Jesus, Thank You

There is so much to thank God for, all year round, and I love the heightened emphasis on thankfulness that comes with November and especially this week. I’ve not kept up on the 30 Day Gratitude Challenge, but I’m going to keep pecking away at it into December until it is done. It’s a nice thing to add to quiet time when I want a little something extra.

Last night was our Thanksgiving service at church, during which we focused on the work of Jesus, specifically His ascension. Jesus’ return to Heaven after His resurrection isn’t an event zeroed in on often, so Pastor John’s reminders of all that it marks were a great way to encourage thankfulness for our amazing Savior going into this week. Here are a few of the things His ascension does:

  • Marks the completion of Jesus’ earthly work.
  • Signals the sending of the Holy Spirit.
  • Establishes Christ as the ruler of all things and Head of the church.
  • Marks the start of Jesus’ High Priestly ministry.
  • And much more…

After singing “Jesus, Thank You” by Sovereign Grace Music last night, I can’t get the lyrics out of my head…and I really don’t want to. Take a listen; it’s one of my favorites right now.

Your blood has washed away my sin
Jesus, thank You
The Father’s wrath completely satisfied
Jesus, thank You
Once Your enemy, now seated at Your table
Jesus, thank You

Prayer for the Philippines Day 10

Photo courtesy of www.telegraph.co.uk.

Photo courtesy of http://www.telegraph.co.uk.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 10

Today is our last day in our 10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines project. Thank you to anyone who prayed along any of the days. If nothing else, this served as a personal reminder not to so quickly forget those who are hurting in other parts of the world. I have been working harder at stopping to pray when I hear about tragedy, instead of just being sad and moving on. It’s a discipline I want to cultivate…that prayer would be my automatic response to the suffering of others.

Dear Lord, we pray that You would continue to minister to the thousands of Filipinos who have lost family, friends, and homes to Typhoon Haiyan. Please watch over each one and care for them in a special way. Work in the governing officials to bring about efficient, effective restoration. Give the relief organization workers stamina and perseverance as they do what they can to help. Give boldness to believers who have survived, bringing them opportunities to share the hope they have in Jesus Christ with the hurting people around them. Use this terrible trial to spread Your gospel throughout the Philippines and build up Your church. Thank You that we can be a part of Your truth going out simply by praying, no matter where we are. Make us more faithful to bring others before Your throne of grace in their time of need. Give us love and concern for people we haven’t even met, and fill us with gratitude for the undeserved blessings You’ve allowed us to enjoy. Thank You that we know that You hear and work through our prayers. 

Prayer for the Philippines Day 8

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 8

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. (Romans 3:23-25)

Dear Lord, thank You for Your mercy toward sinners and Your incredible offer of forgiveness and grace through Jesus Christ. Thank You that Your gift of salvation is available to everyone, regardless of age, race, or socioeconomic status. Thank You that You have the power to reach each heart that You choose to, know matter where it is. We pray for those who You physically rescued from Typhoon Haiyan, that You would bring the gospel to them and give spiritual salvation. We pray that this tragedy would cause Your truth to spread throughout the Philippines, and that it would fall on hearts that are ready to repent and turn to You.  

Prayer for the Philippines Day 7

Photo courtesy of www.timeslive.co.za.

Photo courtesy of http://www.timeslive.co.za.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 7

Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose. Isaiah 46:9-10

Dear Lord, we continue to lift up the people ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan. Please be with those working through the rubble, recovering survivors and bodies. Give them stamina and emotional strength as they do this heartbreaking work day after day. We pray that you would provide wisdom and efficiency to the crews working on the restoration process. We also pray that as much as possible, you would protect little eyes from the gruesome sights being uncovered, and that you would shelter them from some of the devastation. Thank You for caring about each person involved. We continue to pray that the gospel would go forward in the midst of this tragedy.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 6

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

Photo courtesy of mashable.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 6

Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. (Psalm 116:15)

Dear Father, we know that some of the people who lost their lives due to the typhoon are now with you, experiencing perfection and complete joy. We thank You that for the believer, to live is Christ and to die is gain. We pray that you would minister to church bodies who have lost precious brothers and sisters. Comfort them with the reality that Heaven is for all of Your children. Give them an eternal mindset even as they grieve, and use their loss to spark anew a desire to glorify You every day, knowing that our time here on earth is short. Inspire them to more faithful evangelism and give them boldness to share the hope You have given them. 

Good Intentions: Reaching Out During the Holidays

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I’m a girl of a million good intentions. It’s said that “it’s the thought that counts.” That’s partially true. But what if I thought of offering to help my new neighbor move in, but never did? That thought was lovely while it dwelt in my apartment, but it didn’t do much good staying there.

I’m writing this post for two reasons.

  1. As a sort of accountability for myself and extra motivation to follow through with good intentions I have for reaching out this holiday season.
  2. To encourage you to consider doing something similar for your neighbors or others.

We live in a low-income area, in a fairly trashy apartment complex. I say “fairly” because “trashy” is oh, so relative. There are much worse places to live in LA, but there are also much better ones. Our complex houses very few Caucasians and lots of smokers, broken families, single moms, and at least one pot addict who, apparently, hangs out in close proximity to our bedroom window. All these ingredients combine into one perfect recipe for an awesome evangelistic opportunity, right down the hall.

Over the summer, I had a few opportunities to connect with neighbors at the pool, a popular hangout spot on hot afternoons. I shared the gospel with one and followed up with a home cooked meal for her a few days later. And my evangelistic efforts ended there. That was September. It’s now midway through November and I’ve done little more than smile and say “hello” to smokers on my way to the laundry room. I’m ashamed and convicted. So I’m going to use Christmas as an excuse to knock on my neighbors’ doors.

My plan is to make a bunch of Christmas cookies (hopefully with my Christian sem wife neighbor, Masha) and distribute them along with a solid tract and an invitation to our church, which is conveniently only a mile away from where all these people live. I’ll post after the Christmas season about whether or not I followed through with this. (That’s the accountability part.)

How about you? Do you know unbelievers who might be easier reached over the holidays? It’s a rather sad, empty time for many, especially those with rough relationships or broken families. Consider how you might use a little Christmas cheer as a tool in sharing the hope and salvation found only in Jesus Christ.

I know it seems a little early, but these things take forethought or they’re often never more than good intentions.

Prayer for the Philippines Day 5

Photo courtesy of www.nydailynews.com.

Photo courtesy of http://www.nydailynews.com.

10 Days of Prayer for the Philippines

Day 5

We’re halfway through our 10 days of prayer for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. I hope God has used this as a tool to remind some of us to be in prayer for people who are experiencing great trials. It is a blessing to bring these requests to Him.

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18)

Dear Lord, today we pray for the people who are grieving the loss of family. For parents who have lost their children, for men and women who have lost their spouses, for boys and girls who have lost their parents or siblings. For those who do not know you, we pray that their grief would drive them to You, the only source of real hope and comfort, and that they would surrender their lives to You. For Christians who have experienced tragic loss, we ask that You enable them to mediate on what is true in the midst of their sorrow. Please keep them from doubting your faithfulness and love. May they cling to You and Your Word during this difficult time, and may others who watch their response to tragedy be drawn to the gospel because of their example.