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Showing posts from October, 2014

Sovereign Grace for Sinful Worms

Today I read: 2 Kings 13, Psalms 64-65, Hosea 5-6, and 2 Timothy 3.
Gospel summary: Our salvation is entirely due to the free and sovereign grace of God, for had he never chosen us, we would still follow the flood of ungodliness in our society.
Prayer: Father in heaven; how precious those words are to me. You have chosen me from before the foundation of the world to believe in your Son and trust in his atoning blood shed for me. Far from making me arrogant or conceited like so much of the world is, your sovereign grace humbles me to the dust, for I know I would have never chosen you unless you first chose me. There was nothing but filth and disgusting rebelliousness in me, yet you chose to redeem me to yourself, and for that I am eternally grateful. Since you have freely atoned for my sins, set me apart from the wicked world, filled me with your Spirit, and given me direct access to your throne of grace, would you grant me the wisdom to come often and reverently to your throne in prayer…

Leading God's People to Trust His Word

Today I read: 2 Kings 12, Psalms 62-63, Hosea 3-4, and 2 Timothy 2.
Gospel summary: Every leader of God's people must lead them to trust in him alone by rightly handling and teaching his Word.
Prayer: God, you are my rock of refuge and you alone are worthy of my trust. Thank you that you have given me your trustworthy Word, because I live in a world full of deceitful promises. Help me today to put all my trust in you alone and not in any man, including myself or my accomplishments. Help me as a spiritual leader to lead your people to build their lives on the solid foundation of Jesus, the Word of God. Help me to teach and preach your Word properly, refusing to feed others on the false manna of my own ideas or creativity. Grant that I may live so by faith in you that others see your trustworthiness in my personal life and learn to trust you themselves. In Jesus' solid name I pray, amen.
Memory verse: "Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is…

The Bridegroom Sought Me

Today I read: 2 Kings 10-11, Psalm 60-61, Hosea 2, and 2 Timothy 1.

Gospel summary: The gospel is the good news that our holy God came to us in the midst of our spiritual adultery and wickedness to endure the punishment we deserved, so that he might unite himself to us in an eternal covenant of loving marriage, and protect us from all our enemies.
Prayer: O gracious God, thank you for lavishing you're amazing grace on me in the gospel of your Son, though I was busy sleeping around with my dead idols. It is beyond my human comprehension why you would unite yourself in the covenant of marriage with such a worm as I, but I praise you nonetheless. You have cleansed me by your own precious blood and taken the vain idols out of my heart, making me into a spotless bride by crediting your righteousness to my account. Grant me to be so stunned as I ought by this wonderful gospel today, so that I may even follow you to suffer with you outside the gate. Give me a fearless confidence in life,…

God, Our Fortress in the Fight

Today I read: 2 Kings 9, Psalm 58-59, Hosea 1, and 1 Timothy 6.
Gospel summary: God will judge all mankind and come to the aide of his redeemed children, proving himself to be their strength and fortress. As we fight the good fight of faith in this world we can rest assured that he will never leave us nor forsake us, but will save us from this evil world in his own time.
Prayer: O God my strength and fortress, protect me from the forces of evil that stand against me and valiantly come to my rescue soon. I thank you that when I was not among your people and had not received mercy, you sent forth your Son to pay the penalty for my sins so that I might be adopted into your family and receive mercy. Help me today to fight the good fight of faith and to take hold of that which is truly life, realizing that all sin's promises of finding life outside you are false and fleeting. I thank you that when you return you will prove yourself to be a fortress about me and will punish all who don…

If God is for Us, Who Can Be Against Us?

