No Doubt.

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Hebrews 7, Ezekiel 39-41

Ezekiel 39:28 – Then they shall know that I am the LORD, their God, because I sent them into exile among the nations and then assembled them into their own land.  I will leave none of them remaining among the nations anymore.

Lord, you made it absolutely clear in the lives of your people that you were at work in their story.  You sent them into exile.  And then, just like you promised, you brought them back home, none were left behind.  Lord God, make it absolutely clear in the lives of the people I know and the people I don’t know that you are God.  Make it clear in their life and even in their hearts that you are LORD.  Work by your Spirit, by your Word, and by your power so that they will know without a shadow of a doubt that you are LORD – their LORD, their Savior, their God and Father.  And give me the same.  Breathe your Holy Spirit into me, O Father, that I may know and be sure that you are Lord.  Breathe into me that I might live with the certainty and confidence that comes from being your child.  Amen.

Anchored

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Hebrews 4:14-6:20, Ezekiel 35-38

Hebrews 6:18-19 – We, who have fled for refuge, might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.

Lord God, in this world where everything changes as soon as I get it figured out, where my phone or my computer is constantly getting updated, and it still doesn’t work quite right. In this world, things are constantly in flux and on the move, where families rarely stay in one place, in one house, in one city, for their whole life or career, and there is hardly one home in which the family grows up and stays.  In this world, where everything is constantly changing, there is one place, Lord, and one Person, Jesus, where I can find an anchor for my soul and an anchor for my life.  You are that person, Jesus. Your Word is that place, Lord God.  And I am thankful for you and for the anchor and stability that you give me. You are sure and certain.  Your Word is constant and true.  Your love is faithful and new every morning.  Lord, thank you for this certainty, for this sure and certain anchor for my soul.  Yes, thank you for this anchor for my whole life.  You and your Word keep me grounded and close to my eternal home for my entire life. Thank you, Lord God.  Amen.

God’s Rest

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Hebrews 3:1- 4:13, Ezekiel 32-34

Hebrews 4:9-10 – So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God rested from his.

Lord God, every single day you invite me to come to you and rest my soul in your finished work.  And it is.  You created this world, perfectly and completely, and you give it to me.  You care for me and pour your care into my life, perfectly and completely, giving me just what I need just when I need it. Just like you care for the sparrows, so you care for me.  I have nothing to worry about.  You give me full and complete salvation, perfectly and fully. You have totally finished the work of my salvation.  I don’t have to worry about judgment. Everything is taken care of – here on earth and for my eternity in heaven.  Lead me to rest in your finished work today so that I rest from my work, just like you rested from yours.  Amen.

They Will Know

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Hebrews 1-2, Ezekiel 28-31

Ezekiel 29:21 – On that day I will cause a horn to spring up for the house of Israel, and I will open your lips among them. Then they will know that I am the Lord.

Lord God, I notice this refrain throughout the book of Ezekiel: “Then they will know that I am the Lord.”  You say it when you’re talking about judgment that you’re bringing on your people.  You say it when you’re talking about the redemption that you’re bringing to your people.  Again and again you make it clear that everything you do in the lives of people is so that we will know that you are Lord.  If we’ve forgotten, you whack us on the side of the head so that we’ll come to our senses.  If we think that you’ve forgotten or abandoned us, then you come to our aid at just the right time so that we know you are the Lord.  O Lord, keep working in my life so that I always know and remember that you are the Lord.  And God, please do the same in the world.  Keep working through hardship and joys so that people will know that you are the Lord, the only one.  Keep working through events in people’s lives and especially through the gospel so that all people will know and believe that you are the Lord. Amen.

Imitate God

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3 John 1, Ezekiel 24-27

3 John 1:11 – Beloved, do not imitate evil but imitate good.  Whoever does good is from God; whoever does evil has not seen God.

Lord God, living in this world there isn’t a lot of behavior out there that I’d really like to imitate.  So much of what I see on TV isn’t something that I want to copy, not the language and not the behavior.  So much of what I hear in the language of people and from their behavior isn’t that great.  And it’s everywhere.  It’s easy to fall into a monkey see, monkey do way of living.  I learn to imitate what I see and hear.  Lord, influence me by your Spirit and by your Word so that more and more I imitate you.  Help my words to be influenced by the good things of your Word so that I say what is good, pleasing and pleasant.  Help my actions to be guided by your Spirit into the path of what is good.  Compel all my motives so that all that I do is driven by your love for me.  Work in my, Lord God, from the inside out so that I thoroughly like you in my life.  And, then, Lord God, let your work in me be evident to the world so that when they see me, they see you.  Amen.

