Archive for September, 2020

Justice and Righteousness


Written by John Calvin (1509-1564), a French theologian, pastor, reformer of the Protestant Reformation, and principal figure in developing the reformed theology known as Calvinism. This is an excerpt from his book “Golden Booklet of the True Christian Life.”

The goal of the new life is that God’s children exhibit melody and harmony in their conduct. What melody? The song of God’s justice. What harmony? The harmony between God’s righteousness and our obedience.  Only if we walk in the beauty of God’s law do we become sure of our adoption as children of the Father.

The laws of God contains in itself the dynamic of the new life by which his image is fully restored in us; but by nature we are sluggish and, therefore, we need to be stimulated, aided in our efforts by a guiding principle. A sincere repentance from the heart does not guarantee that we shall not wander from the straight path and sometimes become bewildered. Let us then search Scripture to find the root principle for the reformation of our life.


From the PC-USA Book of Common Worship

We need not hide ourselves from you,

before whose justice no one can stand.

Your mercy was proclaimed by the apostles and the prophets,

and shown forth to us in Jesus Christ.

You give your law to guide us,

and you promise new life for all,

that we may live to serve you among our neighbors

in all we do and say.  Amen.

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Written by Francine Rivers, contemporary Christian author. This is an excerpt from her book “Earth Psalms: Reflections of How God Speaks Through Nature.”

Rick and I get up early, and we’re often treated to a sunrise casting its glow along the horizon. Early evening brings the sunset. Each winter, winds strip our oak of its broad leaves, so we can see the full blaze of glory from our deck.  Colors, so many colors. Sunrise often brings pinks, lavenders, and pale yellows that give way to pale blue above a sea of white cotton clouds. By five o’clock, the sun is going down. One night, the sky was molten hot red with streaks of fiery orange and gold. Another night, the clouds turned lavender and pink, then purple. When the sun disappeared, the sky turned indigo, then black with diamond dust tossed onto heavenly canvas.

Sunrise, sunset. Both amaze us. Each day is different, unique, rich in variant hues, with swirls of gauzy cloud designs that shape and color by the minute—all painted by the Artist as we watch in awe. I have come to see these time of incredible beauty as God’s daily greetings, a reminder that He loves us and is ever present. We are never alone. We can speak with Him anytime, day or night. Sunrise is God’s “Good morning.” I can look forward to the day, knowing He will guide and protect me. As Scripture tells us, “His mercies begin afresh each morning.” What a wonderful promise! Yesterday’s mistakes don’t carry over. Today is a new beginning, and God can open my eyes to new friends, possibilities, opportunities. And then, in the evening as the sun goes down in all its glory, God’s “Good Night” reassures me that I am in His hand and on His heart, and He watches over me as I sleep. Morning, evening, or in the darkest stretches of the night, He is never off duty. 


Written by Francine Rivers, author of the meditation.

Lord God, I am grateful for Your amazing sunrises and sunsets, which remind me of Your love and Your presence. Thank You that Your mercies begin afresh each day. Your forgiveness allows me to begin every morning anew, ready to see what You have for me. In the evening, when I lie down to sleep, may I rest in the knowledge that You have been with me all day and will continue to watch over me.

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Importance of Prayer


Written by Francis de Sales (1567-1622), Bishop of Geneva known for his gentle approach to the religious divisions from the Protestant Reformation. This is excerpted from his book “Introduction to the Devout Life.”

Prayer places our understanding in the brightness of God’s light, and exposes our will to the warmth of His love. Nothing else effectively purifies our understanding of its ignorance and our will of its depraved affections. It is the water of blessing which, as it flows, revives the plants of our good desires and causes them to bloom, washes the imperfections from our soul, and quenches the fire of the passions of our heart. By looking at our Lord often in meditation, your whole being will be filled with Him. You will learn His attitudes and model your actions on His.

Begin any kind of prayer, whether mental or vocal, by recalling the presence of God. Keep to this rule without exception. You will soon realize how helpful it is for you. Do not hurry to say many prayers, but those you do pray, say from the heart.


Written by Polycarp (65-155), a Christian presbyter of Smyrna and Christian martyr.

May God the Father, and the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and love, and grant to us our portion among the saints with all those who believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for all saints, for kings and rulers, for the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound and we many be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

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Written by Ron Lambros, contemporary pastor, speaker, teacher, and writer.  This is an excerpt from his book “All My Love, Jesus: Personal Reminders From the Heart of God.”

The strength and power needed to persevere in the Christian life are not revealed in moments of crisis by accident. They are nurtured in the quiet days of determined faith, Scripture reading, and private prayer. Then, when the moments of trial do come, we are prepared to react and overcome through the “training” which was done in secret.

Prepare your heart today for the trials that are just around the bend! Hold fast to your faith no matter the circumstance. Read God’s Word daily and hide it in your heart for the days of testing. Pray earnestly, consistently, and thankfully.  These are the keys to your success in the Christian life.