Today I read: 2 Kings 8, Psalm 56-57, Daniel 12, and 1 Timothy 5.
Gospel Summary: God's people have no need to fear mankind, for if our God is for us, it doesn't matter who is against us. Every enemy of God's people are fighting against themselves, for God will see to it that His flock is eternally safe in His arms and their enemies are eternally condemned.
Prayer: O Lord God, you are truly an awesome God and there is no one else I would rather have for me than you. I thank you that when I was at enmity with you and hated you, you endured the wrath of God I deserved on the cross so that you might redeem me and adopt me. Although I deserve to have you eternally against me, I am humbled and grateful that you are eternally for me. Help me to trust you and not to fear those who do evil. When standing for you means having a world against me, fill me with the lion-like faith I need, that acknowledges who it is that is for me. Grant that I may endure whatever persecution I must …

His Trustworthy Word

Today I read: 2 Kings 7, Psalm 55, Daniel 11, and 1 Timothy 4.
Gospel summary: Everything the Lord prophecies concerning the future is accurate and ought to be trusted. Those who refuse to believe that God's Word will come to pass will see it themselves and yet be condemned. Every promise God makes will prove true too and Jesus Christ is the proof that God keeps every promise he makes. All who hope in Christ will indeed find God to be trustworthy, for they will be eternally secure in him.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I know that everything you say is true and I thank you that you will never lie to me in anything you ever say. Help me to trust your Word and flee from the deceitful promises of sin, knowing the same serpent who lied to my forefather lies to me too. Satan tells me that you withhold enjoyable things from me because you do not love me, but teach me to see the earthly and eternal ruin sin brings to my life and learn to hang on your words alone. Thank you for keeping your p…

There is A Spiritual Realm

Today I read: 2 Kings 6, Psalm 52-54, Daniel 10, and 1 Timothy 3.
Gospel Summary: There is more than just a physical realm to the world; there is also a spiritual realm. God's people are supported by an innumerable band of His heavenly servants, the angels, while unbelievers are unknowingly led and deceived by Satan's band of demons. Jesus' death on the cross disarmed the evil powers that stood against His chosen people and unleashed an army of angels to protect and guide them through the trials and temptations of this life that come from both evil men and evil spirits, therefore we have no need to fear.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I praise your awesome name, for you have overpowered the strong man that bound me and have bound Satan by means of your victorious death on the cross and resurrection. When my heart begins to fear the evil around me, teach me to see with spiritual eyes the host of spiritual forces around me, like you opened the eyes of Elisha's servant. Teach…

God's Power to the Humble

Today I read: 2 Kings 5, Psalm 51, Daniel 9, and 1 Timothy 2.
Gospel Summary: We must humble ourselves before God in order to experience His power. Those who do not come to the cross on their knees will be denied its saving power.
Prayer: Great and awesome God, show me your power and glory so that I may stay humble before you at all times and not think that I have anything to boast of on my own. Thank you for humbling yourself in the wonder of the incarnation and the shame of the cross so that I might experience the power of your salvation. Show me my own proneness to wander from you so that I may constantly come humbled before your throne, for you use your power against the proud and I never want to experience that. Make your power known through me as I come constantly humbled before you, so that you may draw sinners to the Savior from among all peoples. In the powerful name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Hymn: "Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior" by Fanny Crosby
Pass me not, O gentle Sa…

Stand In Awe of Our Self-Sufficient God

Today I read: 2 Kings 4, Psalm 50, Daniel 8, and 1 Timothy 1.
Gospel summary: God alone is the all-sufficient, all-powerful sovereign One over all the creation. He knows the future and alone controls it from his heavenly throne, all so that sinners might be redeemed and made to praise his holy name. We must never assume our worship is doing God a favor, but must worship and serve God in fear, knowing this holy God, Who could easily destroy us, has chosen of his own grace to redeem us by his Son's sacrifice on the cross.
Prayer: oh most awesome and terrible God, you alone reign over all creation and I am a speck of dust before you, even a rebellious and vain hater of you from birth. There is nothing you need from me and all I do for you adds nothing to you because you are self-sufficient and own all I have to offer you. I am humbled by the fact that you, this holy Sovereign, would come to earth as a man to bear all my sin against you in the shame of the cross. What Grace is mine t…

The Rule of Evil Men is Brief

Today I read: 2 Kings 3, Psalm 49, Daniel 7, and 2 Thessalonians 3.

