21 Days of Prayer (Day #2)

Yesterday, you spent time in awe of God’s greatness as you meditated on Psalm 145. Oh, how I trust your time in His loving, holy presence was rich and full of grace and glory!!

Psalm 100:4 exhorts us to enter His gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! As you launch into prayer each day on this journey, be sure to spend time praising God for His holiness, goodness, patience, and other attributes. Then, thank God for His blessings and be specific . This morning, use Psalms 100 and 103 to begin your week with praise and thanksgiving.

Here’s an example using Psalm 100

  • Sing a hymn of praise to the Lord (100:1-2).
  • Praise the LORD for His attributes, naming them and sharing why from your heart they are meaningful to you right now (100:3).
  • Praise the LORD for how He will shepherd you this week (100:3).
  • Thank Him for at least ten specific things He has done in the past 24 hours (100:4)
  • Talk to the LORD out of your love relationship with Him as you rejoice in His goodness, His steadfast love, and His faithfulness (100:5).

Now share your requests with the Lord, and before you do, let me ask, “How will your fresh encounter of praise and thanksgiving effect your time of supplication?”

May your prayer life be one of INCREASE today because you have chosen the best part (Luke 10:42).

Ram & Rich Toward God

Dodge Ram Old blue - Drivn
Not the actual truck but close.

To him, it was his “pride & joy”! Yes sir, the body needing a paint job and perhaps calling for a bit of other repairs, and not set up with dual diesel exhausts to blow people off the road as he passed by; it didn’t matter; it was his truck! 1989 Dodge Ram truck!

He pulled up beside me in the parking lot, jumped out of his truck, turned the hood ornament around on his hood due to being pranked, and then proceeded to join in conversation as we headed down the hill to meet up with other men for lunch at a weekend retreat.

Earlier in the morning, he had struck a good chord in my heart when he came up after I had spoken to the men about being a discipling husband. “Pastor, you gave the married men instructions about their God & I Time that applied to them. How about me as an unmarried teen?” Wow! A 17 year old, polite, respectful, trucker-hat wearin’, all-American good ol’ boy, desiring to apply the Word to his life!!!

Laster on as we walked down the hill to lunch, I shared with him some biblical counsel about dating and marriage as a follow up to our morning sessions. He listened intently as did his buddy. He took it to heart and in a few days acted upon it. Wow! A young man listening to someone 45 years older and then responding to the Word in a God-glorifying way!

This young man reminds me of the opposite of what I read in Luke 12:13-21 this morning. In the parable of the rich fool, Jesus tells how the fool laid up treasure for himself, so much so that he was planning on tearing down his barns which were insufficient and building bigger ones that would aid his life of ease. Then comes these telling words in verses 20-21, But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” This 17 year old young man has much more to learn in his growth in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18), but I will say for right now, he is becoming a man rich toward God (12:21).

He wasn’t driving an $85,000 new 2021 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel which would make him “look” rich, be a treasure for himself and impress his friends. He may desire one, but his greater desire that day, and I trust in the days to come was to be rich toward God. May his tribe increase!!

By the way, I liked his truck, too!

Let’s Have a Monday!

Sunrise in the country.

How sad that so many in the world look at the second day of the week, Monday, as a downer, a negative. How many times have you heard someone respond to a bad day or rough situation as “I’ve had a MONDAY!”?

For born again believers, Mondays should be a launching pad for a week of ministry, a week of walking with Christ! Having gathering on Sunday around the person of Jesus Christ by singing, by praying, by participating in corporate worship, by fellowship, by responding to the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the preached Word, by confession of sin, and by being encouraged to see Christ live His life out through us each day should cause us to arise on Monday morning ready to fulfill Matthew 28:18-20, Psalm 34:1-3, and Ephesians 4:12-16, 5:19, Colossians 1:15-18.

In particular, today, on this Monday, when someone inquires about your weekend, what will you say?

Will you share what God taught you about Himself, about Christ, and/or about yourself? Will you talk about the song lyric the Holy Spirit used to cause you to rejoice? Will you honestly share how you repented and changed via the conviction of the Holy Spirit through hearing the proclamation of God’s Word? Will you share how blessed it was to pray with a hurting brother or sister in Christ? Will you make much of the greatness of your God, the blessing of walking with the Lord Jesus Christ, and the joy of the Holy Spirit?

Mondays are created by God. Mondays are as fresh and new as Christ is because we walk every day in newness of life in and through Christ (Romans 6:1-14). As my friend Evangelist Ron Lynch says, “Christ gave Himself for you in order to give Himself to you that He by the Spirit of God might live His life through you. To live the Christian life is not for you to live but for you to die so Christ can live through you (Galatians 2:20).

