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Sunday Prayer – Our Refuge and Strength

 

Father God-

We are surrounded with issues each moment and day of our lives. “Will we be able to pay the bills without going further in debt? Will our health challenge be resolved soon or ever? Will we or those we love make Godly decisions? Will international concerns be settled?” These life matters (and many others) cause us to really worry and fret. Yet… we need to stop and look to You. You are our refuge and strength. You are an ever-present help in trouble. Not our calculated accomplishments. Not our keen wisdom. Your word doesn’t say that You will help if we get into a strong refuge. It tells us You are that refuge. Because You are our Father, our God, You are right now our refuge.  

Father, raise up our strength in You since You are with us, even the worst thing that happens to us—death—only makes You infinitely happier and makes You infinitely greater. We say this because Your Son writhed on a tree, making himself nothing until he breathed no more… Up from the grave he arose and You highly exalted Him and bestowed on him the name above every other name.  For from Your Son and through Your Son and to Your Son are all things. To Him we are in as our refuge and to Him be glory forever. Amen.



Pastor Jim’s Thankful Prayer for Elliott

“Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done… so they should set their hope in God.”

  –Psalm 78:1-4,7

Father-

You have breathed the breath of life into Elliott James Riesner. He is here among us. We praise You for he is fearfully and wonderfully made. We behold Your glorious deeds. You who spoke the universe into being, You started and now sustain the life of this handsome young boy. What might and love You have for this family! You have designed the Riesner house to display Your greatness and have lavished joy upon them. For You have done great things.

And, as they rise for each day, awaken their memories to Your steadfast love… so they are overwhelmingly compelled, delighted and established in their hope in You. May Ryan and Cheyenne take a mental snapshot often in the months ahead, of Your goodness and respond with stunning thankfulness and say, “Father, it just doesn’t get any better! You are so good to us!”

Remind the church family to pray for them regularly, step forward to be of help, and demonstrate their hope in You, so this family of four is heartened and cheered.

And, in all these things we trust the day to day issues of home-life to Your steady hand. In the name of Your Son… in the name of Jesus we pray.

Amen.



He Was Able to Bear It

– A Communion Meditation from BCC Elder, Bill Pritchett
 

Coming to the communion table is not a time to stop and reflect on how great you are, but instead to reflect on how merciful God is. We are not to spend this time considering the great work we have done to clean ourselves up, but to recognize that despite our efforts, apart from Christ we can do nothing. When we assume that whatever God requires of us, that we have the power in ourselves to do it, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of no effect.

As John Owen wrote:

The purpose of our holy and righteous God was to save His church, but their sin could not go unpunished. It was, therefore, necessary that the punishment for that sin be transferred from those who deserved it but could not bear it, to one who did not deserve it but was able to bear it.

The wages of sin is death, the Bible says, and someone has to pay; there is a penalty, which accompanies our transgression. Man has trespassed and therefore is the only one who should pay and yet he cannot, being himself sinful. God has demanded payment and yet is the only One who could pay. However, He certainly should not, being Himself holy. What was to be done?

God alone could pay and so pay He did, with the blood of His Son. The Son of God became sin and bore the wrath of His Father, being a curse on our behalf. He became our substitution, dying for our sins, in our place. He did not deserve to die, we did, but He willingly became obedient to the payment required that we might be reconciled to Him. We deserved to die and owed a payment, but He purchased our freedom. God has been declared both just and the justifier of the justified.

We could not clean ourselves up to the point that our debt has been paid, we cannot do enough good to no longer need Jesus and the cross. So when we come to the communion table our minds go to the fact that we are sinners…but our minds don’t have to stay there because with Jesus it doesn’t end there…We are sinners, in need of a savior and we have that savior in Jesus Christ, so our minds can then go to the fact that we have a wonderful, merciful savior. That God is so patient and gracious with us over and over and over again. That though we still struggle with sin; that our victory is in Jesus.

The gospel is that Christ died for our sins and He rose and through faith in Him we can be reconciled to the Father.

So as we consider this quote from John Owen, let’s go before God in prayer and be thankful that though He did not deserve it, he was able to bear it….on our behalf.

Lord, we pray now and say thank you! Thank You for bearing what we are unable to bear. Thank You for grace and forgiveness, that we go through this life not solely dependent on our own strength but that You give us what we need each day to face temptation as well as whatever situations come before us during each day. Help us to stop looking to ourselves or to other people or other things to be our satisfaction but help us to look only to You. Let us see You as what is fully satisfying, to see You as what is lasting, to see You as what is fulfilling and to repent of our own idolatry. We ask, God, that you would forgive us of trying to tilt the scales in our favor, but rather, God, that You would enable us, by Your Holy Spirit, to just rest in Your arms today, to just trust that You’ve done what You’ve said You’ve done, to really let go knowing that we can trust in You accomplishing what You said You accomplished in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Help us now, Lord. It is in Jesus’ name, AMEN