Lesson 1: Who Is Jesus and Why Does It Matter?

Two Questions

Jesus had just fed five thousand people. Before that he had been teaching and preaching about the Kingdom of God. On top of that he had been healing them of their illnesses. As you can imagine, the people followed Jesus everywhere he went. And why wouldn’t they? He was a blessing to them. (Luke 9:10-17)

But Jesus needed to get away and be alone. Well, alone with God. He needed to pray. Thus, we read in Luke 9:18-20 he and his disciples were able to get by themselves, and it was during that time he asked his disciples two questions.

What Do The Crowds Say?

The first question was, “Who do the crowds say I am” (v. 18)? Jesus wanted to know about the people they had just spent the day with. All those people he had been healingteaching, and feeding, who did they think Jesus was?

They answered, “John the Baptist. Others say you’re Elijah. Still others say that one of the other prophets has risen” (v. 19).

Those answers weren’t unexpected. Israel long believed that before God’s Messiah would come, he would be proceeded by an Old Testament prophet.

It seems the people believed at least this: Jesus was no ordinary man. He was special. He could do great miracles. He could heal. He taught as one who had authority. And he fed them.

Make no mistake about it, this was no ordinary man. But Jesus wasn’t all that concerned, at the moment, about what the crowds thought of him. He was going somewhere else with his question. He knew how fickle the crowds were. In fact, there was another time Jesus fed thousands and it seemed the crowds were all for him. Then he started teaching them hard things and one by one, they left him. They said things like, “this teaching is too hard, who can accept it” (John 6:60).

What About You?

Jesus wasn’t as concerned about the opinion of the crowds at this particular moment in time. Instead, he turned to his disciples and asked them, “But who do you say that I am (v. 20)? It was as though he was saying, “I chose you and you’ve been following me around for a long time now. Who do you say that I am?”

That’s the question, isn’t it? Perhaps the most important question ever asked. It’s a question each and every person must answer. The answer matters. The right answer matters, a lot.

Peter’s Answer

Peter knew the answer. At least he was pretty sure he did. As Peter was prone to do, he jumped in and answered, “The Christ of God” (v.20 ESV).

Christ is the Greek word for the Hebrew word, Messiah. And they both mean, God’s Anointed One. Peter and the disciples knew Jesus wasn’t just a prophet who came to make way for the Messiah. He was the Messiah.

Rome was going to be in trouble. Why? Because God’s Anointed One, the Messiah, was going to come in great power. He was going to conquer God’s enemies and restore Israel to her former glory. You better believe, Rome was in trouble! That was the prevailing understanding of the Messiah among the Jews at the time. That’s why his coming was so important and anticipated.

Not That Kind of Messiah

But Jesus threw a curve at the disciples. Peter’s answer was right, but was only partial. The Messiah was, in fact, the Son of God, the Savior of the World, and the Lord of heaven and earth. But Jesus didn’t come to triumph over Rome militarily. He came to be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes. He came to die on a Roman cross (Luke 9:21-22).

That was all Peter needed to hear. In Matthew’s Gospel, Peter, who had just confessed Jesus was the Christ, now rebuked Jesus for saying he was going to Jerusalem to die (Matt. 16:23). Unacceptable.

Jesus responded with those famous words, “Get behind me, Satan” (Mark 8:33). Jesus knew why he had come. If Peter had been paying attention, he would have also.

Right after Jesus told the disciples he would be killed, he said, “and on the third day be raised” (Luke 9:22). Jesus the Messiah, was Son, Savior, and Lord, but he was also the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. For him to be the victorious Messiah of God, he had to die first. And in his death, sin, hell, Satan, and even death itself would be defeated. His resurrection from the dead would confirm it. God would have his victory!

Eternal and Temporal Significance

It matters that we know this about Jesus. It has both eternal and temporal significance. It was with an eternal perspective in mind that Jesus told Martha in John 11, 

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (vv. 25-26)

He wanted to know if she believed it. Believing in Jesus, according to Jesus, results in eternal life. The most famous verse in the whole Bible reminds us,

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

What we believe about Jesus, who he is and what he taught, has eternal significance.

