Words of Life ~ ATTENTIVE

(We are blessed to have Valerie Caraotta as our guest writer for this week’s Word of Life. Visit her Facebook page and encourage her to start her own blog at WordPress.)

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When I studied the word attentive, what struck me most was our responsibility and necessity as believers to heed the Word and draw closer to the Lord. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes ATTENTIVE as: Expresses the direction of thought and interest towards some one point.

The KJV, from which we find our list of Words of Life, uses the word ATTENTIVE six times. We will look first at the five references found in the Old Testament.

Old Testament H7183
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE; qashab kash·shäv’ attentive.
The same word is used for attend; to hear, hearken, incline, heed (you can find these references at H7181).

Three of the verses are prayers that appeal to God for Him to be attentive to His servants.
 Nehemiah 1:6 is a prayer for the sins of the children of Israel.

Let your ear now be attentive and your eyes open that you may listen to the prayers of your servant, which I pray before you at this time, day and night, for the children of Israel your servants while I confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against you; both I and my father’s house have sinned.

Then, in Nehemiah 1:11, he prayed before he went before the king of Babylon that God would grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer. He prayed again before he answered the king’s question of his sadness which was for the affliction of his people in Jerusalem.

Psalm 130 is a short Psalm of degrees and worth reading these eight verses to understand where the Psalmist is in relationship to the Lord.

Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. Psalm 130:1-2

The fourth reference is also from Nehemiah after he had come to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall — when the people were attentive to the book of the law.

And he read therein before the street that was before the water gate from the morning until midday, before the men and the women, and those that could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive unto the book of the law. Nehemiah 8:3

Elihu speaks of the power and greatness of God in Job 36 and continues in Job 37:

At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth. Job 37:1-2

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silent before Him“ Hab.2:20 — evidence of souls that long to be attentive to his Word and promptings.

Attentiveness is not forcing God but posturing ourselves so that when He speaks we are more apt to hear.

Samson was spiritually blind before the Philistines blinded him physically. He didn’t know the Spirit of God had left him. How long does the Lord have to be absent before we miss him? Being aware of His presence in our lives requires our constant attention.

New Testament G1582
Strong’s Concordance defines ATTENTIVE ekkremamaie k-kre’-mä-mäi to hang from, hang upon (the lips of a speaker).

There is only one reference to the word ATTENTIVE in the New Testament.
The chief priests were already envious of Jesus’ popularity and when He turned over the money tables in the temple, they sought to destroy him.

And could not find what they might do; for all the people were very attentive to hear him. Luke 19:48

Are we carriers of the anointing to break yolks off others or mere noise — clanging symbols that have no eternal significance.

Where is our zeal? Did we once burn with passion to spend time in His presence and Word? Has it waned over time or do we love Him more today than ever?

The more attentive we are to the presence and activity of God, the more clearly we will discern His will. He is our Father, attentive to what we need before we ask (Matt.6:8)

We may not perfectly interpret God’s will, but it pleases Him when we stay in His Word, desiring His presence as we grow in our relationship with Him.

As believers, we are called to cultivate attentiveness to God. His Word and prayer are given for us to gain His perspective. This is vital because, in our own thinking, things may appear right, but the wisdom gained from above is far greater than we can imagine. In His leading, we can accomplish more in less time and gain strategies we need for the hard issues of life.

Dear Father in heaven, how blessed we are to have ears to hear – ears that are opened to your calling. We praise you for wisdom and knowledge through your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, and your Holy Spirit. Draw us closer so that we do not miss anything you have prepared for us. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

Image: Google

Focus, Love, and Rejoice

The words focus, love, and rejoice came clearly from time in prayer, meditation in God’s Word, and in my circumstances. The first word, focus, is included in the title of a book I started a few years ago. Focus, Balance, and Order came during a time when things were difficult to sort through. Still working on this book, my hope is to finish it soon as the Lord continues to show me these three facets of the Christian life. In the meantime, the Lord placed Focus, Love and Rejoice in my heart to experience the outcome of our focus on God our Father, the balance of life through our Lord, Jesus Christ and the order of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

It is the work of a triune God that produces the focus, love, and joy in us as His children. Briefly, let us look at this fruit that shows His work in and through us.

Concentration has never been my nature. The Lord knows my weakness and blesses me to know my need for Him — to seek His presence to accomplish in me what He desires. I would venture to say that we all are distracted by the physical world, with difficulties in training our minds to look to and keep our eyes upward, looking to Him for all things. Focus is not within from birth. Some may say that we are all focused on something.

