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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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As young Christians, we learned to pray mostly by listening to other believers pray. We learn to speak in the same way – by imitation.

We can also learn to pray, and learn some of the most important principles of prayer, as we read God’s Word. Listen to the apostle Paul’s words to the Christians in Philippi:  “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now” (1:3-5).

Every time he thought of the Philippian Christians, he was full of joy and thanked God. But what can we learn about prayer from these verses?

First, he prayed frequently“All my remembrance of you” and “in my every prayer for you all” make it clear that Paul prayed for them regularly – it wasn’t simply a one-time thing.

Second, he prayed comprehensively. Paul was careful in his prayers to mention everyone in the congregation, hence the phrase “for you all.” He wasn’t satisfied with a blanket prayer (“God, bless all of the Philippian believers”), or only pray for a few. No, he prayed for all of them.

Third, he prayed gratefully. Notice that he began by saying, “I thank my God.” Paul’s continuous prayer for them wasn’t grudging, it was grateful. He was genuinely thankful to God for them and how supportive they had been of him in his ministry to them and others.

Listen to the apostle Paul and learn from him. May our prayer increasingly be frequent, comprehensive, and grateful!

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talents1

I had the privilege this morning of hearing Pastor Keith Thomas of Bridge City Fellowship preach on Matthew 25:14-30. Here is a summary of his sermon in one sentence: God’s infinite generosity should motivate us to make the most of every talent, ability, and opportunity He gives us.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Philippians 1:3-5. What follows is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Paul thanked God for the Christians in Philippi and prayed for them, especially because of their partnership in spreading the gospel – and he made sure to let them know it!

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 21:15-17. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: If God has graciously forgiven your sins, you will love Him greatly and serve others gladly.

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william_carey

Just before his seventieth birthday, missionary to India William Carey wrote,

I am this day seventy years old, a monument of Divine mercy and goodness, though on a review of my life I find much, very much for which I ought to be humbled in the dust; my direct and positive sins are innumerable, my negligence in the Lord’s work has been very great, I have not promoted his cause, nor sought his glory and honor as I ought, notwithstanding all this, I am spared till now, and am still retained in his Work, and I trust I am received into the Divine favor through him.

Carey, the father of modern missions, recognized two important truths: on the one hand our sin, sinfulness, and guilt before God, and on the other hand the matchless, incomparable, and invincible grace of God offers to us in and through Jesus Christ. Carey didn’t “fall off the horse” on either side by giving emphasis to one over the other.

Believers in Jesus Christ are at one and the same time sinful (see Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-18; 3:23) and justified (Rom. 3:21-26; 4:1-8; Gal. 2:16).  It’s honest and truthful to admit it.

Jerry Bridges, in The Discipline of Grace, wrote, “We should always view ourselves both in terms of what we are in Christ, and what we are in ourselves, namely, sinners.” If we don’t, we become either paralyzed by our introspection or proud in our self-righteousness.  Open-eyed candor, honesty, and humility is what should characterize us.

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thankful

I had the privilege of preaching on the subject of thankfulness this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: We have many reasons to be thankful, and have the obligation to make our gratitude to God and other people.

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axotvnhs

I had the privilege of preaching on John 16:1-4 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus warns His disciples that they will be persecuted in order to prevent apostasy, instill courage, give explanation, and to remind us of His faithfulness and truth.

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