From the Gelasian Sacramentary, a book of Christian liturgy, which is the oldest western liturgical book that has survived.  The book is linked to Pope Gelasius I. It was compiled near Paris around 750.

O God, by the light of your Word

you scatter the darkness of ignorance.

Increase in our hearts the power of faith

which you have given us,

that no temptations may put out the fire

your grace has caused to burn in our hearts;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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The Normal Christian Life


Written by Watchman Nee (1903-1972), a Chinese church leader and Christian teacher. This is an excerpt from his book “The Normal Christian Life.”

What is the normal Christian life? We do well at the outset to ponder this question. It is something very different from the life of the average Christian. Indeed, a consideration of the written Word of God—of the Sermon on the Mount, for example—should lead us to ask whether such a life has ever in fact been lived upon the earth, save only by the Son of God Himself.  But in that last saving clause lies immediately the answer to our question.

The Apostle Paul gives us his own definition of Christian life in Galatians 2:20. It is “no longer I, but Christ.” Here he is not stating something special or peculiar—a high level of Christianity. He is, we believe, presenting God’s normal for a Christian, which can be summarized in the words: I live no longer, but Christ lives His life in me.

God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need –His Son, Jesus Christ. In all His dealings with us He works by taking us out of the way and substituting Christ in our place. The Son of God died instead of us for our forgiveness. He lives instead of us for our deliverance. So we can speak of two substitutions—a Substitute on the Cross who secures our forgiveness and a Substitute within who secures our victory.  It will help us greatly, and save us from much confusion, if we keep constantly before us this fact, that God will answer all our questions in one way only, namely, by showing us more of His Son.


From The Mozarabic Rite, also called the Visigothic Rite or the Hispanic Rite, is a liturgical rite of the Latin Church once used generally in the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania), in what is now Spain and Portugal in the 500s.

Jesus our Master,

walk with us on the road

as we yearn to reach the heavenly country,

so that following your light,

we may stay on the way of righteousness

and never wander in the horrible darkness of this world’s night

while you, the way, the truth, and the life,

are shining within us. Amen.

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The Caretaker


Written by Lisa Samra, a contemporary Christian author.

For ten years, my Aunt Kathy cared for her father (my grandfather) in her home. She cooked and cleaned for him when he was independent and then took on the role of nurse when his health declined.  My aunt served in faith and love. Her daily, consistent care was the result of her belief that God called her to this important work. Her labor was borne out of love for God and her father. She also endured in hope. My grandfather was a very kind man, but it was difficult to watch him decline. She gave up time with family and friends, and she limited her travels to care for him. She was able to endure because of the hope that God would strengthen her each day, along with the hope of heaven that awaited my grandfather.  Whether it is caring for a relative, helping a neighbor, or volunteering your time, be encouraged as you do the work God has called you to do. Your labor can be a powerful testimony of faith, hope, and love.


Written by Francis of Assisi (c1181-1226) was an Italian Catholic friar, deacon and preacher. He founded the men’s Order of Friars Minor, the women’s Order of Saint Claire, the Third Order of Saint Francis and the Custody of the Holy Land.

Lord make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned. and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

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One With Christ


Written by Oswald Chambers (1874-1917), a Scottish evangelist and teacher.

God intends for us to live a well-rounded life in Christ Jesus, but there are times when that life is attacked from the outside. Then we tend to fall back into self-examination, a habit that we thought was gone. Self-awareness is the first thing that will upset the completeness of our life in God, and self-awareness continually produces a sense of struggling and turmoil in our lives. Self-awareness is not sin, and it can be produced by nervous emotions or by suddenly being dropped into a totally new set of circumstances. Yet it is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs our rest in Him must be rectified at once, and it is not rectified by being ignored but only by coming to Jesus Christ. If we will come to Him, asking Him to produce Christ-awareness in us, He will always do it, until we fully learn to abide in Him.

Never allow anything that divides or destroys the oneness of your life with Christ to remain in your life without facing it. Beware of allowing the influence of your friends or your circumstances to divide your life. This only serves to sap your strength and slow your spiritual growth. Beware of anything that can split your oneness with Him, causing you to see yourself as separate from Him. Nothing is as important as staying right spiritually. And the only solution is a very simple one— “Come to Me….” The intellectual, moral, and spiritual depth of our reality as a person is tested and measured by these words. Yet in every detail of our lives where we are found not to be real, we would rather dispute the findings than come to Jesus.


Written by William Johnston (1921-2005), an eminent Church of Scotland minister and moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

God, to whom all hearts are open, to whom all wills speak and from whom no secret is hid, I beg you so cleanse the intent of my heart with the unutterable gift of your grace that I may perfectly love you and worthily praise you. Amen.

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Written by Chuck Swindoll, a contemporary Christian pastor, broadcaster, and author.