We, as earthlings, are prone to switch from image to image looking for something new, something different every day. We are easily entertained by whatever comes in view of our senses.

The focus we speak of here is a steady, non-altering gaze that is immovable from its one object.

In the book Focus, Balance, and Order, we survey that on which we focus, the object of our focus. Of course, we will ascertain that it is the Lord God, our heavenly Father who is our focus and why it is must be Him alone on which we set our sight, our desires, our hopes, and our faith. There, the word focus is a noun as is balance and order. Here, focus is a verb, just as love and rejoice. I hope this post will encourage and excite you to pray for me and to look forward to how He will develop this project through me
In the meantime, let’s think of what He wants to work in us as a result of His focus, balance, and order in our lives.

If ye then be risen with Christ,
seek those things which are above,
where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Colossians 3:1

Focus
He wants us to focus — to continually keep our eyes — upon Him. We can love and rejoice as we receive His Words by a direct concentration and meditation on Him and His Word. We receive from Him with open hearts and minds. Imagine a thirsty man holding a cup to receive water without focusing on the source. The stream of water is the life of Christ given to us from our heavenly Father by His Holy Spirit. In prayer and through His Word, we direct our hearts and minds to receive the life He gives. But our eyes are on the Father, the giver of all life. Jesus directs us to the Father in His prayer on the mount.

Love and Rejoice
When He says, focus, love, and rejoice, He teaches us that love is the fruit, the life of Christ poured in and through us as we receive it from Him. Both love and joy are His character traits shared with His children. He gives us His love and His joy— the fruit of His Spirit within us. We, therefore, love as He loves, unselfishly. His joy causes us to rejoice.

Most will say they cannot keep such a focus. None of us can. Like humility and all that He requires of His children, He teaches what He wants to do in us. He gives us the desire of His heart until it becomes our heart’s desire. We pray and wait for Him to do His work in us. As Andrew Murray says in Waiting on God — we can afford to wait. These are parts of our inheritance given to enjoy here on this earth and preparation for eternity with Him.

When we learn to focus upon Him, it will not matter what may be our circumstances. Focus enables us to keep steadfast in the life of Christ, not changing our actions based on what is happening around us. The world cannot change our character when we know who we are in Christ. We continue to love the unlovable and rejoice through the most difficult times of this life when we set our affections on Him and the things above.

Dear Father in heaven, we are most blessed when we keep our eyes heavenward, knowing you lead us through the most difficult places by your Spirit of love and joy. Bring us to desire with all our hearts to focus upon you. Make us a channel of your love and joy, we pray, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

John Bunyan on the Lord’s Day

 For he waited for the city which has foundations,
whose builder and maker is God.

Hebrews 11:10

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OF THE LORD’S DAY, SERMONS, AND WEEK DAYS
John Bunyan

 “Have a special care to sanctify the Lord’s day; for as thou keepest it, so it will be with thee all the week long.

Make the Lord’s day the market for thy soul; let the whole day be spent in prayer, repetitions, or meditations; lay aside the affairs of the other part of the week; let thy sermon thou hast heard be converted into prayer: Shall God allow thee six days, and wilt not thou afford him one?

In the church, be careful to serve God; for thou art in his eyes, and not in man’s.

Thou mayest hear sermons often, and do well in practicing what thou hearest; but thou must not expect to be told thee in a pulpit all that thou oughtest to do, but be studious in searching the Scriptures, and reading good books; what thou hearest may be forgotten, but what thou readest may better be retained.

Forsake not the public worship of God, lest God forsake thee, not only in public, but in private.

In the weekdays, when thou risest in the morning, consider,

1. Thou must die.
2. Thou mayest die that minute.
3. What will become of thy soul.
4. Pray often.

At night consider,

1. What sins thou hast committed.
2. How often thou hast prayed.
3. What hath thy mind been bent upon.
4. What hath been thy dealing.
5. What thy conversation.
6. If thou callest to mind the errors of the day, sleep not without a confession to God, and a hope of pardon.

Thus every morning and evening make up thy accounts with Almighty God, and thy reckoning will be the less at last.” John Bunyan’s Dying Sayings.

Gracious Father, as you spoke through your servant in centuries past, speak these truths in our hearts today. Fill us with your Holy Spirit as we live in your presence every day — in our private devotions as well as our public worship. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

 

For to speak the truth, there are
but few that care thus to spend their time.
John Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress

The Lord’s Day

This being the Lord’s Day, what should our main prayer be?  This being the first day of the week, the day our Lord and Savior rose from the dead, to prove His Lordship over all things—for Whom should our prayers be, on this day?

