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Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 8

“O LORD, our Lord,
How majestic is Your name in all the earth,
Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens!
2 From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength because of Your adversaries,
To make the enemy and the revengeful cease.
3 When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained;
4 What is man that You take thought of him,
And the son of man that You care for him?
5 Yet You have made him a little lower than God,
And You crown him with glory and majesty!
6 You make him to rule over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
7 All sheep and oxen,
And also the beasts of the field,
8 The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
Whatever passes through the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth!” Psalm 8:1-9

In Psalm 8, Verses 5 – 8 allow us to see that even with the fall of humanity that God still allows us to have dominion over aspects of the earth. He grants us that honor to care for and watch over His creation. Yet, we see in verse 5 the verbiage “son of man” which hints at a special focus on the Messiah as the truest representation of mankind. How even though man failed, through Christ, we are redeemed. Verses 6 – 8 really reflect the intention of man in Genesis 1:26 “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” We have dominion over the created order because; we are made in God’s likeness. As God has dominion over the whole creation, we have dominion over the created order on earth. We are at the top of the created order because we are made in His likeness. He cares and loves us more than any other aspect of the creation. We, as created beings, have God’s affection but also His wrath at the same time. Yet, it is only through His son that we can be redeemed. As humans we hunger and thirst for power, power over things and even each other. When in reality what we should hunger for is ultimate submission. Rather than power, we should crave submission to the One who created all things.

Verse 9 provides a great conclusion to this Psalm. It reiterates the majesty and power of God. We should stand in awe of Him and we submit to His ultimate authority. As Creator He has ultimate power and ultimate love for His creation. His love for us is beyond comprehension. This Psalm allows us to see the majesty of God and it should make us humble before an all mighty Creator. Submission to Him is not an act of weakness but an act of love toward the One that first loved us.
Prayer Focus

Oh God of all creation, You have granted us sovereignty over the earth as Your image bearers. May we find ultimate satisfaction of our soul in our submission to You and not in our dominion over our surroundings. Help me to find joy in my submission to Your sovereignty over my life, Amen.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley
"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.
The plain scriptural notion of justification is pardon, the forgiveness of sins. It is that act of God the Father for the sake of the propitiation made by the blood of his Son, he "shows forth his righteousness (or mercy) by the remission of the sins that are past." This is the easy, natural account of it given by St. Paul, throughout this whole epistle. So he explains it himself, more particularly in this and in the following chapter. Thus, in the next verses but one to the text, "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered: Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." To him that is justified or forgiven, God "will not impute sin" to his condemnation. He will not condemn him on that account, either in this world or in that which is to come. His sins, all his past sins, in thought, word, and deed, are covered, are blotted out, shall not be remembered or mentioned against him, any more than if they had not been. God will not inflict on that sinner what he deserved to suffer, because the Son of his love hath suffered for him. And from the time we are "accepted through the Beloved," "reconciled to God through his blood," he loves, and blesses, and watches over us for good, even as if we had never sinned.

Posted by Matt Brown with

Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 7

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O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth, Who have displayed Your splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes You have established strength Because of Your adversaries, To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, The moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, And the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, And You crown him with glory and majesty! You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, All sheep and oxen, And also the beasts of the field, The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, Whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:1-9

This Psalm is a psalm of praise.  Verses 1-2 seek to establish the sovereignty of God over the creation. He is majestic, powerful, and strong. He is the Creator of all things on earth. Theses verse set the stage for the rest of the Psalm. Yet, we cannot over look how amazing the Creator is. Daily we often walk through God’s creation without giving the creation a second thought. The trees, the grass, the birds of the air, even our own children, we sometimes take for granted that they are all present because they were created by the sovereign will of God. It is easy to take these things for granted because we get lost in the daily sprint we call life. What if we just took a second and look around us and thank God for the gifts that He has so richly bestowed upon us? We have the opportunity all around us to recognize the majesty of God the power that He brings to full light each and every day. He is the Creator God!! I am reminded of Acts 19 when Demetrius the silversmith, a worshiper of Artemis, is angry with Paul because Paul is declaring, “gods made with hands are not gods”.  We as humans have the ability to create things but we must recognize and understand that we are ourselves have been created. He created everything out of nothing. As creative of some humans can be, God is the ultimate creator.

Verses 3 – 4 start out by directing our attention to the heavens. When I was a little boy I lived with my grandfather and grandmother. Every night I would look out the window and I would see my grandfather standing in the driveway looking at the stars.  Being curious I asked him what he was looking at and he said the stars and the vastness of God’s creation. He told me that it amazed him that God created all of that but that He also loved him so much that He sent His Son to pay the price for his sins. Till the day that he died my grandfather continually marveled that the God that created so much still cared for a simple man like himself. This has stuck with me for over 25years. When I read Psalm 8 in preparation of writing this devotional, I found myself revisiting that conversation. The Creator of the universe loves and cares for us so intently that He sent His Son so that we may be restored to Him. No matter how small or insignificant we may feel at times remember that the God of the universe loves and cares for you beyond our comprehension.

Prayer Focus

God, we confess that You are the sovereign ruler over the creation.  You have made us and all things for Your glory.  Not only this, but we confess that You care for each one of us.  You have declared Your love for us in this psalm.  You have shown Your love for us in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  Thank You for Your Sovereign and gracious care for me, Amen.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley

"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.