Yet who we believe Jesus is has enormous consequences for this world as well. Jesus says in Luke 9:23,

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Deny, Take Up, and Follow

disciple of Jesus Christ is a student and follower of Jesus Christ. That’s literally what the word “disciple” means. We’re not primarily called to be disciples of the church or of values or principles. Instead, we’re disciples of a Person, and who he is matters. In our text, Jesus taught that if we’re his disciples, we’ll do three things.

Firstwe’ll deny ourselves. We’ll no longer be self-centered, but God-centered. God alone will set the agenda for our lives. We won’t think primarily of ourselves first, but God. Everything will be ordered in relation to God.

Secondwe’ll take up our cross daily. What do you suppose was going to happen to a person in the Roman Empire who was carrying a cross? They were going to their death. Jesus was painting a picture of the humility and submission he expects of those who follow him. Nobody carrying a cross was proud and arrogant. They were marching to their death.

Thirdwe’ll follow Jesus. This means identifying with Jesus and following him, wherever he leads us, regardless of the consequences.

In Luke 14, Jesus told a large crowd they needed to first count the cost of being his disciple before they signed on the dotted line. Why? Because it’s hard. It requires dying, dying to ourselves, our agenda, our sin and rebellion.

Furthermore, we must actually believe Jesus is who he says he is. This is not a sterile intellectual belief. It’s a belief that embraces and trusts in him. It’s a faith that places our lives in his hands because we believe he alone is our only hope.

That requires humility on our part. That requires submission to him and following him wherever he may take us. Are you willing to do that?

Matthew, Mark, and Luke, all report the same thing. First Jesus asks his disciples who he is. Then he teaches them some more about who he really is. Then he tells them they must deny themselves, pick up their crosses and follow him.

Jesus never teaches on discipleship apart from connecting it to who he is. Or, to put it another way, he always grounds our discipleship in his Person and Work. Who do you say Jesus is? That’s the most important question you will ever have to answer. What will your answer be?

The purpose of this study is to help you better understand the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, in order to know Christ more clearly, love Christ more dearly, and to follow Christ more nearly (Richard, Bishop of Chichester). Another purpose is to equip you to give a faithful answer whenever God provides you with an opportunity to share your faith in Jesus Christ.

Thanks be to God for the Person and Work of his Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.

(Each lesson has an in-depth Bible study at the end. Click here to order my book, Lord of All.)

Dishonoring God’s Name

(Click here to order my study on the Ten Commandments.)

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 36

99. Question: What is required in the third commandment?

 Answer: We are not to blaspheme or to abuse the Name of God by cursing,[1] perjury,[2] or unnecessary oaths,[3] nor to share in such horrible sins by being silent bystanders.[4] In short, we must use the holy Name of God only with fear and reverence,[5] so that we may rightly confess Him,[6] call upon Him,[7] and praise Him in all our words and works.[8]

 [1] Lev. 24:10-17. [2] Lev. 19:12 [3] Matt. 5:37; James 5:12. [4] Lev. 5:1; Prov. 29:24. [5] Ps. 99:1-5; Is. 45:23; Jer. 4:2. [6] Matt. 10:32, 33; Rom. 10:9, 10. [7] Ps. 50:14, 15; I Tim. 2:8. [8] Rom. 2:24; Col. 3:17; I Tim. 6:1.

 100. Question: Is the blaspheming of God’s Name by swearing and cursing such a grievous sin that God is angry also with those who do not prevent and forbid it as much as they can?

 Answer: Certainly,[1] for no sin is greater or provokes God’s wrath more than the blaspheming of His Name. That is why He commanded it to be punished with death.[2]

 [1] Lev. 5:1. [2] Lev. 24:16.

Prayer Journal: Week 36

Prayer is the most important thing in my life. If I should neglect prayer for a single day,
I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.
 (Martin Luther)

This Week’s Scripture

·         Acts 17:22-31
·         Psalm 66:8-20   
·         1 Peter 3:13-22    
·         John 14:15-21

Adoration

Psalm 66:20
Blessed be God,
    because he has not rejected my prayer
    or removed his steadfast love from me!