“Let the peoples praise thee, O God;
let all the peoples praise Thee.”
Psalm 67:3

Father, direct our hearts, these new hearts, to you, today especially; seeking the honor of Your Name, Your Kingdom, Your Will, here on earth.  Unite our hearts to fear Thy Name (Psalm 86:11) that you receive the honor due to You, our great Father, God, and Creator.

As we have been given a vision of true worship in Revelation 4, open heaven to us today and by Your Spirit, give us a new glimpse into Your sanctuary of glory, seeing Christ sitting at Your right hand. Raise us up to sit in heavenly places with Him, today.

While it is today, reveal Your glory to us, that we may increase in the knowledge of You.

Have mercy upon us, in our spiritual blindness, for we cannot see You as we ought.  And if we cannot see, how can we worship as we ought.  Send the light into our darkness—the light of the knowledge of Your glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Let us not be led by our own spirits, nor by those who are blind; give us shepherds on this day, who know You, who love You and care for Your sheep, those who would teach us of You and lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your Name’s sake. 

Lord Jesus, send Your Spirit to reveal “the way, the truth, and the life” that is in You.  Let us not be deceived in following the traditions of men, but direct us into all truth by the power of Your Spirit of grace, according to the commandments of Your Holy Word.

Pour out Your Spirit upon Your people today, where You have chosen to place Your Name; upon Your preachers; that Your Word may be spoken through them.  

Bring Your Spirit to honor Your Word as it is read and preached today.  Let it, by Your power, fill our hearts and authorize Your commandments in us. Put the fire of Your Spirit in Your Word, and consume our dross.  Let it penetrate cold, stony hearts; permeate our whole being and the life of Your church.  Let it perpetuate the life of Christ, our Lord, and Savior in and through us. Then shall we bring others to Your house on Your day for Your worship—as You, in Jesus, call us to this Holy Day each week.

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren,
in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”
Hebrews 2:12

I want to see You today, to experience the glory of Your presence as You revealed Yourself in times past. Make today a supernatural event for history, for a remembrance, for a record. You did not live a righteous life for us, give that life as a sacrifice for our sins, and ascend to the Father’s right hand, as a last mighty act.  You have taught us in Your Word that You did all this that You might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people, (Hebrews 2:17) to bring us to Him.

You have taught us how You are the mediator of our worship. Greater than Moses, You bring us to Mount Sion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels (Hebrews 12:22).  

This is the day You have made
(for yourself, a day to remember and celebrate YOU)
we will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Psalm 118:24

 Do Your work in us today, as it pleases You. Let us be filled with the Spirit; speaking to each other of You, and with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our heart to You.”  Ephesians 5:18-19

“Inhabit our praises.”
Psalm 22:3

Holy Spirit, I pray for Your power today to reveal the Father and the Son of glory as we gather with all the saints, here or earth and in heaven before Your presence.

 “Let us comprehend with all saints what is the breadth,
and length, and depth, and height;
and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge,
that we might be filled with all the Father’s fullness.”

Ephesians 3:18-19  

Intercede for us, today, for we know not how we ought to pray.

Father, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit, feed us with that manna from above as we seek You today. 

Have mercy on us as poor sinners. Forgive our iniquities.

Humble us in Your presence and keep us from temptation, especially this day.

Let us celebrate at Your Table today, knowing You are holy, good, and gracious, as we look forward to that great Lord’s Day to come.

“You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory,
and honor, and power,
for thou has created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
Revelation 4:11

Bring us to deny ourselves today, to set aside our own pleasures (Isaiah 58:6-14) to do Your pleasure.  Teach us Thy way, O Lord.  Show us the way to the old paths, wherein is the good way.—for Your glory and our joy.

 “For Thine is the Kingdom,
And the Power,
And the Glory, Forever.
Amen”

Words of Life ~ ASTONISHED

In both the Old and New Testaments, it is the Lord God who astonishes His creatures. There is, however, a stark difference in the use of the word in the Hebrew and the Greek.

The Old Testament refers mostly to the astonishing power of God in His punishment upon His people and other nations. The New Testament speaks of the astonishing life, work, and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Greek is the same word used for amazed.

Does anything amaze us, anymore?  Or are we simply being amused?  Amusement engages the mind and the heart, appealing to the flesh and its sensations. The more amused, the less we are amazed.