Gospel Summary: The world of evil men has been around since the Fall, but saints have no need to fear them because their rule is short and ours is eternal when Christ returns to set up His eternal kingdom on earth.
Prayer: Father in heaven; you are the eternal God who hates evil and loves righteousness. You have set a day in time when the earthly reign of evil men comes to end and you will reign forever. All evil will be punished on that Day and all righteousness that is done through Christ will be rewarded. It is humbling to know that I am in this kingdom that can never be destroyed and that this weak soul will reign with you for trillions of eons into eternity. All I see right now is the reign of evil men around me, but give me an eternal perspective so that I may see the coming end of their reign and the bringing in of yours. When the evil men around me begin using their temporary power to oppress and persecute me …

The Power of The Spirit of God

Today I read: 2 Kings 2, Psalm 48, Daniel 6, and 2 Thessalonians 2.
Gospel Summary: Our spiritual strength is not our own, but is a result of the Holy Spirit working in us. When we trust in God's strength, we are immovable and even our greatest foes cannot destroy us. If it were not for the Holy Spirit we would have no strength against the forces of evil that come against us.
Prayer: O God, you are my strength and apart from your Holy Spirit in me I would be nothing. Keep me ever pleading like Elisha for a double portion of your Spirit. Spare me today from assuming that I have this power apart from you and keep me ever dependent on the constant filling of your Holy Spirit. Show me that with your Holy Spirit in me there is nothing I face you cannot bring me through. But please teach me that apart from your Spirit I have no chance against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Keep me constant in faith, knowing that I am weak without you, you are God without me, evil …

The Exalted King Who Humbles Earthly Kings

Today I read: 2 Kings 1, Psalm 46-47, Daniel 5, and 2 Thessalonians 1.

Gospel summary: God is the exalted King of kings, who uses his awesome power to humble earthly kings who refuse to acknowledge his exalted power and come to the rescue of his own people for the glory of his name. Jesus, the exalted King, will return to humble unrepentant sinners who refuse his grace and to rescue his own people for the glory of his name.
Prayer: King of kings, you alone are the sovereign God and there is none other worthy of everlasting praise but you. Thank you for humbling yourself to the point of bearing my sin and God's wrath on the cross. Thank you also for humbling me by giving me the gift of repentance and faith and regenerating my dead heart to new life by the power of your Spirit. You alone are my refuge, awesome God, so help me never exalt myself above the position your blood purchased for me and always see myself as being graced with a salvation that has me already seated in the heav…

Gospel Summary: The Sovereign King of Kings

Today I read: 1 Kings 22, Psalm 45, Daniel 4, and 1 Thessalonians 5.

Gospel summary: God is the King of kings and Lord of lords and he sovereignly orchestrates the rise and fall of earthly kingdoms for the glory of his name alone. We must live in the fear of God at all times, knowing that he will soon return like a thief in the night to judge all men. We must beware of people saying, "There is peace and security" and "Everything is fine...there is no judgment to come and no God to judge" and only listen to the true Word of God which warns us to live godly lives before his return, trusting in his Son.
Prayer: Sovereign King of the heavens and the earth, you alone are worthy of all glory and honor and praise. Although now it seems men rule the world, teach me to see them as being guided by you the great King of kings to accomplish your purposes of saving a people for your praise. I thank you for saving me and bringing me into the light to be your child. As I go throu…

Gospel Summary: Payday Someday

Today I read: 1 Kings 21, Psalm 44, Daniel 3, and 1 Thessalonians 4.

