The Confession | Sunday Respite 

Sunday Respite
Blessed Jesus, you offered us all your benedictions when you announced…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit”
but we have been rich in pride.
“Blessed are those who mourn”
but we have not known much sorrow for our sin.
“Blessed are the meek”
but we are a stiff-necked people.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness”
but we are filled to the full with other things.
“Blessed are the merciful”
but we are harsh and impatient.
“Blessed are the pure in heart”
but we have impure hearts.
“Blessed are the peacemakers”
but we have not sought reconciliation.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness”
but our lives do not challenge the world.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me”
but we have hardly made it known that we are yours.

We plead with you to ask the Father to grant us forgiveness and give us the blessedness of your righteousness.

— Matthew 5:2-12 (ESV)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

40 Gifts of Lent  | Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN

The Increase of Faith

the faith 1

…“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” Mark 9:24 {NLT}

“Faith is a footbridge that you don’t know will hold you up over the chasm until you’re forced to walk out onto it.”
― Nicholas Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son

Let faith stride forth in giant power,
and love respond with energy in every act.
I often mourn the absence of my beloved Lord
whose smile makes earth a paradise,
whose voice is sweetest music,
whose presence gives all graces strength.
But by unbelief I often keep him outside my door.
Let faith give entrance that he may abide with me forever.

May I be made rich in its riches,
be strong in its power,
be happy in its joy,
abide in its sweetness,
feast on its preciousness,
draw vigor from its manna.
Lord, increase my faith.
― The Valley of Vision, Faith and the World

the faith

40 Gifts of Lent | The Increase of Faith: Gift 7

The Work of Art

The Artist
Create in me a pure heart, O God. Psalm 51:10

You are a masterpiece. A real work of art. Created in the image of God. How much better can it get? We take for granted how much the master artist loves us, the master creator of life and all that is good and right.

Does your soul long to move in unison with the rhythm of grace?  What do you do when the pain of your broken chaos stabs like a dagger? Face the fact today that you’ll never outgrow your need for grace, no matter how much you try on your own. [1]

The way to begin to celebrate the grace that God freely gives you every day is by admitting how much you need it.

I enjoy watching my grandchild paint colors on a blank canvas. Neither one of us knows exactly what the painting means, yet watching her add color to a colorless page brings a smile and contentment to treasure.

When your life is full of the hardest peace or the hardest contentment or the hardest joy, you need the master artist’s touch to create a work of art in your life. Think of yourself as a blank canvas and God is making all things new. You may not understand why the hard stuff is happening and you may not know for a while what his finished work in your life will look like. Just know that you are loved by the master artist.

So ask God for it!  Ask God to create his work of repentance and surrender in your life. To paint a new beginning … a new creation in Christ.

The work of art is God shaping a new beginning from the chaos of your life. Rest in his peace, his contentment, his joy. This is a beautiful gift.

“Don’t look too close for blemishes, give me a clean bill of health. God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.”  Psalm 51 {The Message}

Isla

This work of art was created in the midst of chaos

40 Gifts of Lent  |  [1] Paul Tripp, New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional

When Grace Intervenes Our Troubles

Psalm 50:15

“Call upon me in the day of trouble,” God says in Psalm 50:15. “I will deliver you, and you will glorify me.” God desires praise from our lives … but the only way fresh praise and glory will come is as we keep coming to him in times of need and difficulty. Then he will intervene to show himself strong on our behalf, and we will know that he has done it.

Are not we all prone to become over confident and think we can handle things just fine? But let some trouble come, and how quickly we sense our inadequacy.

For some reason we want to carry on by ourselves.

The devil is not terribly frightened of our human efforts and credentials. But he knows his kingdom is damaged when we begin to lift up our hearts to God. [1]

I’m asking God to come fill this place … my soul with more of him. The gift today is acknowledging my weakness and claiming my strength in Christ.

This is a song I’ve played a few times this morning. Here are the words and the music.

Fall Afresh | Jeremy Riddle | Album: The Loft Sessions |Bethel Music
Listen here: Fall Afresh | Bethel Music

Awaken my soul, come awake
To hunger, to seek, to thirst
Awaken first love, come awake
And do as you did, at first

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow
To overflow

Awaken my soul, come awake
To worship with all your strength

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow

Come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade
Spirit come and fill this place
Let Your glory now invade

Spirit of the living God come fall afresh on me
Come wake me from my sleep
Blow through the caverns of my soul, pour in me to overflow
To overflow

The Weakness Gift 5

40 Gifts of Lent  | When Grace Intervenes our Troubles: Gift 5 | [1] Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire, Jim Cymbala, page 57

The Song | Sunday Respite 

Sunday Respite 1 Lent

PSALM 100 {The Message}

On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.

Know this: God is God, and God, God.
He made us; we didn’t make him.
We’re His people, His well-tended sheep.

Enter with the password: “Thank you!”
Make yourselves at home, talking praise.
Thank him. Worship him.

For God is sheer beauty,
all-generous in love,
loyal always and ever.

 The whole world is singing a song. It’s the song without words. It’s the song you were created to sing too. We forgot our song long ago, when we turned and ran away from God. But Jesus has come to bring us home to God—and give us back our song. So go on—sing your song! -Sally Lloyd-Jones

Sunday Respite 2 Song

40 Gifts of Lent  | Quotation: Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing, Sally Lloyd-Jones; page 28, Sing Your Song

The Rescue

Gift 4-2015

He reached down from heaven and rescued me. Psalm 18:16

God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.

Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and his promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come. He will ever be true to His pledged word. He will never remove His loving kindness nor suffer His faithfulness to fail.

God will always be himself, and grace is an attribute of His holy being. He can no more hide his grace than the sun can hide its brightness. God’s grace is infinite and eternal.

Instead of straining to comprehend this truth, it would be better and simpler to compare God’s grace with our need. We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

He reached down from heaven to rescue us.

Gift 4-2015-

40 Gifts of Lent | The Rescue: Gift 4 | Quotations from: The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer; page 87, The Faithfulness of God; Page 102, The Grace of God. 

When God Meets our Deepest Needs

Gift 3-2015

Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Matthew 6:8

As a parent, you instinctively know what your children need, often times before they ask you. Do you give them what they need even if they haven’t asked and when they do ask, are you not happy to meet their needs because you love them immensely?

Suppose your child asks for something which you know is not the best choice for them. Would you give them what they asked for knowing it is not good for them or do you respond with compassion and unconditional love with saying, “No, not now.”

I believe we often overlook the similarities in the way we parent our children and the way that God is parenting us. God is, after all, our heavenly Father, conveying the authority, warmth, and intimacy of a loving father’s care. A father that knows what we need before we ask him. Compare how your children respond to you when they don’t get their way and how you respond to God when life is hard. I suppose we should give our children more grace when they are not content as God is being gracious to us as we learn to trust him with our needs.

In the gospel of Matthew 6, Jesus is instructing his disciples how to pray, telling them that the heavenly Father knows what they need before they pray. I’m called to trust that God sees what I see. In fact, he sees beyond what I see. Paul Miller writes in A Praying Life, “God sees the whole story and is completely trustworthy to be at work on a grand scale, in the minutia, and even in my own life.”

God knows what you need before you ask him.

Gift 3-2015-

40 Gifts of Lent | When God Meets Our Deepest Needs: Gift 3 | A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World, Paul Miller