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.
If 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!
Father of spirits, looking to Jesus,
the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,
we lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
that we may run with perseverance the race that is set before us.
Few, they tell us, finish well…
Lord, let us get home before dark.
Before the darkness of staining your honor,
shaming your name, and grieving your loving heart.
Before the darkness of a spirit grown mean and small,
fruit shriveled on the vine, bitter to the taste of our companions,
burden to be borne by those brave few who love us still.
Before the darkness of tattered gifts,
rust-locked, half-spent or ill-spent,
A life that once was used of God now set aside.
Grief for glories gone or fretting for a task God never gave.
Mourning in the hollow chambers of memory,
Gazing on the faded banners of victories long gone.
Cannot we run well to the end? Let us get home before dark.
- Adapted from Robertson McQuilkin’s Prayer
“Let Me Get Home Before Dark”
In corporate worship, we invest time in prayer. We do this because God commands us to seek Him in prayer. Prayer also serves as one of the main ways that we exercise our faith in His promises as well as an antidote for our anxious hearts (Luke 18:1; Philippians 4:6-7).
Prayer is hard work and all of us struggle to pray well. Therefore, we constantly need our Lord’s guidance. This is why we regularly use the Lord’s Prayer as a pattern for our own praying. According to His prayer, evil exists in the world and has its origin in the Evil One. All of us are prone to succumb to the devil’s agenda which is to profane God’s name, oppose God’s kingdom, resist God’s will, fail to forgive those who sin against us, and to fail to resist temptation.
On the contrary, Jesus’ prayer helps us to refocus on the Lord: His praise, His program, His plan, His provision, His pardon, and His protection. Today when you pray, remember that you are participating with our Lord in His uprising against the disorder of your hearts and your world. Ask Him to strengthen your capacity to trust Him for He has promised to rescue you from this perilous life on earth and bring you safely home to heaven.
Prayer to prepare your heart based on Psalm 46:
Lord God, our refuge and strength,
when the restless powers of this world
and the waters of hell rise up against your holy city,
watch over it and keep it safe.
By the river that flows from the throne of the Lamb,
purify us, your new Jerusalem,
as your chosen dwelling,
for You are with us, our stronghold now and forever. AMEN.
Lord of the nations, You are pursuing with omnipotent passion
the worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshippers for Yourself
from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
As we prepare to worship You today,
grant us to share in Your inexhaustible enthusiasm
for the supremacy of Your name among the nations.
Bring our affections into line with Yours,
and, for the sake of Your name, may we renounce the quest for worldly comforts
and join Your global cause. Amen.
Adapted from John Piper
You died to make me beautiful.
For I was marred and made beastly by sin.
Late it was that I loved you,
beauty so ancient and so new, late I loved you!
I vacillate between a monkish contempt of physical beauty
and a worldly addiction to physical beauty.
Forgive me where I have not made a covenant with my eyes
and I gaze lustfully at others.
Forgive me O LORD!
Pardon me for comparing myself to others
that leads to me feeling insecure, ashamed, and envious.
Have mercy upon me O LORD!
Rescue me from viewing my body with disdain
For You knit me together and fashioned my body,
which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Liberate me from the lies of the Evil One, O LORD!
Free me to know in my soul
that precious sense that I am beautiful
in the eyes of the ultimate loving beholder.
Grant me a renewed sense of Your delight, acceptance, and favor
through Jesus Christ our LORD. AMEN.