Law and Gospel Meditations
Praise: (Psalm 90:1,2) Lord, you have been our dwelling place throughout all generations. Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
God is not limited by time like we are. He is not affected by the rushing of the clock. He does not grow wiser with the years because He knows all. His patience allows Him to answer each request perfectly and in the right time.
Confession: (Psalm 27:14) Wait for the Lord; be strong, and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Do you wait patiently when God does not seem to answer your prayers? Do you trust that He sees and knows more about the situation than even you know? Do you believe that He cares more for you than you care for yourself, that His tender heart feels the pain you feel? Do worrying and fretting about your future replace waiting for the Lord?
Assurance of forgiveness: (Isaiah 53:6) We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
"...Yonder on Calvary's mount outpoured - there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt." (Grace Greater than Our Sin)
Praise: (Psalm 104:24,25) How many are thy works, O Lord! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number- living things both large and small.
When we try to consider all the different designs the Lord used to create the different types of plants and animals, it is beyond our comprehension. There are creatures that use all kinds of ingenious methods to move about and survive. The Lord enjoyed his work and took pride in it. He said it was good. But He was not so caught up in his creating that He overlooked his most important possession: His people.
Confession: (Philipians 2:7,8) but made himself nothing, taking very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross!
Do you have this mind of Christ, or have you been so involved in your work or other activity that your people have had to take a second place? Is providing more money, succeeding at your job or succeeding in the eyes of your friends more important than it should be? Your family, your friends, and your associates need you. They need to see Jesus in you, in your actions, and in your concern for them.
Assurance of forgiveness: (Psalm 103:12) as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. "My sin, not in part, but the whole, is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul." (It is Well with my Soul)
Praise (John 1:18) No one has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.
It is easy to overlook the greatness and holiness of God. He is above us not just because He is more powerful than us and is in control of stars and planets far away. It is because there is no speck of any impurity in Him. Goodness and mercy radiate from Him.
Confession: (Job 13:9) Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive men?
Have you become so accustomed to being accepted by your church and fellow Christians that you have lost sight of the mercy of God? You may have been a believer for years, and have developed a lifestyle that fits nicely with your Christian friends. You go to church regularly, donate time and money to your church or missions, and are a part of a Christian family. Is an attitude creeping into your heart that you are acceptable to God in your own right? God is holy and cannot tolerate any sin in his presence. Is your giving completely from a pure heart, or do you enjoy the prestige that comes with being known as a "good giver"? Are your dealings with your family done from pure goodness, or is there some selfishness present? Are you glad to see others get ahead in life, without feeling at all jealous? If there is any hint of impurity in your life, it is abhorrent to God.
Assurance of forgiveness: (II Corinthians 5:21) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
"Dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne". (My Hope is Built on Nothing Less) Jesus has His righteous life for us to wear on judgement day.
Praise: (Isaiah 6:1-4) In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filed the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings; With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.
It is difficult to put an experience of the greatness of God into words. We can see God's glory all around us because the earth is full of His glory. In heaven, His glory is cause for rejoicing. His holiness is a cause for praise.
Confession: (Isaiah 6:5) "Woe to me!" I cried. "I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty."
Have your eyes been taken off a focus on heaven and shifted to the world? Are you content to just have a home similar to your neighbors, have an average standard of living, and live comfortably in this life? Have you lost the feeling that this world is just temporary, susceptible to moth and rust corruption? God can make you painfully aware of this by taking everything you have away, but He prefers that you realize it and change to better serve Him. Money, insurance, retirement accounts, good jobs, prestige, and supervisory positions are dangerous. Have you allowed them to make you too comfortable here on earth, with no heavenly vision?
Assurance of forgiveness: (Isaiah 6:6,7) Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, "See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for."
"Though we have sinned He has mercy and pardon, pardon for you and for me." (Softly and Tenderly)
Praise: (II Corinthians 1:3) Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort.
"There's a wideness in God's mercy like the wideness of the sea; there's a kindness in his justice which is more than liberty." (There's a Wideness in God's Mercy)
We have a Father who feels for us. Even though we may have been adults for many years, He handles us with kid gloves, caring for us, listening to our troubles, and comforting us.
Confession: (Luke 10:30,31) In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side.
