Thursday, February 28, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 14

Praise the Lord! How blessed is the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in His commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Psalm 112:1-2


Even as I pray for this corrupt nation to be saved, I pray also for those who know You. Lord, You have blessed us who know You. Keep us in Your commandments and make our descendants mighty on the earth. Bless those who are upright Lord, as Your Word declares. Lord, may the righteous rise up and be strong and powerful examples of Your truth in this fallen land. Lord, may you increase Your children with each generation, that more and more righteous, upright people would influence those who don't yet know You, that they would be mighty on the earth for the sake of Your Name and Your Glory.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 13

Listen, O heavens, and hear, O earth; for the Lord speaks, “Sons I have reared and brought up, but they have revolted against Me. An ox knows its owner, and a donkey its master’s manger, but Israel does not know, My people do not understand. Alas, sinful nation, people weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, sons who act corruptly! They have abandoned the Lord, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from Him." Isaiah 1:2-4

O Lord,

How it pains my heart to read these words. Your own children revolted against You. The people You named for Yourself abandoned You. And although You said these words about Your people Israel, You could easily be saying them again today about our country. Lord, I pray for this rebellious nation. It is full of sinful people who are weighed down with iniquity, offspring of evildoers who continually act corruptly. Lord, the people of this nation have abandoned You and have despised Your name and turned away from You.

O Lord, how difficult it is to live in these times among these people. But You are not surprised, or caught off guard. You are still ruling from Your throne. Lord, call these sinners to Yourself! Bring a great revival to this nation that repentance would spread like wildfire and people would be saved. You have promised that it is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31). Lord, give courage and strength to those of us who know You, to be a light in this corrupt nation, and to call people to repentance. Help me, Lord, not to turn away from truth but to speak it in love that sinners would be saved.

In Your Name,

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 12

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

Dear God,

I am part of Your household! How I humbly rejoice at that promise in Your Word! I am no longer a stranger or an alien but I am a fellow citizen with the saints. Lord, I thank You for those apostles and prophets who have gone before me. Lord, help me follow You as they did. Help me learn from their experience as recorded in the Scripture and to be faithful in building on the foundation of faith that they started. Lord, I thank You that this is a strong foundation - with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone! I thank You that You continue to build me as Your temple - a dwelling for the Spirit. Mold me and make me after Thy will, O Lord, that I would be faithful to be an integral piece of this holy temple with the saints, apostles and prophets.

In Your Name,

Monday, February 25, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 11

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands—remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

Dear God,

Thank You for Your plan that included bringing in the Gentiles to be included in Jesus' saving work on the cross. Thank You that even though as a Gentile I was separate from you, and excluded from Your people, that now in Christ I have been brought near. Thank You, Jesus, that You were willing to go to the cross for sinful people, Jew or Gentile. Thank You that even though I was once a stranger to the covenant of promise, having no hope and without God in the world, Jesus has reconciled me and I've been grafted in to Your family! Lord, thank You that you took my heart of stone and replaced it with a heart of flesh. Thank You for bringing me near.

In Your Name,

Sunday, February 24, 2013

When O'er My Sins I Sorrow

As we spend time meditating during this season of Lent, I think it's a good time to concentrate on the atoning work of Jesus on the cross on our behalf, and our response to that gift. I think it's also a good time for us to look humbly at our own lives and ask the Holy Spirit to show us where we are falling short - to show us our sin, so that we can repent and live anew in His grace.

And that's the good news - the gospel - that when we look on our sins and are sorrowful about our human fallibility - that we look to our Lord Jesus who paid the price with His life to cover our sin! He died so that I did not have to. My sin declared me guilty and worthy of the death penalty. But Jesus took that guilt upon Himself and paid the penalty.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5

When Jesus died for me, he not only spared me from death, but gloriously reconciled me to God and saved me from His wrath.

And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach. Colossians 1:21-22

Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. Romans 5:9

I am unworthy to be given this kind of gift. I am a sinner who has disobeyed God's commands and gone against what He says is best for me.

It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. I Timothy 1:15

Again, the good news is that God loved me even while I was still a sinner, and sent Jesus anyway!

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

He knew that I could never be righteous on my own, so He sent a Savior. Our Lord's precious blood was spilt to take away our guilt.

If we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. I John 1:7

It's a lot to be thankful for! Join me today in thanking God for His plan of redemption, and for Jesus who humbly obeyed His Father to carry it out. And rejoice that Jesus has paid the price and can comfort us in our sorrow over our sin!

When O’er My Sins I Sorrow
Words by Jus­tus Ge­sen­i­us

When o’er my sins I sorrow,
Lord, I will look to Thee
And hence my comfort borrow
That Thou wast slain for me;
Yea, Lord, Thy precious blood was spilt
For me, O most unworthy,
To take away my guilt.

