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Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 16

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''As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?''  Psalm 42: 1-2
It was John Calvin who said ''The Psalms are the anatomy of all the parts of the soul; for there is not an emotion of which anyone can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror.'' What is great about this Psalm is that it relates to so many of our dark and sorrowful days as believers. The Christian life is not a cake walk by any stretch of the imagination. To feel deserted, isolated, crushed, betrayed, and emotionally drained are all trials that are common to the faith. If you have never been part of this category yet, be assured that you will be.
What do we do when in despair, or depressed? We must express our feelings to God with brutal honesty. The Psalmist here is lonely and broken. He cannot get enough of God, he needs God and wants him in his life. What is great about this person is that their desire is in the right place. His heart will not be satisfied until it has rested in God. Is the Lord our soul’s satisfaction, or are our thirsts misplaced? It is a tremendous evil to exchange the Creator for the creation. As Jesus said: ''Do not labor for the food that perishes, but labor for the food that leads to eternal life.'' John 6:27 Let us not be addicted to the power of the present moment, but be freed to gaze our eyes on the beauty of the eternal.

To “appear before God” can be translated: ''When will I see the face of God?'' The wonderful news for the Christian today is that we do see God and we see him through Jesus Christ! We see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God. When you know Jesus then you know God and you see God. We are like the woman at the well whom Jesus pursued, so that she might not thirst any longer. He gives us a drink from the rivers of his delight, in his light we see light. Yes, we will still thirst, but our Good Shepard will always lead us besides still waters constantly restoring our bruised soul. There is a well of water springing from within us that will always be there to drink when we do thirst.
In John 19:28 Jesus say's after his mission had been finished. ''I Thirst''. To never experience the satisfaction of all that God is will make a person thirst for eternity with no hope of ever being satisfied. Without Christ you will die of thirst. He became a curse on your behalf so that you might not have to experience the curse of the law. In this moment on the cross, He thirsts, so that you might not thirst any longer. Oh, what a glorious, sweet, precious savior we have who brings delight to our day and brightens our night!
Prayer Focus
Oh Lord, you have given us an ocean of an inconceivable amount of water from which we may drink. May my heart’s desire and focus be fixed on you. When I fear my faith will fail please hold me fast. Continue to pour out your unrelenting waves of grace within my soul.

Sermon by John Wesley “The Important Question”
"What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" Matthew 16:26

There is a celebrated remark to this effect, (I think in the works of Mr. Pascal,) that if a man of low estate would speak of high things, as of what relates to kings or kingdoms, it is not easy for him to find suitable expressions, as he is so little acquainted with things of this nature; but if one of royal parentage speaks of royal things, of what concerns his own or his father's kingdom, his language will be free and easy, as these things are familiar to his thoughts. In like manner, if a mere inhabitant of this lower world speaks concerning the great things of the kingdom of God, hardly is he able to find expressions suitable to the greatness of the subject. But when the Son of God speaks of the highest things, which concern his heavenly kingdom, all his language is easy for him and unlabored, his words natural and unaffected; inasmuch as, known unto him are all these things from all eternity. How strongly is this remark exemplified in the passage now before us! The Son of God, the great King of heaven and earth, here uses the plainest and easiest words: But how high and deep are the things which he expresses in them! None of the children of men can fully conceive them, till, coming out of the darkness of the present world, he emerges an inhabitant of eternity.

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Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 15

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Psalm 37:37-40 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. 39 The salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; he is their stronghold in the time of trouble. 40 The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Salvation is From the LORD:
Psalm 37:37-40. The final stanza of Psalm 37:37-40 is a reminder that the LORD will uphold the righteous, defeat His enemies, destroy the wicked, and deliver those who are His. In verse 37, the final imperative of the psalm is given, to “Mark the blameless and behold the upright,” a calling to the righteous in the LORD to observe who else is righteous in the LORD and a reminder that “there is a future for the man of peace.” In contrast, verse 38 states that the wicked will perish and that their future “shall be cut off.” This should be a severe reminder to those of us in Christ, that there is a dire and grim future for those not in Christ. This should serve as both a warning of the power of God and that what He says will happen, and it should serve as an exhortation for us to spread the gospel, for we once were lost, “alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,” (Colossians 1:21) but have been “reconciled in His [Jesus] body of flesh by His death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before Him…” (Colossians 1:22). Verses 37-38 continue the stanza of this psalm, with another imperative to “mark the blameless and behold the upright,” following with another promise that they have a future (the “upright”) and the wicked do not, “the future of the wicked will be cut off.” Verses 39-40 complete Psalm 37 with a reminder that the LORD delivers the righteous and saves them in times of trouble. It is a beautiful reminder that the LORD is just and will deliver the righteous from the wicked. The “because” in verse 40 should remind us as believers that we are not saved on the basis of what we have done, our power or ability to flee the wicked, but rather on the basis of the LORD. The righteous take refuge in Him. He is like a shelter in storm. Believers know that it is not our own doing that saves us from the oncoming calamity, but rather the shelter of the LORD himself upholds and protects us. How silly would it be for us to take credit because we are saved from wickedness, when he is sovereign over all. It is all because of Him, because He is our refuge or shelter. Notice how the salvation is FROM the LORD and that He delivers the righteous. Let us reflect upon the glory of God today and be reminded of the His saving redemptive hand. Let us be reminded that the LORD will deliver us from wickedness and the wicked, and that ultimately God wins. We can rest assured that He will be our stronghold in times of trouble. What a comfort to know the God of this universe through His Son Jesus Christ!
Prayer Focus:
LORD, today, may I be reminded of Your salvation through Your Son Jesus Christ. Thank you, truly thank you so much for Your salvation and Your kindness. God, You will uphold me in my time of stress and trouble. God, You are faithful in everything You do. Deliver me from my struggles, from my sins, from everything that distracts me from You, LORD. Clean me, cleanse me of all filth that I may be tempted with and come across my mind. Help me to put my eyes and to focus on You. LORD, deliver those around the world being persecuted for Your Name. LORD, deliver the orphans and widows, and those who need Your Presence today! Father, thank You for Your salvation that You have given in Christ Jesus, Your Son. It is by His death and resurrection, that I have access to knowing You LORD. May Your Name be glorified. 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.
It is not becoming for poor, guilty, sinful worms, who receive whatsoever blessings they enjoy, (from the least drop of water that cools our tongue, to the immense riches of glory in eternity,) of grace, of mere favor, and not of debt, to ask of God the reasons of his conduct. It is not reasonable for us to call Him in question "who gives account to none of his ways;" to demand, "Why did you make faith the condition, the only condition, of justification? Wherefore did you decree, "He that believes," and he only, "shall be saved?" This is the very point on which St. Paul so strongly insists in the ninth chapter of this Epistle, that the terms of pardon and acceptance must depend, not on us, but "on him that calls us;" that there is no "unrighteousness with God," in fixing his own terms, not according to ours, but his own good pleasure; who may justly say, "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy;" namely, on him who believes in Jesus. "So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs," to choose the condition on which he shall find acceptance; "but of God that shows mercy;" that accepts none at all, but of his own free love, his unmerited goodness. "Therefore he has mercy on whom he will have mercy," on those who believe on the Son of his love; "and whom he wills," that is, those who believe not, "he hardens," leaves at last to the hardness of their hearts.

