Confident Praying

For you are my rock and my fortress; and for your name’s sake you lead me and guide me; you take me out of the net they have hidden for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O Lord , faithful God. [Psalms 31:3‭-‬5 ESV]


Just think on those verses for a moment. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

[Pondering]

…and now consider this: Into your hand I commit my spirit are words that Jesus prayed while on the cross – right before he breathed his last breath (Luke 23:46). With his dying breath he was praying the Word of God. No doubt, the rest of this Psalm was on his heart as he was dying:

~ You are my rock and fortress.
~ For Your name’s sake You, oh Father, lead me and guide me.
~ You are my deliverer – taking me out of their net.
~ You are my refuge.
~ My life is Yours for You have redeemed me.
~ Father, You are faithful.

What a powerful prayer to be prayed at that time. A prayer of faith, for Jesus knows the Father like no one else. Jesus knew what was coming and thus he endured the cross FOR YOU. Jesus knew his Father was and is faithful. Jesus knew God’s plan would be fulfilled. Jesus knew God would be glorified. Knowing all of this, Jesus prayed with confidence – praying for your salvation – and with his dying breath.

And now, we sit here on this side of the cross looking back. Looking back to see Jesus’ incredible love for you and for me. He died for our sins and rose from the grave that we could have the hope of the resurrection. He committed his life to God and His plan of redemption so we could be saved. What an awesome God we have. Knowing this and knowing that God wants to hear from us, it behooves us to commune with Him.

But maybe you are feeling dry in your prayer life or just need something different. Try praying the Psalms like Jesus did. Pray Psalm 31, for example, and let the Holy Spirit carry you on a wave of joy – splashing you with the love of God. Start with verse one and then meditate – praying what comes to mind, and then move on to the next verse and so on – taking your time. It is like you are carrying on a conversation with God. He speaks to you through His Word and you pray back to him. And then God speaks and then you. What a fun scene. A child and daddy communing together in intimate joy.

If you run out of time, that’s alright. Just pick up where you leave off next time. Pray, pray and pray some more. Pray with confidence – in faith – and through your dying breath, knowing:
~ God is your rock and fortress.
~ For His name’s sake, God will lead and guide you.
~ God is your deliverer – taking you out of the nets set for you.
~ God is your refuge.
~ Your life is His for God has redeemed you through Jesus Christ.
~ Your Father is faithful.

Jesus prayed this with complete confidence and thus, through faith, you can and should as well. God wants you to. Give thanks and praise and worship to God – committing your life to Him. Pray confidently, as Jesus did. Take refuge in God and chat with your heavenly daddy. He’s waiting for you.

So, are you ready? Okay then, let’s pray…

Invited

Today is the Parable of the Great Banquet; Jesus inviting the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame to the table. He invites sinners – you. And so I am excited, once again, to proclaim this Good News this morning – from Luke 14:1-14. The following is the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text on my heart…

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God – Father, Lord and King. For You have invited and exalted us to the Banquet of the Wedding of the Lamb to his bride, the Church. Though we are sinful, lost and disobedient, You bring us in and make us whole and holy. You make us new through Your Son, Jesus. You give us a place of honor through no effort or merit of our own. You give us Life and hope in a world that would have us fend for ourselves; fighting our way to the top. You have turned things around and thus we can rejoice with You and dine at a Banquet that has no end. And so, with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven, we join in singing Your unending praise…

Striving

The Gospel text that I am preaching on is Luke 13:22-30 ~ strive to enter through the narrow door. May we not strive to serve sin; being workers of evil, but may we strive to know God better through Christ Jesus our Lord. Let us pray…

