Exalt

Scripture

“Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭99:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observation

We exalt the Lord above all else.  We worship at his feet and cry holy.

Application

We extol, praise, esteem, and revere our holy God. There is no better place than to be at the feet of our Lord. 

Prayer

Lord we praise you and exalt you. May you always be the focus of our lives as we seek to glorify you. 

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Heart Praise

Scripture

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.”  ‭‭Psalms‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭ESV‬

Observation

The Lord protects and my heart finds refuge in him. Praise rises up within my being and I give thanks to the Lord. 

Application

The Lord provides strength and a shield against those things that can steer our hearts toward restlessness and fear. When anxiety rises the Word of God speaks into our heart words of peace and comfort. 

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.  Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:4-7

The Lord turns our restlessness to rest and praise and worship rises up out of the comfort and guidance the Lord provides. 

Prayer

Lord, I praise you and exalt you for my heart finds rest in your strength.  Today may praise rise up from the depths of my life and be ever present on my lips. 

Humble Worship

Scripture

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts,..”Psalms‬ ‭95:6-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observation

We are called to come in humility and worship the Lord our Maker. We are his people and he cares for us as a good shepherd. 

Application

Worship is an act of humility and commitment. When we come to worship we turn aside from our own selfish agendas and self promotions. In bowing our hearts and knees before the Lord we demonstrate the ultimate authority the Lord has over our lives. We choose to lay all at his feet. We lay down our own efforts and agendas and yield to our maker and King. 

The psalmist also reveals that our worship is not to a God who is far off but a God who is near and cares for us. Like a shepherd who cares for his sheep the Lord cares for us as his people because we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand. Being under his hand we submit ourselves to the authority of the our good shepherd and his guidance.  As we come to the Lord today may we not harden our hearts but yield fully to His leadership and guidance. 

Prayer

Lord, I choose today to come under your loving authority. I lay aside all self promotion so that I may exalt you in all areas of life. 

Anxiety to Prayer

Scripture 

“do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”  ‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observation

Replace anxiety with prayer, bringing your request to the Lord with thanksgiving. 

Application

Each day brings with it challenges and concerns. We have a choice to make; either we will respond with anxiety or prayer. Concerns for our children, frustrations we face at work, or changing life seasons will all stir a sense of anxiety.  May we turn these challenges into a prayer yielded to our sovereign Lord and full of thanksgiving for His care for us.   

Prayer

Lord in my everyday life may I turn the cares of this life into a prayer for your guidance. Instead of responding with worry and anxiety may I respond with a grateful heart for your tender mercy and peace. 

Perseverance in Prayer

Scripture

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”. ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭6:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observation

Active prayer takes place at all times in the Spirit and with all prayer and supplication. In prayer may we keep alert and persevere praying for one another. 

Application

Perseverance is a necessary element of prayer. We are to come back to our prayer closet seeking the purposes of God for our lives and one another. Each time we return in prayer we gain a greater understanding and clarity regarding God’s direction. Like a waiter who returns   to the table to see if more is needed, so too we go back to our Heavenly Father with perseverance asking if more is needed and requested. In our waiting for clarity we go back to the Lord to seek His vision for our life and circumstances. 

Prayer

Lord, may I not grow weary in prayer but may I persevere in seeking you for your direction in my life and that of others. 

Abiding Identity

Scripture

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”  ‭‭John‬ ‭15:5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Observation

Jesus is the vine by which we, the branches, abide and stay connected to him. In Christ we are able to bear much fruit but apart from him we can do nothing. 

Application

What makes the difference in a Christians life?  The unique characteristic of a follower of Christ is that he remains connected to Jesus Christ. In him we gain our identity, strength, and direction for life. Apart from the vine, Jesus, we loose the very thing that gives us life and uniqueness. 

Today it is often hard to tell the difference between followers of Christ and none believers because we have lost our unique identity in Christ. Our identity  is not found in casual church attendance but our true identity and strength come only in our daily abiding with Christ as we seek to remain connected to him moment by moment and day by day. 

Prayer

Lord may I today stay connected to you so that I may draw my identity and purpose from you alone. 

Turn

Scripture

And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:16-17

Observation

John the Baptist would turn many to the Lord. He will go in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, the disobedient to the wisdom of the just and make ready a people prepared for God. 

Application

Luke is referring to an Old Testament passage found in Malachi 4:5-6. 

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.  And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers,..”  Malachi 4:5-6

John the Baptist, empowered by the spirit of Elijah would be the messenger that would bring in the “awesome day of the Lord” when Jesus, the Messiah would appear before the people of God. As a result of his ministry, he would prepare the people of God to be received and led by their Lord. 

Twice Luke mentions to “turn”. Turn is a sign of repentance when a person changes direction from away from the Lord to the Lord. In this passage we see that many will “turn” to the Lord and the hearts of the father would “turn” to their children. These changes of direction would prepare the people of God for God’s purposes. 

John’s ministry would also turn the father’s hearts to their children. How does a father turn his heart toward his children?  I believe many fathers fall into a life of passivity when it comes to their children. They leave the guidance of his children and the next generation to the care of others. This is a radical turn for a father when he has a heart for the next generation and provides necessary guidance and direction.  

Prayer

Lord may I turn my heart to you and turn my heart to the next generation so that we may be prepared to be the people of God.