Romans 2:4

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

 I praise You, Lord, for Your merciful kindness and love. More frightening than the thought of letting go of You is the thought of You letting go of me, of relinquishing me to the consequences of my sin. You could have abandoned me. But instead You led me to repentance. O God, may I never take Your kindness for granted!

Romans 1:18-24

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.

O Lord my Creator, the whole earth is full of Your glory. I choose this day to glorify You and to give You thanks. I will worship You and serve You as my God. I will look to You, rather than my own mind, for wisdom. I will hold on to Your Word of truth and resist anything that raises itself up against the gospel. I will flee anarchy and its degradation: a darkened heart, shameful lusts, a depraved mind, the suppression of truth and the worship of lies. I will stop making excuses and instead seek Your face, O God.

 

Romans 1:16

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

 

Lord, I believe! This faith first to last is a faith in the One Who is the Beginning and the End. Your gospel is indeed the best news in the world. It is the headline imprinted on every saved heart. Knowing, seeing, believing what You have done for us—that You have purchased us from a sure death with Your own life—how can we keep silent? O Lord, open our mouths and create praise on our lip. Empower us to tell the world the Good News of Your mercy.

Romans 4:7-8

“Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”

Out of the hopelessness of death, You bring new life. Out of the prison of sin, You bring redemption. Out of the weakness of human flesh, You bring victory. All by grace. All by faith. And that is all You are looking for from us – faith. Not great accomplishments, not self-righteousness, not pedigree but simple faith – faith that brings You glory, faith that perseveres in spite of adversity, faith no larger than a mustard seed that grows into the tree of righteousness, and the fruit of righteousness is peace with You. Strengthen my faith, Lord, so that I may move deeply into the circle of life in Christ from faith to faith, from strength to strength, and from glory to glory.

 

Hosea 14:2-4

Take words with you
    and return to the Lord.
Say to him:
    “Forgive all our sins
and receive us graciously,
    that we may offer the fruit of our lips.[a]
Assyria cannot save us;
    we will not mount warhorses.
We will never again say ‘Our gods’
    to what our own hands have made,
    for in you the fatherless find compassion.”

“I will heal their waywardness
    and love them freely,
    for my anger has turned away from them.

Thank You, merciful Father, for hearing us when we call. You receive us and restore us when we come to you in repentance. You freely give Your love to us, pouring it out on us without measure and without price. All of us may come, rich and poor alike, for all that You require of us are words – something every one of us can afford – heartfelt words of confession and repentance. You ask for words because You are a God Who hears. So receive my prayer, Lord. Hear me when I call out to You. I forsake all others, and I look to You alone for salvation. Cleanse my heart, Lord, and let the fruit of my lips bring You honor and not disgrace.

Hosea 2:14-15

“Therefore I am now going to allure her;
    I will lead her into the wilderness
    and speak tenderly to her.
There I will give her back her vineyards,
    and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
There she will respond as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day she came up out of Egypt.”

 

Lord, I confess that I have been the wandering, unfaithful one. My heart has been enticed by so many glittering illusions. But Your amazing love will not let me go! You lead me to the wilderness. One by one You take away the illusions and reveal them to me for what they are. The empty world that I have created falls down around me. Lead me once again to the place where I may hear the tender call of Your love. By Your grace, renew my heart to sing Your name with the zeal of my first love.

Hosea 12:8

Ephraim boasts,
    “I am very rich; I have become wealthy.
With all my wealth they will not find in me
    any iniquity or sin.”

Spiritual blindness is the companion of pride. Am I blind, Lord? Have I confused prosperity with spirituality? What good will it do for me to gain the whole world if I lose my very self in the process? What can I give in exchange for my soul? My life does not consist in the abundance of possessions, nor can my status blind the eyes of Your justice. Open my eyes to see my life as You see it. Cleanse me from sin. Clothe me in the garments of Your righteousness and teach me to lay up treasures in heaven.

Hosea 11:1-9

God’s Love for Israel

11 “When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
But the more they were called,
    the more they went away from me.
They sacrificed to the Baals
    and they burned incense to images.
It was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize
    it was I who healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts
    a little child to the cheek,
    and I bent down to feed them.

“Will they not return to Egypt
    and will not Assyria rule over them
    because they refuse to repent?
A sword will flash in their cities;
    it will devour their false prophets
    and put an end to their plans.
My people are determined to turn from me.
    Even though they call me God Most High,
    I will by no means exalt them.

“How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I treat you like Admah?
    How can I make you like Zeboyim?
My heart is changed within me;
    all my compassion is aroused.
I will not carry out my fierce anger,
    nor will I devastate Ephraim again.
For I am God, and not a man—
    the Holy One among you.
    I will not come against their cities.

You are our Healer, our Deliverer and our Provider. Because You do all things so well and so bountifully, it is easy for us to overlook Your goodness or take it for granted. You woo us to Yourself with kindness. If we resist Your call, You will not give up on us. In Your great compassion You will drive us to Yourself through adversity. We praise You, O God, that even in Your discipline You do not deal with us out of cruelty, but out of love.

Psalm 100

A psalm. For giving grateful praise.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
    It is he who made us, and we are his[a];
    we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
    and his courts with praise;
    give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
    his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Lord God, You have shown me once again Your unending, ever faithful promise of love, healing and provision, bringing me through these last few days and increasing my faith in You with answered prayer. Help me now to always remember to hold Your promise close to my heart and to know You are always present in my life. And to be grateful for Your gifts and presence as I walk the path You have laid out for me.

I also want to thank the hundreds of friends, brothers and sisters and those faithful people that have been praying for myself and my wife.You have increased my appreciation for the power of prayer a hundredfold and I will never be able to express my thanks adequately. Know that I hold you all in high esteem and I pray that I will be able to return the gift in some small way.

1 John 4:7-12

(1 John 4:7-12)

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Lord, You have provided a simple but sobering test of Christian spirituality – our love for You can be measured by our love for others. And we have all, without exception, failed Your test. Every time we refuse to lend a helping hand, to listen to a hurting friend, to curb a critical tongue, we refuse to love You or to obey Your commandments. Strip away our selfishness, Lord, and help us to love our neighbors as ourselves, and in doing so to love You wholeheartedly.