Sep 25, 2016

When Things Seem Past Hope

CALL TO PRAYER
Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
 
But then the Lord arose, as one
that doth from sleep awake;
and like a giant, that by wine
refreshed, a shout doth make;
and on the backs of fleeing foes
he caused his strokes to fall
and to reproach perpetual
he put his enemies all.
 —Psalm 78:65-66
Suggested tune: Kingsfold (CMD)


 
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
See, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for me?
—Jeremiah 32:27
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
God loves to help when things seem past hope. He creates deliverance. He brought Isaac out of a dead womb, and the Messiah out of a virgin's womb. Oh! how does his power shine forth when he overcomes seeming impossibilities, and works a cure when things look desperate!
 —Thomas Watson
 
TODAY'S PRAYER
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!
—Henry F. Lyte
 
YOUR OWN PRAYERS
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

Sep 24, 2016

The Saying Is Sure

CALL TO PRAYER
Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
 
God's people, like sheep in a fold,
he brought from their distress,
and them conducted like a flock
throughout the wilderness.
He led them forth, and in their path
no cause of fear they found;
but marched securely through the deeps
in which their foes were drowned.
 —Psalm78:52-53
Suggested tune: Kingsfold (CMD)


 
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we will also live with him.
—2 Timothy 2:11
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
We shall not be partakers of the life and glory of Christ, unless we have previously died and been humbled with him; as he says, that all the elect were "predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son" (Rom 8:29). This is said both for exhorting and comforting believers. Who is not excited by this exhortation, that we ought not to be distressed on account of our afflictions, which shall have so happy a result? The same consideration abates and sweetens all that is bitter in the cross; because neither pains, nor tortures, nor reproaches, nor death ought to be received by us with horror, since in these we share with Christ; more especially seeing that all these things are the forerunners of a triumph.
By his example, therefore, Paul encourages all believers to receive joyfully, for the Name of Christ, those afflictions in which they already have a taste of future glory. If this shocks our belief, and if the cross itself so overpowers and dazzles our eyes, that we do not perceive Christ in them, let us remember to present this shield, "The saying is sure." And, indeed, where Christ is present, we must acknowledge that life and happiness are there. We ought, therefore, to believe firmly, and to impress deeply on our hearts, this fellowship, that we do not die apart, but along with Christ, in order that we may afterwards have life in common with him; that we suffer with him, in order that we may be partakers of his glory. By death he means "always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies" (2 Cor 4:10).
—John Calvin
 
TODAY'S PRAYER
Teach me what it truly means to give my life to you, O Christ...
 
YOUR OWN PRAYERS
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

Sep 23, 2016

Like a Good Soldier

CALL TO PRAYER
Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
 
The Lord with indignation heard:
from heav'n avenging flame
on Jacob fell, consuming wrath
on thankless Israel came
because their unbelieving hearts
in God would not confide,
nor trust his care, who had from heav'n
their wants so oft supplied.
 —Psalm 78:21-22
Suggested tune: Kingsfold (CMD)


 
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
Share in suffering like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.
—2 Timothy 2:3
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
They who offer their obedience to Christ must be prepared for "share in suffering," and thus, without patient endurance of evils, there will never be perseverance. And accordingly he adds, "like a good soldier of Christ Jesus." By this term he means that all who serve Christ are warriors, and that their condition as warriors consists, not in inflicting evils, but rather in patience.

These are matters on which it is highly necessary for us to meditate. We see how many there are every day, that throw away their spears, who formerly made a great show of valor. Why? Because they cannot become inured to the cross. First, they shrink from warfare. Next, they do not know any other way of fighting than to argue arrogantly and fiercely with their adversaries; they cannot bear to learn what Luke 21:19 means: "By your endurance you will gain your souls."
 —John Calvin (alt)
 
TODAY'S PRAYER
Lord, give us grace to hold to you
when all is weariness and fear
and sin abounds within, without
when love itself is tested by the doubt...
that love is false, or dead within the soul,
when every act brings new confusion, new distress,
new opportunities, new misunderstandings,
and every thought new accusation.

Lord, give us grace that we may know
that in the darkness pressing round
it is the mist of sin that hides your face,
that you are there
and you do know we love you still
and our dependence and endurance in your will
is still our gift of love...
—Gilbert Shaw
 
YOUR OWN PRAYERS
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13

Sep 22, 2016

Before the Ages Began

CALL TO PRAYER
Repeat and or meditate on this verse until your thoughts are centered on God.
 
Hear, O my people; to my law
devout attention lend;
let the instruction of my mouth
deep in your hearts descend.
 —Psalm 78:1
Suggested tune: Manoah (CM)


 
SCRIPTURE OF THE DAY
Do not be ashamed, then, of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God, who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
—2 Timothy 1:8-10
 
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
God first chose Christ as the Head and then looked through Christ upon us, and chose us to be members of Christ's mystical body. We are, none of us, chosen apart from Jesus Christ, but we are chosen in Christ, loved in Christ, given to Christ, united to Christ and accepted in Christ. This is a blessed way of being chosen, for none can separate us from Christ and, consequently, till the Father changes his choice of Christ, he cannot and will not reverse his choice of his people! Until Christ ceases to be God's elect, the Father can never cast away those who are chosen in Christ Jesus!


Moreover, we are told the time when this choice was made—"before the ages began." This is the earliest conceivable period. When this earth was fitted up for humanity, we know, for the Scriptures inform us, but how many ages elapsed before it was furnished for our race, we do not know. Yet long before that period the Father had chosen his people! The foundation of the world may mean its first creation, when it was spoken out of nothing—that must be ages of ages ago, but before that the Father chose us! Remember those words, "who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works but according to his own purpose and grace. This grace was given to us in Christ Jesus before the ages began." Before sun and moon had been created, or any of the visible things were formed, God had set his heart upon his people in Christ and ordained them to eternal life in him!
God's love is no novelty. His choice is no sudden act. Blessed doctrine!
—Charles Spurgeon (alt.)
 
TODAY'S PRAYER
There has never been a time when you did not know me O God. Thank you for your love and your forgiveness; and thank you for Christ and my membership in his body...
 
YOUR OWN PRAYERS
Allow the above to help guide your own confession, praise, thanksgiving, and/or petition.

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil; for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
 —Matthew 6:9-13