Sunday, November 30, 2008

Romans 15:4-6

Romans 15:4-6
4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
5 May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6 so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Verses 4 and 5 tell us that it is God who has given us the Scriptures, which were written in the past. They also tell us one of the purposes of the Scriptures: namely, that we will be encouraged as we find reason to hope from what we read in Scripture. It is also through the evidence of our own endurance in the Christian faith that we find another reason to hope. Paul asks in his prayer here (verses 5-6) for the Roman Christians, that God will add to their endurance and encouragement an attitude (spirit) of unity, togetherness, a common purpose - to glorify God as one.

My Father in heaven, You have enabled us to endure together through three years of Theological study for Jeff. And we have not only endured, by Your grace we have thrived. Our faith in You has grown stronger and we have both become a lot closer to You as we have been taught soundly and got to know You better. It is You who gave Jeff the desire to get His Masters, and You also helped me to deal with all of my hesitations and concerns over what that would entail. You helped me to endure the uprooting process as we left Darwin and You went before us here to Perth, helping us find suitable accommodation that we have been able to afford for the entire three years of study. You found friends for me and opened doors for me to meet people whom I would love and be loved by, such that I have learnt not to worry that this will not be the case as we now enter a new phase of our lives.

You have given me encouragement as well. Encouragement in the way You provided for us but also the deeper encouragement which comes from hearing godly counsel from Your word, and being taught the truth of Your nature: Your sovereignty, Your trustworthiness, Your grace and mercy and Your plan for the redemption of Your chosen ones. And You have given me confidence that Your plan includes a role for me, as well as for my husband. You have shown me that I can make a difference in the lives of those around me, teaching them about You and Your Son. You have encouraged me with visible fruit from my labours, and with the reminder from Your word that all of this will bring You glory eternally. Oh LORD, I am so thoroughly grateful for that!

LORD I pray that You will unite Jeff and I in our ministry to Your people. I pray that You will guide me in what ways You want me to support and help Jeff. LORD, I pray that You will give the pastor selection committee wisdom and discernment as they pray and discuss the possibility of Jeff's appointment. I pray that You will give them one heart to fulfil your will in the matter of this appointment, whether it is to be Jeff who is chosen or some other person. LORD, the interview seemed to go well but Jeff and I know that we cannot second-guess You, who Created us for Your purposes, with Your plan in mind, not to make us "happy" in the selfish and short-sighted way we tend to look at things. I pray that whatever the decision, You will make it one which will bring glory to Your name, the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Lord over Jeff and I and over the congregation of Your saints at BCC.

And this is only one part of our lives, LORD. I pray that You will unify Jeff and I together with your church to bring You glory with all that we do, not only those things which we naturally think of as Christian Ministry. LORD, You are God and King over all of our lives, not simply some of the hours, or some of the days. Please make our lives a testimony to Your grace to us, and thus make our lives a source of glory and praise to Your name. May You be forever praised!!!

In the name of Jesus Christ, who died for my sins and who made me into a new creation so that I may serve Him, together with my husband, according to Your eternal purposes for me. Amen.

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