Fall 2018, 40 Days of Prayer, Day 14

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Psalm 37:35-38 35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree 36 But he passed away, and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found. 37 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. 38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
The wicked will not Last:
Psalm 37:35-36. As we continue through Psalm 37:35-36, I’m reminded of the frailty of men and women, and how our time on this earth is not even a speck of dust when compared to the time of eternity.  In verses 35 through 36, David recalled a personal story of a wicked, ruthless man passing away to nothing. In typical Hebraic poetry, themes within Hebrew poetry repeat for emphasis.  In this case, the first two verses of Psalm 37 are similar to verses 35-36, and represent both a challenge and a promise to those who do not walk with the LORD.: 37 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!2 For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb ... 35 I have seen a wicked, ruthless man, spreading himself like a green laurel tree.36 But he passed away,[e] and behold, he was no more; though I sought him, he could not be found.” This is a promise to believers.  Do not fret over evildoers.  We have the promises of God that He will keep us forever.  What becomes of evildoers or the wicked of the earth?  The LORD will deal justly with them and that they will fade or pass away. Both the intro verses and verses 35-36 symbolize a passing away just like the grass of the field passes away or the death of a tree. These symbolize temporary things, and not eternal. It reminds me how temporary and short our lives really are. It reminds me of Jesus’ words in Matthew 16:26, “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” This place is temporary, and so is our time on this earth. Let us live in humble adoration of Him who created this whole universe and to spread the Gospel as the LORD has called us!
Prayer Focus:
LORD, today I’m reminded in Your word that life is fragile, and that wickedness has been dealt with and will culminate in the final judgment. Anything that we do outside glorifying You is wasteful and purposeless. Thank You for reminding me of Your beautiful justice, and how good you are to us. Help me to remember that today and every day should be used to glorify You and to make Your Name known. Thank You for Your grace and mercy, O King of my heart. I love You LORD, thank you for loving me despite my sin and for paying for it by Your Son. In His Name I pray, 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.
By affirming that this faith is the term or "condition of justification," I mean, First, that there is no justification without it. "He that believes not is condemned already;" and so long as he believes not, that condemnation cannot be removed, but "the wrath of God abides on him." As "there is no other name given under heaven," than that of Jesus of Nazareth, no other merit whereby a condemned sinner can ever be saved from the guilt of sin; so there is no other way of obtaining a share in his merit, than "by faith in his name." So that as long as we are without this faith, we are "strangers to the covenant of promise," we are "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and without God in the world." Whatsoever virtues a man may have, --I speak of those unto whom the gospel is preached; for "what have I to do to judge them that are without?" --whatsoever good works he may do, it profits nothing; he is still a "child of wrath," still under the curse, till he believes in Jesus. Faith, therefore, is the "necessary" condition of justification; yes, and the "only necessary" condition thereof. This is the Second point carefully to be observed; that, the very moment God gives faith (for "it is the gift of God") to the "ungodly" that "works not," that "faith is counted to him for righteousness." He has no righteousness at all, antecedent to this, not so much as negative righteousness, or innocence. But "faith is imputed to him for righteousness," the very moment that he believes. Not that God (as was observed before) thinks him to be what he is not. But as "he made Christ to be sin for us," that is, treated him as a sinner, punishing him for our sins; so he counts us righteous, from the time we believe in him: That is, he does not punish us for our sins; that is he treats us as though we are guiltless and righteous.

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