I am so excited—a dream of 40 years is beginning to be fulfilled! Just moments ago, William Perkins (1558-1602), the father of Puritanism, arrived! He’s even more handsome than I thought—volume 1 that is. Edited well by Stephen Yuille (Derek Thomas and I are serving as general editors of the 10-volume set), this volume (a 820-page gold mine) contains Perkins’s Sermon on the Mount and his Combat between Christ and the Devil. Both make great reads for pastors and educated church members. Next up: volume 2 on Galatians, which the editor Paul Smalley is just completing his first pass on, scheduled for print next summer. Share this great news with your friends! You can order a copy for only $38 from Reformation Heritage Books.
The Scriptures give us many directives about how to pray in general and with what attitude to pray specifically. Here are eleven different attitudes the Christian is to have when he prays.
Believing. Mark 11:24 says, “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” Prayer requires faith—a believing in God, a trusting in God, and a placing of our expectations in God.
Penitent. The prodigal son illustrates what it means to pray openly as an unworthy supplicant (Luke 15:21). When we conceal things from God, it creates unrest and anxiety, but an open confession fosters rest. True rest in God through prayer is experienced when we confess our failures, relate our problems, and open our hearts in His presence.
Fervent. In Genesis 32:24–28, Jacob “wrestled through the night.” We must pray fervently, not wrestling in our own strength, but earnestly clinging to Christ, saying: “I will not let thee go except thou bless me” (Gen. 32:26).
Humble. Remember the publican in Luke 18:13. He thought himself not even worthy to lift his eyes up to heaven, but beat his breast saying: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” Each us is unworthy as well, yet like the publican we must humbly plead with God for mercy.
Bold. Note Hebrews 4:16. Genuine humility and genuine boldness are not opposites. The publican’s prayer was truly humble, yet he came and prayed to God. As a bold beggar he had courage to enter the King’s dwelling. Praying boldly is praying freely and humbly, knowing that we pray in Christ. We have a High Priest to intercede for us as we pour out our hearts in His presence.
Interceding. Moses prayed on behalf of Miriam when she had leprosy (Num. 12:1–2, 10, 13). Love to others must be evident in our prayers. We must remember the temporal and spiritual needs of our neighbor. If we truly love others, we will love to pray for them. We must be like Job—he prayed continuously for his family members (Job 1:5).
Dependent. Romans 8:26–27 speaks about depending on the Spirit who makes intercession for us. So often we struggle with self instead of resting in God. We need to be weaned from self-reliance and look to the one who gives, hears, and answers prayer.
Expectant. Elijah prayed to God for rain and then sent his servant to see if there was any sign of it (1 Kings 18:41–46). He sent his servant seven times—Elijah had great expectation in God! Expectant prayer conquers discouragement and waits upon the Lord. James 1:6–7 tells us to ask with unwavering faith.
Childlike. We must ever go to God in Christ as little children would their father. “What is that child-like inclination?” Thomas Manton asked. It is this: “The soul cannot keep away from God, and that is an implicit owning him as a father: ‘Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me’ (Jer. 3:19). It is a child like act to look to him for all our supplies…. As when a child wants anything, he goes to his father.” In another place, Manton said, “Children do not use to make starched speeches to their fathers when they want bread, but only express their natural cry…. A word from a child moves the father more than the orator can move all his hearers” (Manton, Works, Vol. 1, 34, 28).
Thankful. This is strikingly portrayed in Psalm 136. In this psalm, “give thanks unto the Lord for His mercy endureth forever” is repeated twenty-six times. We must not only be thankful for clear answers to prayer and for blessings for which we did not pray, but our thankfulness must penetrate deeper. We are also called to be thankful for these things that distress us or events that are not to our liking. Think of Paul and Silas’s gratitude, even while in the inner prison!
Persevering. The Canaanite woman prayed this way (Matt. 15:21–28). When she did not receive an answer to her prayer, she persevered, crying all the more urgently after Christ. She begged Christ to let her “eat of the crumbs” from the Master’s table. Persevering prayer does not give up on the Lord, but pleads upon His promises.
William Gurnall’s book, The Christian in Complete Armour, is a treasury of spiritual knowledge and wisdom. Not only does it offer an exposition of the classic Scripture text on spiritual warfare (Eph. 6), but in so doing it opens and applies virtually every aspect of the doctrines of salvation and sanctification. It is a feast for the soul.
However, Gurnall’s book is also massive, weighing in at almost 1200 pages in the Banner of Truth reprint. How to consume such a large meal? The answer is one bite at a time. There is a reading plan that divides the book into portions of only four or five pages a day, five days a week (to download it, click here). If you have not read Gurnall before, then I challenge you to make this part of your personal devotions for 2015. By the end of the year, you will have finished the book!
