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Habits of Grace

NEW AT THE BOOK TABLE:
Habits of Grace by David Mathis.  An accessible, encouraging book on the three simple principles we need for growing in Christ.  
 
John Piper says: “This book is about grace-empowered habits, and Spirit-empowereddisciplines.  These are the means God has given for drinking at the fountain of life.  They don’t earn the enjoyment.  They receive it.  They are not payments for pleasure; they are pipelines.  All of us leak.  We all need inspiration and instruction for how to drink—again and again.  Habitually.  If you have never read a book on ‘habits of grace’ or ‘spiritual disciplines,’ start with this one.  If you are a veteran lover of the river of God, but, for some reason, have recently been wandering aimlessly in the desert, this book will be a good way back.”  
 
Consider this book also for a graduation gift.


Sunday Morning Prayer

Father God,

You are good, You are just, You are holy, there is fulness of joy in your presence Lord. We are coming off of a week that is specifically set aside for us to remember the work of Jesus on the cross. To be reminded of the fact that our need for a savior has been met, that the penalty for our sins has been paid. Yet, while our greatest need has been satisfied, You continue to bless us, You continue to care about the day to day details of our lives. You have blessed us with the Holy Spirit who guides us and points us back to You. Lord, it can be easy for me to see the work of Jesus on the cross, to see all that was accomplished on the cross, and see it all as about me. Guard our hearts Lord against such thinking. I pray that our eyes remain fixed on Jesus, that we have the eternal perspective to see this life as temporary, like a vapor, help us to keep our eyes on heaven. Easter is a celebration, not only of the fact that through Jesus, his righteousness has been imputed to us, but also a celebration of victory, that there is victory over this world. Our struggles and pain are real, but by Your grace, they are not eternal.

I pray for our boldness, in sharing the gospel with those that we come in contact with. We pray for the Holy Spirit to be at work in those hearts. As You say in Your word, ‘so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.’ 

Lord, as we give now, we give trusting You in the direction of these funds. We get excited knowing that some will be used to share the Gospel in other parts of the world. That some will be used to continue sharing the Gospel here in our community. That some will be used to encourage and lift up the saints of this congregation. But Lord we pray most importantly, that all will be used with a desire to bring honor and glory to You. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, and it is in Jesus’ precious and holy name that we pray, AMEN
 
– A Prayer from Elder Bill Pritchett on 4/3/2016
 


Who Do We Owe?

Do you owe the IRS taxes next week? Do you owe a financial institution for your home? Do you owe a doctor for his corrective surgery? They may have all done something for which you are indebted to them.

But, we just sang, “Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.” What is this “all” that I owe Him? Rather than just sing about it, let’s see if we understand what we owe Him for… and what Jesus has paid for us.

The prophet Isaiah says, “All we (everyone of us) like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6).”

First, we have turned—every one — to his/her own way. We give little or no thought that we owe God for the penalty of turning to our own way through… pride and frustration and anger and selfishness and impatience and sins from our speech and judgmentalism and lack of self control and unthankfulness and discontentment.

When I recognize I have turned to my own way and am dead in these offenses, who do I go to plead my case to before a holy, perfect God? The apostle John clarifies, “… if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. (1 John 2:1b).” And, the Father, the LORD has laid on him (this same advocate) the iniquity of us all.

Where, when, how were these sin paid for?… The Apostle Paul tells us that by trusting in Jesus…“… you, who were dead in your trespasses… God (the Father) made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he (the Father) set aside, nailing it to the cross (Col. 2:13-14).”

So, what do you and I owe to the Father that was paid for by the Son? Everything.

This advocate, the Lord Jesus, anticipating this action to absorb the Father’s wrath for our turning to our own way, took bread, and after giving thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way also Jesus took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”

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Father, let it sink in that the penalty we owed was laid on Jesus. May we see the imprint of your Son’s bleeding body upon the tablets of our heart all day long. Then at nightfall may we proclaim “through the love of God our Savior, all will be well.” Amen.
 
– A Communion Meditation from Pastor Jim