The Family Alter - 1
1. The Bible Foundation for this Practice.
2. The Blessings that follow it.
3. The Battle involved in getting the Practice introduced.
"The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish" (Prov.14: 11).
We begin by asking you a question. Have you ever had the privilege of regular participation in Christian "Family Prayers"? Have you, with others, sat by quietly while a godly father, for instance, takes from the shelf a well -worn Bible and reads to all, the daily portion? And then, when the precious Bible is reverently closed, have you knelt down with the others while the loving parent briefly commits the little family to the Lord for His mercy and protection through the day? If you happen to be one who HAS enjoyed this priceless privilege, you will know exactly what we have in mind as we send forth this appeal. And you will join us in our prayerful longing that countless multitudes in every place might come to know this self -same blessedness.
This message certainly comes from a burdened heart, for it touches a matter of great importance, and bears down upon a vital secret which can be of untold value to the church of God in the days in which we live. It certainly concerns those who seek the welfare of their children, and their children's children, and many such may be responsible to take some very practical steps in this connection.
What we are pleading for, of course, is just this simple practice of daily "Family Prayers". It has been our own great privilege to drink deep into the blessedness of this practice, both in our own home and in many other homes where it has been our joy to sojourn as itinerant servants of the Lord in many parts of the world. Memories crowd in of happy homes amidst the snows of Scotland, the towns and cities of Europe, the burning plains of India, the sheep lands and fruit orchards of Australia, and the favored islands of the Philippines. In all these places, and more, we have met the Lord as we have taken our place with the members of some Christian family for their few brief minutes of "Family Devotions". What is written, therefore, is rooted in considerable experience; -we have seen this simple practice bringing untold blessing to Christian families in many lands.
On the other hand we have had to witness the many breakdowns and tragedies which increasingly show themselves amongst the younger generation of so -called Christians; breakdowns, and tragedies which, very probably, could have I been avoided and averted if Christian parents had! I known and grasped, in time, this blessed secret of I the "Family Altar", -and if they had been willing to I pay the price for its simple application in their own homes. But now those young and impressionable and formative years have all slipped by; the course of life is set, and only mighty miracles of grace can get us back to where we might have been. In fact we have to say that certain priceless values and advantages have been forever lost.
In a recent survey of members of a group of evangelical churches in Ohio, U.S.A., it was learned that ninety percent of those members never have family worship. The same is probably true in other places, and this, we believe, goes right to the heart of the need that we have mentioned. Those tragedies exist, to a large extent, because something vital was missing in the testimony of the home.
Of course we know that there is no mere technique or formula, which, by itself, provides the answer to such a situation. We do believe, however, that, when the hearts of the parents are truly for the Lord, and when there is, in consequence, the longing to see the much -loved children deeply established in the Lord, and visibly rejoicing under His gracious smile, there most certainly are scriptural "ways and means" that can be employed as being divinely conducive to the end in view. This treatise deals with one of those appointed "ways and means", and if our simple suggestion is adopted, in real dependence on the Holy Spirit, blessing will come to many families, and our homes will begin to approximate more closely to what God wants them to be. More important, perhaps, the Church and the churches will thus become revitalized, and material will be gathered which, may be greatly used of God to coming generations.
MY JOY MIGHT REMAIN IN YOU—4 BAKHT SINGH
Repentance means turning our backs towards the devil and our faces towards God. Such a work takes place only by the Holy Spirit, and not by ourselves. Now, supposing a sinner in Hyderabad repents today; then straightway, the Lord Jesus Christ will give a command to the angels saying, "Come along My angels, hurry up, bring your wonderful golden harps". There is no organ in heaven. Only golden harps! The Lord Jesus Christ commands, "Come along My angels, do not delay, come and rejoice with Me". And, they question, "Lord, what has happened? Why is there rejoicing today?" The Lord says, "That man in t4rHyderabad has repented. That short man has repented, or that tall man has repented. Come and rejoice". The Lord says to the angels, "He is very precious. I have purchased him with My blood. He is My precious jewel. Rejoice". That joy began there. Heaven is first filled with joy, and from there, that joy is poured into that person who repents. And that is why no man can take away that joy. It begins in heaven and from there it goes on flowing. "And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your
heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you"(John 16:22). Your neighbors cannot take it away. Your friends cannot take it away. No power can take it away. Even your enemies cannot take away that joy from you. No mother- in -law can take it away, howsoever cruel she may be, she cannot take that joy away from you. Many people lose their joy because of their mothers- in -law. That is not real joy. This joy no man can take away from you. It begins in heaven. But you have to repent sincerely. Have you repented? When and how did you repent? What happened when you repented? Was it whole -hearted repentance? Are you still hankering after sinful things? That is why your joy is not full. Your repentance is not true. You want to keep your face both towards God and devil. Some people are like that. They can be good everywhere. When they come for worship, they are very good. When they go into the world, they are still happy. Wherever they go, they are happy. They are blind and deaf spiritually. They are the agents of Satan. Oh, please make sure that you have repented truly and sincerely.
Secondly, "And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name" (Luke 10: 17). These disciples were sent by the Lord Jesus Christ. They were 70 in number. They went two by two, and returned rejoicing; because they saw many miracles. They said to the Lord, "See, what mighty things have happened in Your Name". But the Lord said in verse 20, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven". That is true joy. That assurance that my Lord has written my name in heaven, gives true joy. And that gives assurance that my sins are forgiven, they are covered, never to be remembered. They are removed as far as the east is from the west. When you go to heaven, you will be welcomed by your own name. Whomsoever you meet, you will be called by your name. But upon the earth we say, "I have seen you somewhere, but I cannot remember where". Others may say, "YOU have forgotten me so soon. Only last year you came to my home and had tea with me, and I gave you so many nice things", and the person will say, "Yes, yes, now I remember". That is how we forget. But in heaven, whosoever you are, and whichever place you come from, you will be greeted by your own name with great honour. It is only after you repent that your name is written in heaven. The Lord will say, "O My angels, such and such a person in Guntur has repented; do not look at his false teeth, to Me he is very precious". So your name will not be forgotten. All will know your name in heaven. That gives joy. Even though upon the earth very few know me, yet in heaven all will know me, because I am purchased by His precious blood, and I am a peculiar treasure of the mighty and living God.
That is why you have to make sure that your sins are forgiven. No man can forgive your sins. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can. And He will not forgive you unless you ask Him. He says, "Ask and you shall receive", Ask for heavenly things. Now tell me when did you ask the Lord to forgive you? What happened to you? Did He say, "My son, My daughter, thy sins are forgiven thee"? Joy comes into you with the very same words