Scotty Smith: A Prayer for Releasing the Fragrance of Christ

April 24, 2015

Yesterday Pastor Scotty Smith posted an excellent prayer at Heavenward, his prayer blog at The Gospel Coalition site.

This line in particular really struck me and stuck with me throughout the day:

Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me.

Amen! (though really…, on second thought, who wants more brokenness?!?!?  BUT… if it will make Christ’s glory more beautiful in my life, I really DO want to be able to pray these words!)

***

Here’s the beginning of the prayer and the Scriptures which shaped his prayer:

Apr 23, 2015 | Scotty Smith

     But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 2 Cor. 2:14-15 (NLT)

     But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 2 Cor. 4:7 (ESV)

     Dear heavenly Father, these wonderful words tell the story of how I want to live up till the Day Jesus either returns, or the day you choose to bring me home. May the fragrance of Jesus and the aroma of grace being increasingly released through this fragile jar of clay that I am.

     Keep me in the place of humility, brokenness, and dependence that more of the sweet perfume of the gospel may waft upward before you as an offering of praise and released through me, wherever you send me. Father, thank you for making me Christ’s captive and a prisoner of hope. Thank you for rescuing me from sin and death, from my guilt and shame, from the illusion of self-sufficiency and the lie of self-righteousness.

You can read the rest here.


An Easter Prayer by Mark D. Roberts

April 21, 2015

An Easter Prayer by Presybterian pastor & blogger Mark D. Roberts:

PRAYER: Gracious God, how we praise you for your power made known in the resurrection. Death could not defeat you. Rather, the death of Jesus set the stage for an extraordinary display of your power. Christ is risen! You have won the battle. Alleluia!

Yet the power of the resurrection is not merely something we celebrate joyfully, but also something we can experience daily. Your power is for us, helping us, guiding us, setting us free. Your power is in us, healing us, renewing us, and gifting us for ministry, so that we might serve you in the church and in the world.

Even as we celebrate the power of your resurrection on this Easter Sunday, may we live by that power today and each day of our lives. And may your church be renewed by this power, so that we might live each day as a demonstration of your resurrection.

To you be all the glory. Alleluia!  Amen.

From here (where there is a longer, excellent Easter devotional)


An Easter Prayer by Mark Galli: “Be the resurrection and life…”

April 15, 2015

O Risen Lord, be our resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for us and all whom you have made.

Be the resurrection and the life for those caught in the grip of sin and addiction.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who feel forsaken.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who live as if you do not.

Be the resurrection and the life for those who do not believe they need resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life in churches that believe they are dying, and in successful churches who don’t know they are dead.

Be the resurrection and the life in us who know the good but fail to do it,
who have not been judged but still judge,
who know love but still live for self,
who know hope but succumb to despair.

Be the resurrection and the life for those dying of malnutrition and hunger.

Be the resurrection and life for those imprisoned unjustly and those imprisoned justly.

Be the resurrection and life for those who live under regimes that seek to crush all who proclaim resurrection and life.

Be the resurrection and the life for those in the throes of sickness that leads to death.

Be the resurrection and the life in families where the weak are maltreated by the strong.

Be the resurrection and the life in marriages that are disintegrating.

Be the resurrection and the life for women trafficked and enslaved by the forces of wickedness.

Be the resurrection and the life for those whose lives are snuffed out in the womb.

Be the resurrection and the life for anyone anywhere who knows suffering and death in any form, and for Creation itself, which groans in travail.

Be the resurrection and life in the life we share and the fellowship we enjoy,
that filled anew with the wonder of your love and the power of your grace,
we may go forth to proclaim your resurrection life
to a world in the grip of death and yet on the verge of redemption,
a redemption promised by you and assured by what occurred on the first Easter morn.

Amen.

H/T:  Trevin Wax


A Compilation of Eastertide links and resources – celebrating the full 50 days of the Easter Season

April 9, 2015

UPDATED: 19 April 2015

This post is sticky – look below for new entries

This year more than ever, I feel an urgency to continue to celebrate Easter throughout the entire 50 day Easter Season (traditionally known as “Eastertide” in Anglican circles).  Perhaps it is the bleakness of the world, and the awareness of evil (such as recent terrorist killings of Christians in Kenya and Libya…) that makes me want to cling to the joy of the Lord’s resurrection and meditate on the glorious truth of His victory in a more focused way this year.  Continuing to reflect on His resurrection power also helps remind me that His power is at work in my heart to conquer sin.  Finally, I find myself wanting to continue to strengthen some of the spiritual disciplines started in Lent in terms of time spent in Scripture, taking advantage of this 50 day season to walk with Jesus and fellowship with Him, allowing Him to expound the Scriptures and stir up my heart so it burns with more a passion for Him.  With these goals in mind, I offer the following list of some articles, reflections resources, prayers, music all focused on helping us maintain an Easter-focus during the 50 days of Eastertide. 

