A Prayer of Praise To Start the Day

May I praise You God with every breath and for every breath, the grand, minor, and even the humbling for even they remind me of Your greatness and grace. “Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and highly to be praised, and His greatness is unsearchable” (Psalm 145:2–3).

“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord while I live; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not trust in princes, in mortal man, in whom there is no salvation” (Psalm 146:1–3).

Oh Lord, may I not allow the worries, demands, and hurts of the ups and downs of life to silence my praise, love, and thankfulness to You while I live. Grant me spiritual maturity to never take anything for granted and thereby fail to praise You, or, even exceedingly more evil, give your praise to me.

Thank You for continuing to grow me so that I may praise You more when I ponder the majesty of Your being, the greatness of Your creation, and those daily actions that I so easily can take for granted; may I praise you for such things as the ability to see, speak, button a shirt, or comb my hair.

I repent of such ingratitude for these, and a thousand more that I have taken for granted or selfishly complained about in some way. I praise You for the thousands of things that must operate for me even to write out this humble prayer.

May I focus upon praising you for all things and with equal dedication fight every thought or act of pride until praise is all which comes from my lips.

“Sing praise to the Lord, you His godly ones, And give thanks to His holy name” (Psalm 30:4).

Is Murder a Choice of Man or a Choice of God?

The following is a question from a respondent to one of my articles. It was asked and responded to in a public forum.

Hello

You said, “Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying. My mother was brutally murdered when I was 8 years old. Are you saying my God wasn’t strong enough to save her or that He cares more about something (namely the free will of man) other than making life perfect and free from sin?”

The following is my response. Continue reading →

Praying For God to be Exalted in My Life

“Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Your glory be above all the earth” (Psalm 57:5).

As Christians, we desire to see God glorified in our lives. We desire that others will want to follow God because of what they see in us. We want to be used of God. We do not want to live this life and come into his presence with only selfishness and pride.

Sometimes, we struggle with where to begin; by this I mean practically. The most practical thing we can do is to pray to that end. But, we often do not know what or how to pray.

Years ago, I read A.W. Tozer’s book, The Pursuit of God. At the end of each chapter he suggests a prayer to be prayed. The one at the end of chapter 8 had a profound impact upon my life. I prayed this prayer reverently and thoughtfully. I must admit, I found it to be a challenge that could only be sincerely met by trusting God. I pray God might use this in your life as well, as you pray and ponder each aspect of this prayer for your own life

“O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions. Nothing of earth’s treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts. Though it means the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses, I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee.

Be Thou exalted over my reputation. Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream. Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me sink that Thou mayest rise above. Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humble little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, ‘Hosanna in the highest.’”[1]


[1] A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1982) 99-100.

God Protects His Temple and So Should We

“If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him” (1 Corinthians 3:17a)

“Under the Old Testament any person, other than the high priest on the Day of Atonement, who dared to enter the Holy of Holies, would drop dead on the spot. He would not need to be put to death by the people. God would strike him dead. Even less does God look kindly upon those who threaten or defile His holy people (Matthew 18:6–10).”[1] The things that destroy the temple of God were present in Corinth: pride, jealousy, unjustifiable elevation of human relationships, prolonged infancy, human wisdom, and milkoholism, all of which are the products of imposing human wisdom upon the temple of God. [2] By supplanting divine wisdom with human wisdom, they placed themselves under the patient but sure judgment of God. Using human wisdom to build the brick and mortar church building is fine, but building the church—the spiritual temple of God—with human wisdom is sin. Continue reading →

Following Christ and Church Discipline

The word for church, ekklasia, appears in the Gospels only twice. The first time is Matt 16:18, where Christ says, “I will build My church.” In this first mention of the church, Christ speaks of the universal church and establishes that it is His church, which He purchased with “His own blood” (Acts 20: 28; 1 Cor 11:24–25). He never abdicates His headship or ownership of the church to any self-enthroned human monarchy or oligarchy. Continue reading →

A Leader’s Prayer

May I lead only out of what You teach me as I follow You. May I be strong in leading others to follow You while always being gentle in demeanor, patient in temperament, and forgiving in failure.

May I lead through the prism of my weaknesses so that I may more clearly see the strengths of those whom I lead. Protect me from leading through the prism of my strengths thereby unnecessarily highlighting weaknesses of some whom I lead.

Thank You for constantly reminding me of my woeful inadequacy, incalculable failures, and what others must accept to be led by me so that I may lead out of humility and not pride and arrogance. May I bless You and them for their strengths and pray for their weaknesses.

“Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

Compatibilism and Libertarianism: A Summary

Much of the confusion in discussions between Extensivists (here used in place of non-Calvinists) and Calvinists is due to not understanding the different perspectives regarding man’s moral freedom. Calvinists believe man is free according to compatible moral freedom; in contrast, Extensivists believe man is free according to libertarian moral freedom. A clear understanding of these two ideas is essential to properly evaluating the claims of each perspective. The following is provided as a summary. A more detailed explanation can be found by searching Compatible and Libertarian Freedom. Continue reading →

God’s Knowledge of the Future Requires Neither Passivity Nor Determinism

Calvinism believes that God knows what will happen in the future, including everything each person will do because he has microscopically determined that humans perform such actions through decrees and compatible freedom. In very stark contrast, Extensivism believes that God knows everything including everything each person will do as well, but for different reasons. Extensivists recognize that Scripture presents the picture that God chose to create man in his image.[1] This includes the ability to choose otherwise within the range of options God has established, libertarian freedom, which is ubiquitously evident in Scriptures reflective of choosing between accessible options. Given that God chose to so endow man, God has eternally known every choice that every individual will make; further, while libertarian freedom is a force, it is a force created by God, and therefore, entirely under his sovereign rule. Continue reading →

A Prayer Against Pride

Pride is the great canopy for a galaxy of sins.

Today I am reminded once again of my pride because of the power of Your Word and the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. I can truly say with David, “My sin is ever before me” (Psalm 51:3).

My pride calls, wants, needs, and forefends every whimper of my flesh. Lord, my fear of praying about my pride is that I cannot possibly see it in all of its ghastly horror as You see it. Confessing it is even harder because my blindness to its subtleties only allows a miniscule portion to be confessed. I hate it! I hate it! I hate it! For as I grow in my walk with You, I see it is the seedbed of everything ungodly.

Although in this life, I may never eradicate the pride of my flesh, may You say of me as you did Hezekiah, “However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart” (2 Chronicles 32:26).

 Thank You for increasing my walk and reverence for You so that I may hate my pride. “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way, And the perverted mouth, I hate” (Proverbs 8:13).

 I do believe with all of my heart that “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor” (Proverbs 29:23).

Oh my Lord, how You can love me is beyond my understanding, but I thank You that You do, and that I know it.