Year’s End Prayer

Psalm 118:1, “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever!”

If you have never spent time reading the Puritan classic work, The Valley of Vision, I highly commend it to you. It is rich with theological truth as the writers offer prayers and meditations for Christians of all ages and cultures. Here is the prayer entitled “Year’s End” which should encourage and challenge every believer as we embark upon a new year tomorrow.aprayerforthenewyear

O LOVE BEYOND COMPARE,

Thou art good when thou givest, when thou takest away, when the sun shines upon me, when night gathers over me. Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world, and in love didst redeem my soul; thou didst love me still, in spite of my hard heart, ingratitude, distrust.

Thy goodness has been with me during another year, leading me through a twisting wilderness, in retreat helping me to advance, when beaten back making sure headway.

Thy goodness will be with me in the year ahead; I hoist sail and draw up anchor, with thee as the blessed pilot of my future as of my past. I bless thee that thou hast veiled my eyes to the waters ahead.

If thou hast appointed storms of tribulation, thou wilt be with me in them; if I have to pass through tempests of persecution and temptation, I shall not drown; if I am to die, I shall see thy face the sooner; if a painful end is to be my lot, grant me grace that my faith fail not; if I am to be cast aside from the service I love, I can make no stipulation; only glorify thyself in me whether in comfort or trial, as a chosen vessel meet always for thy use.

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2015: A Year for Scriptural Saturation

“Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly….” – Colossians 3:16

With only two days before the new year begins, it is the time for reflection upon the past year and looking ahead to 2015. Resolutions of various kinds will flood our minds, but perhaps there is no better area of life to consider improving than the saturation of our minds and hearts with God’s Word.bible

Let’s face it, our world is not getting any better. Culture is not pushing us towards embracing Scriptural truth. Our society is turning away from scriptural values, truths, and principles. Sadly it seems that many within Christianity are following those trends, though perhaps at a slower pace. It is high time for God’s people to wake up and recommit ourselves to not only embrace God’s Word, but to saturate our minds and hearts with God’s Word, allowing it to change who we are, how we think, and how we live.

Here are just a few practical ideas to help believers in this process.

1. Stick to a Bible reading plan. Too many Christians are random in their daily Bible reading. Find a Bible reading plan and stick to it. Along with this, plan to read every day. Find a time and place to read God’s Word. It is the fuel for our spiritual growth. No one can be a spiritual Christian apart from regularly feasting on God’s Word. It is the manna for our soul. There are many good schedules including the M’Cheyne Bible Read Through, the Chronological Read Through, or just reading through the Bible in a Year. Choose one and stick to it.

2.¬† Challenge yourself to memorize God’s Word. Too many Christians make the excuse that they cannot memorize scripture. But the truth is that anyone can memorize scripture, if they believe it to be important enough. If we can memorize sports statistics or movie lines, then we can memorize God’s Word. Let’s challenge ourselves to memorize scripture. Hiding God’s Word in our hearts will help us in our spiritual warfare.

3. Study a portion of God’s Word in more detail. Christians should not be afraid to purchase good conservative Bible commentaries or theological books. These books can be of tremendous value¬† and help us understand the biblical text in greater detail than we could otherwise. Computer resources like blueletterbible.org or other Bible software can be used to help the Christian go deeper in biblical study where he can mine the rich treasures of God’s Word. We should not be satisfied with skimming the surface of scripture, but rather allow the richness of God’s Word to fully penetrate our hearts.

4. Attend every service of your local church. This is fundamental to the spiritual growth of every Christian. As much as we would like to think otherwise, no Christian is meant to function successfully apart from a church family. We need others to help us, keep us accountable, and push us towards God’s Word. We need the regular preaching and teaching of God’s Word to feed our souls. One “meal” a week is not sufficient. In 2015, let’s purpose in our hearts to be at every service at our church, unless providentially hindered.

5. Listen to God-honoring preaching. While we are to regularly attend our local churches for the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, it is also helpful to listen to other good preaching during the rest of the week. Sermonaudio.com is a great starting place to find godly men who faithfully proclaim God’s Word. Sermons can be listened to online, or downloaded onto computers, phones, and other portable devices and can encourage our hearts throughout the week.

Christians must be known as Bible people. We must learn to think in Bible terms and live according to biblical truth. these tips can be helpful, but unless we appropriate the truth of God’s Word that we hear and read into our daily living, it will all be fruitless. Every Christian has the tools necessary to be a spiritual person. We have God’s Word, God’s Spirit, and God’s grace. May 2015 be a great year of growth for us all as we strive to have a year where the Scripture Saturates our hearts and minds for the glory of God.

True Peace

Too many of our Christian homes today are plagued by the cancer of selfish pride. This in turn produces turmoil, strife, and great conflicts in the home. Marriages are falling apart because two people are too busy fighting for eacgloryh of their own sinful ways. The parent/child relationship is crumbling because parents selfishly provoke their children to anger, and because children proudly choose to rebel against parental authority.

In these kinds of situations, a peaceful day is one in which there have been no fights within the home. But that is not true peace; that is simply the absence of conflict, and is probably temporary at best.

When the angels announced the birth of Jesus Christ to the shepherds, they made a proclamation, “glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace….” There is a connection between those two thoughts that all families must realize. In order for true peace to reign in our hearts individually and in our homes, God’s glory must be the target of everyone within the home. In other words, glorifying God is a prerequisite to true peace within the Christian home.

If mom and/or dad are not facing every situation through the lens of bringing glory to God, then fights between spouses will virtually be guaranteed. If a parent and/or child doesn’t target the glory of God in all he does, then there will be great conflicts springing up.

The desire of every Christian within the home must be to bring glory to God, as well as display the glory of God in everything: his words, his actions, his attitudes, his recreational activities, his entertainment choices, his responses to other people, his view of life, and so much more. Without targeting the glory of God, a person has no hope of realizing the true peace that God desires for his people.

While we have peace with God through Jesus Christ that is secured in our salvation, the ongoing peace of God is not a guaranteed quality of life. Sanctification must take place, and this requires work on the part of every believer, beginning with a change of mindset and heart regarding glorifying God.

If you struggle with fighting in your home relationships, then focus your attention on giving and displaying the glory of God, regardless of what anyone else does in your home, or whatever happens. If everyone does this in your home, it will lead to the true peace of God, which will bring honor and glory to God in the highest, to whom alone all glory is due.