Collect: Second Advent…

Good thoughts for today…again

Livin' in the foothills

ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever.
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour…

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By What Means God Is Made Known unto Us…

“We know him by two means: first, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe; which is before our eyes as a most elegant book, wherein all creatures, great and small, are as so many characters leading us to contemplate the invisible things of God, namely his eternal power and Godhead, as the Apostle Paul saith (Rom. 1:20). All which things are sufficient to convince men, and leave them without excuse.

Secondly, he makes himself more clearly and fully known to us by his holy and divine word; that is to say, as far as is necessary for us to know in this life, to his glory and our salvation.”

The Belgic Confession of Faith (1561), Article II, Thy Word Is Still Truth.

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The Best and Most Stable Realm…

A word for today from words of the past…

“In short, the realm of him is best and most stable who rules in the name of God alone, and his is worst and most unstable who rules in accordance with his own will.”

From the Sixty-seven Articles (1523) of Ulrich Zwingli, from Thy Word is Still Truth.

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The Prayers You Left Behind…

In 2011 I was still early in my days of pastoring a mission church in the East Mountains of New Mexico, about 20 miles east of Albuquerque. The pastor of our sponsoring church commended blogging to me, as a way to try to draw folks in. So I started this blog. Well…that didn’t seem to work.

Maybe the reason was that I didn’t put much of my own thought out there…at least not in the way we think about that. I didn’t publish many of my thoughts about much of anything…not enough to draw any attention. What I did post was prayers. Prayers for the congregation…prayers before preaching…prayers after preaching…prayers at the Lord’s Table. Probably over 1,000 of them. And before I left the pastorate I knew that there were folks who would search and find them.

For the last 29 months I have posted very little on the blog. Frankly, I have too busy, and I don’t think that I have much to say that will edify the broad group of people that is the target of a blog. But today, in preparation for posting quotes out of some reading I am doing, I went back and looked. And am amazed. The blog, barely touched since December of 2015, appears to be drawing over 20,000 hits a year.

It’s the prayers. People are coming in and looking for prayers. And I left them behind where they could find them. Find them they have, apparently. I guess it’s a good legacy to leave behind.

So…Rogers, thank you for suggesting the blogging. Congregation of Trinity Reformed Church, thank you for the opportunity to be your pastor. And to those of you who come looking for prayers, thank you for the encouragement.

Rejoicing in the Lord…because we can.

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Prayer of Petition: April 2, 2017

Strengthen the weak hands,
And make firm the feeble knees.

Say to those who are fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.”

Isaiah 35:3–4

Our Holy Father and our God, we rejoice in the sure knowledge Your Word gives us, that You will come and save us. We rejoice that You have laid claim upon us, to be God to us and to our children. We rejoice in the knowledge that Our Heavenly Father knows what we need before the words of our petitions form in our minds and on our lips. And we come to You as children, O Father, as our act of submission, because we know that every provision for every need we have comes from Your hand.

We pray, O God, that the teaching and fellowship of the Grace Agenda Conference will have eternal effect as a benefit within Your Kingdom, and that you will provide safe and trouble-free travel to those who attended as they return to their homes.

We pray, O God, for Your provision for the various ministries of Christ Church and its members, for Matt Gray and CRF, Mike Lawyer and CBC, David Erb and our music program and Ty Knight and ISF. And especially this day we pray for Francis and Donna Foucachon and the ministry of Huguenot Heritage, that You will provide for their every need and use that ministry to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the French-speaking world. We also pray especially for Csaba Leidenfrost and his labors in Ivory Coast among the Bakwe, that the Word of God might be freely available and effective.

We pray, O God, for the expecting mothers within and related to our church community, that their pregnancies and deliveries would be trouble-free and safe, ending with healthy mothers and healthy covenant children. We pray, too, for those couples who desire to have children and those pursuing adoption, that You would give them the desires of their hearts.

We pray, O God, for those who look forward to entering into marriage, that they would be faithful and chaste in anticipation and that their weddings and lives thereafter would show forth the image of the relationship between Christ and His Bride-Church.

We pray, O God, for those among us who are ill, especially those who have enduring illness. We ask for their relief in complete healing, and for Your comfort and peace that pass our understanding as they bear their burdens and wait upon Your provision.

We pray, O God, for the pastors and elders of Christ Church, that You would give them insight, wisdom, strength and understanding surpassing what they possess of themselves for the leadership of this church, that they would be protected in their labors for Christ’s church, and that we as a congregation would give them due honor and be a light and joyful burden.

We pray, O God, for New Saint Andrews College, and especially for its President, Ben Merkle, that You would give wisdom and faithfulness in leadership and provide abundantly for expansion of facilities and growth and effectiveness of College and Conservatory.

We pray, O God, that as each of us comes under trials we might respond to them in faith. Help us to know that we are daily being shaped by Your hand into the image of Your Son.

Father, we know that through Your apostle you tell us that we do not know what to pray for. We believe that. So we pray, O God, by Holy Spirit make our petitions and our praises complete.

All this in Christ’s Holy Name we pray.

Amen

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Prayer of Thanksgiving: February 12, 2017

Our Holy Father and our God, we give You thanks for this day, and each day that You give us. We give you thanks for the beauty of the place you have set us in, for the productivity of the land around us, and the abundant harvest You bring forth from it.

We give You thanks for faithful churches, faithful elders and deacons, faithful pastors and teachers. Especially this day we thank You for this particular church, for Trinity, and for Christ Church Spokane and her pastor, Kenton Spratt. We thank you for faithful preaching of Your word week by week, by which we are instructed and our minds are renewed, and faithful administration of the sacraments, water and table, by which we are marked out with the name of Christ and sustained. We pray, O God, that in these things they and we might be found ever more faithful.

We thank you for the labors you set before us each day, whereby we are able to provide for our needs and those around us, and through which Your Kingdom grows as seed cast upon the ground.

We give You thanks for the households you have set us in, and the blessings that are ours in them. We thank You for the children You have given us to raise, and this day especially for the births of M and S. We pray, O Father, that they might possess the gates of Christ’s enemies.

And we thank You, O God, for that greatest of all blessings, that in giving us to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, You have made us Yours, and that You promise to be God to us and to our children. We thank You for the life You have given us now, and the eternal life that has already begun and is ours forever in Jesus Christ. And we pray, O God, that in Him, by Holy Spirit, You would make us ever more thankful, that our thanks and praise might be ever more complete, and that we might prove faithful in being content.

All this in Christ’s Holy Name we pray.

Amen

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More Thanksgiving

From one of my mentors, Pastor Randy Booth…wise words…

Feast of Booths

Yesterday many gave no thanks at all. Many others were thanking a pantheon of false Gods. Still others might feast but with no more gratitude than hogs in a trap feast upon the grain. Thanksgiving to God should be a daily habit that begins with confessing our faith in Jesus Christ. This is both invisible and visible. While the visible and the invisible are distinct, they remain inseparable. We give thanks for both invisible and visible things, and we have both invisible (inward) and visible (outward) expressions of gratitude. Since thanksgiving is flowing from our hearts, we show our gratitude privately and publicly. It’s an expression of who we are in Christ—the children of God. We do this in worship, in eating and drinking, and in giving to others. Thanks is something we give—it’s a sacrifice. It’s an acknowledgement that we’re not self-sufficient, but rather dependent on God and others…

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