Friday, June 26, 2009
Heavenly Father, you are so good to me. Over and over, you are so good to me. Lord, you are faithful to me even though I am a fool. Lord, I am so immature and selfish. Please deliver me. Lord, please expose the sin that separates us, and deliver me from it so that we can be close. Lord Jesus, I want to know you and the power of your resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in your sufferings. Holy Spirit, please guide me to walk with you, and produce your fruit in me. Please accomplish in me all that you intend for me. Lord, I want to obey you out of love and experience the joy of knowing you and fulfilling the purpose you have for me. God, I want to be a good husband and father. Please forgive me for being so selfish and lazy. Father, please help me grow in the exercise of the spiritual gifts you have given me. Use me to build up your body. God, please unite the Body of Christ in love and obedience. Please show your grace to our congregation because we are so immature. Especially help us grow in prayer. Lord, please set us on the right path of seeking first your Kingdom and righteousness. May we be used to help take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight. I want to want you. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
and the sterling will be ready for the silversmith. ...
26 If the godly give in to the wicked,
it's like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.
The Father's goal is for us to be purified and molded into the image of His Son Jesus. Each and every day, the Holy Spirit wants us to cooperate with Him so that we may be sanctified a little more.
God cares about purity. Recently, I've been convicted about what I say. "For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks." It is an indicator of the purity of my heart. Fortunately, the Lord delivered me from using foul language when I was in elementary school (thanks to godly parents who used spankings effectively). What I've been convicted of is all of the idle words that I speak, and the pessimism that is too often found there. My speech needs to be seasoned with salt.
Of course, speech is not the only dross in this silver. Pride is such a stealth cancer, you know. It's like invisible dross.
Heavenly Father, please cleans me and make me useful to you. Lord, make me clean! Father, please purify my heart so that you are always on my lips and my speech is seasoned with salt. Lord, please deliver me from pride and materialism so that I may humbly seek you. Dear God, I am so far from you. Please rescue me from my wicked self, for your glory and praise. May others see your goodness and love as you kindly save me from destruction. May your grace and mercy be preached among the nations. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, the silver mold. Amen.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I was really convicted by these verses this morning:
save them as they stagger to their death.
12 Don't excuse yourself by saying, "Look, we didn't know."
For God understands all hearts, and he sees you.
He who guards your soul knows you knew.
He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
I have always read this with a physical/literal perspective, but this morning, I was convicted by the spiritual significance. Of course, we are all condemned to death justly because we have each sinned against the Holy God (Rom. 3:23, 6:23). But the reality is that so many people are staggering to their spiritual death because they have not heard and seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ from us. And we lazy (American) Christians try to pretend that we don't know about it so that we can sit in our comfortable homes and watch television instead of sacrificially investing in people. The truth is, God will hold us accountable; and it will be embarrassing to see all of the resources and opportunities we selfishly wasted.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being such a lazy Christian. Lord, please convict me of my apathy and selfishness. Father, I want to be a devoted disciple of Christ; please help me. Lord, please show me the resources that you have given me to use for your Kingdom, and please help me seize the opportunities you give me. Holy Spirit, give me boldness to be a witness of the mercy and love of God. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I was impressed with these verses this morning, both for me and my son:
Keep your heart on the right course. ...
26 O my son, give me your heart.
May your eyes take delight in following my ways.
After a good prayer time at prayer breakfast this morning, I caught the bus and took the first empty seat. I was reading my Bible, and the guy sitting next to me asked me where I go to church. We visited for a few minutes, and I asked him about his experience with the Lord. He shared about how he was raised going to church but fell away in high school and college. But at the end of college, as he was experiencing difficulty in relationships and some depression, the Lord guided him to a Bible study where He experienced the grace of God through some genuine Christians. Praise the Lord! It is so encouraging to hear about others experiencing the Lord's grace and about Christians showing the love of Christ.
Heavenly Father, I pray that you will keep my heart and my eyes set on you. Lord, please protect my mind and my emotions from being drawn to the things of this world. Instead, Lord let me see your beauty and majesty so that I will be drawn to you. Lord, thank you for the encouraging conversation with Ricky on the bus. Please use me to show your grace and to encourage others. I praise you Lord, and I trust that you are in control. Please empower me with your Holy Spirit to live in a way that honors you today. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, June 22, 2009
This Sunday we studied Acts 1:12-26, and I was especially convicted by verse 14:
Tragically, I think the reason we don't see the Lord move in mighty ways among us is because we don't unite together constantly in prayer. I started reading Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire by Jim Cymbala, and I am further challenged that we need regular corporate prayer in our small group.
