Sovereign Lord – Acts 4

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded...

The Holy Spirit depicted as a dove, surrounded by angels, by Giaquinto, 1750s. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Peter and John were released by the council, they went to their friends and told them all that had happened. What followed was what had to have been an incredibly uplifting experience, to say the very least. They start by praising God in a beautiful prayer, much of which is a wonderful model of prayer for us today as well.

When they finished, Luke tells us that the place where they were assembled actually shook! And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. God was giving His people everything they needed to move forward with the Lord’s church – knowledge, the Holy Spirit, and the confidence of knowing that He was with them. Here is their prayer to God on that momentous occasion, which God answered with that physical sign to assure them that there prayer was both heard and answered. See how many phrases you recognize as being very appropriate to use in prayer today:

Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth
and the sea and everything in them,
who through the mouth of our father David, your servant
said by the Holy Spirit,

“Why did the Gentiles rage,
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers were gathered together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed’—

for truly in this city there were gathered together
against your uholy servant Jesus, whom you anointed,
both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentile
and the peoples of Israel,
to do whatever your hand and your plan
had predestined to take place

And now, Lord, look upon their threats
and grant to your servants to continue
to speak your word with all boldness,
while you stretch out your hand to heal,
and signs and wonders are performed
through the name of your holy servant Jesus.

Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Acts here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 2 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Prayer – Supplication

Prayer is the language

Prayer is the language (Photo credit: Lel4nd)

Earlier this year, we began a series intended to help us develop our prayer life, with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. As we have emphasized, there is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication. Today we will focus briefly on supplication.

Supplication is defined as “to ask for humbly or earnestly, to beseech or to make a humble entreaty to.” Philippians 4:6 says:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Another word for supplication that is often used is “petition.” Of course, one thing we do with supplication in prayer is to take our confession to the next logical step in asking God for his mercy and forgiveness. But these humble petitions are not only to be made by us for ourselves. Rather, most important is the use of supplication on behalf of others. Ephesians 6:18 says we are to be “praying at all times in the Spirit,awith all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.” It is one of the ways that we are commanded to encourage one another as in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 and Hebrews 10:25. Making supplication for others is one hallmark of a truly caring and dedicated child of God. For how can we love others as ourselves without praying for what they need most?

We’ll leave you with this simple prayer adapted from Psalm 50, in which David is grieving because of his great sin against the Lord:

Have mercy on my, O God,
according to thy great mercy;
according to the abundance of thy compassions,
blot out all my transgressions….
A sacrifice to you, O God, is a broken spirit,
a broken and contrite heart—
these, O Lord, you shall not turn away from.
I pray also, O Lord, for your tender mercy
for those among me who are grieving
for those who are in need of comfort
and for those who have turned away
from your loving arms.
Grant them, I pray, the blessing of repentance
and the strength which flows
from your boundless grace and love.
In Jesus name, Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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The Pharisee and the Tax Collector – Luke 18

Luke tells us that Jesus “told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt.” This description causes us to infer, of course, that at least some of those He told it to were Pharisees themselves. The parable is about two men – one a Pharisee, a member of an elite group of religious leaders of the day that had a reputation not only for their knowledge of God’s laws, but also for their piety and rigid adherence to those laws as they themselves had interpreted them (most often more stringently than God had intended). The other man was a tax collector – not a mere collector of revenue as we think of them today, but one who would by way of their practices in those days certainly be a great sinner (for an elaboration of the corrupt system that they were a part of, see this previous post).

The Tax Collector

The Tax Collector (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pharisee thanks God for his own righteousness, and that he is not like those who commit great sins (such as the tax collector himself). He then lists some of those good things that he does that set him apart from others. The tax collector, on the other hand, recognizes that he is a sinner; and he confesses that to God in prayer, asking for His forgiveness and mercy. Jesus told them that unlike the Pharisee, the tax collector left the temple justified, for he who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

All through His ministry, Jesus promotes humility, humbleness, love, and service to others. In Mark 9:33-37, He says that If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” Paul who reminds us that nobody is without sin (Romans 3:10), says in 2 Corinthians 11:30 “if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” It is this sort of humble and contrite heart that pleases God. Proverbs 3:34 tells us that God gives favor to the humble. Burton Coffman most appropriately quoted Rudyard Kipling in this matter. We’ll leave you with this excerpt from his poem “Recessional:”

The tumult and the shouting dies;
The Captains and the Kings depart:
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Prayers of Thanksgiving

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeo...

