Praying the Psalms ~ Psalm 121

Psalm 121 is favorite for many. It is a great reminder to me that God is the only true Helper in this life. Yet, we all too often look to other things and people of this world for help, but they will all let us down. God, though, never rests. He never tires. He never takes time off. God will always stand guard over you. God will never fail. Let us give Him thanks and praise for being our Helper…

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My Helper, oh my Helper,
the defender and Keeper of my life,
my eyes often scan the horizon of this life,
Looking,
Searching,
Seeking,
Trying to find anything and anyone to make things right.
But You, oh my Helper, my Lord and my God, I give You thanks for,
You are always here.
You are never distant.
You are never oblivious to my needs.
So why, oh why would I look elsewhere?
After all, You are the maker of everything.
You are the giver of life.
You are the great I Am.
You, oh my God and Helper,
You never get tired.
You are never distracted.
You never take time off to recuperate,
for You are the sovereign God,
and I am Yours,
thus nothing will ever strike me.
Evil,
Death,
Satan,
Nothing! Nothing, will ever strike me with You by my side,
for my life is hidden with Jesus Christ in You.
As my eyes rise to see the horizon of my life,
may they see You as my Helper, Lord and God.
In all that I do,
In everywhere I go,
Now and forevermore,
You are my God.
Amen.

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!

Deliver Us From Evil

This series of poems exploring the Lord’s Prayer has been a valuable devotional exercise for me – I hope it has been for you too. If you want to recap any of these, simply go to “Categories” on the bottom of the right sidebar of this page and scroll down to “Praying the Lord’s Prayer”. I know I will be reviewing these from time to time.

Now, for this second to last installment – Deliver us from evil. Here, at the end of this prayer, we are praying for deliverance from bodily evil/harm and from the Evil One. On that Last Day, we ask to be saved from this evil world and delivered to God to abide with Him forever. Praise be to God that we have the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Deliver me, oh God, from all evil.
Save me from all harm.
Help me,
Strengthen me,
Shield me with Your arms.

Satan never tires of his prowl.
He’s always seeking.
Looking,
Watching,
As a lion sneaking.

I am not strong enough to fight the fight.
I am very weak.
Overpowered,
Overwhelmed,
I am very meek.

Jesus Christ is my victorious king,
He saved me by grace.
Amazing
And awesome
My sins he erased.

Oh Lord, show me Your mercy on that Day.
Take me to Your side.
Mercifully
Lovingly
With You to abide.

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…

A Prayer for the Church

Father God, Lord almighty, gracious and merciful, give to pastors a more intimate relationship with You that they would long to preach the pure Gospel of Jesus Christ crucified and raised for sinners; a Gospel without the bells and whistles that often distract. Give Your Church receptive and picky ears that they may desire only the pure, unaltered Gospel, not a social justice rant that can not save their souls. May leaders not desire their own glorification but rather humble themselves under the cross of Christ. Your Church, oh God, seems to long to be accepted by the world; acquiescing to its demands to liberalize its message and turn a blind eye to sin. May You convict, transform and embolden Your Church to stand out and be a lighthouse in this dark world. It’s not about being liked or being popular, but rather about being obedient to You and shining the light of the Truth through Jesus Christ. Oh God, send now Your Holy Spirit into our lives that we may draw people to the light of Your love through Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

May…

May the Lord bless and keep you.
May His Love overwhelm you.
May His strong hand protect you.
May Your sins convict you.
May His grace still amaze you.
May His forgiveness humble you.
May His Spirit transform you.
May Jesus comfort you.
May this Truth give you peace,
this night and always.
Rest, child of God, rest.
Amen.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

As a Christian, simply claiming, “the devil made me do it“, to justify a sin is never a defense. We are sinners, plain and simple, and thus we are guilty of disobedience. Satan, the father of lies, is the master deceiver and he will be judged and condemned. For the Christian, our only hope is Jesus. He saves us from our sins, but in this life now, we still must be alert and fight the battle of temptation. Praise be to God that there is forgiveness through faith in Christ. In the meantime, fight, but know that you do not fight alone.

God,
Father,
Lord,
I am weak.
I am a sinner and thus it’s You I seek.
Satan is the father of lies,
He deceives and leads away.
He does this without fail,
Every single day.
I give in,
Even though I know Your way.
THIS I do every single day.
Going astray,
Oh, how I disobey.
I do what I do not want to do.
I don’t do as I should.
I don’t listen as I ought,
Oh how I wish I understood.
Jesus is the Way, Truth and Life.
Your Way is wholly right.
Oh God, I want to walk the straight and narrow,
For Jesus is my great delight.
I know that you don’t lead me into temptation,
That falls to the father of lies.
So help me, Lord and Savior,
For I do not want to die.
And so I cry out to you,
For I am helpless and weak.
Without You, oh Lord my God,
My outlook would be very bleak.
Lead me,
Guide me,
Show me Your way.
This I ask that You do,
Please, Lord, every single day.