So, today, let’s have a “MONDAY” in Christ!!

The Best Place to Go With Your Wife

Aierdi farmhouse in the Basque region of northern Spain.

My wife and I have been blessed to travel to many beautiful places in this world (Israel, Spain, Alaska, Maine, British Columbia, to name a few). Each location has afforded us some very special memories and excitement!

The best place that we have ever gone in our married lives, and we have gone there many, many, many times in our almost 40 years together as husband and wife is . . . The Throne of Grace (Hebrews. 4:16). The view from there is eternal, true, hope-filled, majestic, and absolutely transcendent.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Husband, Your Wife Needs You, sir, your wife is longing, perhaps crying out in prayer, for you to be her loving, servant leader, daily pointing her to Christ. Without reservation, I believe that joining with your wife in prayer is the best way to disciple her and sanctify her as her loving, serving Christlike leader (Ephesians 5:18-33).

Husbands, you should be the leader in prayer in both your marriage and your home, rather than your wife.
Luke 18:1 – Men ought always to pray and not to faint!
1 Timothy 2:8 – I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting
1 Peter 3:7 – Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.
James 5:16 – Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

Men, your wife will embrace the security she longs for when you take her by the hands, kneel before her or sit beside her on the couch and pray with her at the Throne of our omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, living, holy God!

  1. Ask God to help you pray with your spouse. Ask Him to give you the desire to pray with her, the place, the words and the wisdom.
    1 John 5:14-15 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he hear us: And if we know that he hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
  2. Set some goals & boundaries. a) Keep it short if praying with her is a challenge for you, or if this is new to you. b) Keep is simple. Just talk to the Lord about what is on her heart and yours. c) Keep it safe. Don’t air out your offenses against your wife in prayer. This is not a time to fight, but to surrender in humility. d) Keep it supportive. Show great care in prayer before your wife and the One Who invites you to cast all your care upon Him (1 Peter 5:7).
  3. Keep it fresh
    a) Pray Scripture. b) Pray before you leave for work. c) Change up meal prayers. d) Pray when a need arises; when she has a burden. e) Pray during a conflict; it’s hard to be mad when you are holding hands praying. f) Pray before you go to sleep at night. Make a call to pray with her even when out of town. g) Use prayer reminders (i.e. post it note on the fridge, mirror). h) Send your wife to a Ladies Prayer Advance i) Share your answers to prayer!!! j) Spend time in prayer just praising and thanking God. Make no requests. Try it and see how quickly you lapse into requests! k) Pray back-and-forth. Husband prays about something, then the wife, then the husband and then wife, etc. That’s really praying with one heart united in purpose. You see, prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

Heb. 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Husbands, your wife needs you to pray with her and for her; to go with her to the Throne of Grace. After all, you are one flesh, right?

“Prayer makes a godly man, and puts within him the mind of Christ, the mind of humility, of self-surrender, of service, of pity, and of prayer. If we really pray, we will become more like God, or else we will quit praying.” – E.M. Bounds


Husband! Your Wife Needs You!

How does she need you? She is longing, perhaps crying out in prayer, for you to be her loving, servant leader daily pointing her to Christ.

How many times I have seen the wife leading the home because the husband will not take the lead. Sometimes the husband wants to lead but his wife won’t let him. Neither are submissive to God first so they can live out Ephesians 5:18-33.

Could it be, men, that you are making decisions all day at work, and you are just worn out and weary of that role when you get home? Maybe the home you grew up in did not manifest this kind of leadership. Perhaps you will be willing to say, “I need help before I can help lead my wife.” May I offer some suggestions?

The best way for a man to lead his wife is through a discipling model. What does that look like? Let’s consider one aspect of that today with more to come in future blogposts.

Disciple your wife in the Word of God.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:25-30).

Understanding that what I am about to describe to you will not happen, the following scenario motives me to loving discipleship of my precious wife. Using the analogy from the Ephesians passage above, just as the Church will one day, indeed, be presented to Christ in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, I picture myself holding my wife in my arms (which I still can do, btw) and presenting her to Christ, a lady who has been nourished and cherished in discipleship by me, her husband. I long to “present” my wife, my bride, to the Lord having done all to point her to Christ; to have given her every opportunity to grow in Christ; to have encouraged her in every way to be like Christ.

