A Prayer of Adoration – from Psalms 3-5

Who is like You O LORD?

You are a shield about Your people (3:3).

You answer the prayers of Your people when they cry aloud to You (3:4).

You sustain Your people when they sleep and when they rise (3:5).

You are the LORD to whom salvation belongs (3:8).

You are a God who gives relief to those who in distress (4:1).

You are the LORD who sets apart the godly for Yourself (4:3).

You are the LORD who “lifts up the light of Your face upon us” (4:6).

You are a God who puts joy into the hearts of Your people (4:7).

You are the LORD who causes Your people to “dwell in safety” and to rest peacefully (4:8).

You do not delight in wickedness (5:4).

You are abundant in “your steadfast love” for Your people which enables and invites us to worship You (5:7).

You lead Your people in Your righteousness and make our way straight (5:8).

You spread Your protection over Your people and cover them with Your favor (5:11,12).

Would you delight to show Yourself strong and mighty in these ways for all of your children today! AMEN.

Praying Psalm 2

Psalm 2 – The nations that rage will become the inheritance of the Messiah (vv. 1,8).

Father, you have given to Jesus the ends of the earth as His possession.
He declares, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.”
“There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Jesus Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!’ (Abraham Kuyper)

Since the ends of the earth are your possession, you have called us to be your witnesses “even to the ends (remotest parts) of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

I pray that you would supernaturally cause a mass conversion of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Shintoists, animists, atheists, and agnostics
to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Have mercy upon them, open blind eyes like you did long ago,
pour the wine of your love and Word on calloused, stony hearts.
May a great in-gathering of souls take place in our lifetime
as people devotedly kiss Your Son as Savior (Psalm 2:11),
as young people throughout the world
“serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling” (v.11)
as they contemplate you as a loving Savior,
but also as a just judge
who will come with “a rod of iron”
and break those who have refused to kiss you
as the only Savior of sinners. AMEN.

Reflections on “The Poor in Spirit”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

The sermon on the Mount describes
what human life and human community
looks like when they come under
the gracious rule of King Jesus…

Still today the indispensable condition
of receiving the kingdom of God
is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty…

Thus, to be ‘poor in spirit’ is to acknowledge our spiritual poverty,
indeed our spiritual bankruptcy, before God…
Right at the beginning of his sermon,
Jesus contradicts all human judgments
and all nationalistic expectations of the kingdom of God.
The kingdom is given to the poor, not the rich;
the feeble, not the mighty;
to little children humble enough to accept it,
not to soldiers who boast
that they can obtain it by their own prowess.
– John Stott

We are beggars. This is true! – Martin Luther

The kingdom of God can only be received by empty hands.
Jesus warns against two things:
Worldly self-sufficiency which leads you
to trust yourself and your own resources
so that you don’t need God;
and religious self-sufficiency
where you trust your religious attitude and moral life
and don’t need Jesus.
– Michael Crosby

He only who is reduced to nothing in himself,
and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in spirit.
– John Calvin

Blessed are the spiritual zeros – the spiritually bankrupt,
deprived and deficient, the spiritual beggars,
those without a wisp of religion –
when the kingdom of heaven comes upon them.
– Dallas Willard

Praying through Psalm 1 to Start 2019

Psalm 1

Prayer of Preparation
In this new year O Lord, grant us a renewed hunger and delight in Your Word.
So move in our hearts that we delight to do what You command.
Free us from finding our happiness and well-being in created things so that we might find You our greatest treasure.

Adoration: Praise God for Who He Is

  1. We praise You, O Lord, that you are in the business of transforming hearts so that we can think, behave, and belong in a way that pleases You and brings us good.
  2. We praise you for your willingness to share with us your wisdom and your Word.
  3. We adore you for changing the desires of our hearts so that we might find you our greatest delight.

Confession: Acknowledge and Turn from Your Sin

  1. Forgive me for the ways that I have conformed to the world in departing from you by accepting the world’s advice, being party to its ways, and adopting its most fatal of its attitudes – scoffing.
  2. Pardon me for allowing worldly values and thinking to shape my life and decisions.
  3. Forgive me for all the ways that I have thought that true fulfillment and happiness could be found apart from you and your Word.

Thanksgiving: Express Gratitude to God for His Works and Ways

  1. Thank you Father that you have freed me from judgment, collapse and expulsion from your presence because of the Cross of Jesus.
  2. Thank you Father that Jesus is the only, truly blessed man who always delighted to obey you and never failed in delighting in your law. Thank you for his perfect obedience to your law for us.
  3. Thank you that you care about and identify with us, your people, and you call us the congregation of the righteous – acceptable in your sight because of what Jesus has done not us.
  4. Thank you for imputing to us the righteousness of Christ by faith alone, and now you grant us power to work out in our lives what you have worked in us.

Supplication: Ask God to Meet Your Spiritual and Physical Needs

  1. Lord, please give me a greater delight in you and your Word. May it be reflected in an established, guarded rhythm of spending time with you in your word.
  2. Grant that I might discern and reject unbiblical, worldly patterns of thinking and living so that you might receive greater glory from my life and ministry.
  3. Lord, would you be pleased to prosper our work for you in this new year?