J. Oswald Sanders, in his book, Paul, the Leader, writes, “We form part of a generation that worships power—military, intellectual, economical, scientific. The concept of power is worked into the warp and woof of our daily living. Our entire world is divided into power blocs. Men everywhere are striving for power in various realms, often with questionable motivation.”

The celebrated Scottish preacher, James Stewart, made a statement that is also challenging: “It is always upon human weakness and humiliation, not human strength and confidence, that God chooses to build His Kingdom; and that He can use us not merely in spite of our ordinariness and helplessness and disqualifying infirmities, but precisely because of them.”

That’s a thrilling discovery to make. It transforms our mental attitude toward our circumstances. Let’s pause long enough here to consider this principle in all seriousness. Your humiliations, your struggles, your battles, your weaknesses, your feelings of inadequacy, your helplessness, even your so-called “disqualifying” infirmities are precisely what make you effective. I would go further and say they represent the stuff of greatness. Once you are convinced of your own weakness and no longer trying to hide it, you embrace the power of Christ. Paul modeled that trait wonderfully, once he grasped the principle. His pride departed and in its place emerged a genuine humility that no amount of hardship could erase.


This prayer is from the 5th century liturgy of the Syro-Malabar church, which traces its origin to Thomas the Apostle.

 O God, you are the bottomless well of peace,

the heavenly sea of love,

the fountain of blessings,

and the giver  of affection,

and you send peace to those who receive it.

Open to us this day the sea of your love,

and water us with the flowing streams of your grace.

Make us children of quietness, and heirs of peace.

Enkindle the fire of your love in us;

plant holy reverence for you in us;

strengthen our weakness by your power;

bind us closely to you and to each other

in one firm bond of unity;

for the sake of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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Attitude for Prayer


Written by Pete Greig,  a contemporary English pastor, author, and founder of the global 24-7 Prayer movement.  This is an excerpt from his book “How to Pray.”

To start we must stop. To move forward, we must pause. This is the first step in a deeper prayer life: Put down your wish list and wait. Sit quietly. “Be still and know that I am God.” Become fully present in place and time so that your scattered senses can recenter themselves on God’s eternal presence. Stillness and silence prepare your mind and prime your heart to pray from a place of greater peace, faith, and adoration. In fact, these are themselves important forms of prayer.

No one stares up at the Northern Lights thinking, “Wow, I’m incredible!” We are hardwired to wonder and therefore to worship. The Lord’s Prayer begins with an invitation to adoration: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your Name.” Having paused to be still at the start of a prayer time, the most natural and appropriate response to God’s presence is reverence. Try not to skip this bit. Hallowing the Father’s name is the most important and enjoyable dimension of prayer. Linger here, rejoicing in God’s blessings before asking for any more. Like an eagle soaring, a horse galloping, or a salmon leaping, worship is the thing God designed you to do.


Written by William Bright (1824-1901), an English ecclesiastical historian and Anglican priest.

O almighty God,

every good prayer comes from you,

and you pour out the Spirit of grace and prayer

on all who desire it.

Deliver us from coldness of heart

and wanderings of mind

when we draw near you,

that with steadfast thoughts

and warmed affections

we may worship you in spirit and in truth;

through Jesus Christ our Lord.


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Written by Annie F. Downs, contemporary Christian author.

Everything you have, from your health to your friendships to a roof over your head to the food in your belly, is a gift from God. And we even have something else to be thankful for: that God doesn’t change! I love that about Him. We can hold tight to our never-changing God and be okay because, in every other area of life, change is pretty much guaranteed. And you know what? Brave people are willing to let go of everything as they hold tight to God, even when things start to change.

In the last three months, I have seen the most change in my personal and professional life that I’ve ever had. For my counselor, I listed every North Star person (you know, a person who is important to you and gives you guidance) who has left my life in the last three months, and the number is seven. Seven. And you know what? It’s okay. If I chose to live in a world where I hated change all the time, I would be really miserable. If I chose to put all my hope in people, I would be really miserable. (I’ve tried both. It’s always miserable.)

I don’t love change, but I know that God is always working for my good. So, I can say, “Man, this is the worst!” But I have a totally trustworthy God who is looking out for me. Does God need a reminder that He has all this under control? No, friend. He doesn’t. You do. I definitely do. We all do. Remembering that He’s the boss and His plans are for our good and He loves us — that can make us brave, even when everything that felt secure seems to be changing.


From The Mozarabic Rite, also called the Visigothic Rite or the Hispanic Rite, is a liturgical rite of the Latin Church once used generally in the Iberian Peninsula (Hispania), in what is now Spain and Portugal in the 500s.

Lord Jesus Christ,

true God and truly human,

you do not change,

and you are holy in all your works.

Remove all our unbelief and doubt,

and fill our hearts with the gifts of your grace

that we may believe and know you as true God,

and by your miracles and mighty works

know you as Savior of all. Amen.

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