Gospel Summary: In this world, believers are destined for persecution, but God will see to it that His children are vindicated and rescued and that all their unrepentant persecutors will be justly condemned either in this life or at the return of Christ.
Prayer: Father in heaven, I am humbled by the fact that you are not only on my side, but you will rescue me from all the persecution I face and punish my unrepentant persecutors. I have no refuge other than you and have come to know that all earthly helps are nothing to boast in. Help me, Father, to so live for you in this world that non-believers notice the difference in me, because this world is full of temptations and snares to keep me living a worldly life. Help me also Father to endure the persecutions I must face with the steadfast hope of your coming certain redemption. Grant that I may see that no threat I face, no pain I am inflicted, and no loss I take will…

Gospel Summary: An Enduring Kingdom

Today I read: 1 Kings 20, Psalms 42-43, Daniel 2, and 1 Thessalonians 3.

Gospel summary: Even though God's people are destined to endure much affliction in this world at the hands of unbelievers, only God's kingdom will endure to the end.

Prayer: Sovereign Lord, you alone have been my refuge in the stormy trials I face because of my faith in you. When it seems at times like I am the only Christ-follower and the world of unbelievers is set against me, help me remember that your kingdom, the remnant of your redeemed saints, will alone inherit and rule over the earth. The deepest levels of affliction I face are destined by your Almighty hand to keep me humble and constant in prayer, so that I can be prepared for life in your presence forever. Fill me with that invincible joy that enables me to persevere through this enemy territory until I reach the Promised Land of glory and spend eternity in fellowship with you my Redeemer and those you've redeemed. Give me encouragement d…

Gospel Summary: Life in Enemy Territory

Today I read: 1 Kings 19, Psalms 40-41, Daniel 1, and 1 Thessalonians 2.

Gospel summary: God delivers his people from those who seek their lives, saving them from destruction to the Rock of refuge, so we his people need not be bound by fear, but bold in faith. We can live in enemy territory here and still be used by God tremendously to serve him.

Prayer: Father in heaven, I praise you for rescuing me from the lion's mouth by crushing the head of the serpent, Satan, by means of the cross. As I walk through life in enemy territory, keep me strong in faith, even when I feel like a sheep among ravenous wolves. Help me always remember that the Good Shepherd will only let me endure a certain amount of hostility from his enemies and will never let them triumph over me forever. When it seems your opponents have all but defeated your people, grant that I may see even them as captives of the great enemy of Adam's race, and know that Satan has already been defeated and his eternal conde…

Gospel Summary: Turned to God from Idols

Today I read: 1 Kings 18, Psalm 39, Ezekiel 48, and 1 Thessalonians 1.

Gospel summary: Man naturally is an idol worshiper and it is only by the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit that we can see the vanity of serving dumb idols and turn in repentance and faith to the one true God to serve him with our few earthly years before God's wrath is poured out on idolatrous people.

Prayer: Father in heaven, you are the only true God and there is no other threatening to de-throne you. As the sole creator and sustainer of all things, you deserve all my praise, but I have lived serving vain and helpless idols. By the power of your Holy Spirit through the preaching of your gospel, you opened my eyes to how I was wasting my brief days serving things which are lifeless and worthless. You granted me repentance and faith in Christ and for that I am eternally grateful. Thank you for sparing me from your holy wrath against idolaters and gracing me with salvation. My salvation proves…

Gospel Summary: Streams In The Desert

Today I read: 1 Kings 17, Psalm 38, Ezekiel 47, and Colossians 4.

Gospel summary: In the drought-like conditions of life in a sin-cursed world, God provides refreshing and nourishing streams of grace through the atoning work of Christ. We must come parched to the Fountain of living water and pray steadfastly for God's grace here in enemy territory in. One day we'll enjoy the abundant life such a stream provides in the new heavens and new earth.

