Gospel. Culture. Technology. Music.

Category: Theology Page 1 of 66

A Prayer For a Time of Uncertainty

We give thanks to you, O God; we give thanks, for your name is near. (Psalm 75:1) 

Father as one of your churches that makes up the larger body of Your people, we come and simply lay at Your feet in thankfulness, for how You have given us life, support us in times of trial, provide for us in times of turbulence like we find ourselves in now, and how you’ve provided an incomparable salvation that we never could have sought after or achieved on our apart from the work of Your Spirit by Grace Alone. We thank You that Your name is near, that You have been made known to us through Jesus and all he’s accomplished to make us Your children. We thank You that You, the great I AM of the universe, would condescend to our level in order to be near us.

Fear is the Enemy of Faith, Faith is the Enemy of Fear

“I do know that waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one’s thoughts.” | Elisabeth Elliot

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” | Matthew 6:25-34 (ESV)

These are unexpected, historic, trying times to say the least. And it is during these times I believe the Lord gives us a great opportunity for personal, communal and societal reflection. But then there’s fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of loss (whatever form that takes), anxiety that we have no control over this situation, how long it will last, what shape it will take in the future, on and on. A person (points at self) can easily get wrapped around the axle at 3am in the middle of the night on all of this (or 2pm for that matter when dealing with even more struggles with the kids as cabin fever sets in). Fear is the enemy of faith in general, but at these times it gets ratcheted up exponentially. It’s no wonder this was the most repeated command in the Bible: “Fear not…” 

Yet the reverse is also true: faith is the enemy of fear. I believe the Lord has handed us a great opportunity filled with hope. This is a time for us, His people, to slow down, to take a step back and press into our life with Jesus individually and with our families or roommates, to recapture and develop routines and habits that move and press us into the resurrection life and activity of the Spirit. 

This is where for me the Daily Office patterns of prayer and Scripture readings throughout the day have been life giving. http://www.gnpcb.org/esv/mobile/devotions/bcp/

Generally, what this looks like is simply having a morning, afternoon and evening time of prayer, Scripture reading and meditation. And it doesn’t have to be some long, drawn out time. Make it your own. Just wake up, get coffee and pray through a Psalm or two. Let it penetrate your own heart as you dwell on it. Then at lunch, stop what you’re doing, step away (as the setting allows) and repeat by reading more Psalms, an Old Testament reading or a New Testament reading. Then in the evening, either alone or with your family or roommates, read the gospel reading and pray, resting and rejoicing in Your Father’s rejoicing in and over You. Just make it consistent. This is a great pattern to start and get in the habit of, a time to take a step back from the chaos and uncertainty and be in the word and in prayer, really as a means to simply be with Jesus, either alone or with others. Let Him work His healing salve and the means of grace into Your heart. Allow Him to dine with You and fill Your soul with what is the banquet Your soul and my soul so desperately needs: Jesus Himself.

Here is a lecture series Pastor Brian (at Trinity Pres Fort Worth) did at the very beginning of Trinity I have posted before that explains this in greater detail. Such good, rich material I commend to you to sit with and take in during this time. https://trinitypresfw.org/media/lectures/formation/

None of this chaos catches our Father by surprise. The past, present and future is ever-present before Him and is all worked out for His glory and our good. He is sovereign, He is kind and loving. He is our great Physician with a surgeon’s scalpel and healing hand who knows exactly what we need to shape us and form us into the image of His Son, the very One who went through the worst form of suffering, to the cross, bearing our wrath, and rose again, victorious over sin, death and hell, so that we could live with Him forever in the City of the New Jerusalem. Let’s together as His people put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6) and stand firm in the faith, resisting the work of the devil to discourage us, fighting the temptation to fear and press toward our great King who has already won the victory, with the hope and resiliency of the saints in the past who have endured similar trials.

“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand…”

May it be so. Amen.

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” | Romans 5:1–6 (ESV)

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” | James 1:2–5 (ESV)

A Prayer in Memory of D. Kent Pingel

Father we praise You for Your work in creation, in bringing about all that exists from nothing. We praise You for creating men and women in Your image, to reflect Your glory in the world. And yet, though we fell into sin and that image has been distorted within us, You brought about salvation and pointed the way to our only source of salvation all throughout the Old Testament through prophets, priests and kings that You appointed to proclaim Your good news. And in time you brought into the world the greatest prophet, priest and king, Your Son Jesus, who lived a perfectly righteous life we could never live, died a sacrificial death in our place to remove the poison and consequence of our sin, and rose again conquering sin, death and hell once and for all. In doing so You have restored and are restoring Your image in Your church, in those who trust in Christ alone for salvation. We praise You for Your wonderful works of mercy to save us from our sin and to have the image of Christ restored in us and brought back to our original purpose for existing: to bring You glory.

