Prayer Day 30

Available on Amazon.com
Available on Amazon.com

Almighty Father, beloved Son, Holy Spirit.

Bless us so that we will take your laws into our hearts and follow them in our daily lives.

May sin and evil not attract us.

May our friends practice righteousness and may we follow their example.

Guide us with songs of righteousness and holy prayers (Ps 1:1–2).

Let us honor your holy boundaries and remove the sin from our lives.

To you and you alone be the glory. Amen.

Prayer Day 30

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Believer’s Prayer

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The Ten Commandments

Cover, A Christian Guide to Spirituality

“And God spoke all these words, saying, I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery” (Exod 20:1-2).

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Why, as Christians, do we need to know about the Ten Commandments? The short answer is because Jesus tells us to “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished” (Matt 5:18).. Reformer John Calvin reinforced this point and said that the law had three chief purposes: to teach us about God’s will, to aid civil authorities, and to guide our daily lives (Haas 2006, 100).

Still, as postmodern people, we have contempt for law. We live undisciplined lives, ignore posted speed limits, and cheat on our taxes. We want to be independent and in control of our own lives. We do not want anyone, not even God, telling us what to do. The Ten Commandments remind us that we remain rebellious sons and daughters of Adam and Eve.

Our rebellion against God is called sin. Sin takes at least three forms: falling short of expectations (sin), breaking a law (transgression), and not doing something we should do (iniquity). I sin when I try to love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, but fail to do so consistently. I transgress the law when I murder someone. I commit iniquity when I ignore (dishonor) my parents in their old age, leaving their care to my siblings when I am able to help but refuse to. Although these three words are used interchangeably, these distinctions remain helpful.

In our rebellion, the law comes as an act of grace pointing us the way back to God. The Ten Commandments can be thought of as God’s healthy boundaries for life in the Christian community and as an example to the world.

So what is helpful to know about the Ten Commandments?

The Bible tells us that God is the Lord of lords and uses covenants to define His relationship with us. A covenant is a treaty or agreement outlining the duties and obligations of the ruler to the ruled. The Bible outlines covenants with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, and David and the New Covenant with Christ. The Ten Commandments are part of the covenant with Moses.

Jeremiah prophesied the coming of a new covenant that would be written on our hearts (Jer 31:30-31). Matthew’s Gospel describes this new covenant with five explicit commandments given by Jesus: Matt 5:17-20, Matt 17:9, Matt 19:16-21, Matt 22:36-40, Matt 28:18-20. Two of these have already been mentioned: obey the law (Matt 5:17-20) and the double love command (love God; love neighbor in Matt 22:36-40).

Why do Christians need to understand the Ten Commandments? The Ten Commandments help us to understand what it means to be God’s people and to follow Christ’s commandment to obey the law.

References

Haas, Guenther H. 2004. “Calvin’s Ethics.” In The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, 93–105. Edited by Donald K. McKim. New York: Cambridge University Press.

The Ten Commandment

Also see:

Preface to A Christian Guide to Spirituality

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

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Prayer Day 12

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Heavenly Father.

We praise you for Christ’s faithful example in life, death, and resurrection.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, banish our doubt; prosper our faith; heal our sin-sick souls; and grant us peace.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Prayer Day 12

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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Prayer Day 4

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By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Eternal and Compassionate Father.

Help us to accept You into all aspects of our lives.

Thank you for creating us in your image.

Bless our families.

Forgive our sin and rebellion.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, restore to us the joy of your salvation.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Prayer Day 4

Also see:

Believer’s Prayer

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net

Purchase Book: http://www.T2Pneuma.com

 

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Stott Outlines Gospel; Speaks Plainly

Stott_review_20200427John Stott.  2008.  Basic Christianity (Orig pub 1958).  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans.

Review by Stephen W. Hiemstra

The Apostle Peter reminds us:  but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, 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 (1 Peter 3:15 ESV).

Our ability to respond to Peter’s admonishment is clearly challenged today.  Outside of the criticism of our faith arising from the advocates for modern science, we are confronted in our shrinking postmodern world with a host of alternatives to Christianity from other religions and from complex and confusing voices in secular society.  In the midst of this whirlwind of controversy, John Stott’s book, Basic Christianity, offers us a plainspoken starting point.

Introduction

Stott outlines the Gospel in eleven chapters.  After a brief introduction, he presents has four parts:  1. Who Christ Is, 2. What We Need, 3. What Christ Has Done, and 4. How To Respond.  The first part focuses on the claims, character, and resurrection of Christ.  The second part focuses on sin.  The third part focuses on Christ’s death and salvation.  The fourth part brings us to count the cost, make a decision, and live the Christian life.

