A covenant with God

stained-glass

Tonight in our service at the start of 2013 we used the traditional Methodist covenant prayer:

‘I am no longer my own but yours.
Put me to what you will,
rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing,
put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you,
or laid aside for you,
exalted for you,
or brought low for you;
let me be full,
let me be empty,
let me have all things,
let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things
to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.’

The prayer was adapted by John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, for use in services for the Renewal of the believer’s Covenant with God.  Wesley says that the first service was held on Monday 11 August 1755, at the French church at Spitalfields in London, with 1,800 people present.  The words of that original covenant prayer are lost, but are thought to be reflected in the Directions for Renewing our Covenant with God which Wesley issued as a pamphlet in 1780.  Services using the Covenant prayer have been included in most Methodist books of liturgy since.

What can you expect God to do in your life in 2013?

tunnel

Stephen Altrogge wrote a great blog post on what can you expect God to do in your life in 2013.  It’s well worth checking out, here’s a snippet:

  • God’s mercies to follow you, and pursue you, every every minute of every hour of every day. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever. ” (Psalm 23:6)
  • God to meet every single true need that should arise. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19)
  • God to lead you, counsel you, guide you, and give you wisdom. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  • God to freely forgive your sins each time you repent. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
  • God to wonderfully correct and discipline you if you should stray into sin. “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” (Hebrews 12:6)
  • God to continue working powerfully in you as you pursue holiness. “…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)
  • God to help you overcome patterns of sin that have plagued you for years. “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. ” (Romans 6:14)
  • God to use trials in your life to refine and purify your faith. “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4)
  • God to give you every good thing. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.”

God has promised to do all these things, and many more. His promises are sure. 2013 is bursting with blessings.

The First Sunday of Advent

I loved today’s collect from the Church of England:

Almighty God,
give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light,
now in the time of this mortal life,
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day,
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

 

5 Rules of Friendship

I recently read an article by John Ortberg called, “Higher Stakes Friendships.”  He talked about “five rules of friendship” a group of guys used as guidelines for their conversations.  The “five rules”:

  1. We can ask anything, no holds barred.
  2. If you answer, you must tell the truth, as much as you know it.
  3. If you don’t answer, you must say why you won’t or can’t answer.
  4. Everything that is said to each other will be held in absolute confidence.
  5. We will make absolutely no judgments of each other.

I think these 5 rules are powerful.  The only thing I would want to add is whilst we won’t make judgments on each other, the importance of speaking truth into one another’s lives.  I am glad that I have some guys who I can and do have these kind of conversations with.

I just wanted to encourage you to chase after these higher stakes friendships.