Heavenly Father, please make us a people of prayer. May we be connected to you constantly; as frequently as we breath physically, may we inhale you spiritually. Lord God, I pray that I will serve you today and that you will accomplish your will in me today. I am yours; please delight in me and use me as you will. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday, June 19, 2009
accompanied by tambourine and harp.
4 For the Lord delights in his people;
he crowns the humble with victory.
He deserves for us to worship Him totally; shouldn't we worship Him with the most extravagant expressions. Why is my heart so apathetic? Why am I not constantly bursting at the seams in worship?
Heavenly Father, you are so kind to me, and your love is amazing. Lord, please forgive me for my apathy, and please fill me with the joy of your salvation. Lord, I pray that I will love you and worship you extravagantly and that you will delight in my genuine worship. Lord, please give me humility and victory through Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
the right words bring satisfaction.
21 The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.
What should my speech look like anyway? I am reminded of the passage in James 3.
For his name is very great;
his glory towers over the earth and heaven!
14 He has made his people strong,
honoring his faithful ones—
the people of Israel who are close to him.
Praise the Lord!Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are supreme. Lord, you have rescued me from the slimy mud pit, and you have put my feet on the Rock. Lord, please put a new song in my mouth - a hymn of praise to you. Lord, you are worthy. It is easy for me to say, but Lord, would you please put it in my heart. I pray that I will genuinely overflow with praises for you because you are so good. May others see your goodness in my life, and may the words of my mouth continue to progressively emulate yours. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Last night I went to work out with Brandi for the first time in a couple of weeks. I didn't exercise very long, but after the workout my arms and chest were noticeably swollen, and I was feeling pretty buff.
or in human might.
11 No, the Lord's delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love.
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my vanity and conceit. Lord, please forgive me for being so proud; I can feel it inside me like a cancer. Lord, please cure me of my selfish pride with the humility of Christ. May I die to myself daily and experience the resurrection of Christ inside me. May I be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be a witness for Christ today. Lord, please cover me in your grace and mercy. I am nothing without you. Thank you for involving me in your good work. May your eternal love shine through my life today. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
whose hope is in the Lord their God.
6 He made heaven and earth,
the sea, and everything in them.
He keeps every promise forever.
7 He gives justice to the oppressed
and food to the hungry.
The Lord frees the prisoners.
8 The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are weighed down.
Why does that sound like Isaiah 61:1-3?
If that is what God is doing, and if that is what Christ quoted as His mission statement in Luke 4:18-19, and if the Church is Christ's continued incarnation, then why isn't the Church (especially congregations in the USA) characterized by these verses?
Heavenly Father, I praise you because of your goodness, your good plan, and your good work. Lord, thank you for the opportunity to be involved in your work. Please help us see your vision for the Church, and lead us to live bold lives of obedience. May the Holy Spirit empower us to be your hands and feet. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose hands and feet took nails for us. Amen.
Monday, June 15, 2009
and praise your name forever and ever.
2 I will praise you every day;
yes, I will praise you forever.
3 Great is the Lord! He is most worthy of praise!
No one can measure his greatness.
4 Let each generation tell its children of your mighty acts;
let them proclaim your power.
It is my goal to tell my children about the goodness of God every single day. I believe that through my transparent communication of my faith, the Lord will capture the hearts of my children.
Heavenly Father, you are worthy of praise all day long! Lord, you are so good, and you have been so kind to me. May I be faithful to teach my children of your goodness and love, and may they see you through me. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
but your cruelty will destroy you. ...
25 The generous will prosper;
those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.
I need to grow in kindness. I need to move beyond operating with cordiality to living with intentional kindness. Other people should be able to see a distinct element within me - the αγαπη love of God.
Heavenly Father, please fill me with your love. I have experienced your love through Christ, and I pray that you will pour your love through me by your Holy Spirit so that others may enjoy your love as well. Lord, please help me set my mind on the spirit so that I will be thinking of how I can bless others instead of how I can gratify my flesh. Lord, please save me from my self, and cause me to be a blessing to you and others. I love you, Lord. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This verse was challenging to me this morning:
but one who sleeps during harvest is a disgrace.
