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And He Himself gave some to be....evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ...
- Ephesians 4:11-12

THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO www.timeintheword.org

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Location: The Hill Country of Texas

Pastor - Providence Reformed Baptist Church
Director - TIME in the Word Ministries

Wednesday, November 30, 2005


TIME in the Word - Daily Devotional
Together for Inspiration, Motivation, and Encouragement

Verse for the Day – Matthew 6:13b
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Daily Scripture ReadingRevelation 21-22

Puritan Catechism
Question #8: How does God execute his decrees?
Answer: God executes his decrees in the works of creation (Rev. 4:11), and providence (Dan. 4:35).

Devotional Thoughts
Matthew 6:13b - For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

In this last phrase of the model prayer, Jesus gives us a truth that is proclaimed throughout Scripture. He ends this lesson on how to pray by using a small portion of a praise exclamation that David gave in the Book of Chronicles. Remember, David was not allowed by God to build the Temple because he was a man of war. He had been a warrior most of his life. God intended however for David to organize gathering everything that would be needed for his son Solomon to build the Temple in Jerusalem.

As Jesus is closing this prayer He returns to a concept that resonates throughout the pages of the Bible. God is everything, man is nothing! Even in the context of 1 Chronicles David is praising God for the peoples generous giving. Why? Shouldn't the people get credit for their sacrifice and hard work? After all, aren't we what really matters? NO! When we stop and give it a good look we continue to come up with the same message. God is all that matters! He is God, holy and awesome. He reigns in majesty. It is only His goodness and grace that allows us any part in His creation! God made us according to His own will for His own good pleasure and He saves us by His choosing so that we can fellowship with Him.(Luke 12:32; Eph. 1:3-14) He has need of nothing and yet makes Himself available to us on a personal level because we need everything. There is nothing we can do for ourselves without messing it up. There is nothing righteous in us. And in the case of David's rejoicing - it was God who was the Source and His people were the resource He used to provide for the building of the Temple so that God could tangibly live among His chosen people. (Now He lives in our hearts – we are His temple - 1 Cor. 6:19-20). So even the people's sacrifice and generosity were attributed to God and His working in their hearts. (Phil. 2:13; 2 Thess. 1:11-12).

Jesus is teaching us again about motive and heart attitude. We must understand in the deepest parts of who we are that it all comes from God! He is the Provider for EVERYTHING we will ever have or need! If we have something it's because God (who owns it all) has given it to us! This may sound foreign to some of you. What a low view of humanity I must seem to have. But when you really see God for who He is you can't help but be humbled and ask along with David "what is man, that You are mindful of him?" That can also be translated "who are we, that You would even think about us?" If we have difficulty seeing God for who He is then we really can't see ourselves for who we are. And most churches today focus all the attention of praise and worship and preaching on ME! What can God do for ME? What do I matter to God? How can I live a better life with God's help? There is a lot of ME and I in today's church and not very much of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They exist only to meet our needs and give us whatever we fancy. HOGWASH! We must place proper value on God. We gather for worship to proclaim our love to Him and to praise Him for Who He is and for all He has done. He should be central. If He isn't, then it really isn't a church but just a religious social club! IT'S ABOUT HIM -- not us!

To gain a proper view of God I want to quote David in 1 Chronicles 29:10-20. Read this and just picture in your mind the magnitude of this event. And then ask yourself if the last time you went to church you felt like this about God when you left. If not, pray the Lord revives your church!

Jesus teaches us to pray always with this attitude about God:

"Therefore David blessed the LORD before all the assembly; and David said: 'Blessed are You, LORD God of Israel, our Father, forever and ever. Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, the power and the glory, the victory and the majesty; for all that is in heaven and in earth is Yours; Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; in Your hand You make great and give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we thank You and praise Your glorious name. But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, and of Your own we have given to You. For we are aliens (temporary residents) and pilgrims (transients) before You, as were all our fathers; our days on earth are as a shadow, and without hope. O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have prepared to build You a house for Your holy name is from Your hand, and is all Your own. I know also , my God, that You test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of my heart I have willingly offered all these things; and now with joy I have seen Your people, who are present here to offer willingly to You. O LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep this forever in the intent of the thoughts of the heart of Your people, and fix their heart toward You. And give my son, Solomon, a loyal heart to keep Your commandments and Your testimonies and Your statutes, to do all these things, and to build the temple for which I have made provision.' Then David said to all the assembly, ' Now bless the LORD your God.' So all the assembly blessed the LORD God of their fathers, and bowed their heads and prostrated themselves before the LORD and the king."