Group of Christians praying in the cave at Yeoju Pyungkang Jeil Conference Center near Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier his year, we began a series to help us develop our praying habits, with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this post. There is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the aspect of thanksgiving. Giving thanks to God for the things in our lives that we are blessed with is a very important part of prayer. We all should, of course, thank God for our food at meal time. And we often remember to thank Him for many other things. One way to “step up” the thanksgiving portion of our payers is by examining ourselves and our lives with respect not only to all that we have, but also by considering those who do not have many of the things that we are blessed with in our lives.

As with all prayer, a healthy reading of God’s word on a regular basis will sharpen our perspective by virtue of the personal growth that His wisdom imparts. But more powerful than anything else is a prayer that comes from within the heart. No matter what is going on in our lives, when we take the time to truly contemplate how blessed we are by God’s grace, it is impossible not to be grateful. Based on that assurance, I offer this simple prayer:

Our Holy Father in heaven
Creator of all that is and ever has been
I thank you for the love and sacrifice
of your son and our Savior, Jesus Christ
the author and perfecter of our faith,
And that because of that sacrifice,
we can come to you in prayer and bring our petitions.
I thank you, Father, for the life you have given me
and for the world that you spoke into existence
which holds so many great blessings for me.
Somewhere else, though another is hungry
yet because of your mercy, I am fed.
Though somewhere else, someone has no home
yet I am blessed with a warm and safe shelter daily.
And still you bless me further with good health
and with many dear friends and loved ones
and with brothers and sisters who care about me.
For these and for many other blessings, I thank you with all my heart
In Jesus name, Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Good Gifts – (Luke 11)

This chapter begins with one of the many occasions when the gospel writers record that Jesus was praying. When he had finished, one of His disciples asked Him to teach them to pray “as John taught his disciples.” The example Jesus then gave them was an abbreviated version of what we have come to know as “the Lord’s Prayer,” found in Matthew 6:9-13. This is, however, a different occasion and a slightly different prayer. It is not a commandment to pray by rote, any more than that prayer in the famous Sermon on the Mount. But it does serve as a model for making reverent supplication.

The Lord's Prayer (1886-1896) from the series ...

The Lord’s Prayer (1886-1896) from the series The Life of Christ, Brooklyn Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The example that Jesus gives of the persistent neighbor knocking on the man’s door at midnight often leads people to the conclusion that we sometimes have to just keep “bugging” God in prayer, and finally he will give in and let us have what we want.  But is that really what Jesus is telling us here? Please do not misunderstand. We are not saying that there is no value in persistent prayer. A good case can be made for the opposite, in fact, by reading the parable in Luke 18:1-8 and other passages such as Colossians 4:2, and Psalm 88:1.

But let’s look at the context of this passage. Jesus has just given an example of how to pray to our heavenly Father. Then he asks the people which of them has a friend that they would go to in the middle of the night for food for a traveling friend. Keep in mind that most families would be sleeping in the same room of a house in those times. What an inconvenience – especially for those with small children! The friend might very well call out for them to go away, but may give in – not out of friendship, but because of persistence. The friend may want to give them what they need to make them go away.

But the relationship we have with God is not like that of a friend. It is more like a father. God wants to give His children good gifts – especially those of the Holy Spirit.  That does not mean that He will give us anything we ask for. God is too wise for that. He knows what our needs are, and He will give us what we need. Sometimes that may be different from what we think that we want, however. A father whose child asks for an egg will not give him a scorpion, the text says. God knows how to give us gifts according to our needs. What He gives us, even if different from what we ask for, will be what we need.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Hands on the Plow – (Luke 9)

In verse 37, Jesus comes down from the mountain after the transfiguration, and is again met by a crowd. But there was a man there whose son had been possessed by a demon since early childhood. This account is in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew 17:14-20, Mark 9:14-29), and reading them all helps to clarify. The symptoms the boy had have led some to conclude that he had epilepsy, but that is clearly not the case. And we certainly know that Jesus would know the difference between a disease and this demon.

Christ healing a boy with a demon

Christ healing a boy with a demon

This one is evidently a singularly malevolent demon, and the man tells Jesus that His disciples had been unable to cast it out. In verse one, we are told that Jesus “called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons.” So Jesus’ remarks about faith are on target. In Mark, he tells them that this kind can only be driven out by prayer. It is the building of their faith through prayer that would have made the difference; and this is a point that Mark’s account expounds on. We may never have enough faith to move mountains, but together with the power Jesus had given them, His apostles certainly had it within reach!

As the disciples were excitedly regarding all these things He had done, Jesus again talks about His impending death, saying Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” As Jesus well knows, they aren’t getting it. And the next verse lets us know that they are not supposed to “get it” yet really. Verse 45 says “But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying.” All of this would come together for them after Pentecost.