Work/Rest Rhythm

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Proverbs 27, Psalm 123-128

Psalm 127:2 – It is vain that you rise early and go to bed late, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Lord Jesus, work is important.  There is the reality of sowing and reaping; unless I sow, there will be nothing to reap.  There is a reality that if I do not do the work assigned to me, then there will be no fruits of my labor.  Unless I train my children, they will grow up without knowing you.  Unless I tell people about Jesus, they will go about without knowing him.  There is certainly work to be done.  But there is no reason for me to be anxious about it.  There is not reason to get up extra early or stay up extra late as if the extra hours were to make me more successful.  There is no reason to stress about it.  Lord Jesus, help me to find the rhythm between work and rest, the rhythm you created when you created in six days and rested on the seventh.  Help me enjoy the rhythm between work and rest, the rhythm that you established when you created evening and morning the first day.  Help me work while it is day.  Help me to rest when it is night.  Most of all, give rest to my soul knowing that all the important stuff – my salvation – is kept in heaven already for me.  Give rest to my soul because you are shielding me with your power until your coming on the last day.  Lord Jesus, your rest is mine all day and all night.  Pour it out on me more and more so that I enjoy what is already mine.  Amen.

True Love

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2  John 1, Ezekiel 21-23

2 John 6 – And this is love, that we walk according to the commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard it from the beginning so that you should walk in it.

Lord God, you have made it very clear from the very beginning how I should be living and acting in relationships with you and with other people.  You make it very clear that you are to be my number one.  You are my only God.  Your name is precious to me and I love to rest in your promises.  You also speak clearly to me about how to love my neighbor; your commandments tell me exactly how.  This is where I learn what love is.  This is how I learn how to love my neighbors – all the people with whom I interact.  Lord Jesus, help me to remember your clear words in the commandments and let these guide me and instruct me.  Let your commands teach me how to love my neighbor, whomever that happens to be in any given moment.  Amen.

Partners

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Mark 16, Ezekiel 18-20

Mark 16:20 – And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.

Lord Jesus, I am always amazed at the boldness with which the disciples went out as witnesses after the resurrection. Before they were scared and running away from the battle.  After they rushed headlong into the battle with the gospel about you.  They were not afraid because you were with them.  In fact, Lord, you actually worked with them; they were partners with you in their gospel work.  How cool is that!?!  Lord Jesus, fill me with the same boldness with which you empowered them.  Set me on my feet and send me running into the battle with the gospel of Jesus.  Yes, Lord Jesus, come with me as I go with the gospel and work in me, with me and through me as I go into the world to do.  Do not let my work for you go for nothing.  Do not let it be in vain.  Go with me and work with me as I do your work today.  Amen.

Instead

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Mark 15, Ezekiel 16-17

Mark 15:11 – But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead.

Oh, the irony, Jesus! Oh, the irony.  The chief priests and the crowd were practically rioting to see Jesus crucified.  They were willing to do anything to see Jesus die.  They were so out of control in their thinking that they thought it was better to have them release Barabbas, a known rebel, murderer, insurrectionists, and criminal back into freedom.  Their thinking makes no sense on no level.  But neither does your, Lord Jesus.  And for my sake and for the sake of everyone else who has, is, or ever will walk this earth, I am glad that it doesn’t.  While the Jews demanded freedom for Barabbas instead of for you, you willingly gave yourself into death instead of Barabbas and me.  Yes, Jesus, you willingly and gladly gave yourself up to death instead of me, so that me, me a known rebel and a sinner against you, O God, might go free.  You, Lord Jesus, willingly let them have their way, so that I could go mine, free and clear, forgiven and justified.  Thank you!  Amen.

No Accusation

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 Mark 14:43-72, Ezekiel 13-15

Mark 14:55-56 – Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none.  For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree.

Lord Jesus, I don’t think that people would have to look to far or think too hard at my life to accuse me of something.  And they wouldn’t even have to lie. My kids especially wouldn’t, nor would my wife.  They see me at my absolute worst. They get the absolute worst from me. I usually cover up and hide from people outside our house.  They don’t see the full ugliness, though it is also certainly evident.  They wouldn’t have to think too long of all my sins against them and against you.  I’m thankful for your forgiveness and forgetfulness.  It is undeserved, but they give it anyway; sometimes without me even asking for it.  Lord Jesus, more than that I’m thankful for your spotless record.  They couldn’t find anything against you, even when they lied about it.  Because of your spotless record I am free and clear.  There is nothing that you, O God, will find against me or on my record.  There is nothing about which the Devil can rightly accuse me anymore.  My record is clear and clean.  And that means that today I don’t have to live as if I had to make up for all my past sins.  I don’t have to work hard to have a clean record; it is already clean.  It means that today I don’t have to make up for or atone for past sins.  They have already been atoned for and forgiven.  I am free and clear.  I get to. Live without any guilt, any fear, any shame.  Set me free – more and more – by this truth, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