Can you see the glory of God? What do you think about Him after reading this passage? Today we must take to heart the lesson Jesus has taught. God is everything. We are nothing. With that perspective whatever we face today won't seem that big after all, will it?


Puritan Voices
We are reading a small portion each day from True Prayer – True Power!,a sermon from Mark 11:24 by Charles H. Spurgeon.

II. Having thus asked you to look at the text, I want you now to LOOK ABOUT YOU. Look about you at our meetings for prayer, and look about you at your private intercessions, and judge them both by the tenour of this text. First, look about you at the meetings for prayer; I cannot speak very pointedly in this matter, because I do honestly believe that the prayer-meetings which are usually held among us, have far less of the faults which I am about to indicate, that any others I have ever attended. But, still they have some of the faults, and I hope that what we shall say, will be taken personally home by every brother who is in the habit of engaging publicly in supplication at prayer-meetings. Is it not a fact, that as soon as you enter the meeting, you feel, the case of many praying men (to speak hardly perhaps, but I think honestly) lies in having a good memory to recollect a great many texts, which always have been quoted since the days of our grandfather's grandfather, and to be able to repeat them in good regular order. The gift lies also in some churches, especially in village churches, in having strong lungs, so as to be able to hold out, without taking breath for five and twenty minutes when you are brief, and three quarters of an hour when you are rather drawn out. The gift lies also in being able not to ask for anything in particular, but in passing through a range of everything, making the prayer, not an arrow with a point, but rather like a nondescript machine, that has no point whatever, and yet is meant to be all point, which is aimed at everything, and consequently strikes nothing. Those brethren are often the most frequently asked to pray, who have those peculiar, and perhaps, excellent gifts, although I certainly must say that l cannot obey the apostle's injunction in coveting very earnestly such gifts as these. Now, if instead thereof, some man is asked to pray, who has never prayed before in public; suppose he rises and says, "Oh Lord, I feel myself such a sinner that I can scarcely speak to thee, Lord, help me to pray! o Lord, save my poor soul! O that thou wouldst save my old companions! Lord, bless our minister! be pleased to give us a revival. O Lord, 1 can say no more; hear me for Jesu's sake! Amen." Well, then, you feel somehow, as if you had begun to pray yourself. You feel an interest in that man, partly from fear lest he should stop, and also because you are sure that what he did say, he meant. And if another should get up after that, and pray in the same spirit, you go out and say, "This is real prayer." I would sooner have three minutes prayer like that, that thirty minutes of the other sort, because the one is praying, and the other is preaching. Allow me to quote what an old preacher said upon the subject of prayer, and give it to you as a little word of advice—"Remember, the Lord will not hear thee, because of the arithmetic of thy prayers; he does not count their numbers. He will not hear thee because of the rhetoric of thy prayers; he does not care for the eloquent language in which they are conveyed. He will not listen to thee because of the geometry of thy prayers; he does not compute them by their length, or by their breadth. He will not regard thee because of the music of thy prayers; he doth not care for sweet voices, nor for harmonious periods. Neither will he look at thee because of the logic of thy prayers; because they are well arranged, and excellently comparted. But he will hear thee, and he will measure the amount of the blessing he will give thee, according to the divinity of thy prayers. If thou canst plead the person of Christ, and if the Holy Ghost inspire thee with zeal and earnestness, the blessings which thou shalt ask, shall surely come unto thee." Brethren, I would like to burn the whole stock of old prayers that we have been using this fifty years. That "oil that goes from vessel to vessel,"—that "horse that rushes into the battle,"—that misquoted mangled text, "where two or three are met together, thou wilt be in the midst of them," and that to bless them,"—and all those other quotations which we have been manufacturing, and dislocating, and copying from man to man. I would we came to speak to God, just out of our own hearts. It would be a grand thing for our prayer meetings; they would be better attended; and I am sure they would be more fruitful, if every man would shake off that habit of formality, and talk to God as a child talks to his father; ask him for what we want and then sit down and have done. I say this with all Christian earnestness. Often, because I have not chosen to pray in any conventional form, people have said, "That man is not reverent!" My dear sir, you are not a judge of my reverence. To my own master, I stand or fall. I do not think that Job quoted anybody. I do not think that Jacob quoted the old saint in heaven,—his father Abraham. I do not find Jesus Christ quoted Scripture in prayer. They did not pray in other people's words, but they prayed in their own. God does not want you to go gathering up those excellent but very musty spices of the old sanctuary. He wants the new oil just distilled from the fresh olive of your own soul. He wants spices and frankincense, not of the old chests where they have been lying until they have lost their savour, but he wants fresh incense, and fresh myrrh, brought from the ophir of your own soul's experience. Look well to it that you really pray, do not learn the language of prayer, but seek the spirit of prayer, and God Almighty bless you, and make you more mighty in your supplications.