Background

John Stott (1921-2011) was rector (pastor) emeritus of All Souls Church, Langham Place, London and founder of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.  He was one of the authors of the Lausanne Covenant which started as a 1974 Christian religious manifesto promoting active world-wide Christian evangelism and continues to influence missions work today.  My first acquaintance with Stott came in 1983 when I visited Bonn in Germany as an economics student and a friend gifted me with Stott’s book—Gesandt Wie Christus (1976).  At the time, I assumed Stott was German.  Needless to say, Stott is still one of the world’s best known evangelical writers.

Apologistics

Stott acknowledges the enormity of the task of defending the faith–apologetics.  For example, he recounts a conversation with a young man having trouble reciting one of his church’s creeds because he could no longer believe it.  Stott asked him:  If I were to answer your problems to your complete intellectual satisfaction, would you be willing to change the way you live?  The answer was clearly no.  His real problem was not intellectual but moral (25).  This conversation is not an isolated event–advocating a disciplined life-style today is a tough sell. Why give up self-control to Christ and live a disciplined life when in Alice’s Wonderland every headache can be solved with a different colored pill?

Children Expected to Grow

Stott’s final chapter on being a Christian is most interesting.  He writes:  Our great privilege as children of God is relationship; our great responsibility is growth.  Everyone loves children, but nobody…wants them to stay in the nursery (162).  We grow in two dimensions—understanding and holiness—which work out in our duties to God, to the church, and to society (163-166).  This growth includes growth in our prayer life.  Stott advises readers to respond to God in prayer in the same manner that he speaks to you—do not change the subject.  If he talks about his glory, worship him; if he talks about sin, confess it; if scripture blesses you, thank him for it (164).  Stott’s comments about the spiritual practice of daily examine flow right out of this discussion.  In the morning, commit the details of your day to God’s blessing and, in evening, review what happened during the day.

Assessment

John Stott’s Basic Christianity provides a well-ordered accounting of the Gospel that is worthy of study and reflection.  His summary—God has created; God has spoken; God has acted—is brief but compelling (18).  The Apostle Peter’s admonition sounds initially like evangelism.  But, if the truth be known, the accounting of our hope in Christ benefits us at least as much as anyone we meet.

Stott Outlines Gospel; Speaks Plainly

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Lament over Sin: Monday Monologues (podcast) March 23, 2020

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Stephen W. Hiemstra 2020 (Ken Burtram Photography)

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflect on Lament over Sin. After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on this link.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Lament over Sin: Monday Monologues (podcast) March 23, 2020

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Prayer for the Fallen

Art by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Merciful Father,

All glory and power are yours,because you created and sustain our good universe.There is none like you and we praise your name.  

We confess that we are unworthy to stand before you because of our sin and unable to stand before because you stand outside time and space where we reside.  

We thank you for our redemption in Jesus Christ who not only bridged the gap between us in time and space, but also covered our sins bridging the gap between us and your holy nature.  

In the power of your Holy Spirit, aid us in our reconciliation with one another and open the hearts of those around us to your perfect love.  In the glorious name of Jesus, Amen.

Prayer for the Fallen

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Prayer for Healthy Limits 

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Holiness: Monday Monologues, July 29, 2019 (podcast)

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

This morning I will share a prayer and reflection on holiness.

After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on the link below:

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Holiness: Monday Monologues, July 29, 2019 (podcast)

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

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Confession of Hidden Sin

Roses
Photo by Stephen W. Hiemstra

By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Merciful father,

All praise and honor be to you for you live in the open and have no sin so that no one can accuse you or slander your name without bearing false witness.

We confess that our sins are both obvious and hidden, secrets that bring shame and grief that is to much to bear.

Forgive our sin, pardon the transgressions that burden us, and the iniquity that tarnish our names even when we appear unaware.

Thank you for the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ, who without sin of his own bore our sin on the cross and deprived our sin of its to power to corrupt and pollute our souls.

In the power of your Holy Spirit, give us thankful hearts and minds focused on you so that our lives may be full and our example might bring others to you.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

Confession of Hidden Sin

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Proper Mental Function, Monday Monologues, December 31, 2018 (podcast)

Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018
Stephen W Hiemstra, 2018

In today’s podcast, I will pray for Clarity and talk about Proper Mental Function.

After listening, please click here to take a brief listener survey (10 questions).

To listen, click on the link below.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

Proper Mental Function, Monday Monologues, December 31, 2018 (podcast)

Also see:

Monday Monologue On March 26, 2018 

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Author site: http://www.StephenWHiemstra.net, Publisher site: http://www.T2Pneuma.com.

Newsletter: http://bit.ly/Advent_Mas_2018

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