The Family Alter - 4
We have mentioned the Biblical authority for this practice of family prayers, and have also listed some of the blessings, which will follow. The message, however, would not be complete without some reference to what we shall call: The battle entailed in the actual implementation of the plan.
It is a strange fact that whenever this matter is raised in any land or in any company, difficulties and questions immediately arise! Even those who are sincerely desirous, and perhaps deeply wistful about it all, will reluctantly voice their doubts as to the practical workability of it...in THEIR case! Mention will be made, for instance, of the wild pace of modern living, and the virtual impossibility of incorporating THOSE few minutes into the already heavy schedule of the harassed family. Sometimes it is objected that all have to be hurried off to work or school together; sometimes, that they have to leave at different times! In both cases, strange to say, it is accepted as a convincing veto against the "Family Altar" and the Rights of God !
Now let us say immediately that we know full well that there ARE many difficulties, and certainly every case is not the same, but behind it all, is there not here some sinister "intelligence" putting up a desperate battle? Is this, perhaps, the "roaring lion" of whom Peter spoke, who "walketh about, seeking whom he may devour"? (1 Pet.5:8).
Yes, there ARE these difficulties, and, for ourselves, we are prepared to face them helpfully and squarely. Some, we know, have had to make very big adjustments and considerable sacrifices, or perhaps content themselves with some alternative arrangement to which the Lord has mercifully led them, in their case. But, when all is said and done, it is our sincere conviction that this wholesale turning back, WITH ALL THE RESULTANT AND IMMEASURABLE LOSS, is by no means justified. That very much will need to be pressed through, we do not question, nor that the Lord may need to be consulted very earnestly regarding some great difficulty which seems to stand quite firm across our way. But to give up, before the battle is even fought, seems to us an untold tragedy. If the alternative gains and losses were really understood, and rightly valued, we believe the battle WOULD be fought, and, by His grace, the victory won, and yet another family would be added to those who daily know the joys of the "Family Altar", and who NOW and IN ETERNITY will reap the fruits thereof!
This is no place for listing and attempting to answer all the possible and conceivable difficulties. Better for each individual to bring his own particular situation to the Living Lord, doing so with a vigorous and expectant faith and a fully open heart, and with no fixed prejudices or conclusions regarding the issue. Praise God, we worship a LIVING God Who moves the mountains, (Jud.5: 5; Mic.1: 4; Mark 11: 23; etc.) and, with such an approach, the sincere enquirer will usually find that, after all, THERE IS A WAY, ...if only he will pay the price!
Whatever the difficulties may be, it is probably safe to say that the thousands of Christian families who HAVE got through in this matter have somehow and somewhere faced those selfsame difficulties! This means that someone, somewhere, has faced YOUR difficulties, and has fought YOUR battle, and, by God's grace, has gotten him the victory! The "Family Altar" has been actually instituted in that home, and now, years afterwards, parents and children are reaping the precious fruits. Best of all, perhaps, the Lord has gained spiritual material and substance for His wider purposes. Lives are now available to Him for what He wants.
The sufficient motive for such an aggressive and productive attitude is usually to be found in what we would call an adequate sense of the urgent need, and in a far-seeing and spiritual appraisal of the very much that stands to be gained or lost by the decision made. And, of course, right at the foundations, the love for the children has been what it ought to be, engendering a due concern and holy jealousy for their highest good.
O may God raise up parents of this kind in these dark, and darkening, days when our subtle and plausible enemy is everywhere abroad! And may God help them to press through on this matter and to set up this "Altar" in their homes, securing to themselves, and to their children, the blessings we have mentioned, and, perchance, to children's children! May God save our rising generation from the kind of parents who easily give in to our blustering and deceptive foe, and who take the line of least resistance, mildly hoping, that their children will not be too much the losers! That, we say, is neither Christian character nor true parental love. But we certainly know the many problems, and have every sympathy with the honest parent who is truly baffled on this score, and who does not see at all how God can do it in their circumstances. We would only urge such parents to hold on strongly to the Lord about this matter. In due time they will see what can be done where true parental care is a functioning reality, and where the inner choice of Christ's own Lordship in the home is deep and genuine. Often, too, we find we have to take a step of faith, and then it is, God shows us His surprises! That this may be your experience is our earnest prayer.
MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU -5- BAKHT SINGH
I know the place and the hour when these words came to my ears, "My son, thy sins are forgiven thee". In the year 1929, on the 16th of December, at 11: 30 a.m. on the top floor of Y.M.C.A. building in Winnipeg, Canada, those words came to me. My sins were so black and horrible and also shameful, but they were all forgiven. I believed those words and a great joy filled my soul. Even though I never knew what the Bible was at that time, I never knew who was Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, I knew one thing, that my sins were gone, gone for ever. The Lord Jesus Christ Himself told me this. Has He forgiven your sins? If so, when? And what happened? Did you find your soul full of thanksgiving? Did you feel your whole being full of gratitude? Did you see a real change in your life? When someone pays your debt of Rs.50/-, you cannot help saying, "Thank you very much. On my behalf you paid Rs.50/-". God has forgiven you more than 50 millions upon millions of sins and He took upon Himself that debt. Did you thank Him sufficiently and adequately? Otherwise, that joy will not come to you.
Thirdly, "Thou wilt shew me the path of life; in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore" (Psa.16: 11). Real joy comes with the consciousness that my Lord is with me. You find these words coming again and again to you. "Behold, I am with you. Fear not, I am with you. I will uphold you, I will go with you. I will keep you and cover you". That consciousness of His presence gives great joy. Not your knowledge, but consciousness, that He is the living Savior, and He says, "Behold, I am alive for evermore"(Rev.1: 18). Are you conscious of His presence? Has He come into you?
Fourthly, please see 1 Thess.2: 19,20: "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? For ye are our glory and joy". Paul is saying this to all those who were saved by God's grace. When others are saved through you, you find that joy coming into you. When your neighbors and friends find the same joy through you, your joy will increase. Every time I find someone receiving that joy, my joy increases.
Once when I was in Yugoslavia, I was going in a train to Belgrade. I saw a very tall man sitting in front of me. I began to pray, "Lord, give me the privilege of speaking to that man about his soul". Then I spoke to him and straightway he was born again. What joy came to my heart! It is a peculiar joy. Kindly tell me, has anyone in your family or neighborhood found that joy through you? Real joy must be shared. Long for everyone to get that joy.
Further, we read in Psa.40: 8, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart". It is by delighting to do God's will that we find that joy. It may take you many days to find God's will. But when you find it, you will have a peculiar joy in knowing and doing God's will. Is your joy of that nature? Do you have joy unspeakable and full of glory? Is your joy full? Do you have a heavenly song on your lips all the time? Even though I cannot sing a single note audibly, I can sing in my soul the whole day. I find someone singing all the time. It is a heavenly song. Oh make sure, you have found that joy. We offer that joy to you. Whosoever you are, right now, this moment, that joy can be yours. The Lord Jesus Christ loves all of us equally. He only can give us that joy. That joy does not depend upon teachers, preachers or other people, but on the Lord Himself. If you humble yourself and call upon Him, straightway He will forgive you. Say, "I am sorry for my sins; kindly forgive me". He says, "Yes, My daughter, My son, your sins are forgiven. Go and sin no more. I have paid full price for your sins. Now let Me be your life and your strength". Such an experience will give you that joy. Please ask for it and receive it.