Beautiful Things

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Mark 14:1-42, Ezekiel 10-12

Mark 14:6 – Jesus said, “Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

Lord Jesus, you say such astounding things at the strangest times. You’re getting to go to the cross to die and you’re taking time to protect this woman from the scorn of the disciples.  And even more than that you’re even calling her work of feet anointing a beautiful thing. I certainly wouldn’t have called this beautiful.  She’s washing your feet!  But that tells me how you view our works, our regular, ordinary works. I never would call helping my kids with their math “beautiful” but you do. I would never call cleaning up the kitchen “beautiful” but you do. I would never call simple things beautiful.  Necessary and important, yes.  But beautiful, probably not.  Jesus, what great honor you show me.  The things that I do in my life, when I simply show my love for you and my love for my neighbor – whoever that happens to be in my life – you love that!  You call it beautiful.  Even the seemingly most meaningful task in my day of service to other people is beautiful in your sight.  Give me joy to know how you view my service.  Give me joy to serve you and my neighbors in this. Amen.

I love God's Word.

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Proverbs 26, Psalm 119:161-176, Psalm 120-122

Psalm 119:162 – 163 – I rejoice at your Word like one finds great spoil.  I hate and abhor falsehood, but I love your law.

Lord God, your Word is so good. It is pure and perfect in every way.  It is inspired by your Spirit and it is useful for this life and to save me for the next. It tastes good to me, even when it confronts that which is sinful in me. It tastes even better when it tells me how good you are, Father, and how great your Son is. I love your Word. Help me to hate false and evil things and to run away from them. Give me a heart to save out of the fire those who are caught up in it. And increase in me, more and more, a love for your Word so that I seek you in it every day and meditate on it all day long. Amen.

Sigh. Groan.

Mark 13:32-37, Ezekiel 6-9

Ezekiel 10:4 – And the LORD said to him, “Pass through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.”

Lord Jesus, I’m sighing and groaning as I think about all the evil in this world and even a fascination with it. I hear a news report about a guy who collects ouija boards as a hobby and has thousands of them.  I see the month of October full of horror movies, some of which seem to border on Satanic and people flock to them.  I see that perversions, things that are not natural, are becoming normal.  My heart cries because of shooters in Vegas and gunmen in churches.  My heart weeps most of all because the love of most is groan cold and more and more people are leaving the faith while countless others refuse to come.  Lord Jesus, mark my family with the cross of your Son and save us from this evil age.  Lord Jesus, mark my children through their baptism and claim them as your own. Save those in my church family from this present evil age. Save the people in this community from the evil of this age. Use me in my family, in my church, in my community to be the one who marks them with your Son as I make him known to the people in my life. In this way, I will save both myself and the people I care about now and the people I will grow to care about.  Amen.

Stand me up, Lord.

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Mark 13:1-31, Ezekiel 1-5

Ezekiel 2:2 – And as he spoke to me, the Spirit entered into me and set me on my feet, and I heard him speaking to me.

Lord Jesus, you have called me to serve you.  Yes, the way in which you have called me is different from the calling that Ezekiel had and yet the need for me to have strength, courage, perseverance, and boldness from you is the same. Lord Jesus, send your Spirit into me daily, hourly, even minute-by-minute, that I might stand up to do the work to which you have called me. Make me the parent that my children need. Make me the husband/wife that my wife/husband needs. Make me the pastor my people need.  Make me the brother/sister my siblings need. Make me the friend which my friends need. Make me the neighbor my neighbors need. Stand me up on my feet and send me on my way to do that work to which you have called me. Embolden me for the tasks that require boldness. Give me endurance for the tasks that require patient perseverance. Make me gentle for those people who need gentleness. Stand me up and shape me for each task and calling to which you have called me.  Amen.

Do you even know?

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Mark 12, Lamentations 4-5

Mark 12:24 – Jesus said to them, “Is this not the reason you are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God?”

Lord Jesus, the Pharisees and the Sadducees show their ignorance.  They ask their questions of Jesus, but they don’t even know the Scriptures.  They have fallen away from the faith because they haven’t spent their time studying and knowing the Scriptures.  Lord Jesus, keep me from this!  I pray you, Lord Jesus, by the constant teaching of your Spirit and the constant meditating on your Word, teach my heart, guide my life, and instruct my mind.  I pray, by Your Word transform my heart and mind so that all these important questions are answered not by my understanding but by the truth of your Word. Speak clearly to me in your Word and give me faith to understand, apply, and believe it.  Help me stand up in faith on the truth of your Word.  Amen.

