Wednesday, September 28, 2011

O Awesome God in Heaven,
            We thank you for the people we are allowed / assigned to love. Help us overlook and forgive others when they hurt us. Banish our self-pity and show us how to offer our suffering as a gift to you, willingly enduring pain in your name so that you will be glorified.
Help us remember the way you suffered on the cross for us and how you continue to forgive us daily when we grieve you. Remind us that Peter exhorted the new Christians of his time to think of the living hope they had in Christ whom God raised from the dead. Remind us how Peter encouraged them to understand that the trials  they endured “for a little while” would test the genuineness of their faith and result in praise, glory and honor at Christ’s return.  He said all those things to the early Christians despite the horrifying realities of the persecution and tortures they were suffering under the emperor Nero. Peter’s instruction to them was to quietly do good, knowing that God was guarding them through faith and would give them an imperishable inheritance in heaven.
Help us to follow Peter's instruction. Open our eyes to the smallness of our problems next to theirs, Jesus, yet comfort us with the knowledge that you see our difficulties and feel our pain right along with us. You don’t diminish our pain because since you live in us you are right there with us when acquaintances and loved ones abuse us, when we can’t find a job, when the diagnosis of cancer comes.
Teach us to visualize Jesus standing with us. Enduring with us. Holding us up. Smoothing our brow. Because the Truth is you never leave us to face anything alone. And you love us desperately. Thank you. We pray this in the name of your Son Christ Jesus.

Supporting verses:
“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perished though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:3 – 7

If you would like your name removed from this list, please send back a message saying 'unsubscribe.'

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Holy God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
            We extol your name, declaring that you are the only God and Savior. Because there is no God but you, we will bless you forever and ever. Every day of our lives we will praise your name and offer thanks to you for your goodness to all the inhabitants of earth.
            Thank you that we can completely trust you during times when drought shrivels our crops even as brothers and sisters are still rebuilding from floods and winds.
We thank you because you comfort in the aftermath of the evil choices of one man in Norway. Thank you for being there for those precious people and leading them back to churches to seek you for comfort and help.
We thank you because we know you are still sovereign even if the majority of political leaders pursue selfish ambition at great cost to the rest of us. We believe you have reserved a handful of righteous men and women who serve you in our nation’s capitol and we ask for wisdom for them.
Thank you that you have saved us as a remnant who choose to obey you and pray to you daily. Who choose to trust you when the world seems to be crumbling.
We choose to trust you without anxiety. Help each of us take every thought captive during financial and relationship troubles. Help us believe, without anxiety and with strong faith, that you see us and you will rescue us. Increase our faith. We pray this in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Amen.

Supporting verses from the ESV:
“I will extol you. My God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 143:1 -- 3
“I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.” Isaiah 43:11,12
“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 shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” Isaiah 43:1 – 3
When Elijah thought he was the only prophet / righteous person left, God told him, “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” 1 Kings 20:10
“Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the deerps; he makes me tread on my high places.” Habbakkuk 3:17 – 19

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

O God in Heaven, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
            You loved us so much you sent your Son to die to save us. You are patient and good and loving and we want to be like you. We long to love others the way you love them -- with an agape love. A love that puts others first and cares more about their needs than our own.  A love that remembers to give generously to the poor.  A love that takes the time to reach out to worshipers sitting alone in the pew so they’ll know they are welcome in the family of God. A love that is kind to unpleasant coworkers.
We long for your joy that bubbles up in us despite our circumstances. We long for your peace in the midst of sickness and joblessness and concern over rebellious children. We want to be gentle and kind even when we’re miserable with the flu.
And we know you can give us joy and the peace that defies understanding. Those good things come from your Spirit. They're the fruit of following you; we can't manufacture them for ourselves. Yet you promise we can have them even when we’re lying bedridden in a nursing home during our final years.
But so often we fall short of that ideal and feel like failures.
Lord, today we lean into you, knowing you can reproduce your Spirit in in ever-increasing quantities inside us and enable us to live with ongoing peace and joy and love no matter what is happening around us or to us. We accept our humanness and the fact that we fail, and we ask you to step in and give us the peace our own efforts will never achieve.  We know that the answer is to spend more time with you, so we choose to draw close to you. We will wait in your presence, knowing you will produce the fruits of your Spirit in us. Thank you for the hope we have in you, Jesus. Amen.
Supporting  verses:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control: against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22,23
“ . . . but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Galatians 6:8b
“They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.” Psalm 92:14,15
“Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:8

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

O Mighty God of Heaven and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth,
We praise you for your never-failing love and protection. We declare, just as Jesus declared over and over as he sang Psalm 118 on his determined march from the Upper Room to Gethsemane, “Your steadfast love endures forever.”
Our circumstances may be difficult, but Jesus’ were worse. If Jesus could declare your power and love on his way to torture and certain death, we can declare your power and love while struggling through our own fearful times. We know that just as you sustained Jesus and brought him through victoriously you’ll sustain us and give us great spiritual victories. You answered him. You’ll answer us.
Because you love us.
Many of us cry out to you today from a place of distress; and those of us who are going through a temporarily easier time, call out on behalf of our suffering brothers and sisters. Rescue them! Teach them to trust you instead of placing faith in any human being. Make them aware of your love despite difficulties.
Put glad songs of praise in our mouths today. Help us accept earthly circumstances with truthful eyes and yet, just as Jesus did, trust you despite those things. Give us faith to declare -- even before it happens – that you have answered our prayers and rescued us. Help us recognize the answers when they come, even when the answers are different than expected.
You made this day, Jesus. We will rejoice and give you thanks in it! Amen.
Supporting verses and facts:
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! . . . Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD answered me and set me free. . . . The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? . . . . It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. . . . The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.  Glad songs of salvation are in the tents of the righteous. . . . I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation. . . . This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Save us we pray, O LORD. O Lord, we pray, give us success.” Psalm 118:1, 5-6, 7-8, 14, 21, 25
·       The Ryrie Study Bible says, “This song of jubilant thanksgiving was sung by worshippers in procession to the Temple.” Because of that, theologians assume Psalm 118 is one of the hymns Jesus and his disciples sang on the way to Gethsemane. Knowing that, I have trouble reading the Psalm without crying, because the words of the Psalm show us his amazing attitude. And they show us the way we should face hard times. Though we can’t manage his attitude without his help, he will help us. And once we start to praise (I often have to force myself to praise when I feel down) our hearts begin to brighten up.
·       Verse 26 of this Psalm quote the precise words his followers had used about him on his triumphal entry a week earlier. (Of course the Psalm itself prophesies Jesus and was penned years earlier .)