Oh, what a marvelous offering!
Behold, the Master spares
His servants, and their suffering
And grief for them He bears.
God stoopeth from His throne on high;
For me, His guilty creature,
He deigns as man to die.

My manifold transgression
Henceforth can harm me none
Since Jesus’ bloody passion
For me God’s grace hath won.
His precious blood my debts hath paid;
Of hell and all its torments
I am no more afraid.

Therefore I will forever
Give glory unto Thee,
O Jesus, loving Savior,
For what Thou didst for me.
I’ll spend my breath in songs of thanks
For Thy sad cry, Thy sufferings,
Thy wrongs, Thy guiltless death.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 10

Will they not go astray who devise evil? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good. Proverbs 14:22

Dear Lord,

Sometimes, often, I am just overcome when I think about all the evil in this world. Many, many people have gone astray devising, and carrying out, evil. Lord, they fall farther and farther away from You, going deeper into sin with every evil thought and deed. Keep me from evil, Heavenly Father. Even more, let me be one who devises good. May the kindness and truth that come to me as a result of devising good be passed on to others who need to see and feel Your light. Lord, rescue those that are caught up in the deeds of darkness. Draw them to Yourself and show them their sin so that they may repent.

In Your Name,

Friday, February 22, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 9

“God thunders with His voice wondrously, doing great things which we cannot comprehend. For to the snow He says, ‘Fall on the earth, and to the downpour and the rain, ‘Be strong.’ Job 37:5-6

Dear God,
Today I am in awe of Your power as the snow falls down in heavy sheets. I thank You that You have the storehouses of snow and that You cause them to fall on the Earth. I thank You that You keep the Earth spinning on its axis and that You bring the changing of the seasons. Lord, keep me thankful even when the weather is inconvenient to me, for through it, Your glory and majesty is shown. I thank You that I have a strong body to shovel and that I have a warm house to go home to, especially during a the snowstorm. I thank You that You choose to bless us with the beauty of snow on the bare trees, and I thank You for how the white snow lights up the earth during the dark winter. You are a magnificent Creator!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 8

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Dear God,

Thank you for this incredible promise! You are with me wherever I go. I have no reason to be frightened or dismayed. Thank You that You are on Your throne, ruling from heaven, and that You have given me the ability to be strong and courageous. Thank You that Your eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give support to me (II Chron 16:9). Thank You that You are with me, and that I have nothing to fear. You are the God of protection and power.

In Your Name,

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 7

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man is he who listens to counsel. Proverbs 12:15

Heavenly Father,

I do not want to be a fool. Counsel me in Your ways, and give me ears to hear and a mind to listen. Lord, give me wisdom and discernment when I am counseled by others. Help me to listen and to follow wise counsel that lines up with Your Word. Lord, keep me from pride and defensiveness. I do not want to be right in my own eyes; I want to be right in YOUR eyes.

With thanksgiving,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 6

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

Dear Lord,

Too often, I speak before I think. Too often, I do not say "only what is necessary for the moment" (Ephesians 4:29) but instead I say too much. Too often, I use my mouth to be critical, offer judgment, gossip, quarrel or demean. Lord, put a guard over my mouth. Holy Spirit, guide me in thinking before I speak, in thinking about what I will say and how I will say it. I so desire to use words to build up and to edify those around me, to be an encouragement and to point people to You, Lord. Keep watch over the door of my lips so that You are reflected in whatever I say.

For Your Glory,

Monday, February 18, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 5

See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Dear Lord,

Today I pray for all the people in this world being led astray by false teachers. Lord, give them clarity of thought, wisdom and discernment to see that they are being taken captive and are being taught according to the principles of the world rather than according to You and Your Word. I ask that You would convict these false teachers of their sin, Lord, and reconcile them to Yourself. Give me wisdom and discernment to test everything I hear according to Your Word and to not be led astray.

In Your Name,

Saturday, February 16, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 4

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Dear God,

How amazing it is to think that we are Your workmanship. How amazing to meditate on the truth of
Your Word that tells us that You prepared good works for us, before You created us! You prepared them so that we would walk in them. Lord, take away every inclination that I have today to stray from the good works that You have prepared for me. Keep me aware of my thoughts and actions that I might view them through the lens of You Word and Your plan for me, the good works You have prepared for me to do. Let everything I say and do today be pleasing to You, the meditations of my heart and the words of my mouth and the actions determined in my mind, carried out by my body. Thank you that You prepared GOOD works for me, in Christ Jesus my Lord.


Friday, February 15, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 3

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Dear Father,

Again we see that You loved us! You are the definition of love. You sent Your Son to take my place. Jesus came to Earth, fully God and fully man, and went to the cross as my substitute. Lord, it's overwhelming to think about. I don't have the words to express my thanks and appreciation for being saved! Lord, may my life be a living sacrifice to You in a token response of gracefulness for what You have done for me, out of love. Help me to love You more.