Prayer: O Fountain of living water, I am utterly parched and in desperate need of your refreshing Spirit and grace to help me. This sin-cursed world is a desert and a barren wasteland. Although sin promises to satisfy me, it only proves to be a mirage that leaves me with a belly full of dirt. Teach me that there is only one source of life to be found and that is in you, Jesus. Flowing from the temple is the blood of the spotless Lamb of God slain for sinners and it is this fountain that alone can refresh my soul. Thank you for the sati…

Gospel Summary: Put Off, Put On

Today I read: 1 Kings 16, Psalm 37, Ezekiel 46, and Colossians 3.

Gospel summary: God will judge all evil-doers in time, so we must never be envious of them, but must continually put off our old sinful ways and put on righteousness, for we've been raised with Christ and will inherit the earth.

Prayer: Awesome God, I thank you that you so graciously raised me from my spiritual grave to new, everlasting life in Christ. Glory be to your name alone! Help me always be aware that I am not the same man I once was and enable me to live like a redeemed child of God today. Give me grace to see that the temporary blessings of the wicked will one day come crashing down and that your redeemed and resurrected ones will eternally reign with you and inherit the earth. Fix my heart on the treasures you've purchased for me in Christ so that I don't get fixated with the fleeting pleasures of sin. Help me to put off the old self and put on the new. Help me to see that to have you is to have …

Gospel Summary: Raised from The Depths of My Sin Through The Heights of His Righteousness

Today I read: 1 Kings 15, Psalm 36, Ezekiel 45, and Colossians 2.

Summary: All earthly kings have wickedness and need the atoning sacrifice of the King of righteousness, Jesus Christ. By Christ's death on the cross and resurrection, sinful man who hopes in Him are made new and raised from their spiritual deadness. Therefore, saints who've been made alive through Christ refuse to listen to false teaching emphasizing works-based salvation.

Prayer: Lord God, the great depths of wickedness in us reveal the great heights of righteousness in You. Thank You for raising sinners like me from the dead by the death of Your beloved Son and for helping me die to myself through the resurrection of Your Son. Help me to be a living sacrifice today as I reflect upon the infinite grace you've poured out to me in Christ. Show me that I've died to that old works-based way of living and the new life in me through Christ was produced by this grace-saturated gospel. May this grace in Christ…

Gospel Summary: Redeemed, How I Love to Proclaim It

Today I read: 1 Kings 11, Psalm 35, Ezekiel 44, and Colossians 1.

Gospel Summary: Our holy God will see to it that all sin receives it's a just punishment and that those who fear him will be spared from evil and have him as their sole inheritance. We his redeem saints who have him as our own must never forget that it was by the sacrifice of God's Son, who created and sustains all things, that we have been saved and brought into the light of his presence. So we must proclaim this gospel and this Savior until we finally see him face-to-face.

Prayer: O God of infinite and matchless glory, make me aware of the penalty for sin against your awesome Majesty so that I may better understand the grace you poured out for guilty sinners like me through the sacrifice of your Divine Son. You have redeemed me from the greatest enemy over my soul: Satan. Let me never get over this gospel, but proclaim it to all until we all face you in your glory. In Jesus name, amen.

Gospel Summary: Cast Yourself On God for True Peace and Joy

Today I read: 1 Kings 13, Psalm 34, Ezekiel 43, and Philippians 4.

Gospel summary: we must learn to surrender to the will of God, casting ourselves on him in prayer no matter what our circumstances, for if we rely on our own wisdom and go the way of self, we'll forfeit true peace. Those who lean on the Lord and the strength he supplies will rejoice always and have his praise continuously on their lips knowing he is with them in all his glory through Christ.

Prayer: God, help me to see the folly of disobedience and know that it is a refusal to trust in your will for my life. Grant me to cast all my concerns on you in the midst of all my affliction, for it is only then that I will have true peace and reason to rejoice. Give me strength to persevere in faith until your glory is my sight. In Jesus name, amen.

Gospel Summary: Rejoice in A Righteousness Not Your Own

Today I read: 1 Kings 12, Psalm 33, Ezekiel 42, and Philippians 3.