It is nearly comical that just after their failure of faith, the disciples begin arguing about which of them is “the greatest.” They do not yet understand what Jesus’ true mission is, nor what is to become of Him. They only imagine how prominently they will fit into His kingdom. The child He brings by His side in verse 47 illustrates that having proper regard for one so small in stature and station is akin to having regard for Jesus – and thus for God. Therefore, He tells them, whoever is “least” among them is the greatest. The meaning here is of being least in regard for one’s self. Putting one’s self last and others first is the message Jesus has hammered home again and again.

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62

Jesus was rejected on the next part of their journey by a Samaritan village because “his face was set toward Jerusalem” (Jews and Samaritans had little regard for each other). The disciples wanted to cause  “fire to come down from heaven and consume them,” which again is almost comical considering recent events. One gets the idea they were becoming a bit “puffed up.” Jesus, of course, rebukes them for even asking such a thing.

Verses 57-62 speak of some who wanted to follow Jesus but had other matters to attend to. Jesus’ answers to them reflect the fact that He must move quickly, and much is left to do. This meant that those who would be physically following Him must make doing so the singular priority in their lives right away, due to that urgency. Now, we are not expected to fore-go even attending our parent’s funeral in order to serve the Lord. But the application to our lives is nonetheless clear. Once we become Christians, that commitment in our lives trumps everything.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from Luke here
Read or listen to audio of today’s selection from 1 Chronicles here

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Cleansing Prayer

This year, we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. We continue to stress that there is no requirement for any set formula for prayer, but the method referred to by the acronym can be useful. The elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

National Day of Prayer

National Day of Prayer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, let’s take a quick look at confession. This is the hardest part of prayer for some people. Most people do not want to admit that they have been wrong. Most of us like to think that we pretty much have it “all together.” And after all, most of try pretty hard to do the right thing most of the time. Except when we don’t. The problem sometimes comes in recognizing and admitting those times when we have been off the mark.

But everyone has sin in their lives, and none are any worse – or better – than any others. It is true for the preacher, the elders of the church, and even for the sweet old lady who loves everyone and never misses a service. Paul said in Romans 3:23 that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 1 John 1:8 says that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”

But because of the price Jesus paid for us, we have the grace of God, and can have His forgiveness for any sin in our lives. 1 John 1:9 says “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” What an awesome gift we have been given by our Lord! There is nothing that God will not forgive us for simply be asking in prayer!

Finding the right words to confess to God is easy if we study the scriptures daily, and speak from the heart. Here is a short example of doing so by borrowing from David’s earnest prayer to God for his sins in Psalm 51:1,and 10. We will leave you with that.

Holy Father,
Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
In your Son’s name I pray this humble prayer. Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.

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Toward More Effective Prayer

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo.

Christians praying in Goma, DR of Congo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last month we began a series intended to help us develop our praying habits with an emphasis on the ACTS method of prayer in this article. Most Christians pray every day. Many of us pray several times each day, giving thanks to God before eating each meal,  before going to sleep, and whenever else we find the opportunity.

Some of us have our own special times when we approach God at length in prayer. Any time we talk to God in prayer is beneficial to us. It really is not complicated – prayer is simply talking to God. But most of us want to grow – to become better at praying, especially when we pray in public; and we do grow each time that we pray. The best way to improve one’s prayer life is to read and meditate on God’s word, and then pray – and do so often!

As we study and meditate on God’s word, we will often be inclined in our prayers to quote parts of a particular passage that has become familiar to us, and that is perfectly fine. Some of the most powerful prayers in the Bible use verbiage that is contained elsewhere in God’s word. Why would it not be acceptable in our own prayers? In fact, some of the most effective and encouraging prayers we’ve heard contained references to Scripture.

As we have stated, there is no one formula for prayer. But we most often begin with the “adoration” that the ACTS method refers to. And the beginning is a great place for us to start this year of learning to pray better. With adoration, we recognize the greatness of our Lord God, and acknowledge the depths of His power and glory. Consider David’s prayer in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13:

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty,
for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours.
Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all.
In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all.
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name

We will leave you to meditate on the following short prayer. If it sounds familiar, it is because the words are adapted from Psalm 19:1, 14; Acts 17:28, and James 1:17. A lot of scripture for a short prayer, but it does serve to illustrate how easy it is to adapt God’s word to our prayers in a meaningful way. With the exception of a bit of thanksgiving, it contains only the “ACTS” element of adoration, but it is a prayer nonetheless.

Oh Lord our God,
In whom we live and move and have our being;
The heavens declare your glory, and the sky above proclaims your handiwork.
We thank you for every good gift, and every perfect gift that comes from above,
Coming down from the Father of lights
With whom there is no variation and no shadow due to change.
In the name of your Son, Jesus, we pray.
Amen.