Leading my wife to Christ is the most important part of being her husband. In eternity, all the temporal things given to her will not matter (Proverbs 31:30; Matthew 6:33; Colossians 3:1-4).

Husbands, consider the following suggestions:

  • As you read and study the Word, be sure to share with your wife what God has been teaching you.
  • You could read a devotional book together in the morning before you head off for work. If your departure time is before she gets up, then call her on your first break and read the devo on the phone or read a portion of God’s Word on the phone and discuss it.
  • Take your wife to church every Sunday so she can hear the Word preached.
  • Read a good book together; perhaps one on marriage, prayer, communication, conflict.
  • Make sure she attends a ladies’ conference periodically to be refreshed, revived, and encouraged in her walk with God.
  • Participate in a small group Bible study today. Even if your wife has been a believer longer than you have, she needs you to lead her spiritually.
  • Don’t leave Christ at home when you go on vacation. Make your vacation a time of revival and renewal in your walk with the Lord. Choosing a Bible preaching church on Sunday is more important than your choice of vacation spot, restaurants and recreation.
  • Bring your wife her coffee, etc. in the morning so she can be encouraged to be in the Word.
  • Perhaps you have your “man-cave,” but make sure she has her place where she meets with the Lord every day.

Husbands, your wife needs you! Begin by discipling her today, leading her to Christ.

(The lake picture is taken from a house where Denise and I have the blessed grace privilege of going periodically to meet with the Lord to pray, study and grow together.)

And What Will We Do?

On this important day in American history, we (born again believers, John 3:16) will and must do what we are to do everyday, and especially today!

PRAISE THE LORD!

I will extol you, my God and King,
and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you
and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised,
and his greatness is unsearchable.
(Psalm 145:1-3)

READ GOD’S WORD!

And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [c]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17)

PRAY!

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

MAKE DISCIPLES!

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20)

LIVE THE CHRIST LIFE!

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)

You see, friends, the ultimate daily, lifetime step for every believer is wrapped up in one word no matter the circumstances of this world or who’s in authority . . . obedience. The joy of fellowship and the appropriation of blessings in Christ are revealed as we walk in obedience to our righteous, holy, perfect, loving transcendent Heavenly Father by His grace!

Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked. (1 John 2:3-6).

A Husband’s Discipling Leadership

Husband! Your wife needs you!!

How does she need you? She is crying out for you to be her loving, servant leader! And, if you have sons, they really need dad to lead in the home!

How many times I have seen the wife leading the home or the husband wanting to lead the home but the wife won’t let him or the husband refusing to “step up to the plate” and lead.

Could it be that you are making decisions all day at work, and you are weary of fulfilling that role when you get home? Perhaps you came from a home where loving, servant leadership was not on display. Maybe, you would admit that you really don’t know how to lead.

May I offer some suggestions, some help?

The best way for a man to lead his wife is through a discipling model. What does that look like?

  1. Lead your wife in prayer. More than being the leader in prayer for your meals, Pray with her in the morning before you leave for work. Pray with her at the moment she shares a burden with you. Pray with her over the phone when she is away visiting family, attending a ladies’ event or just from the office. Share your prayer burdens as well as your answers to prayer with her. Hold hands and pray with her every night before drifting off to sleep. The greatest place you could ever go with your wife is to the Throne of Grace together in prayer (Psalm 16:8; Hebrews 4:16).
  2. Lead your wife in the Word of God. As you read and study the Word, be sure to share with your wife what God has been teaching you. You could read a devotional book together in the morning before you head off for work. If your departure time is before she gets up, then call her on your first break and read the devo on the phone or read a portion of God’s Word on the phone and discuss it. Take your wife to church every Sunday so she can hear the Word preached. Read a good book together. Make sure she attends a ladies’ conference periodically to be refreshed, revived, and encouraged in her walk with God. Participate in a small group Bible study. Even if you wife has been a believer longer than you have, she needs you to lead her spiritually. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body (Ephesians 5:25-30).

Wives, may I say, let your husband lead. Encourage him. Build him up. Even if he doesn’t do it the way you think he should, be thankful for any advancement. Sometimes this is just rough territory for a man. Pray earnestly for him and love him! Trust a sovereign, omnipotent God to do His work in your husband’s heart. Remember, try as you may, you cannot change him. (If your husband does lead in your home, rejoice, encourage him, keep praying for him, follow him and be his biggest cheerleader!)

More on this discipling leadership in another post to come. In the meantime, may you both surrender to Christ working through you to accomplish His plan and purpose in your marriage. Because the tomb is empty, you have hope!

