PRAYER + PRAISE // god's sovereignty

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Nature of God

He is our Exceedingly Great Reward

“Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” —Genesis 15:1

Abraham was one of the great Bible heroes, primarily for his faith, because he boldly picked up his entire life and walked as God called him to walk.

Prayer + Praise // The Lord's Blessings on Us, God's Sovereignty, God's Mission, Nature of God, Righteousness

Shining Like the Stars for His Glory

Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?" —Exodus 33:15-16

Because of the life and death of Christ, the wall that that once separated us from God has been torn down, allowing us to come humbly to Him, to plead with Him, to ask for His great mercy.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Love, Nature of God

Lord of the Sabbath

3Jesus answered them, "Have you never read what David did when he and his companions were hungry? 4He entered the house of God, and taking the consecrated bread, he ate what is lawful only for priests to eat. And he also gave some to his companions." 5Then Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." —Luke 6:3-5

When Jesus came to this earth, He came with a triumphant message about the kingdom of God, about the eternal life possible by choosing to follow Him.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission, Righteousness

Finding our Way

21 “This is the way; walk in it.” —Isaiah 30:21

For those of us who are directionally challenged, such as myself, sometimes we need a plain sign or a good knock over the head to get back on track, or a GPS will do just fine. Just as easy as it is to get turned around or lost on the roads of this world, so too do we need direction in our lives to stay on track and focused on Christ, to follow the right path when so many are in our way. Just as God clearly tells the people of Israel in this verse that He is the way; today His Word leads us to Him.

Prayer + Praise // The Lord's Blessings on Us, God's Sovereignty, Salvation

Rising up for the Light of the Lord Has Come

1 Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. 2 For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. 3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising. —Isaiah 60:1-3

The verse above is professed as promises of restoration to the Hebrew people as they neared the end of exile in Babylon. God’s call to them is to rise up from their despair and to take in the Lord’s light, for He is going to take them from the dark place that was exile and to deliver them back to a kingdom that is built by Him in Jerusalem.

Prayer + Praise // The Lord's Blessings on Us, God's Sovereignty, Salvation

His Everlasting Covenant

1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts, Come to the waters; 3 Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; And I will make an everlasting covenant with you — The sure mercies of David. —Isaiah 53: 1,3

The book of Isaiah, spoken by the prophet Isaiah, details the tragic fall of the Hebrew people to the hands of the Babylon people and also depicts a sort of apolocolyptic ending to the world. It first conveys Israel’s deep sin, how the nation places the exploits of man above the Lord, and how the nation loses its faith and turns to human ways to make peace and prosperity. For this, God allows Babylon to take the people and their possessions captive. But, as we know, the Lord has unbounded grace, and He chooses to redeem His people, as the author predicts; He alludes to the rise of Cyrus, of Persia, who would conquer Babylon and free the Hebrew people.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission, Nature of God, Righteousness

Walking in His Truth

Teach me your way , O Lord, and I will walk in your truth, give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. —Psalm 86:11

In order to fulfill our calling to be a child of God, we must be devoted to Him, to be devoted to following His way of living holy and righteous. Most simply: we must walk in His truth, as we walk in His light.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission, Nature of God

The Son Radiates God’s Glory

The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all thing by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. —Hebrews 1:3-4 (NIV)

The book of Hebrews, whose authorship is unknown, is meant to minister to the Judean people, both the unconverted and the converted, to both portray to them the deity and magnificence of Christ, and how it is by His grace alone (not the law), which accounts for salvation.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Salvation, Righteousness

Transformed by Grace

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in the present age. —Titus 2: 11-12

Paul, speaking here to Titus, a “partner and fellow worker,” imparts on the young pastor to call out elders for the humble and noble work of building churches, to inspire Christ-following communities to take shape. Paul had left Titus in Crete, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean Sea, in order to facilitate that process of selecting godly men to shepherd the people of that island to be godly people. Like most new churches in that day, Titus faced false teachers and men that lived in the ways of the world, that sought their own ends, that brought down others in order to prop themselves up: Says Paul (1:16): “They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient and disqualified for every good work.”

Prayer + Praise // God's Strength, God's Sovereignty, Nature of God

God Wants Your Heart

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart. These O God, You will not despise. —Psalm 51:17

God wants the heart. He does not want our words, our acts, or even our sacrifices.

Prayer + Praise // God's Strength, God's Sovereignty, Thankfulness, Nature of God

God's Wonders

8 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. 9 I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. —Psalm 8 and 9

Walking through psalms, one experiences an amazing set of emotions from pleading to God to praising God. The praises are varied from sparing one from enemies to God and His perfect provision.

Prayer + Praise // The Lord's Blessings on Us, God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission, Nature of God, Righteousness, Resurrection

Oneness of Father and Son

I and the Father are one. —John 10:30

This six-word verse is short, but oh so sweet. It paints a picture of the solid unity in identity and purpose between the Father, God in heaven, and His Son, God in the flesh-manifested as Jesus Christ. Prior to this verse, Jesus is talking about being the good shepherd, being the one that will lay down His life for His sheep, to keep them safe in a world where a multitude of evil beings—Satan particularly—want to harm them. Before He speaks this, Jesus praises the Father as being “greater than all” and the Father who “has given them to me,” meaning that the Father has passed His people over to the Son, Jesus Christ. In this way, Jesus links the Father’s sovereignty as ruler over all and to the sovereignty entrusted to Him as the Son, keeper of the sheep, and those that believe on Him as the Son, will have eternal life and not be harmed.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Love

The Love of Christ

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. —Ephesians 5:25-27

Paul, writing from personal connection with God though not from personal experience (because he remained single throughout his life), lays out the tenants of marriage. For woman, submit to their husbands. For men, to give love in a sacrificial way as Christ did the same.

Prayer + Praise // The Lord's Blessings on Us, God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission

The Great Commission - Make Disciples of all the Nations

18 Then Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20

It has come to be called the “Great Commission,” an anointing by the Lord, to each of us, to go out and impart His truth of eternal life unto the world.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty, Salvation, God's Mission

The Power of His Resurrection - Transforming from Earthly to Spiritual Bodies

45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. —1 Corinthians 15:45

In Paul’s dissertation on resurrection to the Corinthian church, he makes an important comparison, especially for the believers in Corinth , who was still trying to grasp the basic concepts of Christianity: he compares the natural body to the spiritual body. He makes clear that the body of Adam and all those that descended after him, essentially of man before Christ, were of dust (see Genesis 2:7), they were natural bodies, originally good because God made everything good, but became sinful, distorted, ugly, and tainted, primarily because Adam allowed sin to enter into his soul and subsequently into every man thereafter. Though he was made in the image of God, he brought a curse upon himself, which sort of tarnished the essence of who he was and ultimately who he was before God. Therefore, the ‘bodies’ we take on through Jesus Christ, allows us to move back toward (through the continual process of ‘working out our salvation’) to the heavenly essence that God had destined for us. Verse 49 says this: 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven. And thus Jesus Christ came as not only a sacrifice, not only a way for us to be reconciled to the Lord through His blood, but so that He could rise, and we could rise with Him. For us here on this earth, that implies that we enter into a sanctification process, a transforming and renewing process, one where we continue to let the Holy Spirit work in our hearts.

Prayer + Praise // God's Sovereignty

The Lord's Sovereign Decisions

Romans 11:36: "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.” —Romans 11:36:

Every four years Americans put their hearts and minds into choosing a new leader. We debate with each other over who has the best values, the best health care plan, the best strategy for economic growth. Such a battle goes on for months on end, trickling into people’s conversations, into their way of life, as each person tries to find truth in their choice for a new leader.