Jesus! the Name High over All (verses 1&2)
Jesus! the name high over all, in hell or earth or sky;
angels and mortals prostrate fall, and devils fear and fly.
Jesus! The name to sinners dear, the name to sinners given;
it scatters all their guilty fear, it turns their hell to heaven.

(Charles Wesley)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, (1 Peter 3:20)

Take away, O Lord, from our hearts all suspiciousness, indignation, anger, and contention, and whatever is calculated to wound charity, and to lessen brotherly love. Have mercy, O Lord, have mercy on those who seek thy mercy; give grace to the needy; make us so to live, that we may be found worthy to enjoy the fruition of thy grace, and that we may attain to eternal life. Amen. (Thomas a Kempis)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

O Promise-Making, Promise-Keeping God, I give you praise and thanks for the promise of your beloved Spirit. He is indeed the Helper, Advocate, and Counselor I need every hour of the day, every day of my life. I am grateful he will be with me forever, even as he is with me here and now to guide me into all truth. I thank you that he is not merely near me, but actually in me. Indeed, his presence in me animates my love for you and fills me with your presence. Thank you for not leaving me as an orphan in this world, but for giving me your very Spirit who enables me to keep your commandments, thus showing my love for you. Finally, thank you for loving me and manifesting yourself to me. I am underserving, but I am grateful. In my Savior’s name I pray. Amen. (based on John 14:15-21)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petition – prayers for yourself)

·         Help me to mature in my faith and to increasingly please God by my thoughts, words, and deeds.
·         Particular struggles in various relationships
·         My activities for this day
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My Family
·         My local church 
·         My denomination
·         Para-church ministries, particularly Christian education and discipleship  
·         Evangelistic ministries 
·         Other needs

Live near to God and so all things will appear to you little in comparison with eternal realities.
(Robert Murray McCheyne)

(Click here to order my 52-week Prayer Journal)

Lord of All: Introduction

I thought I would share the chapters of my new book, Lord of All, with you. Each chapter (or, lesson) also has in-depth Bible study questions at the end. You can buy the book/study guide by clicking here. I hope you’ll check it out.

Also, you can click here to listen to an interview I did with TM Moore and Rusty Rabon at The Fellowship of Ailbe.

Here’s the Introduction…


The Center of Christianity

Christianity is a revealed religion, centered on the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Thus, theologians call the Christian faith, “Christocentric,” or a Christ-centered faith. If you remove the real, historical, and supernatural Jesus from the equation, all you are left with is generic monotheism or perhaps an ethical system with a few moral platitudes sprinkled about. Thomas Jefferson tried this by literally cutting out all allusions to the supernatural in the New Testament. Removed were references to the miracles of Jesus Christ, including his deity, atoning death, and resurrection.

However, that form of “Christianity” is not really Christianity at all. It is not the faith once delivered to the saints, the faith that has been passed down from one generation to the next for two thousand years (Jude 3). That is not the faith and worldview that reconciles sinners to God and transforms individuals, families, communities, and even nations, for such a faith does not have the power to do so.

And yet, every Advent and Christmas season, every Lenten and Easter season, there will inevitably be magazines in the checkout lines at grocery stores or documentaries on cable channels that will have a “hot new take” on who the real Jesus Christ was. But it’s never a new take. It’s almost always a variant of an old heresy paraded out for a new generation. It’s presented as cutting-edge research, the kind your pastor and church don’t want you to learn about, but nothing new is ever said. It’s all there in the history books, along with the plentiful amount of evidence for why none of these “hot new takes” on Jesus holds water.

Purpose of This Study

I wrote this Bible study for a few reasons. First, there is no more important topic for a Christian than the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. As I’ve already said, he stands at the center of our faith. While we are a trinitarian faith, worshiping the Persons of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one God, the story of redemption stands or falls on Jesus. There is no Christianity without him. Long after we have moved on from our present cultural moment with all its attending ethical debates, our dependence on Jesus Christ and his redemptive work on our behalf will remain central and of primary importance.

