Friday, December 20, 2019

This Week’s Theme
Be Patient until the Lord Comes
James 5.7-10

In the last chapter of his epistle, James discusses the nature of the selfish rich, suffering and patience in waiting on the Lord’s coming, swearing before the Lord, prayer and supplication, and soul winning to rescue the dying. His entire book is carefully crafted to provide the servant of the Lord with the proper perspective about the things of God, and to provide both the proper worldview and framework for the kind of discipleship that honors God.

In connection to Jesus’s Second Coming, James exhorts his readers to “be patient, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.” He suggests that the farmer is a worthy model of how we ought to wait for the Lord’s appearance.

The farmer’s task, after he has sowed his crops, is to calmly learn to wait for the precious fruit of the earth to come forth, in its own proper time. S/he must learn to be patient about it, until finally, God will work, and the crop will receive the early and the late rains he provides. James’s advice resonates with the old African-American chorus that says, “You can’t hurry God, you just got to wait.”

We must, therefore, learn to be patient, and establish our hearts, because we live in the last time, and the coming of the Lord is at hand. We must not grumble against each other, in order that we might not be judged, since the true Judge is standing at the door. The prophets serve as a ready example of suffering and patience. Those who remained steadfast in suffering are now consider blessed. Also, Job stands out as a worthy model, for he endured his trials with steadfastness, and the Lord’s purpose, in the end, proved to be both compassionate and merciful.

Above all, we need not swear, either by heaven or by earth, or by any other oath. In light of the Lord’s soon return, let’s allow our words to be straightforward and clear: let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no. If we do, we will not fall under condemnation.

Preparing Our Hearts
Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

O LORD Jesus Christ, Who hast warned us that “in such an hour as we know not the Son of man cometh,” make us so watchful every day that we may be truly prepared when it shall please Thee to call us hence, and grant us then a share in those eternal joys which Thou hast prepared for Thy faithful servants, O Lord, Thou Lover of souls. Amen.

~ Rev. G. H. Sharpe, A.D. 1891 (Fox, p. 211)

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Praising Our God
Te Deum Laudamus 

You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri

Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Listening to His Voice
Chronological Reading for the Day

Friday: Job 5-7

Lectionary Readings for the Day

Psalm: Luke 1.46b-55

OT: 
Isa. 35.1-10

Gospel: Matt. 11.2-11


NT: James 5.7-10

(Click here for all readings)

Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

Responding in Faith
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Departing to Serve
Benediction 

O God, who has given us the great and saving truths of your gospel; grant us, we sk you, to live amid these things, to meditate on them and to seek them; for one who goes on seeking, finds. Help us, therefore, to learn those things on earth, the knowledge of which shall abide with us in heaven. Grant this for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

~ Jerome (Ferguson and Wallis, p. 89)

Affirmation for the Day
May we follow the example of Job, enduring trial until our deliverance is come.

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Maranatha! Even so, Lord Jesus, come soon!

For Your Weekly Journey
Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
You Will Call His Name Emmanuel, Matthew 1.18-25

Book Reading
Packer, Knowing God