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Psalm 130

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Centrality of the Church?

Through what lens do you view your walk with Jesus? Do you tend to view your walk with Jesus as a solo endeavor? Or, do you view your walk with Jesus as part of a larger community of people – the local church? When we consider the pattern of the early Christians it seems clear the church of Jesus Christ was their priority. It wasn’t a weekend appointment to keep, unless something better comes up. It was their daily necessity, their life-support, the engine that powered their purpose.

“As a member of the body of Christ, your life in a local church should structure your priorities, define and shape of your discipleship, and serve as one of the main grids through which you make many decisions. What it looks like for you to live as a Christian day in and day out should be defined in large part by the life of your local church.”

Bobby Jamieson, Sound Doctrine: How a Church Grows in the Love and Holiness of God

Does the church of Jesus Christ structure your priorities? Is the church of Jesus Christ the main grid through which you make decisions? Or, do you treat it (and by “it” I mean “them”…the people) as an inconvenience that you occasionally involve yourself with?

Hope from Psalm 93

Psalm 93 is short and full of hope for those who feel overwhelmed. Consider the picture the Psalmist paints in verses 3-4:

The waves roar, O LORD,
the waves roar,
the waves roar and crash.
Above the sound of the surging water,
and the mighty waves of the sea,
the LORD sits enthroned in majesty.

Psalm 93:3-4, NET

Are the waves of life roaring and crashing around you? Look up! Above the noise, above the waves Yahweh sits enthroned. Our God, who has set His love on us, isn’t frantically pacing in front of His throne. No, He is seated on His majestic throne. Our God, our Sovereign King is in control – even the wind and the waves obey His voice.

Today, tomorrow, next week – when the waves of life come crashing look up and remember the One who sits enthroned!

George Muller Prays

Sunday I mentioned how George Muller spent his life praying for the conversion of 5 individuals. In the moment I could not remember the details, so I wanted to share them here.

Muller writes in his own journal.

In November 1844, I began to pray for the conversion of five individuals. I prayed every day without a single intermission, whether sick or in health, on the land, on the sea, and whatever the pressure of my engagements might be. Eighteen months elapsed before the first of the five was converted. I thanked God and prayed on for the others. Five years elapsed, and then the second was converted. I thanked God for the second, and prayed on for the other three. Day by day, I continued to pray for them, and six years passed before the third was converted. I thanked God for the three, and went on praying for the other two. These two remained unconverted.

The Autobiography of George Muller

Thirty-six years later he wrote that the other two, sons of one of Mueller’s friends, were still not converted. He wrote, “But I hope in God, I pray on, and look for the answer. They are not converted yet, but they will be.” In 1897, fifty-two years after he began to pray daily, without interruption, for these two men, they were finally converted—but after he died! Mueller understood what Luke meant when he introduced a parable Jesus told about prayer, saying, “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1).

**Additional information for this post was take from georgemuller.org

What Do You Value?

Sunday we worked our way through 1 John 2:15-17, considering the command “Do not love the world or the things of the world”. To love the world is to live according to the things the world values. To love the Father is to live according to the things that He values. In the sermon I mentioned finding a helpful chart that was originally produced in a book titled Embracing Obscurity. However the version I found had been reproduced and edited by Daniel Akin in the Christ-Centered Exposition commentary. In my sermon and below I have also reproduced and significantly edited the chart in hopes of creating a helpful tool for us to use as we evaluate our values and what we love.

Values of the World  Values of the Kingdom
The world says the focus is on me In the Kingdom the focus must be on God
The world says make as much money as possible In the Kingdom we are to give as much money away as possible. (2 Corinthians 9)
The world values living comfortablyJesus teaches us that life is not about comfort, but about doing hard things now so that we can reap the rewards in the life to come
The world teachers that you should make a name for yourself The Kingdom is about Making His name great (Psalm 96:3; 1 Peter 2:9)
The world says do whatever makes you happiest. The Kingdom says do whatever brings God glory (1 Corinthians 10:31) 
The world directs us to teach our children to love themselves and seek self-fulfillment. Our Father instructs us to teach our children to love and obey Him. 
The world values looks – look like a model and turn your physical appearance into an idol Scripture instructs us to treat our bodies as the temple of the Holy Spirit and cultivate inner beauty (godly character). (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The world says offer “acts of service” when you feel like it (on your own terms) Jesus teaches, be a servant, even when it is uncomfortable or inconvenient. (Luke 9:23-25, 57-62)
The world says stay married as long as your spouse meets your needs Scripture instructs us to serve our spouse (the way Christ modeled servanthood) and choose to love him or her for life. (Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 13)
The world values power, so they encourage us to come across as powerful and influential. The Kingdom is about giving preference to others in words and actions. (Philippians 2:1-4)
The world says use worldly wisdom to accrue wealth In the Kingdom we are to value true wisdom (fear of God) over all the treasures of the earth. 
The world demands that we stay up to date on fashions and trends. Jesus teaches us to be be content with what we have. (Hebrews 13:5)  
The world values entertainment – watching sports, participating in sports, video games, binge watching your favorite shows. The Kingdom values giving my life to knowing Christ and making Him known to others, through loving acts of service.
The world teaches us when other hurt you it’s right to hurt them back. Bitterness & Revenge The way of the Kingdom is forgiveness. (Ephesians 4:31-32)
The world makes everything as dramatic as possible. Gossiping about others is right (ie social media, classic media). Media’s goal is to get you worked up so they get more clicks and views. In the Kingdom we are called to be peacemakers, who mind our own business and focus on our own lives and work. (1 Thessalonians 4:11-14)
The world is given to worry, anxiety, depressionWe are called to peace, contentment, joy (Philippians 4:4-8; Galatians 5:22-23) 
The world says busyness cannot be helped and the busy you are the better. The Kingdom is about resting in Christ, learning to sabbath, and choosing the “BEST” things to put on our calendars.
The world values “sexual freedom” and sexual immoralityWe are called to sexual purity, because true sexual freedom is found in the gift and covenant of marriage. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) 
The world says your unrighteous anger is justified.In the Kingdom we are called to be patient with others, forbear others, suffer long with others, be gentle and forgive. (Colossians 3:12-14)
The world encourages the use of alcohol and other substances to help you relax or to make sure you are enjoying life to the fullest In the Kingdom we are only to be filled and controlled by the Holy Spirit, not alcohol. (Ephesians 5:18)