Praying Prayers of Paul for the Church You Love
l Thessalonians 3:9-13
This week, take this prayer of the Apostle Paul and use it as a prompt to pray for North Wake.
For what thanksgiving can we return to God for you, for all the joy that we feel for your sake before our God, as we pray most earnestly night and day that we may see you face to face and supply what is lacking in your faith?
Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you, and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints. ~ 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
Meditation For Preparation
Adapted from "Morning and Evening". by Paul Tripp January 22
Read: 1 Jn. 5:13-21
Keep Yourself From Idols
I was in Northern India, in one of the high, holy cities of Hinduism. It was my first time ministering there, so I was on a four-day introduction tour of Hinduism. We had entered a temple that held the most horrific idol I had ever seen. I had no idea that things like this existed. It was a huge, maybe 20-foot-high, image of a male sexual organ. The Hindu pilgrims around me seemed emotional as they entered the temple. They seemed joyous, grateful that they were there. Many of them laid down flat on their stomachs before it. They kissed its base. It was one of the darkest spiritual scenes I had ever seen. Through our translator, we interviewed members of a dirt-poor Indian family who had walked for months to get to this holy city, to this temple of darkness. The scene was so spiritually oppressive that all I wanted to do was get out of the building.
I found myself trying to get through the busy streets to our vehicle, and as I did I kept saying to myself, "I thank God I'm not like these people, I thank God I'm not like these people." Then it hit me - I am! No, my idols aren't the dark idols of formal religion; they're the subtle idols of my everyday world. They're things that claim the place in my heart that only God should have. And they are just as vomitous to my Lord as that idol was to me. At that moment, I confessed to the worship war that takes place in my heart every day. I cried out for the rescue that only the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ could provide and I longed for the day when that war would finally be over.
Worship is not something we do only in formal religious settings once a week. God designed us to be worshippers. Everything we do is the product of worship. We are always giving our hearts to something, and if it's not God, it's something God created. All of this takes place in the little moments of our lives, and for that we need moment-by-moment grace. That's why John counsels us in 1 John 5:21 to keep ourselves from idols. There is no greater argument for our need for grace than the ease with which our hearts fall under the rule of things other than God. But that grace is yours for the taking. Won't you live in that rescuing grace today by resisting and running for the idols that challenge God's place in your heart?