THE CALL | John 15:4-5 [ESV]
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.”
Lord Jesus, you have called us to abide in you, but we confess that we are prone to wander astray. We could be fruitful branches, but instead we walk proudly in our own ways and wither. Forgive us for our wandering hearts and take and seal them for your courts above. Thank you that you are the true blessed man who walked in the way of righteousness (Psalm 128:1), even the way that led to the Cross. May we the Church, your beloved Bride, not wither, but be like fruitful branches of your vine, and may her spiritual children be many, like olive shoots around the table you have prepared for us (Psalm 128:3).
ASSURANCE | Isaiah 53:10-11 [ESV]
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.
Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;
by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,
make many to be accounted righteous,
and he shall bear their iniquities.
SING: Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father
And to the Son and to the Holy Ghost
As it was in the beginning
Is now and ever shall be world without end
Read: Psalm 84
2nd Reading: Psalm 83
(Psalm 84:1) How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
In a classic 1980's movie, The Karate Kid, a young man named Daniel LaRusso learned karate to defend himself from school bullies. But the first karate lessons were presented by his teacher (Mr. Miyagi) in a surprising way. The lessons were three days of home repair work - "wax the car", "paint the fence", and "sand the deck." To his surprise, the hours of routine activity shaped his muscles to perform basic karate skills. Soon, Daniel could use "paint the fence" skills to block a kick. I doubt someone could actually learn karate that way, but I think there is a lesson in this about how we change. The repetition of patterns can begin to shape us more deeply than we realize.
Reading the psalms can be a sort of spiritual training exercise. As we read the psalms, we find ourselves saying things that we don't feel as much as we would like. In Psalm 84, we are directed to say, "How lovely is your dwelling place!" And, "a day in your courts are better than a thousand elsewhere." And "my heart and flesh cry out for you, the living God."
Sometimes, we feel those things deeply about our relationship with God. Sometimes, we do not. Unlike the Karate Kid, mere repetition will not change us. But the gap between what we say in the psalm and what we feel in our hearts becomes the place where we can connect to God. It is a place for confession and for humble prayers for help. "Lord, change my heart... forgive my coldness and selfishness.... help, me to love you as I ought."
In the history of the church, this sort of engagement has shaped many Christians for greater love and faithfulness.
FRIDAY-MEMORIZE | Psalm 128
- Spend time memorizing the words of the Psalm as best you can -
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your Name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever,
Revelation 7:9-10 [ESV]
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
City Reformed Presbyterian Church
The 90 Days project is a collaborative effort of many church leaders. Matt Koerber and Daniel Snoke have taken lead roles, with others helping to write daily devotionals.