My second reason for writing this is to build up and strengthen the faith of Christians. Some friendly advocates, as well as critics of Christianity, have said that the church today is three thousand miles wide and two inches deep. And while I would be the first one to say a person does not need a PhD in theology or biblical studies to be a Christian or to go to heaven, thriving in the abundant life Christ desires for us does mean knowing him. And knowing him means vastly more than “just having a relationship” with him. That’s because it’s hard to have a meaningful relationship with a person you don’t know anything about.

Jesus said eternal life was to know God and his Son, Jesus Christ (John 17:3). This is intimate, relational, and experiential knowledge to be sure. But that knowledge presupposes a growing and deepening understanding of our Lord – who he is, what he taught, why he came, and what it means to love, trust, become like, and follow him daily. Whether through personal reading or with a small group of Christian friends, I pray this study will help you learn who the true Jesus of Holy Scripture is. More than that, I hope it will lead you to want to get to know him better, relationally and experientially, as well as what it means to follow him practically.

My third reason for writing this is for evangelistic purposes. I suspect most who read this material and discuss it with others will already be Christians. And as I’ve said, I hope it strengthens your faith. But I also hope it equips you and gives you confidence to speak to others about this Lord and Savior you love, trust, and follow. When someone asks a Christian about who Jesus is and why they should consider placing their faith in him, we ought to be prepared to give them a good reason for doing so (1 Peter 3:15). In fact, we are commanded to. We must do better than replying, “it works for me.”

If Jesus really is who he claimed to be and truly did what Christians believe he did, then only Jesus can meet the deepest desires and needs of a person, whether those needs are temporal or eternal, or both. Whether you use this Bible study to strengthen your own faith, or to share with another person, I pray God will use it in your life to reveal the beauty and glory of Jesus Christ, which leads me to my last reason for writing this study.

I believe this is the most important purpose. I hope this study will lead to the increased worship of Jesus. Jesus was not merely a man or good teacher. He was, and is, the Holy One of God and is therefore, worthy of our worship. To be sure, we are called to know, love, and follow him here and now. But ultimately, our chief purpose is to worship him, beginning now and lasting for all eternity.

In-Depth Bible Study

I have included an in-depth Bible study at the end of each lesson’s reading. I have provided it for you to investigate for yourself what the Bible has to say about Jesus. The questions provided are there to help you reflect on the most important questions about life and how Jesus Christ is the answer to those questions. In Acts 17, the church at Berea was complimented for examining the Scriptures, to see if what Paul had been teaching about Jesus was true. That’s what I hope you will do with the Bible study portion that follows each reading. Don’t simply take what I have written as true. Instead, dig deeply into the Bible and see what it says for yourself.

A Presupposition

On that note, a working presupposition for this study is that the Bible is the living Word of God, divinely inspired, and therefore authoritative and sufficient for faith and life for those who follow Christ. Because this is the working presupposition of this study, I will not be spending time defending the historical reliability of Scripture and related topics. There are many fine books that go into depth about such things, and I would encourage you to learn more about the trustworthiness of God’s Word by reading them.

Therefore, for those who are not Christians and who may not believe the Bible is authoritative for their lives, I want to say to you, that’s okay. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see you enjoy the abundant and eternal life that is available to you through trusting in Jesus Christ. However, my more modest desire for you is simply to help you understand why Christians believe what they do about Jesus, whether you agree with the Christian view or not. For Christians, I hope this working presupposition will bolster your faith and give you confidence that Jesus really is who he claimed to be, and that he truly accomplished the great work he came to do, as recorded in the pages of Scripture.

May God richly bless you throughout this study. I pray you will encounter our Lord in a wonderful way and that you will join me in declaring that there is no one else like Jesus!

Soli Deo Gloria,
Dale Tedder

How Have You Changed?

The World Around You

A few years ago, the men in our church’s men’s ministry studied the words of the Apostle Paul to his young son in the faith, Titus. In chapter three of the letter that bears his name, Titus was instructed to encourage the people entrusted to his care to not be like the world around them – foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures, living in malice and envy, being hated and hating (Titus 3:3). He then reminded Titus of something very important with these words: At one time the Christians on Crete had also been… just like that.

Paul told Titus that because of God’s love, the redeeming work of Christ, and the renewing and washing work of the Holy Spirit, the Christians in Crete were no longer like the world around them.