I have said, "Look about you." I want you to continue the work, and look about at your own closets. Oh, Brethren and sisters, there is no place that some of us need to be so much ashamed to look at as our closet door. I cannot say the hinges are rusty; they do open and shut at their appointed seasons. I cannot say that the door is locked and cobwebbed. We do not neglect prayer itself; but those walls, those beams out of the wall, what a tale might they tell! "Oh!" the wall mighty cry out, "I have heard thee when thou hast been in so vast a hurry that thou couldst scarcely spend two minutes with thy God, and I have heard thee, too, when thou wast neither asleep nor awake, and when thou didst not know what thou wast saying." Then one beam might cry out, "I have heard thee come and spend ten minutes and not ask for anything, at least thy heart did not ask. The lips moved, but the heart did not ask. The lips moved, but the heart was silent." How might another beam cry out—"Oh! I have heard thee groan out thy soul, but I have seen thee go away distrustful, not believing thy prayer was heard, quoting the promise, but not thinking God would fulfil it." Surely the four walls of the closet might come together and fall down upon us in their anger, because we have so often insulted God with our unbelief and with our hurry, and with all manner of sins. We have insulted him even at his mercy seat, on the spot where his condescension is most fully manifested. Is it not so with you? Must we not each confess it in our turn? See to it then, Christian brethren, that an amendment be made, and God make you more mighty and more successful in your prayers that heretofore.

III. But not to detain you, the last point is look upward, LOOK ABOVE. Look above. Christian brethren and sisters, and let us weep. Oh God, thou hast given us a mighty weapon, and we have permitted it to rust. Thou hast given us that which is mighty as thyself, and we have let that power lie dormant. Would it not be a vile crime if a man had an eye given him which he would not open, or a hand that he would not lift up, or a foot that grew stiff because he would not use it. And what must we say of ourselves when God has given us power in prayer, and yet that power lies still. Oh, if the universe was as still as we are, where should we be? Oh God, thou givest light to the sun and he shines with it. Thou givest light even to the stars and they twinkle. To the winds thou givest force and they blow. And to the air thou givest life and it moves, and men breathe thereof. But to thy people thou hast given a gift that is better than force, and life, and light, and yet they permit it to lie still. Forgetful almost that they wield the power, seldom exercising it, though it would be blessed to countless myriads. Weep, Christian man. Constantine, the Emperor of Rome, saw that on the coins of the other Emperors, their images were in an erect posture—triumphing. Instead thereof he ordered that his image should be struck kneeling, for said he—"That is the way in which I have triumphed." We shall never triumph till our image is struck kneeling. The reason why we have been defeated, and why our banners trail in the dust, is because we have not prayed. Go—go ye back to your God, with sorrow, confess before him, ye children of Ephraim, that ye were armed, and carried bows, but turned your backs in the day of battle. Go to your God and tell him that if souls are not saved, it is not because he has not power to save, but because you have never travailed as it were in birth for perishing sinners. Your bowels have not sounded like a harp for Kir-haresh, neither has your spirit been moved, because of the defenses of the tribe of Reuben. Wake up, wake up, ye people of Israel; be astonished, ye careless ones; ye who have neglected prayer; ye sinners that are in Zion's own self, and that have been at ease. Wake up yourselves; wrestle and strive with your God, and then the blessing shall come—the early and the latter rain of his mercy, and the earth shall bring forth plenteously, and all the nations shall call him blessed. Look up then, and weep.

Once more look up and rejoice. Though you have sinned against him he loves you still. Ye have not prayed unto him nor sought his face, but behold he cries to you still—"Seek ye my face;" and he saith not "Seek ye me in vain." Ye may not have gone to the fountain, but it flows as freely as before. Ye have not drawn near to God, but he waiteth to be gracious still, and is ready to hear all your petitions. Behold, he says unto you, "Enquire of me concerning things to come, and concerning my sons and daughters, command ye me." What a blessed thing it is that the master in heaven is always ready to hear! Augustine has a very beautiful thought upon the parable of the man who knocked at his friend's door at midnight, saying, "Friend, give me three loaves." His paraphrase of it runs something like this—I knock at mercy's door, and it is the dead of night. "Will not some of the servants of the louse come and answer me?" No; I knock, but they are asleep. Oh! ye apostles of God—ye glorified martyrs—ye are asleep; ye rest in your beds; ye cannot hear my prayer. But will not the children answer? Are there not children who are ready to come and open the door to their brother? No; they are asleep. My brethren that have departed—with whom I took sweet counsel, and who were the companions of my heart—ye cannot answer me for ye rest in Jesus; your works do follow you, but you cannot work for me. But while the servants are asleep, and while the children cannot answer, the Master is awake,—awake at midnight too. It may be midnight with my soul, but he hears me, and when I am saying "Give me three loaves," he comes to the door and giveth me as much as I need. Christian, look up then and rejoice. There is always an open ear if you have an open mouth. There is always already hand if you have a ready heart. You have but to cry and the Lord hears; nay, before you call he will answer, and while you are speaking he will hear. Oh! be not backward then in prayer. Go to him when you reach your home; nay, on the very way lift up you ears silently; and whatever your petition or request may be, ask it in Jesu's name, and it shall be done unto you.

