Thursday after Christmas

Psalm 150, Mark 11:23-25, James 3:11-4:6

“Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. HALLELUJAH!”
Psalm 150:6

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.”
Mark 11:25

“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.”
James 3:16 (NIV)

Without question, Psalm 150 is a song of praise and adoration, and it is often best to start with adoration. Some people have been taught to use during prayer was ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. Adoration, though is often too easy, and we skip to supplication, because confession and thanksgiving are harder. Confession is probably the hardest.

In Mark and James, Jesus and James (respectively) speak about putting ourselves above others, especially when it comes to prayer. Praying for others, especially those with whom we are in conflict, is essential to a functional Christian framily.

Jesus ties forgiving others into our own forgiveness. This serves as a litmus test of sorts. You see, when we have fully accepted, embraced, and embodied the truth of forgiveness we’ve received through the cross, we are able to forgive others, and that can be very difficult. When we don’t forgive others, can we really say in hearts that we are forgiven? Forgiveness isn’t about those who hurt us, it is about us.

James address a different, but similar heart issue in his letter. Envy and selfish ambition are signs of a heart that puts itself first, and not God, and certainly not others. In a framily, putting oneself ahead of others breaks the essential bond of framily.

1) In your own words, why is forgiveness essential?

2) Why do envy and selfish ambition create disorder?

3) Agape love is self-sacrificing love. How is agape love fulfilled in forgiveness, and the lack of envy and selfish ambition?

KD) Supplication is a word that means ask for something. Why is that last in the order of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication?

By Pastor Ian

Ian is an ordained Elder in The Church of the Nazarene, and is currently serving as the Online Campus Pastor at Generations Community Church in Marysville, WA, USA.