Have You Changed?

That fact, very naturally, brought up a painful question in our group discussion: What if we still are like that? What if we’re still like the world around us? One possible answer to the question was even more painful: If there has been no change in your life, it may mean you aren’t in Christ… that is, you haven’t been redeemed, washed, and renewed.

We’re all at different places in our relationship with Christ. And, of course, we all walk at different paces with him. Thus, we won’t all look alike. Yet, if we can’t look back at our lives a year ago, two years ago, or five years ago and see some sort of growth, some level of maturation in faith, love, godliness, and the rest of the fruit of the Spirit, then we may well need to ask the question: Am I truly in Christ? Of course, only God knows the heart, and this devotion isn’t about others judging you. But it is about each person doing an honest assessment of himself or herself.

There’s no getting around the fact that true faith in Christ will result in a changed life. We can’t possibly remain the same.

Facing the Music

About eight months after I graduated from college I went back to visit a few friends who were still there. I also returned to share with them the news that God had called me into ordained ministry and I would be heading off to seminary soon. I was very excited. I was also a bit nervous. Why was I nervous? Well, I had not always lived a godly life while in college. I knew it and I knew my friends and fraternity brothers knew it.

What happened? Well, my closest friends thought my news was great and wished me well. Others laughed me out of the room. I absolutely had it coming.

Glory to God

I give glory to God, and God alone, that over three decades later I can point to real change in my life. And, as the old saying goes, while I’m not where I pray I will one day be in my faith, by God’s grace, I’m not where I once was. I don’t know if I was the chief of sinners way back then, but I certainly was competing for the title. That fact makes the following words from Paul all the more precious to me.

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1:15b-16)

If God could work in Paul’s life, as well as my own, then he can work in any person’s life. I praise God for the truth and power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change lives.

Where Are You?

So where are you now compared to where you once were? Do too many of the descriptions in the New Testament of the unbelieving world still describe you? Are you moving on to maturity with Christ, training yourself for godliness day by day? The progressive nature of growing in Christlikeness means it will never end on this side of heaven. But faithfulness to Christ does require we get started. We start with rebirth. We continue by growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ through the power of God’s grace and Spirit. Are you moving forward? Have you started yet?

Walking Points

  • Can you think of a Christian you know whose life is different than when you first knew him or her? What about that person has changed?
  • How about your own life? Can you identify areas in your life that are markedly different than when you first came to know Christ? What are those areas? Did they change all at once or was it a slow process?
  • How did you know you needed to change? How did the process take place (i.e., what did the change look like)?
  • Name two or three areas that are still “works in progress” for you in your Christian walk. What are you actively doing to become more like Christ in those areas?
  • Discuss these issues with two or three Christian friends and actively pray for one another.

Prayer

Gracious God, you are the Lord of our lives. I confess that all too often I resist obeying and following you and resist the change you desire for me. I am grateful for your patience with me and for the wonderful news of your Gospel. Move me, by the power of your Spirit, to pursue you for all I am worth, for surely in that pursuit I will also find myself becoming more like you. Help me to find Christian friends who also seek to walk with you and help us to build up and pray for one another. Enable me to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ, encourage other Christians to do the same, and bring glory to your name. In Christ I pray. Amen.

The Ten Commandments and Idolatry

The Heidelberg Catechism: Lord’s Day 34

92. Question: What is the law of the LORD?

 Answer: God spoke all these words, saying: I am the LORD your God, who
brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

 1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

 2. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love Me and keep My
commandments.

 3. You shall not take the Name of the LORD your God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His Name in vain.

 4. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work; but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your manservant, or your maidservant, or your cattle, or the sojourner who is within your gates; for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and hallowed it.

 5. Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land which the LORD your God gives you.

 6. You shall not kill.

 7. You shall not commit adultery.

 8. You shall not steal.

 9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

 10. you shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, 10. or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor’s.[1]

 [1] Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21.

 93. Question: How are these commandments divided?

 Answer: Into two parts. The first teaches us how to live in relation to God; the second, what duties we owe our neighbor.[1]

 [1] Matt. 22:37-40.

