Prayer is asking God for something.So, based on that, what are you praying for today? I also ran across 5 characteristics/attributes of God that invite our prayers to Him.
- He is able.
- He is Father.
- He is personal.
- He is holy.
- He is merciful.
Prayer is asking God for something.So, based on that, what are you praying for today? I also ran across 5 characteristics/attributes of God that invite our prayers to Him.
I want you to know that I thank God for you. Many of you I know by face, many of you I know by name, but it is a privilege to be a shepherd to you all. I am blessed, actually we all are, to be at a church where God is moving. When I hear of people coming to Christ, when I hear of parents teaching their children, when I see people loving their neighbor, when I sense the desire to be a part of God's plan for the nations, when I hear the congregational singing, when I sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our services, when I know people are crying out to God in prayer, when I talk with those who are sharing their faith, when I see people suffer in a God-glorifying way, when I talk with people who have laid down personal preference, when I see a humble, submissive heart, when I know people are giving generously and sacrificially, when I watch a teenager humble themselves before God and their parents, when I know of college students who are boldly stepping out in faith, when I see people sacrificing time, money, energy for the sake of Christ and his church, just know I am blown away to share this time with you as your pastor. I could say more, but I never could say "thank you" to God enough for Ogletown!
We still regard security as our birthright and 'safety first' as a prudent motto. Where is the spirit of adventure? Where are the Christians who are prepared to put service before security, compassion before comfort, hardship before ease? Thousands of pioneer Christian tasks are waiting to be done, which challenge our complacency, and which call for risk. Insistence on security is incompatible with the way of the cross.
John Stott, The Cross of Christ, 288.
The true Christian message never simply preaches a list of 'dos and don'ts' because we can never be saved by righteous things that we have done. The Christian message is much worse news and much better news than that. A Christian has come to understand that, in the past...
taken from The Holy Spirit: Understanding His Work in Our Lives by Pete and Anne Woodcock
- they deserved God's punishment but now they have received God's kindness, love and mercy.
- they messed up their life with selfish, hateful, rebellious sins, but they have been given a clean new start
- they were guilty of sin, but now they have been justified
- they were headed for death and judgment, but now they can look forward to eternal life.
“Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”Dietrich Bonhoeffer - The Cost of Discipleship
The words vision, love, hope capture the 3 dimensions and 3 critical ingredients essential to change in marriage.Great thoughts, and I think that only whets our appetite for the Conference. If you haven't registered, you can do it today.
Vision--People often come hoping for a dramatic fix to problems in their relationship but more often the pathway to change is a long path. They need to get a bigger picture of what marriage is about. Laying down one's life for another in marriage is an act of worship to the Lord and we need to learn to be excited about that.
Love--People need to see the intersection between the love of Christ for me and the details of my life with my spouse. We need to ask ourselves what the love of Christ has to do with communication, conflict, and other marital issues.
Hope--People need to learn to love for the long haul. It isn't about responding well to your wife 5 times but 50,000 times. Around the 10,000 mark real change begins. Christ gives us life giving manna but it just tastes like bread sometimes and we have to manage our expectations to be in it for the long haul. We need to see eternity in the things we are doing now. Even when our spouse is being unkind or unreasonable we need to know the love of Christ and be OK with that.
Fear not, for I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flame will not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. - Isaiah 43:1-3a (fyi, I typed that from memory, so I might have missed a word or two, but progress is progress)
"Dear Jesus, I pray that you help Pastor Hill make sense tomorrow when he talks, and that when the people listen, that they listen right. Amen."Awesome! I hope I made sense, and I hope you "listened right"!
God capture our hearts. May we grow in our understanding of how great You are. May you help us to remember that You are not a tribal deity over our people, but a God over all the world. May we remember that Your good news is not some small self-help strategy, but Your perfect plan for the rightful recognition of Your Son for eternity.
Sometimes a light surprises the Christian while he sings;
It is the Lord, who rises with healing in His wings:
When comforts are declining, He grants the soul again
A season of clear shining, to cheer it after rain.
In holy contemplation we sweetly then pursue
The theme of God’s salvation, and find it ever new.
Set free from present sorrow, we cheerfully can say,
Let the unknown tomorrow bring with it what it may.
It can bring with it nothing but He will bear us through;
Who gives the lilies clothing will clothe His people, too;
Beneath the spreading heavens, no creature but is fed;
And He Who feeds the ravens will give His children bread.
Though vine nor fig tree neither their wonted fruit should bear,
Though all the field should wither, nor flocks nor herds be there;
Yet God the same abiding, His praise shall tune my voice,
For while in Him confiding, I cannot but rejoice.
1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
1:19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
2:5 Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
2:8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me;
2:11 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.
2:22 Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord God.
2:35 You say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’
3:10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”
3:13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the Lord your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the Lord.
"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms around their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for. "God, fire up our hearts to see people and love people like this.
Mark 10:28-31 Peter began to say to him, “See, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”
2 Peter 1:8-11 For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But encourage one another EVERY DAY, as long as it is called "today," that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. (Hebrews 3:12-14)So, will that happen this week in our Ogletown family? May God grace us with His power to do so, and may He start with me!
My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you. Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you. Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm. Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways, for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence. The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace. (ESV)
A little bit deep, but really encouraging.
In the New Testament Christians are often told:
- to be what we are: we are children of God so we should show the family likeness;
- to become what we will be: we will be like God in the new creation, so we should be like Him now.
My son, if you receive my words and treasure up my commandments with you, making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness, who rejoice in doing evil and delight in the perverseness of evil, men whose paths are crooked, and who are devious in their ways. So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words, who forsakes the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death, and her paths to the departed; none who go to her come back, nor do they regain the paths of life. So you will walk in the way of the good and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those with integrity will remain in it, but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it. (ESV)
The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth— Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck. My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent. If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason; like Sheol let us swallow them alive, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot among us; we will all have one purse”— my son, do not walk in the way with them; hold back your foot from their paths, for their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood. For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird, but these men lie in wait for their own blood; they set an ambush for their own lives. Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors. Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge? If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.” (ESV)
If possible, as much as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.In preparing for this Sunday's message, I ran across the prayer of Paul in Romans 15 which says
May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.In harmony with each other, in accord with Christ Jesus. Not separated at all, except for the comma. In other words, God's good plan for Ogletown is a joyful harmony that extends from what we share in Jesus Christ.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
I am guilty, but pardoned
I am lost, but saved
I am wandering, but found
I am sinning, but cleansed
Justice [is not] a passive idea waiting to be violated, and it certainly is not to be defined by self-centered interests. Justice requires positive action seeking the good for all persons, especially the poor. True justice - at least God's justice - seeks mercy and ways to express love.Stories of Intent by Klyne Snodgrass, p. 378
Without the concept of judgment one does not even need salvation, and any urgency about life and its importance, about justice, or even about God is, if not lost, at least greatly diminished. Grace is only grace if the outcome should have been otherwise, and the significance of life depends on accountability for life. We may not like judgment, but it is a central and necessary message of both Testaments and especially Jesus' teaching.Stories of Intent by Klyne Snodgrass