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. Through Jesus Christ You have saved us from our sins – forgiving an obstinate people. You have redeemed our lives from the pit. You have snatched us from Satan’s grip. Jesus has purchased our very lives through his very own blood. To recount all Your deeds is an impossible task. Oh God, Father and King, grant us Your Spirit that we may live a life of striving that we may not be left knocking on a closed door. May we not seek to cater to our old and dead life but may we seek to give You thanks and worship for the New Life we have through Jesus Christ – for he has striven that we could be saved. And so, with the church earth and the hosts of heaven we join in singing Your unending praise…

Repent

REPENT for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
REPENT and run away from your sins.
REPENT and never stop running.
REPENT and keep on running,
REPENT!
REPENT and strive to know Jesus better and better.
REPENT and long for God’s holy courts.
REPENT and deny your new self your old life; for you are a New Creation.
REPENT and live the Life God has given you through faith.
REPENT!
REPENT and never stop striving for the narrow door.
REPENT and keep on pressing on.
REPENT and not grow complacent in having already obtained it.
REPENT and refuse to work for your old employer – Satan.
REPENT!

Child of God, through Jesus Christ, your sins are forgiven.
Isn’t that awesome!!!
Yes?
Now, REPENT…

Bringing Peace Through Division

The Gospel text for today is Luke 12:49-56. My focus is on verse 51 where Jesus says that he did not come to bring peace but division. Actually, Jesus came to bring peace through division. More can be heard on our congregation’s website after the video of the sermon is posted.

So with that I wrote the following Holy Communion liturgy with the Gospel text in mind. To God be the glory. Amen.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God. Through Jesus Christ You give us peace with You. Through the working of Your Holy Spirit we are being remade. Your Word is life. Your Word is truth. Your Word pierces our soul and will one day divide us from this world as we stand before you purified and holy. Oh God, may we not be seduced by the allure of worldly peace. May it’s beckoning song be ignored. May its deceptive appearance be uncovered. Oh God, we give you thanks that Jesus was born to die that we could have hope and one day live peacefully with You without interruption. And so, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…

Peace and Division

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. [Luke 12:51 ESV]

Seems like a strange thing for Jesus to say. After all, isn’t he the Prince of Peace? Doesn’t he give peace that surpasses all understanding? When the disciples see him after his resurrection Jesus says, “Peace be with you“. So why would Jesus say something like this? Well, look carefully at what he says, Do you think that I have come to give peace ON EARTH? That’s the distinction. Here on earth, there will be division on account of the Gospel. Jesus didn’t come with the intent to divide people but rather knowing that the Gospel would do just that because people are sinners. In John 15, Jesus warned his disciples that if the world hates him they will hate them. And isn’t that the truth. Yet, many people are so afraid of division. Can’t we all just get along? I am all for getting along with people, but when it comes to the Gospel, we must stand firm. We must respect people. We must love people. We must listen to people. But when it comes to the Gospel, if division occurs, then so be it. It is better to be at odds with the world than with God. Amen? The Gospel will produce division. That we have seen, but don’t mistake what Jesus says. He IS still the Prince of Peace and he DOES give a peace that surpasses all understanding. Standing firm on God’s Word in Jesus name, you can have peace in the midst of division. May your witness then, bring peace to people who are at odds with the Gospel. Amen!

Good Pleasure

The text for preaching this morning is Luke 12:32 where Jesus says that it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom. It is a rich and Gospel-packed verse and I can hardly wait to preach it this morning. The following is part of the Holy Communion liturgy I wrote with the Gospel text in mind. May it bring glory to God.

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It is indeed right and salutary that we should at all times and in all places give thanks and praise to you, oh God, our Shepherd and Father; for it is Your good pleasure to give us Your kingdom. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, You have saved us from our sins and redeemed us from the clutches of the Evil One. You have placed us in the vault of Your fortress and carved, in granite, our names in the Book of Life. You are the hope in a violent and hate-filled world. You are the Light in the stormy waters. You are the Truth as the Deceiver works overtime to lead Your flock astray. Nothing and no one can stake their claim on Your children. For these reasons, and many more, we join with the Church on earth and the hosts of heaven in singing Your unending praise…