Psalm for Prayer - October 14, 2019

Psalm 119:97–104 (ESV)

97 Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day. 

98 Your commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me. 

99 I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation. 

100 I understand more than the aged, for I keep your precepts. 

101 I hold back my feet from every evil way, in order to keep your word. 

102 I do not turn aside from your rules, for you have taught me. 

103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! 

104 Through your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.

Psalm for Prayer - October 7, 2019

Psalm 66:1–12 (ESV)

1 Shout for joy to God, all the earth; 

2 sing the glory of his name; give to him glorious praise! 

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you. 

4 All the earth worships you and sings praises to you; they sing praises to your name.” Selah

5 Come and see what God has done: he is awesome in his deeds toward the children of man. 

6 He turned the sea into dry land; they passed through the river on foot. There did we rejoice in him, 

7 who rules by his might forever, whose eyes keep watch on the nations— let not the rebellious exalt themselves. Selah

8 Bless our God, O peoples; let the sound of his praise be heard, 

9 who has kept our soul among the living and has not let our feet slip. 

10 For you, O God, have tested us; you have tried us as silver is tried. 

11 You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; 

12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.

Psalm for Prayer - September 30, 2019

Psalm 137 (ESV)

1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 

2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 

3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” 

4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land? 

5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! 

6 Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 

7 Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare, down to its foundations!” 

8 O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed, blessed shall he be who repays you with what you have done to us! 

9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!

Psalm for Prayer - September 23, 2019

Psalm 91:1–6, 14-16 (ESV)

1 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. 

2 I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” 

3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. 

4 He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. 

5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

14 “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. 

15 When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him. 

16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Have You Been Born Again?

The new birth is something that God does to man. Period.  Man plays no role in it except that something happens to him.  Much like your physical birth, you didn’t do anything besides provide your presence.  And you didn’t even do that intentionally or consciously.  It HAPPENED to you.

 

This is all fine and good except that Jesus said that you must be born again if you are going to go to heaven. Read the first part of John 3.  He told the old Pharisee that he shouldn’t be surprised at this. Nicodemus, according to Jesus, should have known the Old Testament Scriptures well enough to know that a person must experience the new birth if they are going to be reconciled to God. Ezekiel taught it. Jeremiah taught it.  Moses taught it.  David taught it.  Nicodemus should have caught it.   If the uber-educated Pharisee were going to make it to heaven, he would first have to be born again.

 

This is still true. A person must be born again in order to go to heaven.  In order to live on earth, you must be born physically. In order to one day live in heaven, you must be born again, spiritually.  You MUST.  And yet, you play no active role in it.  I don’t know about you, but this is a little unsettling, even unnerving to me.  I’m commanded to be born again, and I really can’t do anything directly about it to make sure that it happens?

 

If you are not born again, if I were you, I would pray and beg God to do that work in you.  If you are physically alive, you can do this. You can pray and ask God to do this work in your heart. You can ask him to cause it to happen to you.  You can’t make it happen, but you can humble yourself before him and ask for him to do it.  If you are going to get to heaven, he must first do this work in you.  That makes it quite urgent.  Actually, more urgent than anything else in life really. 

 

I realize that I preach to a congregation comprised mostly of believers every Sunday. Or so I assume. I know that’s a mighty big assumption, and while I feel comfortable with it, I don’t ever want to assume that EVERYBODY who professes faith in Christ truly knows him.  So, in the spirit of genuine concern, I ask all of you, “Have you been born again?”

 

If this question stirs up consternation in your soul, please come and talk to me about it. Or to somebody else whom you trust.  We can look closer into what the Scriptures teach about the doctrine. We can pray together and ask God to work in your heart, either to convict you of your need to be regenerated or to encourage with the assurance that you are.  Either way, it is an urgent issue, and I encourage you to consider it carefully today.

Psalm for Prayer - September 16, 2019

Psalm 79:1–9 (ESV)

1 O God, the nations have come into your inheritance; they have defiled your holy temple; they have laid Jerusalem in ruins. 

2 They have given the bodies of your servants to the birds of the heavens for food, the flesh of your faithful to the beasts of the earth. 

3 They have poured out their blood like water all around Jerusalem, and there was no one to bury them. 

4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us. 

5 How long, O Lord? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn like fire? 

6 Pour out your anger on the nations that do not know you, and on the kingdoms that do not call upon your name! 

7 For they have devoured Jacob and laid waste his habitation. 

8 Do not remember against us our former iniquities; let your compassion come speedily to meet us, for we are brought very low. 

9 Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of your name; deliver us, and atone for our sins, for your name’s sake!