It is amazing what men haved accomplished with the powers that God has given them.  Industry, technology, and giftedness in men, are amazing.  To think of how we communicate, e-mail, and receive documents is amazing to me.  We see all these developments and attribute it to the power of men.  I believe that had Adam been obedient, God would have allowed men to do more than they have, but man’s power has been harnessed by a weaker power since the Fall. It is amazing that with all these powers, we have not destroyed ourselves.  I am amazed that our Father has allowed rebellion to go on as long as He has. Through it all, He reveals His power over all things, circumstances, and time.
We are blessed when the Father opens our eyes to the wonders of His creation, His redemption, and continued revelations through His Word and Spirit. He keeps us in constant amazement.

Old Testament H074
Strong’s Concordance defines ASTONISHED, shamem shä·mām’; to be desolate, be appalled, stun, stupefy

And I will bring the land into desolation: and your enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it.” Leviticus 26:32

“The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.”
Job 26:11

Jeremiah 2:12Jeremiah 4:9 speak of the desolation of Jerusalem.

Jeremiah speaks in the following references of desolation and hissing because of the plagues Jeremiah 19:8; Jeremiah 49:17

“Because of the wrath of the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.” Jeremiah 50:13

Ezekiel is astonished at the captivity of his people.

“Then I came to them of the captivity at Telabib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days.” Ezekiel 3:15

The Lord made the desolation of Tyrus a terror before men  

All the inhabitants of the isles shall be astonished at thee, and their kings shall be sore afraid, they shall be troubled in their countenance.”
Ezekiel 27:35; Ezekiel 28:19

“And I Daniel fainted, and was sick certain days; afterward I rose up, and did the king’s business; and I was astonished at the vision, but none understood it.” Daniel 8:27

The only reference to the astonishment of God’s grace in the Old Testament is in Daniel 3:24 when King Nebuchadnezzar saw four men in the furnace.

New Testament G1605
Strong’s Concordance defines ASTONISHED, ekplēssō ek-plā’s-sō; to be struck with amazement, astonished, amazed

The first astonishment mentioned of Jesus was at the age of twelve in the temple sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

“And all that heard him were astonished
at his understanding and answers.”
Luke 2:47

Astonished at His Doctrine
The people were astonished at his doctrine: Matthew 7:28; Matthew 22:33

“And they were astonished at his doctrine:
for he taught them as one that had authority,
and not as the scribes.”
Mark 1:22


And the scribes and chief priests sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. Mark 11:18 

In his own country they were astonished at his wisdom and mighty works, Matthew 13:54; Mark 6:2

And the disciples were astonished at his words when Jesus spoke of the difficulty of those that trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God. Mark 10:24

“And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved?” Mark 10:26

Peter and those with him were astonished at the fish which they had taken. Luke 5:9

Astonished at His Healing
And people were beyond measure astonished at Jesus’ power to heal.
Mark 7:37

At the healing of Jairus’ daughter, they were astonished with a great astonishment Mark 5:42. And her parents were astonishedLuke 8:56

Astonished at His Resurrection

“Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonishedwhich were early at the sepulchre;” Luke 24:22

Astonishment Continued in the Early Church
Paul, on the road to Damascus, trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. Acts 9:6

The Jews which believed were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Gentiles. Acts 10:45

They were astonished when prayer was answered for Peter’s release from prison. Acts 12:16

When Paul spoke to the sorcerer and caused his blindness, the deputy of Paphos believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. Acts 13:6-12

Father in heaven, who can know you and not be astonished? Open our eyes, ears, and hearts to see, hear, to experience your grace and glory, your greatness, goodness, and power in us as your children. Let us speak of our amazement of your kingdom here on earth and the vision of the glory that awaits us in eterntiy. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

The Fullness of God in One Body

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,
as the manner of some is.

Hebrews 10:25

What happens when we neglect corporate worship?

A part of the body of Christ is missing.  Imagine that one of your fingers separated itself from your body or could decide on its own that it would not respond to you?  Usually, more than one member neglects to attend worship on the Lord’s Day.  So, imagine a finger, a foot, and one of your organs missing.  You are hindered from a full capacity of life. Jerry’s left leg was amputated twelve years ago.  He still enjoys life, but he will tell you that it is not a full life.

So, too, the body of Christ comes short of what it needs to operate at its fullness.  True — worship is planned and carried on for those who are there, but let’s imagine what worship looks like when the whole body is present and actively participating in the worship to which He calls us.

Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you (everybody) the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:
And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,
Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1: 15-23

The church—each member—has its calling, as an heir of the riches of His glory.  It is our inheritance, as His saints. What Christ has secured in heaven is for all His body.  His fullness fills all members with all that we need to rule with Him in His kingdom. Christ as the authority and head over all things has given dominion and power to the members of His body.

Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16-21 expresses the same truth.

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto
him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He is speaking of all believers, all members, of the body of Christ.  In this prayer, Paul is praying that our heavenly Father will give His Spirit–according to the riches of his glory to do the work in the hearts—in the inner man —–for what purpose? That they may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and to know the love of Christ, which is beyond (human) knowledge.

Can one member receive all?  Can one heart conceive of the love of Christ? No! It was never meant to be. It is beyond any one of us to know—to comprehend—such a love.  Christ, who is the fullness of the body, sends His Holy Spirit to fill each heart with its portion—its small measure. (Ephesians 4:16)  For who could hold such knowledge, such love as is ours in Christ.  It is His working to give each the portion of our inheritance allotted and to bring that measure together with the others.

When we neglect to meet with the other saints we not only fail to bring what we have received, but we miss the knowledge that we would have received from the other members. Some part of the love of Christ is withheld from the body, and we go lacking that which we could have received.

And so the members of the body of Christ go through the following days, weeks and years, wondering why life is not what it should be.  We are hungry and thirsty for something good, not understanding that all the fullness of life is in Christ; that our hunger and thirst will never be met outside the whole body of Christ, and we are withholding something that someone else needs. As members of one body, let us exhort one another for the faithful attendance to His worship and His Word.

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love
one toward another, and toward all men,
even as we do toward you:
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable
in holiness before God, even our Father,
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all his saints.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

Father, we need the gift of your Holy Spirit to fill and stir each of our hearts with a measure of Christ’s love. Move us to bring that portion to our worship today so that we may all know the fullness and glory of your presence. In Jesus’ name, I pray and thank you. Amen.
Fran

Images: Google

In The Spirit on the Lord’s Day

What must it have been like—exiled on the Isle of Patmos,
because of his testimony for Christ? (Revelation 1)

John had no live band to lead him in worship, no accompaniment, no artificial light, no props, and no company. But he had his past experience with the Lord Jesus, the memories of living and walking in His footsteps, and the presence of the Holy Spirit.  The testimony for which he was exiled was the same power that was constantly with him.

He was chosen and prepared to receive such visions as he was given, and to put it in writing to be preserved for us.  John’s visions recorded in the Book of Revelation are not your everyday experience, or even a weekly example, of a worship that any of us can expect or hope for here on earth.  But it does serve to bring us to an understanding of the special day that the Lord’s Day became for His people.

It is a day to which we look forward, in anticipation of more of the revelation of the Spirit in our lives and our worship, when we are alone with the Lord or gathered with His people.  The same Spirit, by which we are born into His kingdom, is the same Spirit that leads to greater heights of understanding and finally to His glory.  He is the same presence and power that opens our minds and hearts to Christ, so that we desire to hear His voice, to see that just one, high and lifted up.  Being the center and focus of all our desires and worship, He is all that we seek.  We avoid all hindrances and distractions that take our attention away from Him, His Word and His plan for His worship.

The Holy Spirit and His Word (truth that is in and of Christ) lead us to cast all our crowns before Him, to humble ourselves before Him in silence, praise and adoration.  The same Spirit of which we are born, led, live, and walk, directs our hearts to Him, and reveals the things of God that He will never show us otherwise. (1 Corinthians 2:9-16)  This is worship in Spirit and truth. (John 4:24)

The power of His Word will separate us from the world, its methods, sounds, and designs, and by His Spirit bring us to discover Jesus Christ in a new light.  Who does not desire to see the lightnings, thunderings, and earthquakes that prayer and true worship bring to this earth—of which we are in such great need?


“Wherefore we receiving a kingdom
which cannot be moved,
let us have grace,
whereby we may serve God acceptably
with reverence and godly fear:
For our God is a consuming fire.”
Hebrews 12:28-29

Dear Father, fill us with more of your Spirit, especially today; lead us, open our eyes and ears and our hearts to  what you have prepared for us.  Show us great and mighty things we have not known—things that will enable us to bear witness of Christ in all that we do; even it means separation from everybody and all that we know.  Lead us to seek Christ, to live for, and worship You, and Christ alone.  In His name, we pray and praise you. Amen.