity which you cannot entitle God to, and truly say that he set you about it, and do nothing in the world for any other ultimate purpose than to please, glorify and enjoy Him. "Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31. 
Part 2 tomorrow 

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