Yet, again, look up dear Christian brethren, and amend your prayers from this time forth. Look on prayer no loner as a romantic fiction or as an arduous duty; look at it as a real power, as a real pleasure. When philosophers discover some latent power, they seem to have a delight to put it in action. I believe there have been many great engineers, who have designed and constructed some of the most wonderful of human works, not because they would be renumerative, but simply from a love of showing their own power to accomplish wonders. To show the world what skill could do and what man could accomplish, they have tempted companies into speculations that could never remunerate apparently, so far as I could see, in order that they might have an opportunity of displaying their genius. O Christian men, and shall a great Engineer attempt great works and display his power, and will you who have a mightier power that ever was wielded by any man apart from his God—will you let that be still? Nay think of some great object, strain the sinews of your supplications for it. Let every vein of your heart be full to the brim with the rich blood of desire, and struggle, and wrestle, and tug and strive with God for it, using the promises and pleading the attributes, and see if God does not give you your heart's desire. I challenge you this day to exceed in prayer my Master's bounty. 1 throw down the gauntlet to you. Believe him to be more than he is; open your mouth so wide that he cannot fill it; go to him now for more faith than the promise warrants; venture it, risk it, outdo the Eternal if it be possible; attempt it. Or as I would rather put it thus, take your petitions and wants and see if he does not honor you. Try whether if you believe him he doth not fulfill the promise, and richly bless you with the anointing oil of his Spirit by which you will be strong in prayer.

I cannot refrain from adding just these few syllables as you go away. I know there are some of you that never prayed in your lives. You have said a form of prayer, perhaps, many years, but have never prayed once. Ah! poor soul, you must be born again, and until you are born again you cannot pray as I have been directing the Christian to pray. But let me say this much to you. Does your heart long after salvation? Has the Spirit whispered, "Come to Jesus, sinner, he will hear you?" Believe that whisper, for he will hear you. The prayer of the awakened sinner is acceptable to God. He heareth the broken in heart and healeth them too. Take your groanings and your sighs to God and he will answer you. "Ah," but says one, "I have nothing to plead." Well, but plead as David did—"Pardon my iniquity, for it is great." You have that plea—say, for his dear sake who shed his blood," and you shall prevail, sinner. But do not go to God, and ask for mercy with thy sin in thy hand. What would you think of the rebel, who appeared before the face of his sovereign and asked for pardon with the dagger sticking in his belt, and with the declaration, of his rebellion on his breast? Would he deserve to he pardoned? He could not deserve it in any case, and surely he would deserve double his doom for having thus mocked his master while he pretended to be seeking mercy. If a wife had forsaken her husband do you think she would have the impudence, with brazen forehead, to come back and ask pardon for leaning on the arm of her paramour? No, she could not have such impudence, and yet it is so with you—perhaps asking for mercy and going on in sin—praying to be reconciled to God, and yet harbouring and indulging your lust. Awake! awake! and call upon thy God, thou sleeper. The boat is nearing the rock, perhaps to-morrow it may strike and be shivered, and thou be cast into the unfathomable depths of everlasting woe. Call on thy God, I say, and when thou callest upon him, cast away thy sin or he cannot hear thee. If thou lift up thy unholy hands with a lie in they right hand, a prayer is worthless on they lip. Oh, come unto him, say unto him, "Take away all iniquity, receive us graciously, love us freely," and he will hear you, and you shall yet pray as prevailing princes, and one day shall stand as more than conquerors before the starry throne of him who ever reigns God over all, blessed for evermore.

Bible Reading For Further Study

Recommended Songs for Worship


Blogger The Once Dead Poet said...

"IT'S ABOUT HIM -- not us!"

The title says it all...AMEN!!

1:23 PM  

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