 94. Question: What does the LORD require in the first commandment?

 Answer: That for the sake of my very salvation I avoid and flee all idolatry,[1] witchcraft, superstition,[2] and prayer to saints or to other creatures.[3] Further, that I rightly come to know the only true God.[4] trust in Him alone,[5] submit to Him with all humility[6] and patience,[7] expect all good from Him only,[8] and love,[9] fear,[10] and honour Him[11] with all my heart. In short, that I forsake all creatures rather than do the least thing against His will.[12]

 [1] I Cor. 6:9, 10; 10:5-14; I John 5:21. [2] Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:9-12. [3] Matt. 4:10; Rev. 19:10; 22:8, 9. [4] John 17:3. [5] Jer. 17:5, 7. [6] I Pet. 5:5, 6. [7] Rom. 5:3, 4; I Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:14; Col. 1:11; Heb. 10:36. [8] Ps. 104:27, 28; Is. 45:7; James 1:17. [9] Deut. 6:5; (Matt. 22:37). [10] Deut. 6:2; Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10; Matt. 10:28; I Pet. 1:17. [11] Deut. 6:13; (Matt. 4:10); Deut. 10:20. [12] Matt. 5:29, 30; 10:37-39; Acts 5:29.

 95. Question: What is idolatry?

 Answer: Idolatry is having or inventing something in which to put our trust instead of, or in addition to, the only true God who has revealed Himself in His Word.[1]

 [1] I Chron. 16:26; Gal. 4:8, 9; Eph. 5:5; Phil. 3:19.

Prayer Journal: Week 34

Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. God’s voice in response to mine is its most essential part.
(Andrew Murray)

This Week’s Scripture
·         Acts 2:42-47
·         Psalm 23
·         1 Peter 2:19-25
·         John 10:1-10

Adoration

John 10:7-10
So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee (verses 1&2)
Jesus, the very thought of thee with sweetness fills the breast;
but sweeter far thy face to see, and in thy presence rest.
O hope of every contrite heart, O joy of all the meek,
to those who fall, how kind thou art! How good to those who seek.

(Bernard of Clairvaux)

Take time now to offer God your praise and worship.

Confession

24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)

Lord, so often as we pass through the busy days of life we have been tempted to believe that our faith is all you would ask of us, and not a change in our lives to show others the mercy, love and grace you have given to us through the Cross. Forgive us, Lord, and help us from this day forward to reflect your love in every moment we live. In Christ we pray. Amen. (James R. Wilson)

As David did in Psalm 139, ask the Lord to search you and know you through and through. Confess the sins God brings to mind, knowing you are forgiven and that He will cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Thanksgiving

God of the ages, thank you for those who have faithfully and bravely gone before us, preparing the way and passing down the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints. Thank you for the Apostles who taught the Gospel to those devoted to learning and growing in their faith. Thank you for those early Christians who enjoyed fellowship, the breaking of bread, and praying together. Thank you for those who made up the ancient church and who shared what they had with those in need. Thank you for their joyful hearts lifted up to you in praise and worship. And thank you, Father, for adding to their number daily those who were being saved. May Christians in our day emulate their good example and may your grace be present with us, just as it was with them. In Christ we pray. Amen. (based on Acts 2:42-47)

Spend some time reflecting on the prayer of thanksgiving above and then thank God for who he is and the many ways he has poured out his goodness and grace in your life.

Supplication (Petitions – prayers for yourself)

·         My personal mission field
*  Help me to identify those people who make up my personal mission field.
*  Enable me to begin sharing the gospel with those who do not yet know you.
*  Empower me to disciple those who are young in their faith.
*  Allow me to encourage those who are struggling in their faith.
*  Please give me perseverance in all areas of ministry.
·         Today’s events and interactions with others, planned and unplanned
·         Other needs

Supplication (Intercession – prayers for others)

·         My family
·         For missionaries throughout the world
·         For those seeking to faithfully minister to loved ones at home
·         For those who share the gospel in the inner city
·         For those who bear witness to Christ in places of power
·         Other needs

I remember two things: that I am a great sinner and that Christ is a great Savior. (John Newton)