Thursday, November 27, 2008

Romans 1:8-10

Romans 1:8-10
8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9 God, whom I serve with my whole heart in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10 in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God's will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

I thank You, my Lord and God, for the faith of my son Joshua. I thank You that he has placed his trust in Your Son, Jesus Christ, and that Joshua knows Jesus as his Saviour and also as his King. I thank You for the words that he has started to pray in recently, the way he talks to you and confidently declares, "You are my King... You are King over the whole world." I know this is true because I have read Matthew 28:18, where Jesus' words are recorded, "All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me." Yes, in resurrecting Jesus from the dead and in raising Him to heaven to the right hand of your throne, You have placed Him in authority over the earth as my King, Joshua's King, and indeed the King of the whole world, whether we recognise it or not. Please LORD, make Your name great and glorify Yourself in the heavens and on earth through the life and testimony of my son Joshua as well as through my life, Jeff's and our other children.

You know I was explaining again to the children today about what each of their names mean and I thank You for the reminder this gave me that Joshua's name means, "The LORD is salvation". I know this is true and I marvel at your Sovereign hand in guiding Jeff to choose that name for our firstborn son. HIs faith, at once so steadfast and yet also so naive, is a witness to me and to others of the salvation that comes only through Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ. I am so glad that You are using his faith to bring glory and renown to Yourself, LORD. Use all of us, please!

Thank You for the grace which You have extended to Joshua, so that he might already be able to talk clearly and confidently about what he knows and faithfully believes to be true about Yourself. Please help Jeff and I to continue to teach him about You, to bring him up to know and love and serve You. And I ask this for each of our other children as well, LORD, even though my heart is focused on Joshua this evening.

LORD, please help me to remember to pray for those in my family and for my close friends. Help me to remember them "constantly", as Paul said of himself, so that I may pray "at all times" in accordance with your will for our lives. Dearest Father, I pray especially that you will keep S safe from harm and that you will be with EK and his daughters A, O and T. Help him to wake up easily from the coma and please guide the hands of the surgeons as they operate upon his heart. LORD I pray that you will keep his brain as well as his heart now safe from harm from the heart attack. LORD God I pray for healing in the body of this special man. You know what a wonderful heart he has to do Your will and how much he has given up and been willing to forgo to prioritise Your work in his life. You know how kind he and EK have been to our family and how godly their counsel to us has been. You know the ways in which he has cared for our family and gently guided Jeff as he looked for a church to work at and now as we have prayed together over this current opportunity. It sounds almost to me like as I type this I am trying to convince You that S is a man worthy of Your healing and yet that is not what I mean. I am just trying to express my sincere thankfulness to You for the grace You have poured out into the life of S such that he has earnestly desired to live a life which is pleasing to You. And LORD, because of this life he has lived, I and I am sure many others have come to respect him and to be thankful for his ministry and so I pray that you will restore him to health so that their ministry may continue and may keep on bringing You glory.

O LORD it seems so sudden (of course it is!) and yet I know that You have been preparing the circumstances so that, in some ways, what has happened has been much easier than it could have been already. In particular I thank you that O and A have finished their exams for the year and that EK was able to finish her tasks as TL for the year before this happened. It has been a dreadful thing in their lives and I pray that You will give them strength and courage, and faith in You, to bear up under the weight of what has happened. And I want to than You so much for giving us that precious time with their family last Sunday after church so that we were able to benefit from S's godly wisdom and insight as well as EK's joyful enthusiasm for Your work in all the places where Your name is proclaimed. LORD God I thank You for enabling that meeting to happen before S's heart attack so that we could benefit and even as I write this I am again reminded of my own selfishness in thinking this. I am sorry but I still want to thank You for that opportunity, which, without Your Sovereign guiding hand, would not have been able to take place.

I pray that "now at last by God's will the way will be opened" for Jeff to work in a congregation which is firmly founded in a high view of Scripture and a faithful understanding of Who You are and what You have done for our salvation through the person and work of Your Son, Jesus Christ. LORD I place my trust in You in this matter. You know that Jeff was not sure whether he should work for the UC and he gave it a good shot (notice, LORD, I don't say his best shot, but then I must be honest before You and I know that you chose to use his misunderstandings at that interview to close the door for service with them. LORD we have submitted to Your will in this with gratefulness that we shall not have to follow that hard route. And now, there is this new opportunity which, as You know, may also take us out of our comfort zone, but this time I think in a good way. LORD God, it is hard to look forward to something which is as yet so uncertain and so I thank You that things are moving forward steadily and so much quicker than they ever did with Jeff's UC application. LORD God I thank You for the positive response Jeff has had so far, and I give Your name praise above all the heavens when I think about how Joshua answered the phone the other night and how completely gracious M was when I apologised for Joshua's assumption that the phone call would be from Daddy. O LORD I thank You for the protection which You provided then but also I thank You for the reminder that we will have to be "real" in every dealing with our future congregation. If Jeff is to teach them then they must see that he is both a real person who struggles with sin and also, at the same time, a faithful Christian who is being sanctified by the mighty work of Your Holy Spirit in his life. And LORD please help me to remember this for myself as well! Help me to be honest (although not in a way which might lead others into temptation) and humble. Yes, LORD, especially humble! Wasn't that one of the biggest reasons You have blessed me with four children, that I might learn humility? And patience, and endurance, and loving kindness, and good works, and faith and faith and faith IN YOU! O LORD I do ask that You will help things to move smoothly as Jeff and I head into the interview on Sunday. Help us to speak clearly and without pride. Help us to know what to ask, and when not to ask. Help us to be honest and in all things to remain faithful to Your will for our lives. Please open the door for us to serve in ways which will bring You glory and give us further opportunity to grow more like Your Son Jesus so that even in our everyday lives we may bring You glory also.


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