I need to run lots of experiments this summer and "harvest" a lot of data for my dissertation. I need to work diligently. But at the same time, I can't be so focused on my work that I miss the golden opportunities to minister to my colleagues and share the Gospel with them.
Heavenly Father, thank you for you grace and protection. Lord, I pray that you will give me a balance in the time I devote to "work" and "ministry" recognizing that I should see all of my time as serving you. Lord God, please use me for your glory. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
As I read these verses, I am amazed at His faithfulness to me, in spite of my rebellion and complacency toward Him:
and knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
Of course, I am awed as He tenderly and carefully molds my son in Brandi's womb. How can people not see what an incredible treasure unborn children are? This is why abortion is especially haneous - not only is it murder, not only is it killing someone made in the image of God, it is destroying His most intimate creation.
As I consider His faithfulness toward me, I am ashamed of my unfaithfulness toward Him, and I echo the Psalmist's plea:
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
Heavenly Father, thank you for molding me - body, soul, and spirit - into the person I am, and please help me see my value in you. Thank you for molding my son; I trust your handiwork. Please forgive me for not seeking you, and please help me repent of the things that grieve you. Lord, please deliver me from my proud and selfish flesh, and help me walk with you in humility. Lord, I want to be close to you. I need you. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Monday, June 8, 2009
We went to a baby shower for Brandi's cousin on Saturday, and I got to visit with Brandi's Uncle David. He is a godly man, and the Lord has blessed him with the gift of prophecy. It was such an encouraging conversation. So many times I visit with Christians who are so focused on doctrine, and you can tell that they are consumed by religion. Uncle David clearly has a close walk with the Lord and hears His voice frequently, and instead of religion, Uncle David is focused on knowing the Lord and doing His will. He encouraged me to continue seeking the Lord by reading the Word daily with a heart to hear His voice and praying to Him desperately.
Hear as understanding raises her voice! ...
6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you. ...
17 "I love all who love me.
Those who search will surely find me. ...
34 Joyful are those who listen to me,
watching for me daily at my gates,
waiting for me outside my home!
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and receives favor from the Lord.
Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are so good. Lord, I am seeking you, and you have promised to reveal yourself to me! Please speak to me! Lord God, I need to hear your voice, because I can't live on bread, but I can live on every Word that comes from your mouth. Lord, please give me brokenness for my spiritual poverty, and the poverty of my people. Lord, please supply yourself to us. We need your live. May we be empowered by your Holy Spirit to do your will. I ask you this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Friday, June 5, 2009
that our Lord is greater than any other god.
6 The Lord does whatever pleases him
throughout all heaven and earth,
and on the seas and in their depths.
I know this concept is communicated through the Scriptures as a whole, but I love concise, explicit statements like this. The Lord God is the only supreme in the universe, which gives Him authority over everything. He is also sovereign over all of creation, which means He has the power to control things. And I really love the implication of these two attributes - it means that He does whatever He wants, when He wants. It is His prerogative. And we know that the Lord is always morally good (it is intrinsic to His character), so everything He desires to do (and consequently does) is fundamentally good.
Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are the greatest and because you are good. Lord, I want to join you in your good work of redeeming mankind to yourself. Father, may I please you, and may it please you to use me to bring honor to your name. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
you who serve at night in the house of the Lord.
2 Lift up holy hands in prayer,
and praise the Lord.
3 May the Lord, who made heaven and earth,
bless you from [Zion].
I was considering the significance of the "night watchmen" in verse one. First of all, we who are in Christ are a part of a royal priesthood with Christ, ministering to the Lord and ministering the Lord to lost humanity. Secondly, I think the Church is ministering "in the night", but we are so close to the dawn - the return of Christ. We must be vigilant in this brief time remaining! Let's not waste any time!
Heavenly Father, I praise you because you are worthy to be praised. Night and day I should shout your praises! Please forgive me for being so complacent, and please replace my apathetic and ignorant complacency with a holy zeal to know you and praise you! Please give me a passion to see your name praised among all nations, tribes, and tongues. Father, please give me clean hands and a pure heart; wholly devoted to you and your service. Lord, give me a sense of urgency and a boldness to proclaim the Truth and Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Lord, please bless me, my wife, and my son. Please empower me to serve my family in a way that honors you, and bless them through me. Please involve me in your good work. I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Another short Psalm:
when brothers live together in harmony!
