Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do You Hear Him Calling?

Why does the wicked renounce God and say in his heart, “You will not call to account”? (Psalm 10:13 ESV)

if the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3 ESV)

The attitude of many in our nation has been to renounce God and the authority of his word. This new sense of "enlightenment" mocks God and seeks to eradicate his name from our national life. We have allowed great spiritual darkness into our land. The present course that we are on will prove to be disastrous, if we don't turn back to God. 

The church in America must be awakened to turn from our own sins and to pray. We are responsible for much of the moral chaos that we see in our culture. The lack of teaching on discipleship in many of our churches has resulted in many false conversions. Following Jesus as our Lord and walking away from our sinful, rebellious and self - centered lives is not optional.

The darkness that was sown into our culture during the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's has resulted in a harvest of lawlessness, and we are presently reaping what we have sown. Sexual sin (both heterosexual and homosexual) has gone unopposed in many American churches. Truth and compassion must be expressed as we all take inventory of our own lives and repent of our sins. Greed and excessive materialism has infiltrated the Church, and with some, it has become its main message. 

We are called to be in the world, but not of it. God is full of mercy and it's time for his people to return to him. Do you hear Him calling? - Bobby

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Prayer For Persecuted Christians

Sovereign God,
we worship You
and we acknowledge that You know all of those
who suffer in Your name.
We remember those who are imprisoned for their faith
and ask that they would join with the Apostle Paul
to see that even though they remain captive,
their chains have furthered the gospel,
not frustrated it.
May they inspire and embolden their fellow believers
to speak the word of God more courageously and fearlessly.
God of all comfort,
for those who are tortured both in body and mind,
give them the grace to endure
and to see their suffering as part of following in Christ’s footsteps.
Merciful God,
for those asked to pay the ultimate price;
who are martyred because of their love for You,
may they truly know Christ
and the power of His resurrection
and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings,
becoming like Him in His death.
Father God,
for those who are widowed and orphaned
may they know the comfort that comes from Your promised presence
even when they walk through the valley.
May they be strengthened by Your Spirit,
enabling them to rejoice with the psalmist
as they proclaim that the Lord will not abandon them in death.
Heavenly Father,
we ask that You would make us ever mindful of our brothers and sisters around the world
who need us to stand with them
as they suffer in Your name.
Teach us what it means
to overcome by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of our testimony;
we pray that we would not love our lives so much as to shrink from death.
O Lord, hear our prayer.

Friday, September 19, 2014

A Prayer Of Repentance

Most holy and merciful Father:
I confess that I have sinned by my own fault
in thought, word, and deed;
by what I have done, and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved you with my whole heart, and mind, and strength. I have not loved my neighbors as myself. I have not forgiven others, as I have been forgiven.
Have mercy on me, Lord.
I have been deaf to your call to serve, as Christ served us. I have not been true to the mind of Christ. I have grieved your Holy Spirit.
Have mercy on me, Lord.
I confess to you, Lord, all my past unfaithfulness: the pride, hypocrisy, and impatience of my life.
I confess to you, Lord.
My self-indulgent appetites and ways, and my exploitation of other people,
I confess to you, Lord.
My anger at my own frustration, and my envy of those more fortunate than I,
I confess to you, Lord.
My intemperate love of worldly goods and comforts, and my dishonesty in daily life and work,
I confess to you, Lord.
My negligence in prayer and worship, and my failure to commend the faith that is in me,
I confess to you, Lord.
Accept my repentance, Lord, for the wrongs I have done: for my blindness to human need and suffering, and my indifference to indulgence and cruelty,
Accept my repentance, Lord.
For all false judgments, for uncharitable thoughts toward my neighbors, and for my prejudice and contempt towards those who differ from me,
Accept my repentance, Lord.
For my waste and pollution of your creation, and my lack of concern for those who come after us,
Accept my repentance Lord.
Restore me, good Lord, and let your anger depart from me,
Favorably hear me for your mercy is great.
Accomplish in me and all of your church the work of your salvation,
That I may show forth all your glory in the world.
By the cross of your Son, our Lord,
Bring me with all your saints to the joy of his resurrection.
- from The Book of Common Prayer

Saturday, September 06, 2014

The Mind of Christ

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. (Philippians 2:5-7 ESV)

Being a disciple of Jesus is not only believing in Jesus but also believing like him. As we are rooted and grounded in the love of God we develop the mind of Christ. This transforming experience only happens to those that diligently seek the Lord. God gives illumination to those who study his word with the intent to obey Him.

Even though Jesus was fully God and fully man he submitted himself to his Father in perfect obedience. He came to serve others, not to be served. One of the true marks of a maturing disciple is having a servant's heart. If we have a true understanding of God's heart, it will be evident in our lives by the way we help those who are in need and are hurting. 

If we pursue knowledge only for the sake of knowledge, we end up only gaining information, not revelation. Information alone does not change our character. It may alter our behavior somewhat but real spiritual transformation will not occur. Only delighting in God and his word will put us on the path of transformation.

Our goal should be to act and think like Jesus, our lives must revolve around him. Only the Spirit of God can change the object of our affections. We naturally gravitate to the worthless idols of this present world order. So, we must pray to have our focus redirected to Jesus and his Kingdom agenda. Jesus was not of this world, even though he created it. Yet, he came to live among us in the form of a servant to bring his lost sheep back to his Father. In the life of Jesus, we see how we were truly created to live. - Bobby

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rooted In Good Soil: A Meditation on Psalm 1

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1 ESV)

"Truth is a great fertilizer for the soul." - Stuart McAlpine

If a tree is not planted in good soil and well watered with the right nutrients, it will eventually wither and die. According to Stuart McAlpine the picture we see in Psalm 1 is probably of a tree planted near a irrigation channel in Babylon, while the Jews were living in captivity. This is an interesting observation because even if we are planted in enemy territory, we can still flourish spiritually if we seek the Lord.

We are God's trees and we must feed off the word of God if we are to prosper spiritually, like the man mentioned in Psalm 1. We must be intentional about our spiritual growth. This requires turning off the computer and television at times, and tuning out all other distractions.

 Eugene Peterson teaches that we must meditate on Scripture the same way a dog chews on a bone. This is a much more aggressive form of meditation than most of us have understood. This requires a day and night preoccupation with the truth. 

 Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.(Colossians 2:6-7 ESV) 

 ....that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love...  (Ephesians 3:16-17 ESV)  

Jesus Christ is the good soil that God has planted us in. - Bobby