I’m going to bring you into some “inner circle” communication I sent to a few of the guys in my small group, formatted and a little more fleshed out for a blog post.
It’s been on my mind over the last couple months to have a plan or strategy for being focused on seeking after God by Scripture and prayer the coming year. This is coming out of finishing up Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices by Thomas Brooks, which I have been haphazardly reading since mid-2013. (You can read the post where I started that here —> https://thelongroadtozion.wordpress.com/2014/08/04/the-weak-to-make-war/)
This was the last time I approached any devotional reading strategically enough to come up with a plan. None of this is overly complicated. The very simple skeleton is read a Psalm then read a section from the book, or vice versa. Leading out of the readings that went with my Precious Remedies plan, the framework of my focus for 2018 is two fold:
– memorize Psalm145
– pray through Valley of Vision using Joe Thorn’s prayer guide http://www.joethorn.net/valley/
Why Psalm 145? Originally, my plan was to memorize Isaiah 55, which is a marvelous passage of Scripture that captures a pillar of what this blog and my motivations stand under if you’re inclined to look it up. (It is also the content of the second half of Andrew Peterson’s amazing song The Sower’s Song). The picture Isaiah paints of the coming of Zion is a sweet balm to my soul when it is weary and distracted. However, while reading Psalm 145 in accompaniment with Precious Remedies, it seemed to be like an unusually timed wealthy mine, turning up a new jewel every time I turned to it. I then heard a sermon expositing the Psalm (Longing for Jesus @ EastNorth Church), and felt inclined to marinate in it over the coming year.
Please ask me about it, and pray for me that the Holy Spirit would help me push back against the darkness and distractions that keep me from seeking fellowship with God. Really, as moody and distracted and caught up in myself as I can get, if at any time you wish to pray for me, especially if you do not know how or what to pray for, please refer to Psalm145. Pray all or a section of that Psalm over me that God would make it true of me and my life.
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. – James 4:8
Do y’all have any specific plans to focus your seeking after and drawing near to God in 2018? For all of us, whatever we plan to implement, we can’t forget to pray and ask God that he would make that work fruitful. We are dependent and can’t build this house on our own.
Psalm 145 , English Standard Version (ESV)
1 I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will bless you and praise your name forever and ever.
3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.
5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
7 They shall pour forth the fame of your abundant goodness and shall sing aloud of your righteousness.
8 The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
9 The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
10 All your works shall give thanks to you, O LORD, and all your saints shall bless you!
11 They shall speak of the glory of your kingdom and tell of your power,
12 to make known to the children of man your mighty deeds, and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures throughout all generations. [The LORD is faithful in all his words and kind in all his works.]
14 The LORD upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand; you satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways and kind in all his works.
18 The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desire of those who fear him; he also hears their cry and saves them.
20 The LORD preserves all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of the LORD, and let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.