Gospel summary: We are to shout for joy and rejoice because this sovereign, just, and righteous God has endured the punishment for our sins in His Son because of his faithfulness and steadfast love. We boast in a righteousness not our own, that of Christ, in his grace and not our good works, and so we press on to know him even more, because this holy and unapproachable God has made himself known to us and redeemed us from all our sins.

Prayer: Lord God, I am humbled that you would redeem a sinner like me and I desire to understand this grace of yours ever more. Help me to realize the gravity of the gospel and to respond with awe, wonder, and worship. Grant that I may join the psalmist and shout for joy today, since you this holy God have taken my sins away and saved me through Christ. As I contemplate your awesome majesty, may you drive me to deeper levels of rejoicing as I realize the extent you went to in order to m…

Bible Reading Gospel Summary

Today I read: 1 Kings 11, Psalm 32, Ezekiel 41, and Philippians 2.

Gospel summary: Knowing that sin leads to tremendous sorrow, we must stop clinging to these heart idols and come with broken-hearted confession to God, casting ourselves on Him and clinging to Him. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing Jesus left heaven's throne for the shame and sorrow of bearing sin on the cross. By clinging to Christ instead of sin, we can look forward to the Day of joy and exaltation, now being the temple of God's Holy Spirit and pressing on to heaven where we will no longer need a temple, since we will see our Savior face to face.

A prayer: Father in heaven, help me to see the end result and destination of sin more prominently than the temporary pleasure of the journey in sin. Grant that the sorrow sin causes would be so real to me that it's deceitful promises of happiness and pleasure would be shown for what they really are. Grant that I may see that the Man…

Bible Reading Plan Summary Statement

One of the practices that I want to begin doing is to, in my Bible reading plan each day, make notes of each passage I read and give a summary of what the Bible teaches on that particular day. I think it helps to get a full scope of the gospel from various passages and draw it all together each day.

Today I read: 1 Kings 10, Psalm 31, Ezekiel 40, and Philippians 1.

Gospel summary: Knowing that the all-wise God has come in Christ to defeat Satan and his demons and to rescue sinners by means of atoning for sin at the cross, we his redeemed must constantly cry out to him in enemy territory and work together as a church to fight to believe this gospel, willing to face persecution for it, since he will complete the work of redemption in his timing.

A birthday letter from a persecuted dad to his daughter

I copied this from Trevin Wax's blog at The Gospel Coalition:

Three birthdays have passed since Pastor Saeed was imprisoned in Iran. This letter is a beautiful testament to God’s grace in the midst of suffering, and I hope it encourages you to pray for Saeed and his family, and all the Christians in the world who face persecution for their faith.

My Dearest Rebekka Grace,

HAPPY 8th BIRTHDAY!

You are growing so fast and becoming more beautiful every day. I praise God for His faithfulness to me every day as I watch from a distance through the prison walls and see pictures and hear stories of how you are growing both spiritually and physically.

Oh how I long to see you.

I know that you question why you have prayed so many times for my return and yet I am not home yet. Now there is a big WHY In your mind you are asking: WHY Jesus isn’t answering your prayers and the prayers of all of the people around the world praying for my release and for me to be home with you and our family.

The…

Thoughts on reading books of the Bible in one sitting

One of the practices that I think is very helpful for every Christian is to read whole books of the Bible in one sitting. We often read a chapter here or a chapter there or even worse just a few verses from a paragraph so we do not get the whole picture of the book the way that it was meant to be presented. The Bible calls us to pay attention to the public reading of Scripture, and I think that means that we should read large portions of Scripture together as believers. Some of Paul's letters including Ephesians and Colossians were letters that were sent to whole churches and circulated abroad and were meant to be read out loud in one sitting. I was recommended this by another believer and found it to be extremely helpful in my walk with Christ. Once I sat down and read through the book of Hebrews in one sitting I instantly realized how powerful this was for understanding and being able to apply the word of God to my life.

Here are a few reasons why I think that you should consid…