(This year’s reading plan for Luke, Acts, and 1 and 2 Chronicles averages just 15 verses per day – 5 days per week!)
Schedule for this week

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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Growing Daily By Prayer

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

By making daily Bible reading a part of our lives, we hear from God each day, and our lives are enriched. The other half of that communication occurs when we talk to Him in prayer. This year, we have committed to developing our prayer life so that we can pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to our Lord. To begin that effort this month, we have decided to dust off the old prayer box and pull out one of the oldest outlines for prayer method we know about – the ACTS method.

Jesus in Pray

Jesus in Pray (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is unknown where this originated, but it has been repeated countless times by innumerable evangelists. While it is true that there is no set of rules or structure for prayer that God wants us to use or has mandated, this method contains very good key elements to prayer that are easily remembered. No, we are not referring to the Book of the Acts of the Apostles. People love acronyms because when they are not too complex, they help us remember things.  With that in mind, the elements of prayer represented by the ACTS method are adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.

The element of adoration is to recognize the greatness of our Creator and that He is worthy of our praise, our worship, and our love for His majesty, His holiness, and His omnipotence. By loving acknowledgement of His awesome power, His boundless goodness and loving care, and the majesty of all that He has created, we give Him the glory of which He is worthy, and we focus our minds and hearts in the right frame of mind for the rest of our prayer.

Through confession in our prayers, we acknowledge our weaknesses to God, admitting that we are in need of His forgiveness to keep our hearts pure. And as Christians, this helps us to stay focused on the reason that we even have the privilege of being able to obtain forgiveness in prayer. We have a “High Priest,” who gave His life so that we could have that forgiveness, and by whom we can approach our heavenly Father in prayer.

Thanksgiving is so integral and important to prayer that we cannot emphasize it enough. We must recognize the love and care that God has shown for us – and continuously does so in all that He does for us. God has given us so many material and spiritual blessings in this world that He has created – not because we deserve any of it, but because He loves us even though we are not worthy of that love.

By making supplication to God, we recognize our dependence on Him for all things. We give Him our petitions, acknowledging and addressing not only our own needs, but the needs of others as well – a key component of prayer. Expressing our love and concern for others to God in prayer builds our faith, and helps us to grow as His children, reflecting the love that His Son had for all people and which He charged us to have as well.

There are many ways to pray, and this method is not the only one that will work.  Also, there is no prescribed order to these elements, nor are they all required in every prayer. But they can serve as a great frame of reference for planning our prayer. That planning – the preparation for prayer is an important aspect that we plan to focus more upon in our study of prayer this year.

We will more closely examine the first element in this method (adoration) next month, as we continue our study in prayer life.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  

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A Year in Luke’s Writings! – 2014 Reading Plan

Father reads the Scriptures from a scroll to his family as the mother prepares food to eat.

Father reads the Scriptures from a scroll to his family as the mother prepares food to eat.

Once again, this year we will be following someone else’s reading plan, and once again, it is singularly special! It was not finished at the time of this writing, but I will post the schedule on the “Schedules” tab as soon as I get it.

Here is what I can tell you about it. We will be spending the entire year studying the Book of Luke and the Book of Acts.  The plan’s designer appropriately calls it “Cause and Effect.” We will be reading at the pace of a chapter a week. An easy schedule? Perhaps, but some of the chapters are quite long, and there is no shortage of material to study.

First, 24 chapters of Luke – all focused on the life, death, burial, and Resurrection of the savior, Jesus the Christ. And 28 chapters of the Book of the Acts of the Apostles – from the first gospel sermon ever to the imprisonment of Paul in Rome. It is going to be another great year in God’s word, I can  promise you! And we will start tomorrow!

Science museum, Vancouver

Science museum, Vancouver

But, as our regular readers know, since our reading plans are 5 days per week, we have always done something different on Sundays. And 2014 will be no exception. We will still be writing on various subjects and about several different books of the Bible throughout the year. But we will be doing two things on a fairly regular basis.

First, we will have more frequent articles centered on the subject of Apologetics- articles designed to help the christian strengthen his or her faith in God’s word, and hopefully, help prepare to comply with 1 Peter 3:15: “…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect…”

Throughout the wilderness journey, Moses talked to the Lord, often begging Him for help in leading the Israelites.

Throughout the wilderness journey, Moses talked to the Lord, often begging Him for help in leading the Israelites.

Secondly, we will try to devote one Sunday article per month to the subject of prayer – the other half of our communication with the Lord. In doing so, it is our hope that we can improve our ability to pray more effective prayers that are pleasing to the Lord and beneficial to those we pray for – and pray with. With God’s help, we hope this will also be an aid to men who often are called upon to lead public prayers in church services and elsewhere.

We hope and pray that these new items on our agenda for 2014 will help us all to grow spiritually in the coming year. We hope you will join us in this effort!

/Bob’s boy