Father we thank You today for Kent and the way You created Him in Your image and revealed Your Son to Him. We thank You for the life of Kent as a father, brother, uncle, son and friend to so many here.

We pray for the family and friends here who are mourning his loss and ask for Your comfort today and in the coming days of grief, that You would be near by Your Spirit, that You would fill that hole, that gap they are experiencing with the presence of Your Son and His grace. Lord You are our only hope of life in the midst of suffering.

But Father, we don’t pray now or mourn as those without hope: because You rose again You are bringing with Yourself and raising to life all those who rest in You to live with You forever in Your kingdom. Lord would You comfort us all with the truth and joy of Your resurrection, that death doesn’t have the final word. You are our hope now and for all eternity. Would You grant us rest and joy that surpasses understanding even in the midst of loss.

The Fulfillment Realized – A Prayer

Father, after many years of waiting for Your promises to be fulfilled, You brought Christ into the world and made His coming known to the Gentiles, and specifically during this time of Epiphany, you revealed Him to the Magi who had come to see this King who had been born. In fulfillment of so many Old Testament passages such as Moses who says, “Rejoice O Gentiles with His people,” and Isaiah who says, “The Gentiles will hope in Him,” You brought about a great fulfillment to bring salvation not just to ethnic Israel but to include the Gentiles around the world with Your chosen people Israel and so all Israel will be saved together. We rejoice together that we are seeing the promise spoken to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations fulfilled in our very midst. Father in Your great kindness, across history and even to this very day, you are continuing this fulfillment in effecting your work of the covenant of grace in Christ our Lord and bringing in Your called people from every tribe, tongue, language and nation. You are building Your church and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Though we see so much persecution around the world against believers and even in our midst feel it with our family and friends at times who don’t know You, You are working a glorious end in which You will be lifted up and highly exalted and we will be caught up together and share in Your glory. Lord fill us with the hope and wonder and mystery of these truths that we would seek and find our treasure first and foremost in Christ, seeking the things that are above where He is instead of fleeting things here on Earth, and find rest for our weary souls.

Father in heaven, who at the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan didst proclaim him thy beloved Son and anoint him with the Holy Spirit: Grant that all who are baptized into his Name may keep the covenant they have made, and boldly confess him as Lord and Savior; who with thee and the same Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen. (BCP)

The Pursuit and Divine Welcome of Christ – A Prayer

Lord You manifested Yourself in signs and wonders throughout history, you made your words, testimonies, statutes, laws, and your promises known to Your people through Your prophets, and in time the last of Your prophets, John the Baptist, proclaimed that the greatest and final Prophet had come into the world in order to prepare them for His arrival. It is through Jesus, our great Prophet, Priest and King, that the final Word from God to man was made known to us in a Person for the sake of our salvation. It is through Him, the Lamb of God, offered for our sins, that we have come into the joy of being freed from slavery to sin and its resulting punishment, and welcomed into Your very throne room as Your children who sit at Your feet to learn from and enjoy You. And by Your Spirit You have come to make Your own home within us as a down payment, a guarantee of our inheritance with You. Would You enable us to cherish Christ in our thoughts, words and actions and behold Him ourselves, in our hearts as the Lamb of God who came into the world, that we might find in Him our greatest delight and be deeply satisfied now and for all eternity, chasing away the idols and desires of the world that press in upon us.

Stir up Your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let Your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with You and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and forever. Amen. (BCP)

An Order for Personal Prayer

Adoration

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning is now and will be for ever. 

Amen. 
Alleluia.