Confident Prayer

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Mark 11, Lamentation 1-3

Mark 11:24 – Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

Lord Jesus, I hear you say this and suddenly I wonder how true it is and what exactly it means.  Does this mean that I don’t get what I’ve asked for because I don’t believe in you enough? Does this mean that when my prayer isn’t answered that I’m too sinful to get anything from you?  What exactly does this mean? Doubts enter my prayer life.  Questions enter my prayer life.  But that’s not how you would have me prayer.  Lord Jesus, you would have me pray with a confidence that doesn’t doubt and that isn’t blown around like waves in the sea.  Lord Jesus, this is my 100% confidence as I enter your presence to prayer.  I am 100% sure that you love me and you’re listening when I pray. I am 100% certain that you actually do care about my prayers.  I am 100% sure that no request of mine is beyond your powerful answer.  I am 100% confident that your will and your answer to my prayer is what truly is best. Beyond, this Lord Jesus, I only have questions because I do not know what is best for me. I do not know what is truly best for the people in my life or the people outside my circles.  Lord Jesus, teach me to prayer with confidence because of what I know for sure.  Teach me to pray with boldness because you invite to ask for anything.  And teach me to humbly submit my will to yours because you truly do know best.  Amen.

Mercy!

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Mark 10:32-52, Jeremiah 52

Mark 10:47 – And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me.”

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.  I am helpless in so many ways.  I am helpless in the face of your judgment because your judgment is right and I am a sinner.  I am helpless in the life that live because even though I think I have control over my health, my wallet, or any other part of my life, I really have no control; control is but an illusion.  I am helpless in every part of my life.  Lord Jesus, have mercy me.  I am but a beggar. I am thoroughly a sinner. Have mercy, Lord Jesus, and save me from my sin. Have mercy, Lord Jesus, and forgive me. Have mercy, Lord, and give me health, and strength, and pleasures and joy. Have mercy, Lord, and guide me in the path that leads to eternal life.  Have mercy Lord Jesus, have mercy.  Amen.

Delighted

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Proverbs 25, Psalm 119:121-160

Psalm 119:143 – Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments give me delight.

Lord God, as I live out my life trouble and anguish are never far away. I can never get far from trouble and anguish in my life.  It is always right there, right around the corner.  Lord, help me to endure these troubles patiently and joyfully.  And more than, Lord God, give me joy to hear your Word, give me delight in following your commandments.  When trouble and hardship would steal my joy and break my spirit, restore my spirit in me and grant me joy in my salvation.  Help me to delight in the good words that flow from your pen.  As I draw near to your house to worship tomorrow, help me to delight in your Word as the banquet from you that it really is.  Amen.

Rewards of Grace

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Mark 10:1-31, Jeremiah 50-51

Mark 10:29-30 – Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will receive a hundred fold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.”

Lord Jesus, it really is a difficult thing to follow you.  It means to leave behind everything that matters to me and to consider it a small thing next to holding on to you.  It means to consider my family to be a small thing because you are a big thing.  It means to consider my property a small thing because you are my all in all.  It means to risk my life, limb and safety for your sake because you are one and only God and Savior.  But this is hard because my heart gets attached to  all these things.  It is hard for my heart to truly hold you as my number one when I grow attracted and attached to all these things.  But Lord Jesus, I see where you’re going with this.  When I value you as my number one, then I am really free to enjoy all these other gifts.  When I have you, then I really find joy in these gifts of grace from you.  Lord Jesus, help me to break my love affair with the things of this world and people in my life so that you are my everything.  Then, help me to enjoy these people and these things as the gifts from you that they are.  Help me also to endure whatever persecution and hardship comes because of my devotion to you alone.  Amen.

Last Not First

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Mark 9:14-50, Jeremiah 48-49

Mark 9:35 – And he sat down and called the Twelve.  And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Lord Jesus, I find myself walking with the disciples and debating about who is really great in your sight.  The whole time I want the answer to be me.  I think so often about greatness in terms of a position, power, prominence, importance, even success and accolades. And that’s why these words are so important for me to understand.  My greatness comes from your grace that elevates me to be your son.  My greatness comes from your grace that justifies me.  Grace calls me to my vocation. Grace calls me to a place in life where I can serve other people and be of benefit to them. Teach me, Savior, Jesus, to rejoice in my calling and to serve people from that calling.  It is a great thing for me to be redeemed by you, to be called by you, to be kept by you. Help me to find joy in serving other people.  Amen.