Praying For Our Nation ~ Week 4

give-us-this-day“In the fourth petition we pray that of God’s free gifts we may recieve a competent portion of the good things of this life and enjoy His blessing with them.” Shorter Catechism

As one of the most affluent nations in history, Americans live daily in the abundance of things that other nations only imagine. We have all the technical devices, all that we want to entertain us, and more food than we need ~ yet Jesus taught us, His people,  to pray for our “daily bread.”  We understand that our prayers are not just for us and our family, but for all people. We are reminded that He taught us to “seek first the kingdom of God our Father, and His righteousness”  before anything else, believing that He would supply all our physical needs.

As with the other petitions of the Lord’s Prayer, this one alludes to our trusting God our heavenly Father, whose name, kingdom and will are first and over all things in heaven and on earth, so that all our hope for all things is in Him.

Dear Father, as we anticipate a transition of leadership in a few weeks, let us as your children continue to examine our hearts and our faith. Show us your leading for all things. Make us to know that all that we need comes from you.

Even as we ask you to give us (all of us) our daily bread, give us understanding that we need not fear what man can do, nor hope that any man or woman can do more than you enable them to do. Again, I ask that you enable us to encourage others, and that you will grow the faith of all your people as we see you supplying all our needs.  More than physical food, enable us to understand the more needful, spiritual food that comes only from your Holy Word. Turn us to the truth and power of your Word, that we may know the abundant life that you promise us in Christ, your Son.screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-2-46-50-pm
Pour your Holy Spirit on us; give us a hunger for your Word; draw us to your Word for all that you desire for us.

Let us enjoy you and your blessings today, without anxiety of what we may need tomorrow. Show us our extravagance, and how to live simply in obedience, confidence, and contentment in you, so that we may share with others what you so graciously pour out upon us.

Make us the answer to the prayers of others who are in need, for the spirit, soul, and body.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

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Turning Everything Heavenward

Having lost a sister-in-law and a brother-in-law in less than a month has brought me to think beyond my own state of existence to something higher than man and life here on this earth. Such is the case with recording my notes as we continue hearing the   preaching of Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Again, Paul’s purpose for writing to the Roman Christians is to bring not just one or two, but, some from every nation, to obedience of faith. It is in the power of the gospel that accomplishes what God sent His Son to do; the Son of God with power (1:4) the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith. (1:16-17). We start with God and continue in a God-centered gospel through the book of Romans.

As we come to the most unpopular and unsettled passages of God’s word (for some) in Romans 9 we must, as Paul, let God speak for Himself. In chapter eight Paul begins writing on the doctrine of predestination. If that is not enough he drives the point home dramatically in the next three chapters, to the point of showing that God has the last word on the subject.  Getting through these we come to chapter twelve; to which we are brought in response to His mercy; to present ourselves, as living sacrifices to Him.

Not a Man-centered Gospel
A man-centered gospel cannot save anyone. It tends to bring God down to our own level and make Him what we want Him to be and to say what we want to hear.

Paul answers this kind of reasoning in his day, not by using his own understanding or his own words, but even as Jesus when He was tempted answered with the recorded word of the Father, words that had already been established centuries before.

In Romans 9:14-15 Paul states, in defense of God’s own choice of who He loves, “Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

Then in Romans 9:21 he puts man in the hands of a potter. A pot has no mind of its own, nor power of its own to decide what shape or for what use it is made.

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“So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth,
but of God that sheweth mercy.”
Romans 9:16

As the creature we are at God’s mercy. Read the book of Romans and any part of God’s word, and our mouths will be shut, until we know His mercy and grace to us.
Then we will be thanking and praising Him for giving us a new heart and a new spirit. A new life beginning in faith and repentance will prove the power of God in our obedience to His word. The Lord our God leaves no room for argument, only the invitation and power to believe and live heavenward, to His glory and our joy.

“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy,
which he had afore prepared unto glory.”
Romans 9:23

Sheet Music: I Sought the Lord

Gracious and merciful Father, thank you that we live today only as you give us the Spirit of your Son to accomplish the work for which you created and redeemed us. We praise you for your grace and yours alone that has saved us from your wrath and made us a vessel for your own use. Fill us with your fullness that you may pour out your grace and love through us today. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.