[Silent praise and worship of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, in His works, actions and words]

The Father Who Runs After Wayward Sons – A Prayer

Father You are the God who ran after us as the father ran after the prodigal son upon returning to him, who had squandered everything. We are those Lord who have lived in a far off country, living lives opposed to You and those who have been made alive by Your Spirit and not begrudgingly welcomed into Your kingdom but actually rejoiced in by You. When we were obstinently opposed to You, You died for us Lord Jesus because that is Your heart and we are your reward. While we were still in our sin and the shame and guilt that results, You bore our burden upon the cross by willingly exposing Yourself to utter shame and the eternal guilt that was owed to us. When we were guilty, through Your life, death, and the resurrection, you counted us righteous. You are our Father, and through Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit, we are Your children. Would you grow us into maturity in our faith, that we would increasingly see the connection between our belief in You as our Lord and Savior and are life actions and choices made in response. Father would you give us rest to find our joy and peace in the finished work of Your Son? Would You enter into the deep recesses of our hearts where we are spun up and anxious and following the never-ending busy pattern of the world and slow down long enough to drink deep from the well of Your never-ending streams of gracious water provided for us by Your Son. Would you draw near to us? Apart from You we are helpless, frail, broken and wandering. Abiding in You, we are helped, strengthened, healed and brought home to rest in You.

Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (BCP)

What Does it Mean to Abide in Christ?

https://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-it-mean-abide-christ/

“The exhortation to “abide” has been frequently misunderstood, as though it were a special, mystical, and indefinable experience. But Jesus makes clear that it actually involves a number of concrete realities.” (Cont’d…)

Social Media Engagement Guidelines From the Larger Catechism

From the Westminster Larger Catechism. I’m still learning how all of this applies in the realm of social media engagement specifically and desire to walk this way (albeit imperfectly).

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?

A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving and promoting of truth between man and man, and the good name of our neighbor, as well as our own; appearing and standing for the truth; and from the heart, sincerely, freely, clearly, and fully, speaking the truth, and only the truth, in matters of judgment and justice, and in all other things whatsoever; a charitable esteem of our neighbors; loving, desiring, and rejoicing in their good name; sorrowing for and covering of their infirmities; freely acknowledging of their gifts and graces, defending their innocency; a ready receiving of a good report, and unwillingness to admit of an evil report, concerning them; discouraging talebearers, flatterers, and slanderers; love and care of our own good name, and defending it when need requireth; keeping of lawful promises; studying and practicing of whatsoever things are true, honest, lovely, and of good report.

Q. 145. What are the sins forbidden in the ninth commandment?

A. The sins forbidden in the ninth commandment are, all prejudicing the truth, and the good name of our neighbors, as well as our own, especially in public judicature; giving false evidence, suborning false witnesses, wittingly appearing and pleading for an evil cause, outfacing and overbearing the truth; passing unjust sentence, calling evil good, and good evil; rewarding the wicked according to the work of the righteous, and the righteous according to the work of the wicked; forgery, concealing the truth, undue silence in a just cause, and holding our peace when iniquity calleth for either a reproof from ourselves, or complaint to others; speaking the truth unseasonably, or maliciously to a wrong end, or perverting it to a wrong meaning, or in doubtful or equivocal expressions, to the prejudice of the truth or justice; speaking untruth, lying, slandering, backbiting, detracting, talebearing, whispering, scoffing, reviling, rash, harsh, and partial censuring; misconstructing intentions, words, and actions; flattering, vainglorious boasting, thinking or speaking too highly or too meanly of ourselves or others; denying the gifts and graces of God; aggravating smaller faults; hiding, excusing, or extenuating of sins, when called to a free confession; unnecessary discovering of infirmities; raising false rumors, receiving and countenancing evil reports, and stopping our ears against just defense; evil suspicion; envying or grieving at the deserved credit of any; endeavoring or desiring to impair it, rejoicing in their disgrace and infamy; scornful contempt, fond admiration; breach of lawful promises; neglecting such things as are of good report, and practicing, or not avoiding ourselves, or not hindering what we can in others, such things as procure an ill name.

Breaking Through the Darkness in Revelation – A Prayer

Father, it is in Your kindness and goodness that in looking upon us with compassion in our low, sinful state, You chose to make yourself known to us. Though we were blinded by our own sin and the darkness of our hearts and understanding, You broke through in making Yourself known to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to Moses you made yourself known as the great I AM. You revealed to him the very essence of your name, that before anything was, you were there, uncreated, self-sustaining from all eternity. You are before all other gods, You are the One from whom everything came into being, spoken into existence from nothing. We worship you together as the great I AM, who was and is and is to come, revealed finally and ultimately and most clearly in Your Son, Jesus. He is the great I AM made known to us in flesh, who is not only our creator but our redeemer and the sustainer of our lives at this moment, the One whom will get to rejoice in for all eternity.

Almighty God, by triumphing over the powers of darkness Christ has prepared a place for us in the new Jerusalem: may we, who have this day given thanks for his resurrection, praise him in the eternal city of which he is the light; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP)

Page 1 of 66

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén