Mindful of Him

READ TWICE and MEDITATE

Psalm 73:24–28. 24 You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. 26 My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. 27 Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. 28 But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Adore—What did you learn about God for which you could praise or thank him?
Admit—What did you learn about yourself for which you could repent?
Aspire—What did you learn about life that you could aspire to, ask for, and act on?”

MY PRAYER
Father,
Thank you for guiding me, thank you for the hope of being in glory with you someday. I praise you for the abilities you have placed in my heart. The desires to seek you and to be mindful of you. Thank you for your nearness, and forever be my refuge.
Forgive me when I set my heart, my mind, my feelings on lesser things. Forgive me when I settle for the immediate rather than seeking the eternal 
You and you alone are worthy of praise, 
You and you alone will I proclaim

From Tim Keller’s book: “The Songs of Jesus”

NOTHING BUT YOU. The psalmist breaks through. “Whom have I in heaven but you?” (verse 25) means “If I don’t have you I have nothing—nothing else will satisfy or last.” We rightly want to be reunited with loved ones in heaven. What makes heaven heaven, however, is that God is there. Those who have gone before are not looking down at us fondly but rather are caught up in a never-ending fountain of joy, delight, and adoration. Augustine writes: “God alone is the place of peace that cannot be disturbed—and He will not withhold Himself from your love unless you withhold your love from him.” Life in glory with God (verse 24) will suffice for the healing of all wounds, the answering of all questions. Jesus has promised.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for how suffering drives me like a nail deeper into your love. It is not my earthly joys but my griefs that show me your grace is enough. “I live to show your power, who once did bring first my joys to weep, and now my griefs to sing.” Amen.

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Praise Him!

 

 

Psalms 63:9-11 [NLT]

9 But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. 
They will go down into the depths of the earth. 
10 They will die by the sword 
and become the food of jackals. 
11 But the king will rejoice in God. 
All who swear to tell the truth will praise him, 
while liars will be silenced.

Father,
As I Meditate on this Scripture I sense the psalmist trust in you. And this Monday morning if there is a take away for me it is to like the king “ rejoice in God” and to praise you.
Teach me to come to you often
Tech me to come with more praise than problems

From Tim Keller’s Book: Songs of Jesus:
“SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. David longs not just for belief but for experience of God. It is possible to “see” the Lord, not with our physical eyes but by faith (verse 2; 1 Corinthians 13:12; 2 Corinthians 3:18, 5:7). This is delighting in God not for what he gives us in life but for who he is in himself (verse 3). The result of David’s experience is the reassertion of his identity. “But [I] the king will rejoice in God” (verse 11). This joyful, strengthened grounding in who we are in him is always the fruit of spiritual experience (Romans 8:16). Christians too are all kings and priests in Jesus (Revelation 1:6). “If David’s faith in his kingly calling was well-founded, still more is the Christian’s.”

 

Prayer: Lord, I praise you that you are not just my King but my Father—and that the child of a royal sovereign is also royal! All the language of “ruling” and “reigning” with you staggers me. But help me grasp it enough that I no longer easily feel hurt or snubbed or dependent on the approval of others. Amen.”

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EVERYDAY CHRISTIAN

 

Psalm 48:9–14. 9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love. 10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness. 11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments. 12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers, 13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation. 14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

My reflection in prayer:

Father, 

On this Monday morning I thank you for Sunday morning, I thank you for church family, I thank you for corporate worship. I was encouraged walking the walls and hearing the praise, the fellowship, the teaching. We raise our hearts with the psalmist and echo the thought. “For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.” At the same time I confess my recurring ability to confuse your plans with mine. How often do I ask you to follow me? Or worst how often do I just assume You aren’t watching. How often is my thing, my thing and not our thing. Remembering how back in the day you could get the newspaper only on Sunday if you wanted. Am I a Sunday only Christian? Remind me often to turn to Jesus and to meditate on your unfailing love. Make me an everyday Christian. Amen.

From Tim Keller’s book; “Songs of Jesus”

GUIDE TO THE END. Jesus is the true temple (John 2:21), and when we unite with him by faith we receive his Spirit and become a living temple in which God dwells (Ephesians 2:19–22). When Christians “count [Zion’s] towers,” they thank God for the church and joyfully wonder at what they have become in Christ. When they “tell of them to the next generation,” they show inquirers the way of salvation through Jesus. And the Lord is “our guide even to the end” (verse 14). The end of what? There are many endings in life, the greatest one being death. Its mystery and terror are made bearable by the knowledge that Jesus will be with us, into death and out the other side.

Prayer: Lord, I need to be melted by spiritual understanding of the greatness of what we have become in you. We are your flock, your dwelling, your body, your kingdom, your people, your love. Teach me how to love your church and fully participate in its life and mission. Amen.

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Prepping 4 Sermon on the Book of Acts

Day # 5

Acts 1:15-26 

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) “For it is written in the Book of Psalms,

‘May his camp become desolate,

and let there be no one to dwell in it’;

and

‘Let another take his office.’

So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”  And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Proverbs 21:1

The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord;

he turns it wherever he will.

Prayer

Father, I am comforted when I am reminded that you know the hearts of all people and that you are sovereign over all our leaders. Thank you for our church leaders; help us remember to pray for them often and to serve them even as they serve us. Bless them and guard them from the enemy. Please raise up more leaders; your flock is great and your shepherds few. Establish the order of your body, the Church, with humility, truth, and love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. “Acts Devotional Guide, Volume 1.”

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Prepping 4 Sermon on Acts of the Apostles

Prepping 4 Sermon Day #4

Acts 1:12-14

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

Psalm 133

Behold, how good and pleasant it is

when brothers dwell in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head,

running down on the beard,

on the beard of Aaron,

running down on the collar of his robes!

It is like the dew of Hermon,

which falls on the mountains of Zion!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,

life forevermore.

John 17:22-23

The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Prayer

My King of Kings, you would not have it that your kingdom should be divided, for how then could your kingdom stand? But you hold all things together, including the church by the word of your power! The ultimate unity of your church does not rest in our hands, but in yours, and we are privileged with the opportunity to do your work.

We are not ignorant of the Devil’s designs; we despise our pride and bitterness which cause so much self-destruction and division. Humble us, Father. Teach us to forgive one another as you forgive us. Help us devote ourselves to prayer together more often, just as the disciples did in the upper room as they waited for your Spirit. We are comforted by the prayers of Jesus and find promise of unity in his love for us. Thank you. Amen.

Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. Acts Devotional Guide

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Your waves and surging tides sweep over me

your waves and surging tides sweep over me

Psalm 42: 6-11 [NLT]
6 my God! 
Now I am deeply discouraged, 
but I will remember you— 
even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, 
from the land of Mount Mizar. 
7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas 
as your waves and surging tides sweep over me. 
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, 
and through each night I sing his songs, 
praying to God who gives me life. 
9 “O God my rock,” I cry, 
“Why have you forgotten me? 
Why must I wander around in grief, 
oppressed by my enemies?” 
10 Their taunts break my bones. 
They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?” 
11 Why am I discouraged? 
Why is my heart so sad? 
I will put my hope in God! 
I will praise him again—  
my Savior and my God! 

My meditation in prayer
Father,
How my heart resonates with the line, “as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.” And even though we seem to connect better when I’m there walking on a beach, the next line in the psalm says, “But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me” – so whether I am at my “happy place” or “home” you re always with me pouring out your love. Teach me to receive it w/ more gratitude, forgive me for taking your grace, mercy and love for granted so often. Sometimes I act like a 3rd generation welfare recipient and have a air of entitlement about me. Forgive me when I obligate You. As I place my hope in You again may I praise You by my actions and deeds. May those around me sense my Savior and my God.

From “Songs of Jesus” by Tim Keller
SELF-COMMUNION. As the psalm proceeds we see that the phrase “I will yet praise him” (verses 5 and 11; Psalm 43:5) is not a mere prediction of change but an active exercise. When we are discouraged, we listen to the fearful speculations of our hearts. “What if this happens?” “Maybe it’s because of that!” Here instead we see the psalmist not merely listening to his troubled heart but addressing it, taking his soul in hand, saying, “Remember this, O soul!” He reminds his heart of the loving things God has done (verse 6–8). He also tells his heart that God is working within the troubles—the waves sweeping over him are “your” waves (verse 7). This self-communion is a vital spiritual discipline.

 

Prayer: Lord, I need to learn how to preach to my own heart, rather than just listening to its foolish or panicky chatter. Help me learn how to effectively say to my unruly inward being, “Put your hope in God!” Amen.

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Prepping 4 Sermon on Acts of the Apostles

Day 3

Acts 1:9-11

And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”

1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

Prayer

My dear Jesus, you ascended into heaven before many eyes and sat down on the right hand of Majesty where you rule the world with sovereign grace. Still your presence is near to us in your Spirit, and we wait eagerly for your return. Kindle our hopes, preserve our patience, and stimulate our hearts to proclaim your gospel around us, so that when you come back you will see your servants working and not being idle. Excite our hearts with your imminent return and help us prepare the world, for you are making all things new. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.        Excerpt From: Stranathan, Valerie. “Acts Devotional Guide”

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