The following appeared as First Thoughts on this date for our congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.
This week has been one of sickness in our home. John Michael and I have had the flu. He made it back. I tried, but didn’t make it. I know that several of you have been ill as well. It has been a time to renew my dependence on Jesus Christ. The Gospel teaches us that it is through repentance and faith in Jesus as the resurrected and living Lord that He takes our sins and gives us His life. The following Puritan prayer, which I used in my own devotions this morning, gives expression to the Gospel in our own prayer lives. I offer it to you today as my first thoughts.
O Lord of grace,
The world is before me this day, and I am weak
and fearful—but I look to You for strength.
If I venture forth alone, I stumble and fall—but
on the Beloved’s arms I am firm as the eternal hills.
If left to the treachery of my heart, I shall shame
Your name—but if enlightened, guided, upheld by Your Spirit,
I shall bring You glory.
Be . . .
my arm to support,
my strength to stand,
my light to see,
my feet to run,
my shield to protect,
my sword to repel,
my sun to warm.
To enrich me will not diminish Your fullness.
All Your loving-kindness is in Your Son.
I bring Him to You in the arms of faith.
Accept . . .
His worthiness for my unworthiness,
His sinlessness for my transgressions,
His purity for my uncleanness,
His sincerity for my deceit,
His truth for my lies,
His meekness for my pride,
His steadfastness for my backslidings,
His love for my enmity,
His fullness for my emptiness,
His faithfulness for my treachery,
His obedience for my lawlessness,
His glory for my shame,
His devotedness for my waywardness,
His holy life for my unchaste ways,
His righteousness for my dead works,
His death for my life.
The Gospel brings beauty to our lives! He saves, He sustains, He provides. All glory goes to Him!