Many thanks are to due to Zack Ford for developing this plan.
I had a great, quick trip to Alberta over the first weekend of December. Moses Wright picked me up from the Edmonton airport. I had a great talk with him for the hour drive to the Dibbet home where I stayed for the weekend. A graduate of PRTS and a former neighbor, Rev. Scott Dibbet is the pastor of the Free Reformed Church in Lacombe, Alberta. He has been serving there for three years with God’s evident blessing. The church appears to have grown spiritually and has doubled in size. It was great to be with him and his wife, Becky, and their five children, Merissa, Caleb, Abby, Zach, and Emma.
The weekend conference was organized by the Parkland Reformed Church of Ponoka, a United Reformed Church of 350 people pastored by Rev. Mitch Ramiksoon for the last nine years. He and his wife Doris were originally from Trinidad, and are delightful to speak with. On Friday evening, I gave an address to 200 conference attendees on “What the Puritans Can Teach Us About Building a Godly Marriage.” On Saturday, I gave three addresses on childrearing: “How to Bring Children to Christ”; “How to Rear Children in the Faith”; “How to do Family Worship.” The attendees, whose responses were very encouraging, were mostly marital couples who came from a variety of Reformed churches within a two hour radius. They bought more than $4,000 worth of books.
On Saturday I enjoyed supper and fellowship at the home of good friends, Brian and Sharon Beevaart. Sharon has cancer, but so far is doing remarkably well. Please pray that God may wondrously heal her completely. We were joined by Roelof Janssen and his wife Theresa for supper. Roelof runs the book ministry of Inheritance Publications, so this made for much lively discussion as we shared experiences with each other.
On Sunday I preached twice for the URC of Ponoka and once for the FRC of Lacombe, spent some time with the Dibbet family, and then visited that evening with Rev. Barry and Val Beukema, a URC minister serving in Alberta. It was a delightful time.
On the flights to and from Edmonton, I was able to finish editing an excellent volume on Alexander Henderson, the great Scots leader most responsible for the Scottish National Covenant of 1638, that Reformation Heritage Books hopes to publish early next year. I also edited our next Puritan Reformed Journal—320 pages of very good material on a great variety of subjects. If you’re not getting this, you really should subscribe to that journal—you will love it!
(Here is an update from my nephew Dave Beeke about the cancer treatments of his wife, Trichelle.)
Greetings family and friends,
This past year and a half has been a marathon of tests and treatments, but we have really felt upheld through it all and give thanks to God for that. He has given us the strength to get through each day.
Isaiah 43: 1-3 says, “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”
We are thankful that Trichelle was able to have her final Herceptin treatment today. There were plenty of hugs and wishes from the Cancer Centre as Trichelle left today after seeing the staff there so regularly over the past 16 months. The staff there are like family to us. Although we are so thankful that all the planned IV treatments are complete, we will miss the loving and supportive atmosphere that the cancer treatment staff provided for us on this journey.
We are also thankful that Trichelle’s MUGA scan showed that her heart has gained some strength!
Monday morning, December 8, Trichelle is scheduled to have her port taken out through day surgery. We do not have a date yet for the postponed surgery that was to occur tomorrow. It will be sometime in the New Year if all is well.
With all the planned IV treatments complete, we enter a new time for us where Trichelle will no longer go in for cancer IV treatments. As the cancer that was in her cannot be traced or detected, we are called to rest in the Lord and trust Him that all of the past medical efforts will be blessed and that Trichelle is cancer free.
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Thanks again for so much support,
Dave, Trichelle, Breyden, Quinten, and Emilee Beeke
All the editions of the new Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible have now arrived, including the leather versions. As you can see, the editorial team is delighted. Old Testament editor Dr. Michael Barrett is holding the cowhide Study Bible, New Testament editor Dr. Jerry Bilkes the genuine leather edition, I the imitation leather edition in its three colors, and editorial assistant Pastor Paul Smalley the hardcover edition. About 5000 copies of the 20,000 have sold already. It’s also available as an app through Olive Tree and Logos (pre-order).
The latest newsletter sharing Dr. Beeke’s ministry activities from September 9 to November 3, 2014, may be downloaded here: Pastoral Letter #148.
