Putting on Airs vs. Putting on Armor

A Prayer of Confession

Gracious heavenly Father,
we confess that we put on airs
more often than we put on Your armor.
Forgive us for our self-promotion,
self-protection and self-reliance.
Pardon us for not cherishing and trusting in Your gifts
of righteousness, faith, and salvation
during times of temptation and spiritual conflict.
Transform us by Your Spirit
so that we live as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.
For we pray in His strong name,
Who is our strength and our defender. Amen.

In the Midst of Trouble – Psalm 138

A Prayer Guide…

1 I give you thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart;
before the gods I sing your praise;
2 I bow down toward your holy temple
and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness,
for you have exalted above all things
your name and your word.
3 On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.

4 All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
5 and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
6 For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life;
stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
and your right hand delivers me.
8 The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me;
your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Do not forsake the work of your hands.

What am I to do? 
Worship and call upon the Lord.  What does the text say?
Give thanks…sing His praise…bow down…

Who do I call upon? 

  • The LORD – the personal God who keeps covenant with His people.
  • The God who is steadfast/loyal in His love for his people (vv.2,8).
  • The God who is ever faithful to His people and who exalts His name and His word above all things.
  • The LORD who from His lofty and exalted position takes notice of those who are humble but distances himself from the proud and haughty.
  • The LORD who does not forsake the work of His hands.

How do I call upon Him?

  • With my whole heart…singing praise and offering thanks (vv.1,2,4).
  • With humility of heart – Verse 6 – “For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.”

Why do I call upon the LORD?

  • He answers me (v.3).
  • He preserves my life while I am in the midst of trouble by delivering me from my enemies (v.7).
  • He will fulfill His purpose for me (v.8).

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.

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!

A Prayer: Let Us Get Home Before Dark

Robertson_McQuilkin

Robertson McQuilkin

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”

The Antidote for Anxious, Fearful Hearts

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 of Preparation for Reformation Sunday

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.