A PERSONAL PRAYER
Today, I want to see the amazing gifts all around me. The letter of James reminds me that “every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (1:17) I know what is the proper response to a gift – to appreciate it, to enjoy it, to experience it fully, and most of all to be grateful for it. This very day is that kind of gift, coming down for me from your gracious and generous nature. I pray for a heart and mind to receive it as such, and to live it fully and gratefully.
God, I confess today that sometimes, I live my life half-heartedly. I go through the motions of work or play without passion or zeal. Even my prayers and songs are too often without enthusiasm. I know that everything I do is to be a form of worship. I want to place my life before you as a thank offering. I want to offer you my very best, and to strive for excellence in every area of life. In the week to come, I ask for you to give me strength and perseverance to work hard for your kingdom, so that every email or phone call, Bible Study or sermon, meeting or ministry plan would be the best I can offer and gladden your heart. Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that every interaction with others reflects your excellent love. Let me be the very best husband, father, son, and friend that I can possibly be. Where I encounter any form of darkness, pain, or sin, let me be a pinpoint of light. And may you receive all of it – my best efforts and my worst efforts – as a response in love to the gift of life and your love you have poured out on me.
In the name of Jesus, who lived a life of excellent love, I pray. Amen
SOME THOUGHTS TO SHARE
Sermon Series concludes: “Focus On These Things.”
This Sunday, we conclude our sermon series based on Philippians 4:8: “Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is beautiful, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, focus on these things.” This week “whatever is excellent” is our theme.
The fall is a great time to recommit to regular Bible Study with others. There are lots of marvelous groups that will meet this fall to study the Bible together – Disciple, Epic of Eden, What’s So Amazing About Grace. You can sign up on the group finder on our website or visit the Connection Center between services.
Next weekend, the Pure Sound youth choir will present their annual Babes on Broadway musical revue in the Rotunda. These young people will amaze you. Come and support our great youth music and drama program. Check out more information here.
Sunday, August 12
Dear God, today I come to rejoice always, pray continually, and give thanks in all circumstances. As you give your love each day, let me give thanks joyfully. As you fill my heart with peace and joy, let me live each day as a gift from you. Thank you for the little surprises you send each day. Amen.
Monday, August 13
Creator God, thank you for always working in your creation. Thank you for working with me through your amazing grace and your transforming power; for seeing beyond my faults and growing me into the person you intended me to be. Thank you for loving me so. Amen.
Tuesday, August 14
Dear Heavenly Father, let us remember that when we delight ourselves in you, you will give us the desires of our hearts. Don’t let a lack of faith or relying on ourselves keep us from you. Let us ask wisely and carefully so that you can provide. Your love knows no end. Amen.
Wednesday, August 15
Heavenly Father, you are always there for us, your children. You care for us, sacrifice for us, protect us, comfort us, and sustain us. Thank you for giving us an understanding of your love and the gift of your eternal presence. Amen.
Thursday, August 16
Dear Father, thank you for the people you place in our lives who teach us and guide us in your way. They help us by planting the seeds and letting our faith grow through devotionals, life experiences, Bible study, prayer, worship, meditation, and reflection. Thank you for those devoted to giving us a strong foundation for our faith. Amen.
Friday, August 17
Dear God, we give you thanks for the special gifts and blessings you give to us. They come as a friend when we need one, the beauty in nature around us, or just a second chance from you to get things right. Today, we thank you for showering us with your love, and being with us in our time of need. Thank you for considering us special. Amen.
Saturday, August 18
Dear Heavenly Father, help me to be more like you so that others can see your love and grace in the world. Help me to love others as you love, unconditionally and giving my all. Let me forgive lovingly and bring light, joy, and healing to places where they are needed. Let the Holy Spirit guide me so that I can make a difference in your world. Amen.