1. But what is it to be "justified?" What is "justification?" It is not the being made actually just and righteous. This is called "sanctification;" which is, in some degree, the immediate fruit of justification, but, nevertheless, is a distinct gift of God, and of a totally different nature. The one implies what God does for us through his Son; the other, what he works in us by his Spirit. So that, although some rare instances may be found, wherein the term "justified" or "justification" is used in so wide a sense as to include "sanctification" also; yet, in general use, they are sufficiently distinguished from each other, both by St. Paul and the other inspired writers. 2. Neither is that far-fetched conceit, that justification is the clearing us from accusation, particularly that of Satan, easily provable from any clear text of holy writ. In the whole scriptural account of this matter, as above laid down, neither that accuser nor his accusation appears to be at all taken in. It cannot indeed be denied, that he is the "accuser" of men, emphatically so called. But it does in nowise appear, that the great Apostle has any reference to this, more or less, in all he has written touching justification, either to the Romans or the Galatians. 3. It is also far easier to take for granted, than to prove from any clear scripture testimony, that justification is the clearing us from the accusation brought against us by the law: At least if this forced, unnatural way of speaking mean either more or less than this, that, whereas we have transgressed the law of God, and thereby deserved the damnation of hell, God does not inflict on those who are justified the punishment which they had deserved. 4. Least of all does justification imply, that God is deceived in those whom he justifies; that he thinks them to be what, in fact, they are not; that he accounts them to be otherwise than they are. It does by no means imply, that God judges concerning us contrary to the real nature of things; that he esteems us better than we really are, or believes us righteous when we are unrighteous. Surely no. The judgment of the all-wise God is always according to truth. Neither can it ever consist with his unerring wisdom, to think that I am innocent, to judge that I am righteous or holy, because another is so. He can no more, in this manner, confound me with Christ, than with David or Abraham. Let any man to whom God has given understanding, weigh this without prejudice; and he cannot but perceive, that such a notion of justification is neither reconcilable to reason nor Scripture.

Posted by Matt Brown with

Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 6

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Psalm 2:10-12

10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment;
Take warning, O judges of the earth.
11 Worship the Lord with reverence
And rejoice with trembling.
12 Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way,
For His wrath may soon be kindled.
How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!

The Gracious Extension of an Olive Branch

God is long suffering in His forbearance - He is not slow as some count slowness, waiting patiently for kings and rulers to discover the error of their ways. He has even offered counsel to the rulers of the earth, those who incite their subjects against God and His Anointed One. God urges discernment on these kings, for man cannot fight God. In His goodness, the Father prefers to show mercy and grace rather than justice and wrath. He graciously calls them and all people to repent of their defiance and instead worship His Son.

We who call Him Lord have the great privilege of worshiping Him. We were created (and recreated) for this. We personally know the God of Creation. He is a friend of sinners like us. He sticks closer than a brother and will never leave us nor forsake us. We hold these promises dear. We who are truly called by His name are a tiny minority. We have escaped His wrath but the multitudes who surround us are still objects of that wrath. What will happen to them on the great and terrible day of the Lord? His anger will be upon them and they will perish.

Out of pity for the objects of His wrath, He told us to go and make disciples of all nations. All who accept the Gospel will be able to avoid the judgment that is coming. The Gospel is God’s offer of mercy for all who will embrace it. To do homage to the Son means to give Him fealty – which in turn means to pledge to be faithful to Him and to be obedient. So how are we doing, personally, in the task He left us to? Are we discipling anyone? Am I sharing the Gospel with someone who may not want to hear about Christ but desperately needs to hear of God’s grace?

When we gather on Sunday, are we eager and prepared to worship? Do we worship Him with reverence? Do we worship at all? Do we rejoice with trembling? Do we rejoice at all? Oh come, let us adore Him and set Him upon the throne of our hearts. He is our Lord and Master and we must long for His appearing. Church, worship your King.

Prayer Focus

Father, You are good and kind. Your patience and longsuffering leave us humbled and grateful. Holy Spirit, we thank You for living in us, for guiding us, for reminding us, for teaching us. Jesus, we worship and adore you. Thank You for reconciling us to the Father. Triune God, we praise You, holy, exalted, sovereign, and beautiful. We love You Lord.

From Sermon on Justification by Faith by John Wesley
"To him that does not work, but believes on him that justified the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness." Romans 4:5.
For as, "by one man's disobedience," all "were made sinners;" so, by that offence of one, "judgment came upon all men to condemnation." (Romans v. 12) 7. We were in this state of condemnation, even all of humanity, when "God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, to the end we might not perish, but have everlasting life." In the fullness of time he was made Man, another common Head of mankind, a second general Parent and Representative of the whole human race. And as such it was that "he bore our griefs," "the Lord laying upon him the iniquities of us all." Then was he "wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities." "He made his soul an offering for sin:" He poured out his blood for the transgressors: He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree," that by his stripes we might be healed: And by that one oblation of himself, once offered, he hath redeemed me and all mankind; having thereby "made a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." 8. In consideration of this, that the Son of God has "tasted death for every man," God has now "reconciled the world to himself, not imputing to them their" former "trespasses." And thus, "as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation, even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification." So that, for the sake of his well-beloved Son, of what he has done and suffered for us, God now grants, on one only condition, (which himself also enables us to perform,) both to remit the punishment due to our sins, to reinstate us in his favor, and to restore our dead souls to spiritual life, as the earnest of life eternal. 9. This, therefore, is the general ground of the whole doctrine of justification. By the sin of the first Adam, who was not only the father, but likewise the representative, of us all, we all fell short of the favor of God; we all became children of wrath; or, as the Apostle expresses it, "judgment came upon all men to condemnation." Even so, by the sacrifice for sin made by the Second Adam, as the Representative of us all, God is so far reconciled to all the world, that he hath given them a new covenant; the plain condition whereof being once fulfilled, "there is no more condemnation" for us, but "we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ."

Posted by William Sullenger with

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