Marriage Moment

Life is made up of multiplied thousands of moments.

A moment by definition is “a very brief period of time; an exact point in time; an appropriate time for doing something; an opportunity; formally, importance.”

Moments come and go. Moments can become treasures by choice. Moments can turn the tide. What moments have you had in your marriage this past week? Have you seized the moment?

Thursday morning, my wife and I shared in a moment that quite frankly fits into every point of the definition except for a “very brief period of time.” Usually Denise and I spend our early morning hours alone. I make her coffee and deliver it with a “good morning kiss.” Then we to go to our separate quiet areas to enjoy our brew. There we read and study the Word, transcribe our thoughts in a journal and then meet with the Lord at the Throne of Grace in prayer plus a time of exercise (she walks, I run).

Our marriage moment Thursday was an addition to our normal morning routine. After preparing breakfast, we gathered at our old oak kitchen table for good food and the reading of Paul David Tripp’s devotion, New Morning Mercies. Indeed, this moment was filled with encouragement, edification, sweet notes of love, prayer and intentional investment in our marriage.

You may not have the opportunity to have this kind of moment due to your work schedule and/or children in the house, etc. My challenge for you and your marriage is to intentionally seize the moment to be with your spouse at least for a few minutes each day. Men, in particular, look for these moments. Treasure these moments. There will be thousands of moments in your marriage lifetime.

What will be your marriage moment(s) today?

What an Evening!!

It happened again last night. Three couples gathered on our back porch and had a special evening of fellowship, exhortation, encouragement, edification, laughter, tears, and sharing.

What made it such an awesome evening? Was it the back porch setting? How about the beautiful sunset? Perhaps the delicious cake and coffee? Could it have been the stories that were told? Indeed, all of these things played an important role.

So, what was the ingredient that made the evening so rich? Simply this . . . three couples gathered around the Word of God.

It happens every week. We open our Bibles, read through a passage of Scripture, and then work our way through the verses letting the Holy Spirit teach us in context, observation, interpretation and application. Never do we share “what we think the passage says,” but as the Author intended for us to understand. As the leader, I simply ask questions, explain some words, and guide the discussion, but it is the Word does the work.

Our lives have been so enriched by the Word! We have come to relish our familial relationship as brothers and sisters in Christ through the Word! The honesty and transparency has risen each week because of the Word! Then our time of prayer is one of precious communion prepared by the Word!

Whether you are involved in a small group or it’s just you and your spouse or your family or with your co-worker at lunch or in the church building on Sunday, the best gathering is always around the Word of God!

7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned,
And in keeping them there is great reward.
(Psalm 19:7-11)

Already looking forward to the next time we gather . . . around the Word!

The Best Gathering Place

Is it a local restaurant?

Is it a concert venue?

Is it a college campus?

Is it a coffee shop?

Is it a sports stadium?

Is it the break room at work?

Without a doubt, the very best gathering place is anywhere the Word of God is opened, read, taught, explained, discussed, applied, and revered!

Last evening, our small group gathered around 1 Timothy 3:1-7. We prayed, read the passage, and then went through a verse-by-verse, almost word-for-word study of God’s precious Book. Never did we ask, “What do you think it means?” We looked at the passage in its context through observation (What does it say?), interpretation (What does it mean?) and application (How do I respond?).

After one hour, we could say that we had met with the Lord; He had spoken to our hearts; the Holy Spirit had guided us into truth! Our hearts were knitted closer to God and to one another. That then made our prayer time to close out the evening a true gathering around the Throne of Grace!

The dynamic of a Sunday morning service is the gathering around the reading and preaching of the Word of God whether it is inside or outside the building. This gathering is of utmost importance (Hebrews 10:25).

The best part of meeting at a coffee shop is the reading of God’s Word. I highly recommend this resource: https://matthiasmedia.com/products/one-to-one-bible-reading

The most edifying conversation and instruction in the home is when husband and wife gather around the Word to read and pray. (The same for the family.)

The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

How can a young man cleanse his way?
By taking heed according to Your word.
10 With my whole heart I have sought You;
Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments!
11 Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You.
12 Blessed are You, O Lord!
Teach me Your statutes.
13 With my lips I have declared
All the judgments of Your mouth.
14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
As much as in all riches.
15 I will meditate on Your precepts,
And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes;
I will not forget Your word.
(Psalm 119:9-16)

The gathering around the Word should cause us to anticipate the great gathering in the sky at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) and then the gatherings around the Throne in Glory (Revelation 4, 7)!!

The best gathering place is around the Word of God!!