New Morning Mercies Feb 1

Today was an especially helpful New Morning Mercies devotional by Paul David Tripp.


Sure, you’ll face difficulty. God is prying open your fingers 
so you’ll let go of your dreams, rest in his comforts, and 
take up his call.

Think about the words penned by Peter near the beginning of his New Testament letter: “Now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:6–7).

As he opens his letter, Peter gives us a past-present-future summary of God’s redemptive plan, but his interest is really in what God is doing right here, right now between Christ’s first and second comings. Of all of the words that he could use to describe what God is doing now, he selects these three: grieved, trials, and tested. These are three words that most of us hope would never describe our lives. None of us gets up in the morning and prays, “Lord, if you love me, you will send more suffering my way today.” Rather, when we are living in the middle of difficulty, we are tempted to view it as a sign of God’s unfaithfulness or inattention.

Peter, however, doesn’t see moments of difficulty as objects in the way of God’s plan or indications of the failure of God’s plan. No, for him they are an important part of God’s plan. Rather than being signs of his inattention, they are sure signs of the zeal of his redemptive love. In grace, he leads you where you didn’t plan to go to produce in you what you couldn’t achieve on your own. In these moments, he works to alter the values of your heart so that you let go of your little kingdom of one and give yourself to his kingdom of glory and grace.

God is working right now, but not so much to give us predictable, comfortable, and pleasurable lives. He isn’t so much working to transform our circumstances as he is working through hard circumstances to transform you and me. Perhaps in hard moments, when we are tempted to wonder where God’s grace is, it is grace that we are getting, but not grace in the form of a soft pillow or a cool drink. Rather, in those moments, we are being blessed with the heart-transforming grace of difficulty because the God who loves us knows that this is exactly the grace we need.  

For further study and encouragement:
James 1:2–11. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.  
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.  

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away.  For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.


Praying for this Sunday, Every Sunday and Everyday

"The more I comprehend the full scope of the Gospel, the more I value the role that I value the church, for which Christ died (Ephesians. 5:25).  the more I value the role that I play in the lives of my fellow Christians, and the more I appreciate the role that they must be allowed to play in mine."  The Gospel Primer

A big part of this role of fellow Christians is praying for one another,  which is what we studied this week in Trinity Baptist Church's "Leadership is Influence" adult Bible class.  
The Sunday classes have been broken into several topics:  Personal, Church, Family, Work, Neighborhood, and Politics.  Each topic is divided into two disciplines:  Prayer (dependence upon God) and Productivity (stewardship for God's glory).

This past Sunday, January 26, we looked at Ephesians 4 to see how we could pray for the church.  
Our prayers for the church should demonstrate dependence upon God, a supernatural unity, thankfulness for God-given leaders, and ongoing Gospel growth.
It is my prayer that God would use this lesson to help, not only the class but also the whole church to pray for our church family and the pastors, elders, and other leaders.  

Here is a prayer I have prayed for Trinity and shared with the class.

Lord God,
We pray for the members of Trinity Baptist Church, every single member.
As we join together as a local body of believers, we pray for the leadership of TBC.  Thank you for giving them to us.  Help them to grow as disciples and to equip others to grow as disciples.
 Help us continue to build relationships with various missionaries and ministries of TBC in the Grand Rapids area and around the world.  We desire to support them with our prayers, finances, and whenever possible with our presence.
God, we do not want the ministry programs of TBC to become the end goal.  Let each of these provide opportunities to build God-glorifying relationship with others in the church and in the community.
As we live in the communities around the meeting place of TBC, help us see the opportunities you give us to share the hope we have in Christ and his life, death, resurrection.   
We pray all of this in the precious name of Jesus Christ, who gave himself up for his bride, the church.
One major part of the pastor's role is the teaching and preaching of God's Word.  With this in mind, I gave the class two sets of prayers for the sermon from Praying for Sunday by Mike Fabarez.  A link to the class lesson page, which includes several other websites with various prayers for the pastor and church leader is right after these sermon prayers.  I very much appreciated the prayers of many different people when I was serving as a pastor at Emmanuel and West Cannon and I have been trying to make it a point to be an encouragement to the pastors of Trinity.

Pray for Sermon Preparation.

  1. Pray that the message your pastor is preparing to preach would be an evident part of his own life.
  2. Pray for the protection of your pastor’s sermon preparation time.
  3. Pray that your pastor will be given grace and illumination to rightly divide God’s word.
  4. Pray that the words your pastor chooses to frame the outline would be effective and powerful tools for the Holy Spirit to employ. 
  5. Pray that your pastor would have insight into the needs of the congregation as he prepares.
Pray for the Response to the Sermon
  1. Pray that all, including yourself, will put the sermon into practice.
  2. Pray that the sermon will not be compartmentalized.
  3. Pray that the application of the sermon would be contagious.
  4. Pray that the sermon itself will be repeatedly delivered.
For more resources go to the Pray for Your Church lesson page.