Consecration: Commit to Obey God’s Will

  1. In 2019, I will regularly meditate on God’s Word using the Psalms and a Read through the Bible in a year plan.
  2. In my reading and studying, I will endeavor to focus more on what Christ has done in order to increase my delight in Him and His Word instead of focusing on what I must do.

Intercession: Asking God to Meet the Needs of Others
 Family

  1. So work by your Spirit in the lives of Scottie and the kids that they become discerning, fruitful, mature, stable, flourishing, and godly men and women.
  2. So work in their lives that they recognize and reject worldly thinking and living so that their lives might conform more to your character.

Church Leaders

  1. Grant your Spirit in full measure to the leaders of our church so that they might think deeply about your Word and will and become fruitful and effective in building your church and extending your kingdom in the world.
  2. Make them people of substance who are rooted deeply in your Word and useful in your kingdom service.

Governmental Leaders

  1. Free them from the curse of the counsel of the wicked, the path of sinners and the seat of scoffers.
  2. Grant all of them your wisdom to lead and serve well.
  3. Overwhelm them with their personal inadequacies for the task at hand so that they might seek and find you.
  4. Give them your wisdom from above that is peaceable (see James 4). Bring our divided country together O Lord, break down the walls of hostility.

All this we pray in the great name of our Savior, Jesus Christ the Lord.

AMEN.

Your Name in the Lamb’s Book of Life

Screen Shot 2018-12-31 at 9.03.42 AMIf you have turned from trusting yourself and placed your faith in Jesus alone for salvation, then you did this because the Father gave you to Jesus so that you would come in faith to Him (John 6:37). You came to believe on Jesus because the Father drew you to Jesus (John 6:44). All of this happened because of what God did.

I encountered again in in my Bible reading this morning a verse that reminds us of these wonderful truths of sovereign grace.

Revelation 13:8 reminds us that the only ones who are saved are those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life, and when did that happen? “Before the foundation of the world.”

Here are a couple of corollary passages: Revelation 21:27 teaches us that “only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life” will enter the celestial city.

Jesus tells his disciples to not rejoice that they have incredible spiritual powers, but to “rejoice that your names are written in heaven (Luke 10:20).

May our Lord fill your heart with renewed wonder and joy in this new year that your name was “written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain” (Revelation 13:8).

Knowing this promotes humility, gratitude, and joy… not pride!

May it be so for all of us in 2019!

Psalms of Ascent – What do they teach us about our Lord?

The Lord gladly answers us when we call out to Him in our distress (Psalm 120)

The Lord exercises His watchcare over us when we face physical and spiritual dangers (Psalm 121).

The Lord is worthy of our thankful praise for He extends peace to us (Psalm 122).

The enthroned God of heaven delights to show mercy to us (Psalm 123).

The providential Lord draws near to His suffering people to deliver us (Psalm 124).

Our trustworthy Lord surrounds his people and offers us true security (Psalm 125).

The Lord who weeps promises future joys for tearful sowers (Psalm 126).

Our Lord is the divine architect and builder of our lives, families, and church. Therefore, he sets us free from the blasphemous anxiety of trying to do his work for him (Psalm 127).

Our blessed Lord comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found: in our work, our families, our church, and our community (Psalm 128).

Our suffering Lord enters into the affliction of His people and is afflicted Himself in order to ultimately end all affliction (Psalm 129).

Our gracious Lord delights to forgive sin and redeem us (Psalm 130).

Our high and holy Lord sets his people free from the spiritual cancer of pride (Psalm 131).

Our Lord has chosen the new Zion as your dwelling place, the Church as your place of rest. and have kindled in it a lamp that will burn brightly forever before Jesus Christ, our anointed ing.

Our Lord delights when his people reflect his nature and dwell together in unity (Psalm 133).

Our Lord, the maker of heaven and earth, looks down with delight when His family gathers for worship and graciously pours out His blessing (Psalm 134).

 

A Scripture Prayer based on Psalm 120

As the pilgrims ascended for worship in Your city,
the city of peace,
where you and your glory dwells,
they longed to encounter You there.
We too long to have a fresh encounter with You.
We long for the day when the final door will open
and we will ascend and pass into your glory forever.
For then we shall know you perfectly
and experience a deep, abiding peace
– no more hostilities, no more misunderstanding,
no more deceit and no more falsehood.

Thank you that from You alone
comes deliverance from all these things,
especially lying lips and a deceitful tongue.
How many times have we wanted people to think well of us
and lied and stretched the truth.
It is a curse-like existence
to live among those who hate peace and love war.

Thank you that Jesus did battle with the devil at the cross of Calvary
and that now we can not only experience peace,
but promote peace among our friends and families.

Enable all who claim allegiance to the Prince of Peace
to proclaim: “I am for peace.”
Lord, I claim with the Psalmist “I am for peace.”
I know true peace comes only to a heart, a marriage,
a family, a nation
only through Jesus Christ who is our peace (Ephesians 2:14).

Would you be pleased to bring peace to the war-ravaged parts of your world…
namely the Middle East and the southern border of our own country.
In Your church, cure Your children’s warring madness
and bend our pride to your control.
Bring peace, reconciliation,
forgiveness and restored relationships
for Your glory and the building up of Your church.  AMEN.