The Redo

I don’t know who is reading this but I am writing this anyway. Maybe this is more therapeutic than anything else but hopefully the beginning of something. I was reading my devotions this morning and could feel something stirring in me; a stirring to explore and write. I am not sure where this is going so we’ll see what God is up to.

So why am I writing this morning?

Today got off to a bad start. First, I over-slept, which is something I rarely do with two young children. One of them is usually up early. Second, I got so caught up with being on time that I didn’t see the needs of my family. I was rushing to get myself ready while trying to get the kids fed and ready for preschool. I got flustered and impatient when I should have been more composed and compassionate. It was no one’s fault but my own that I over-slept (my Fitbit alarm has now been set for tomorrow, hopefully that problem solved).

After a moment of conviction I had a little heart to heart chat with my son; seeking forgiveness for being impatient and not there for him. I received a big forgiving hug and a smile from him. I was then ready to go, but still unsettled. I dropped the kiddos off at preschool and made my way to the office. Once settled in I turned to my Bible reading plan. What I read first got my attention and thus the motivation to write this morning. From Psalm 145:1-13…

1 I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty,
and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds,
and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness
and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The Lord is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The Lord is good to all,
and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom
and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds,
and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
and your dominion endures throughout all generations.

The underlined parts grabbed me and convicted me. This is our awesome God but doesn’t it also point to how a father ought to relate to his children? Granted, this psalmist probably wasn’t thinking of parenting when he wrote this, but it still works. I mean, think about it. A parent ought to…

~ Commend God’s mighty works and deeds to his children…every day.
~ Be gracious
~ Be merciful
~ Slow to anger
~ Abound in steadfast love
~ Be good to all

That right there is the call for ALL Christian parents and thus I am going to be reflecting on this more and, God willing, be writing more about these actions. Once again, I am not sure where this is leading. Maybe it is more of an outlet for my own thinking and exploring. Who knows (well…God does), so we’ll see. For now, I am anxious to get home and have a redo with my children; to do better. I am anticipating some hardcore playing in the backyard. Hopefully my bad back will hold up 🙂

The Pastor -|—

Turn Me Back

Father God,
I am ever mindful
that You are holy
and I am not.
I go our own way
and chase after other gods.
I am a sinful creature;
seeking my own glory.

Oh God,
heal my heart and turn me back to You,
in the name of Jesus,
for I am a miserable sinner.

And as I seek after You
may I always find a rich mercy
and an abundant grace
to fill my heart and heal my soul;
overflowing to Your glory.
May the joy of Your forgiveness ooze from my being
and infest the lives of others.

Through Jesus Christ I pray,
Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Confession/Absolution ~ Hate Evil

The beauty of Charles Spurgeon’s faith, as expressed in his words, is something that never ceases to touch my heart and lead me deeper into God’s arms. I have enjoyed reading his sermons and taking a peak at his heart through some devotional reading.

This morning’s devotion was titled, Ye that love the Lord hate evil. Beautiful words that talk about the ugliness of sin in our lives and therefore the admonition to flee from it and hate it. So I took  some of these words (the ones italicized) and wrote a Confession/Absolution litany for worship this morning. Below is the product of the Spirit’s inspiration this morning. Feel free to use this as you will for the glory of God.


Confession
In the words of Charles Spurgeon ~ Thou hast good reason to “hate evil,” for only consider what harm it has already wrought thee. Oh, what a world of mischief sin has brought into thy heart! Sin blinded thee so that thou couldst not see the beauty of the Saviour; it made thee deaf so that thou couldst not hear the Redeemer’s tender invitations. Sin turned thy feet into the way of death, and poured poison into the very fountain of thy being; it tainted thy heart, and made it “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”

My friends, forgiveness is at the heart of the Gospel, but to get there we first must admit and confess our sinfulness. Nothing is hidden from God so don’t even try, for we are indeed wicked. But also don’t be afraid but rather boldly go to our heavenly Father through faith in Jesus; confessing Your sins.

[Silent prayer and confession]

Holy God, the ugliness of sin draws us away from You. It stains our souls and causes us to run to that which is evil. But in the name of Jesus Christ we run to You with our confessions; seeking to be washed in the blood of the lamb. Make us whole again that our eyes may see Your awesome beauty. It’s in the name of Jesus Christ, our risen Lord and Savior I pray, Amen.

Absolution
Jesus Christ was given to die for you that your sins would be forgiven. So as a called and ordained minister of the Church of Christ and by his authority, I therefore boldly and confidently announce to you the complete forgiveness of all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. So, Therefore “hate evil,” O Christians, unless you desire trouble. If you would strew your path with thorns, and plant nettles in your death-pillow, then neglect to “hate evil:” but if you would live a happy life, and die a peaceful death, then walk in all the ways of holiness, hating evil, even unto the end. If you truly love your Saviour, and would honour him, then “hate evil.” We know of no cure for the love of evil in a Christian like abundant communion with the Lord Jesus. Dwell much with him, and it is impossible for you to be at peace with sin.


May God bless your day as you live as forgiven sinners.

All praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

Lenten prayer ~ Your Holy Law

Tonight I get to lead worship as my brother in Christ from First Presbyterian Church proclaims the word from Exodus 20:1-17. What a joy and privilege it is to worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ; not getting caught up in denominational lines, but focusing on the fact that we worship an awesome God in Jesus Christ.

Below is the opening prayer I wrote, for worship tonight, to help us prepare as we confess our sins. We also need to recognize that God’s Law is still God’s Law; and that it is holy and perfect and sweeter than honey from the comb.