2 For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil
that was poured over Aaron's head,
that ran down his beard
and onto the border of his robe.
3 Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting.
One of my former disciplers made a point that stuck with me. He said that many Christians are so bent on pointing out heresies and hypocrisies in others that they are willing to divide. They think that they are doing what is right by rejecting what is wrong. The problem is that we are all heretics and hypocrites, and we are tragically ignorant of it within ourselves. Thus, to preserve unity IS right doctrine and right practice. Through unity, we experience the Lord; it is a promise of grace - the presence of the Perfect and Most Holy Creator dwelling among imperfect creatures:
20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:20 (ESV)
Heavenly Father, thank you for choosing me to be a part of the Body of Christ. Thank you for my Brothers and Sisters throughout time and around the world. Please forgive me where I have caused devision. Please make me an agent of reconciliation. I pray that you will deliver us from denominationalism, and may we be united in the Truth of your Word. Lord, please deliver us from selfish and proud interpretations and biases. May we be unified to experience your presence and to communicate you to the lost and dying world around us. Heavenly Father, I ask for unity in the Body of Christ, for your glory and honor. May we be genuine and gracious - extending the love and forgiveness that you have shown us. Lord, humble us with the ugliness and shame of division among your Body. I pray in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
He vowed to the Mighty One of Israel,
3 "I will not go home;
I will not let myself rest.
4 I will not let my eyes sleep
nor close my eyelids in slumber
5 until I find a place to build a house for the Lord,
a sanctuary for the Mighty One of Israel." ...
7 Let us go to the sanctuary of the Lord;
let us worship at the footstool of his throne.
8 Arise, O Lord, and enter your resting place,
along with the Ark, the symbol of your power.
9 May your priests be clothed in godliness;
may your loyal servants sing for joy.
As I read these verses from Psalms this morning, I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 6:
I was challenged by these questions: "Am I actively working like King David did, to build a temple for the Lord?" and "Do I live in such a way that the Lord is pleased to dwell within me?"
Heavenly Father, please forgive me for being lazy about taking care of this temple for you. Thank you for reminding me that you desire me to be holy as you are holy because you desire close fellowship. Father, please make me a holy man; continue to sanctify me. Lord, I want to honor you with my whole person - heart, mind, soul, and strength. I love you, Lord. Thank you for adopting me and making me a Brother of Christ. May I be clothed in godliness, and may I sing for joy because of the work of Christ. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Monday, June 1, 2009
A brief psalm, but it's brevity is not an indicator of its depth:
my eyes are not haughty.
I don't concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
2 Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother's milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord—
now and always.
At first reading, I was quite confused about the meaning of verse two. After consulting some commentaries, I see two weanings: from the world, and from the milk of spiritual infancy. We must transition from temporal to eternal beings, and this only occurs by being united with the Eternal Spirit of God. From The Treasury of David by Charles Spurgeon:
It is not every child of God who arrives at this weanedness speedily. Some are sucklings when they ought to be fathers; others are hard to wean, and cry, and fight, and rage against their heavenly parent's discipline. When we think ourselves safely through the weaning, we sadly discover that the old appetites are rather wounded than slain, and we begin crying again for the breasts which we had given up. It is easy to begin shouting before we are out of the wood, and no doubt hundreds have sung this Psalm long before they have understood it. Blessed are those afflictions which subdue our affections, which wean us from self-sufficiency, which educate us into Christian manliness, which teach us to love God not merely when he comforts us, but even when he tries us. ...
Weaning takes the child out of a temporary condition into a state in which he will continue for the rest of his life: to rise above the world is to enter upon a heavenly existence which can never end. When we cease to hanker for the world we begin hoping in the Lord. O Lord, as a parent weans a child, so do thou wean me, and then shall I fix all my hope on thee alone.
Heavenly Father, please wean me from this world - from the lust of my eyes and the boasting of what I have and do. Lord, please change my heart so that all I desire is you! Lord, may I be fed and satisfied by the meat of your Word, and may I enjoy the food of doing your will. Please grow me into a spiritual man - into the very image of Christ. I ask in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.