Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Security

I am not so very strong.
Left alone, I won't last long.
Yet I'm still not doomed to fail.
Through Christ Jesus, I'll prevail.
He's the Savior, strong and sure,
Keeping all his flock secure.
He can catch me if I fall;
Make me clean, so I'll stand tall.
Broken? By him, I'm restored--
So I celebrate my Lord.

Tonight I heard my friend Blake Johnson preach an excellent sermon on John 16:29-33. He stressed that our security comes not from us, but from the Lord. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

A Prayer for the Lord's Day

Holy Father, source of all, we call to you this day.
We know you're here when we come to worship you. We know you hear.
We know you're good and wise and strong, forever faithful to those you call your own.
We don't know why you've loved us and called us and saved us, but we thank you for it. We praise you from our washed-clean hearts.

Grant us zeal and passion for following you. Expand your kingdom. Achieve your will.
We don't presume to tell you what's most important next. You are Lord. We are not.

And yet, Lord, we do dare to ask things. We ask that you grow your church in depth, in breadth, in love, in purity, in wisdom, in numbers--for your own glory. We don't pray just for our own local church. Work these blessings in your church around the world. Strengthen those who are in hard testing. Wake up those who are drowsy and falling into the sleep of sin. Protect those who are bearing much fruit. Raise up others who will bear even more fruit. Comfort those who mourn. Give godly ambition to the young. Give fresh purpose to the old.

Use the methods you've used for fifty generations:

  • The assembling of the saints. 
  • Our declarations of faith in you and in your Son Jesus, the Christ, the Lord.
  • Our confession of sins.
  • Baptism of new believers.
  • The public reading and preaching of your word. 
  • Prayers
  • Our worship of you in singing.
  • The bread, the wine that speak of Jesus' body and blood.
  • Benedictions.
We pray for those who will be leading us, your church, in these things. Grant true repentance. Grant fullness of your Holy Spirit. Grant insight and discernment and love while serving you. Deliver your church from those leaders who would exalt themselves instead of exalting you. 

As your people worship you today in many thousands of places, speak to us. Correct us in love. Build us up in truth. Lead us in grace. Prepare us for serving you.

We come to you as your needy, stumbling, expectant people. Take our prayers; refine them and sort them and answer them as you wish. Yours, Lord, is the glory and the dominion forever. We give all praise to you, through your son Jesus Christ. 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Jesus Left.

Jesus left.
His body rose
And went right up--
And, wrapped in clouds,
He disappeared.

He will come--
Come back to earth,
Descend from sky
With all his saints
And reign on earth.

He will claim
His bride, his church;
But none of those
Whose faith is fake.
Are you his own?

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”   (Acts 1:9-11 ESV)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

In Our Grief

I never know who will read this, when, but am confident that it will speak to someone. 

In our grief, we're not alone.
Jesus knows our pain, our fear.
He's not hard like steel or stone.
Jesus feels each flowing tear.

He'll defeat the things we dread--
Things that gnaw us in the night--
He can even raise the dead.
He's the life, the truth, the light.

After this life's pain is past,
Horrors driven all away,
He can dry our tears as last,
Bringing us to brilliant day.

Grief may still be ours today,
Feelings fraying like a rope.
Yet, through Jesus as we pray,
In our grief, there's deeper hope.

We read in John 11:35 that at the tomb of his friend Lazarus, "Jesus wept." He wept, even though he knew he'd shortly raise Lazarus from the dead. Jesus knows your pain. 

Do you trust Jesus? If not...

Turn, friend, from all doubt, all sin,
Trusting Jesus--yes, today!
In your grief, let life begin.
Trust, and see sin washed away.

Friday, January 02, 2015

After Christmas

Ornaments off,
Lights all down,
Tree down,
Wrap all stored...

Christmas comes but once a year,
But joy in Christ is always here.

Ornaments break.
Presents break.
Friends die.
Wrappings fade.

Pity those whose joys are all
Found in things within their walls.

Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and joy are in his place.
(1 Chronicles 16:27 ESV)