So I invite you into prayer and when you get to the part that says PAUSE, then do what it says; pausing to lift your confessions to God. Let us pray…

Holy God, we approach the throne of grace this evening as a community of believers. We also approach as sinners in need of Your grace. Your holy Law is very clear in that it demands obedience without fail. But we have failed. We have fallen short. We have turned away from Your holy Law. So as we prepare to bring our worship this evening and hear Your word proclaimed, receive now our confessions…[PAUSE]…It awes me to think that You just received the prayers of sinners. And it humbles and scares me to think that you know the sins that we didn’t confess. And so in the name of Jesus we throw ourselves at Your feet and appeal to Your boundless mercy through Jesus Christ our Lord. Forgive us, heal us and restore us. And through our restored souls may we bring glory to Your holy name. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

In the name of Jesus Christ, you are forgiven. Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—

Now what? (Psalm 119:14-16)

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. [Psalm 119:14-16]

Last night I made my appeal to God for forgiveness; something we all need to do on a daily basis and then some. I appealed to God’s mercy through faith in Jesus Christ and then threw myself at his feet. And then in the words of Romans 5:10-11 I heard that I am reconciled to God through faith in Jesus.

Praise be to God, but now what?

After we have made our confession; after we have appealed to God’s mercy through faith in Jesus; after we have thrown ourselves at God’s feet, what next? Of course we will hear a word of forgiveness, but after THAT; after the absolution of our sins? We certainly shouldn’t go away unchanged or unfazed. There must be something next.

And there is…

In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches.
Take delight in learning God’s ways.
Take delight in knowing what God desires.
Take delight in following God in all things.

Take delight in God’s law, for in God’s law we see a holy wisdom that is far above anything of human understanding. God’s ways and thoughts are indeed above our ways and thoughts, so desire God more than all the riches ever known in the world and will ever be known.

I will meditate on your precepts
Don’t just read and study God’s law, but meditate on them. Think about them. Ponder them. Reflect on them. May they not be a passing thought. May reading God’s law never be cursory. May God’s law sink in and take up residence in your heart.

and fix my eyes on your ways.
And as you are walking with God; as you are meditating on God’s ways; fix your eyes on the object of your desire. When I take my wife out to eat, I am not staring and gawking at other women. That would be rude and unfaithful. My desire is for my wife and so I fix my eyes and attention on her. In the same way and much more, fix your eyes on God and His ways. Don’t be unfaithful.

I will delight in your statutes;
Delighting in God’s statues will only come through diligent study and appreciation of who God is through faith Jesus Christ. If your faith and trust is not in God through Jesus, then you are never going to truly delight in God’s ways. It’s only through understanding what God has done for you that you can appreciate what God is up to and wants for you and desires for you and commands you to do.

I will not forget your word.
Make your meditation of God and His ways a daily habit that you will not forget. Even one day off can cause our simple and weak minds to go astray. You may think you are smart and have a good memory, but when it comes to God we have the attention span of a flea. Mediate often and seek God continually.

But what if I fail?

You will fail.
You will fall short.
You will turn away from God.

Just don’t accept this sin condition of yours but rather keep running to God, for God’s mercy is great. His faithfulness is endless. His love is all encompassing. His grace is amazing.

Keep running to God and appealing to his mercy through faith in Jesus Christ, and start all over again; desiring to truly learn and desire God’s ways more than anything. Don’t take advantage of God’s faithfulness but desire God’s faithfulness with all your heart and being.

May God be praised in your learning and meditation of His holy Law.

The Pastor -|—

The Appeal (Psalm 51:1-12)

I appeal to Your mercy, oh God, through Jesus Christ…

[1] Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions.

I am a sinner, oh God, I am a sinner but I appeal to your mercy through Jesus Christ: Forgive me.

[2] Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! [3] For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.

I deserve the full force of your wrath for I have sinned against Your holy law and commands but I appeal to Your mercy through Jesus Christ: Wash me clean.

[5] Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

I am a sinner through and through, even from my birth.

[6] Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Through You and You alone can I know the way of true Life. Teach me, oh God, that I may know true wisdom. Teach me that I may stay on the narrow path and not stray from You.

[7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. [8] Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice.

Restore me, cleanse me, wipe my slate clean. Oh God, grant me a second chance.

[9] Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.

I appeal to Your mercy through Jesus Christ: Forgive me.

[10] Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. [11] Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. [12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Place a new heart in me, oh Sovereign God as I appeal to Your mercy through Jesus Christ: Forgive me and grant me a joyful heart once again.

This is my confession; this is my appeal; this is my plea to you, oh God. I echo these words from the psalmist and seek to be placed back into a right relationship with you. So I lay it before you and wait…

[10] For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. [11] More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. (Romans 5:10-11 ESV)

Through faith in Jesus Christ I am forgiven?

PRAISE BE TO GOD!
ALLELUIA!
AMEN!

The Pastor -|—

A selfish prayer

Father God…

from the heart of this pastor…

I selfishly ask for healing for my little girl even though I know there are bigger issues in this world. She may only have a low temp but it still pains me that she’s not feeling 100%.

I selfishly ask that my little girl sleeps well this afternoon so I may have time to write a sermon.

I selfishly ask that this post may not come off as selfish (even though it probably does).

I selfishly ask that you may grant my requests so my life may flow more smoothly.

And…

I selfishly ask that you, O God, may forgive my selfishness.

I feel sheepish for even praying this (and writing this) but I can’t hide what’s on my heart; for you know all things. So I put this out there and ask for forgiveness.

(and of course, as I bask in the joy of your forgiveness through faith in Jesus, I continue to selfishly ask for my little girl)

Will I ever learn?

Oh God, may you be praised despite my selfishness. May you be praised despite my shortcomings. May you be praised despite my sin.

(and please, O God, heal my little girl)

And may you be praised despite the fact that I’m messed up.

Amen.

There I go again, O well…

Praise be to God!

The Pastor -|—