(post written by Mary Beeke)
The National Center for Family-Integrated Churches (NCFIC) promotes dependency on Scripture in church and family life. The theme for this year’s conference was “The Power of the Gospel.” The 1,200 attendees included many large, wholesome families. Pastor Scott Brown is the leader, and in lockstep with the mission of NCFIC, involves a number of his family and church family in running the conference. The five young men in this year’s internship program spent seven months being discipled and mentored in the Hope Baptist Church in Wake Forest, North Carolina. The culmination of their internship was to help run the conference. We didn’t think twice when one of them introduced himself as James Fletcher at the airport. Then on the way to the conference, he said, “I think you know my grandparents, Bob and Betty Fletcher.” What a happy surprise to meet the grandson of such dear friends!
On Thursday we attended a pre-conference for church leaders and wives where my husband spoke on the need for pastors and their wives to live out of the Scriptures. Other speakers included Joe Morecraft, Craig Houston, John Snyder, and Jeff Pollard. A roundtable discussion which focused on shepherding the sheep followed the addresses.
We had the joy of having dinner Thursday evening with two large families who reside near Lansing, Michigan: Jerry and Tamael Flore and Joel and Tammy Brown. The Flores’ had “only” thirteen of their eighteen children with them this year, and the Browns had seven of their soon-to-be eleven children with them (they are in the process of adopting three more children). What a joy these families and friends are!
The keynote speakers for the main conference from Thursday afternoon to Saturday evening were Scott Brown, John Snyder, Jeff Pollard, R.C. Sproul Jr., Kevin Swanson, Carlton McLeod, and my dear husband. The addresses were on the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation, covering many of its major steps, including election, conversion, justification, sanctification, assurance, perseverance, and glorification. My husband was asked to speak on assurance and to give two messages on perseverance. He also gave a one-hour interview on holiness, as did some of the other speakers, in anticipation of next year’s conference.
There was a separate session for men and boys called “Burnings in the Soul,” in which nine speakers told in fifteen minutes each what issues were on the forefront in their hearts. Joel shared these: family worship, which was a motivation for producing the KJV Study Bible; excitement for reprinting the Works of William Perkins, the first time ever since it was printed in the 1600’s; Reformed experiential preaching and writing a book about it; and national repentance and the prayer that God would raise up God-fearing preachers and politicians.
The NCFIC Conference was the place of the debut of the publication of the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. Steve Renkema, RHB manager, stopped in Indiana on his way down and picked up the first skid of the hard cover edition. Larry and Linda VanBeek drove down also, to work the book table. Close to 400 Bibles sold together with many more books, especially after Joel urged the people to use the Study Bible for family worship, to read the Puritans (reprinted in today’s language), and for the children to read about heroes of church history. Most of the children are home educated, so they are always looking for materials. One little boy had saved money to buy a certain book, and he seriously laid out his one dollar bill and many coins. Another family purchases a book for each child every year, so they diligently check out each booth to make their choice. Several families bought Bibles for their entire family (ranging from 5 to 15 Bibles per family) so that every child of reading age could participate directly in family worship. What an encouragement such families are!
I think seeing the KJV Study Bible in print was one of the most special moments in my husband’s life. It is a dream come true for him as well as for his fellow editors, Dr. Michael Barrett (OT editor), Dr. Jerry Bilkes (NT editor), and Rev. Paul Smalley (editorial assistant). It is the fruit of countless hours of work for the writers and especially the editors. The most special part about it, aside from the Scripture itself of course, is the section of thoughts for personal and family worship at the end of each chapter’s notes. We hope and pray that sinners will be saved and souls fed, and that fathers will lead their families to discover the treasures of Scripture, so that Jesus Christ will be at the center of every heart.
(The following is an update on the cancer treatment of my niece, Trichelle Beeke.)
Dear Friends and Family,
Yesterday Trichelle had a busy day meeting with her oncologist in Abbotsford and her surgeon in Vancouver. The plan was for her final two Herceptin treatments to occur over the next three weeks followed with surgery on Nov. 19. Unfortunately, the MUGA scan of her heart muscles shows that currently her heart is too weak to endure surgery. According to the oncologist it is “borderline” whether to allow the final two Herceptin treatments, but they will go ahead with a treatment tomorrow and again in 3 weeks. Surgery will have to wait. It is more important that all the treatments occur.
We met with the surgeon and had to cancel the Nov. 19 surgery date. This was disappointing as we were looking forward to having all of these treatments and procedures completed sooner rather than later. At the meeting, the surgeon walked us through what will occur with surgery and what to expect for recovery. Provided the remaining treatments occur on schedule and Trichelle’s heart muscles strengthen, we will hear back about a new surgery date possibly scheduled sometime in early 2015.
So we are called today to follow the instructions in Psalm 37:7,
“Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him.”
Thank you for your prayers and care.
Please pray that Trichelle’s heart muscles will strengthen and that the cancer will never appear again.
Dave, Trichelle, Breyden, Quinten, and Emilee Beeke