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NEW (April 19) – DON’T MISS THISA Compilation of 70 Favorite Easter and Eastertide Hymns.  Note, there is now a separate Easter Hymns category, since we plan to post a lot more Easter hymns in coming days!

NEW UDPATE! – (April 15): I’ve just posted about a great blog and a new Eastertide devotional resource on the theme Practice Resurrection 2015.  This post also includes a short list of some of the links in our Eastertide compilation (specifically links to reflections on practicing resurrection / celebrating Eastertide).

Let me link the blog and devotional separately:

The blog: This Sacramental Life by Tamara Hill Murphy.  See especially #practiceresurrection2015 – who wants to join me? and her Easter Daybook entries

The devotional:  Eastertide Devotional 2015 from Christ Church Austin (pdf version here)

And you can follow along on Twitter using #practiceresurrection or #practiceresurrection2015

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First, some of my favorite resources, links and entries from years’ past:

Keep reading below – there are nearly 50 additional links!

Read the rest of this entry »


A prayer for Eastertide – listening to Christ for 50 days

April 6, 2015

It was a bit odd browsing Twitter today and seeing how quickly the topics of discussion have moved on from the quite intense focus on spiritual things during Holy Week and Easter to more mundane daily things…  And our blog traffic drops from thousands of visitors per day during Holy Week to a hundred or two hundred during the days following Easter.

Why is it we get excited by the forty days of Lent, but find it hard to stay focused during 50 days of Eastertide?  I am preaching to myself here.  It’s much easier for me to come up with devotional entries during Advent & Lent.  My track record of blogging during Eastertide is pretty miserable!

A prayer Kendall Harmon posted at TitusOneNine, attributed to E. Milner-White struck me quite powerfully:

Make our hearts to burn within us, O Christ, as we walk with thee in the way and listen to thy words; that we may go in the strength of thy presence and thy truth all our journey through, and at its end behold thee, in the glory of the eternal Trinity, God for ever and ever.

This strikes me as a good prayer for Eastertide – the 50 days of the Easter season.  May these 50 days be ones in which we walk with Jesus intentionally and listen to Him expound the Scriptures to our hearts, and may we ask Him to keep our hearts burning with a passion for Him and His Word.

Let’s encourage one another and pray for one another to truly celebrate the full SEASON of Easter, not merely one day, or one week.  We’d welcome ideas and comments from readers (and Twitter followers), and information on good resources for staying Easter-focused throughout Eastertide.


For He has clothed me

April 5, 2015

Genesis 37:3 (ESV)
Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors

Exodus 28:15-20 (ESV)
“You shall make a breastpiece of judgment, in skilled work. In the style of the ephod you shall make it—of gold, blue and purple and scarlet yarns, and fine twined linen shall you make it. It shall be square and doubled, a span its length and a span its breadth. You shall set in it four rows of stones. A row of sardius, topaz, and carbuncle shall be the first row; and the second row an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond; and the third row a jacinth, an agate, and an amethyst; and the fourth row a beryl, an onyx, and a jasper. They shall be set in gold filigree.

I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! (Psalm 123:1)
my soul shall be joyful in my God;
My heart exults in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. (1 Samuel 2:1)
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (Revelation 22:14)
as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)

Our Father in heaven,

By the death, resurrection, and ascension of Your Son Jesus Christ, seated at Your right hand in heaven, we have been brought into Your covenant and have become a crown of beauty, a royal diadem in the hand of the Lord.  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!  Hallelujah!

Isaiah 62:3

Rejoice, ye Christians! Rejoice!


Who is like you, Jesus – a wonderful prayer of praise

May 13, 2014

Thanks to Trevin Wax for posting this fantastic prayer this week. I needed this reminder of who Jesus is… (And hey, it even counts as an Easter devotional prayer since it reminds us that Jesus is the life of those who are spiritually dead. 🙂 )

Who is like You, Jesus, sweet Jesus?
You are the light of those who are spiritually lost.
You are the life of those who are spiritually dead.
You are the liberation of those who are imprisoned by guilt.
You are the glory of those who hate themselves.
You are the guardian of those who are paralyzed by fear.
You are the guide of those who are bewildered by falsehood.
You are the peace of those who are in turmoil.
You are the prince of those who yearn to be led.
You are the priest of those who seek the truth.

– Johann Freylinghausen, 1670-1739, from Prayers for Today


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