Are you sensitive to those who are hurting around you? They may not be hurting physically, as this man. You do not need to go to skid row to find them. They are all around you. Do you try to sense children that are lonely or suffering from a poor home life and need encouragement? Do you compliment teenagers that are struggling with a poor self-image because of some physical defect they think they have? Do you bring a little joy to those who are struggling with money, marriage, or other problems? Or do you give them a wide berth, as the priest did and go about trying to get one more step up in the world?
Assurance of forgiveness: (Titus 3:5) He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy.
"Whiter than snow, yes, whiter than snow. Now wash me and I will be whiter than snow." (Whiter than Snow)
Praise: (Psalm 62:1) My soul finds rest in God alone;
God is a God of work, but He is also a God of rest. God does not grow weary, but rest is worthwhile in and of itself. God called the seventh day especially holy because He rested on that day. He reflected on His finished work and rejoiced in it. He is the only source for true rest.
Confession: (Matthew 11:28-30) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
The rest offered by Jesus is a rest of the soul. It is not found in the competition and struggle present in the world. It is not even found in trying to keep the law of God. It is only found in the cross that Jesus provides for us. Do you have that peace of soul, or does unrest dwell where the peace that passes all understanding should be?
Assurance of forgiveness: (Ephesians 1:7) In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
"There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains." (There is a Fountain)
Praise (Psalm 27:1) The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
"Come, Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing thy grace." (Come Thou Fount)
Confession: (Matthew 5:16) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
God is the source of all good. People who are not yet part of the kingdom of God also do good deeds, but the devil is not really comfortable with that situation. The devil's kingdom is built on the belief that acquiring power and pride is the ultimate goal. If love, charity and self-sacrifice were to suddenly advance in this world, he would have a much more difficult task leading people astray. Even though proclaiming the gospel is our most important weapon, every good deed we do strikes a hammer blow against the kingdom of darkness. Every smile to cheer someone, every kind word to someone who has offended us, and every offering of food or help to the sick reflect our Father's goodness and advances His kingdom. Have you been missing these opportunities?
Assurance of forgiveness: (Isaiah 53:5) But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
"Oh!, precious is the flow that makes me white as snow; no other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus" (Nothing but the Blood)
Praise: (Psalm 27:4) One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
"Fair are the meadows, fairer still the woodlands, robed in the blooming garb of spring: Jesus is fairer, Jesus is purer, Who makes the woeful heart to sing." (Fairest Lord Jesus!)
Confession: (James 2:10) For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
It is clear from reading the Bible and living with people that, for some reason, each person is attracted more to some types of sins than others. Do you evaluate a person's possible interest in God by whether the sins he commits are open or socially repugnant? That kind of attitude will prevent you from having a ministry like Jesus had to sinners.
Assurance of Forgiveness: (Colossians 2:13,14) When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
"Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God shouldst die for me?" (And Can it be that I Should Gain?)
Praise: (Romans 8:28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
"His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood" (My Hope is built on nothing less)
Confession: (Psalm 34:10) The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
At one time you thought trusting God was easy. But now, it seems God has forgotten you. Your pleadings for an answer to your problems seem to have brought no response from heaven. You have fallen to the temptation that was given to Eve in the Garden of Eden: to doubt the goodness of God. You have lost confidence in God and also in your own self for not having the faith to sustain yourself through these problems.
"When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay." (My Hope is built on Nothing Less)
Assurance of Forgiveness: (Colossians 1:13,14) For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
"On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand." (My Hope is built on Nothing Less)
Praise: (Psalm 36:7) How priceless is your unfailing love! Both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail, Thy mercies how tender how firm to the end! Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer and Friend. (O Worship the King)
Confession: (Psalm 10:1) Why, O Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
(Mark 15:34) And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice...My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
While statements like these that question the actions of God are unusual, they show us the openness and honesty great men of God had in their prayers. These qualities made them special in God's eyes. Are your prayers becoming artificial? Do you really mean everything you say to God? Have your prayers become repetitious and self-centered, cutting you off from real communication with God, your Father?
Assurance of forgiveness: (I Peter 3:18) For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.
And I love that old cross where the dearest and best for a world of lost sinners was slain. (The old Rugged Cross)