In Your Name,

Thursday, February 14, 2013

40 Days of Prayer: Day 2

We love, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Dear Lord,

Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving me while I was still a sinner. Thank you for loving me even before the foundation of the world. Through Your Holy Spirit, let me love others because You have loved me first. Let Your love flow me so that others will know that I am Yours. Show me what it means to love.

In Your Name,

Monday, February 11, 2013

Our God is Love

This I command you, that you love one another. John 15:17

As we approach Valentine's Day this week, I thought it would be an opportune time to look at why we as Christians are to love one another.

We love, because He first loved us. I John 4:19

Certainly, we can only love because we were first loved by God. And God is love.

The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
I John 4:8

And if we are His children, then we have His DNA. We are part of the family of God - and God's family is marked by love. All His saints bear His image. If He is love, then we are love.

We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. I John 4:16

When we love God, we can also love others. But our actions must imitate our thoughts and feelings. If we claim to love God, but don't love our brother, we're really not loving God.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also. I John 4:20-21

This is the commandment we have from Him! The one who loves Him should love His brother also.

Heart check: how are you doing on this?

When we receive Christ, we become children of God. We are born of God.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13

Those who are born of God cannot live in enmity.

By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother. I John 3:10

Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. II Corinthians 3:11

We love our brothers because they are our BROTHERS! We are heirs of the same immortal bliss.

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. Romans 8:16-17

Because we are brothers, our hearts are bound by love, which is the perfect expression of unity.

Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Colossians 3:14

It really should be our goal, as the last verse of this hymn states, that the world would look at us and marvel at how we love one another.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35

As you think about love this week, ask God to show you how you can love your brothers better. I will be praying with you, that our Lord would cause an increase in our love for one another.

May the Lord cause you to increase and abound in love for one another.
I Thessalonians 3:12

Our God is Love

Our God is love; and all His saints
His image bear below;
The heart with love to God inspired,
With love to man will glow.

O may we love each other, Lord,
As we are loved by Thee;
For none are truly born of God
Who live in enmity.

Heir of the same immortal bliss,
Our hopes and fears the same,
The cords of love our hearts should bind,
The laws of love inflame.

So shall the vain contentious world
Our peaceful lives approve,
And wondering say, as they of old,
"See how these Christians love."

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Arise, O God and Shine {verses 3 & 4}

In discussing earlier verses of this hymn, we've seen that God's light shines through us to help lead people to Him. It is only through His glorious power working in us that unbelievers will see Jesus and be drawn to Him. We must be strengthened with all power according to His might, just as Paul prayed for the church at Colossae.

...So that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. Colossians 1:10-12

When we walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, pleasing Him, and joyfully giving thanks to Him, He will use our lives to show others the gospel. But showing others the gospel is not enough. We must tell them the gospel. We must use words to teach them who Jesus is and why He came to earth and went humbly to the cross. And we must be in a right position with God, as David shows us.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners will be converted to You. Psalm 51:10-13

Sustain me with a willing spirit, then I will teach sinners your ways so that they will be converted to You! God, in His glorious might, can give us that willing spirit to share the gospel, and the words to describe how God has created a clean heart in us. Psalm 51:10-11 is quoted often - of course we want to have a clean heart and a steadfast spirit. We do not want to be cast away from God's presence. But what is the result of a restoration of the joy of our salvation? It is being able to teach others! We must tell others the good news so that they will repent and be saved from their sins. And one day, God will fill the earth with righteousness. That is something to look forward to!

For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Habukkuk 2:14

Our only wise God deserves this glory - glory that comes from the earth being filled with the knowledge of Him. To Him praises should rise from every living thing.

He is the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God!

Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen. I Timothy 1:17

Everything that breathes, from coast to coast, praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord! Psalm 150

Let us go out into our worlds to be God's light here on earth, pointing people to Christ through our actions AND our words, so that everything that has breath WILL praise the Lord, and the earth will be filled with the glory of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.

Arise, O God, and Shine
Words by William Hurn

Arise, O God and Shine
In all Thy saving might,
And prosper each design
To spread Thy glorious light;
Let healing streams of mercy flow
That all the earth Thy truth may know.

Bring distant nations near
To sing Thy glorious praise;
Let every people hear
And learn Thy holy ways.
Reign, mighty God, assert Thy cause
And govern by Thy righteous laws.

Put forth Thy glorious power
That Gentiles all may see
And earth present her store
In converts born to Thee.
God, our own God, His Church will bless
And fill the world with righteousness.

To God, the only wise,
The one immortal king,
Let hallelujahs rise
From every living thing;
Let all that breathe, on every coast
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.