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Come and peer into the manger to see the Babe of Bethlehem that is the King of the Cross and the Savior of the Nations.

Join us at the Royal Court in Session at Prince of Peace Lutheran, 28000 New Market, Farmington Hills, MI  48334.

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advent_is_coming_-_2For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing hymns to your name.” Again, it says, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and sing praises to him, all you peoples.” And again, Isaiah says, “The Root of Jesse will spring up, one who will arise to rule over the nations; the Gentiles will hope in him.” May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:4-13 NIV

It’s funny how this time of year brings out the best and worst in people.  As a people watcher, I marvel at how different ages and cultures and classes wait for the approaching season of Christmas and walk through the Advent Season.  This year is no different as it seems like people, in general, seem to be waiting and watching for “something” and they want to have a vague “hope” in something especially following a very ugly political season, people are either more hopefully or ready to throw in the towel.  The big question is where are people looking for hope and acceptance?  Where are people placing their energies and focus?  Are we forgetting or choosing to ignore the very obvious and simple answer to the questions?

Little children wait and watch with much more gusto than older people or those being weighed down by the necessities of life.  Children are looking at the lights and hearing the sounds and are about ready to jump out of their skins with excitement for what Christmas brings.  Kids have anxious hearts and can’t wait to see what gifts are ready to be unwrapped.

Older people, starting to get worn down by life, are waiting for that “magical” moment when the world is calm and bright.  When life is “easier”.  When my finances will be in order.  When I get that job title.  When I get to slow down and just enjoy life.  The list of “when I” is so long and seems like an attainable thing but when we really look, we find out that what is on our list is often times not worth waiting, watching, or hoping for.  These things leave us dried up, empty, and dissatisfied.  We just don’t like accepting the fact that this world brings heartache, pain, toil, and trouble.  We don’t like accepting that sin has corrupted everything, especially us.   We don’t even like to admit that we don’t do a very good job of accepting the fact that Christ’s only reason for coming to this earth, is to save us from our sin, the sin of others, and the sin of all times.  We would rather put false hope in things and status rather than the One who came as nothing so we could have something miraculous.

Christ came to break the darkness of hopelessness.  Christ came to break the bondage of sin for you and for me.  Christ came to unlock us from the “self exile” that we choose when we separate ourselves from Him and one another.  Christ came to break down the barriers of who is worth and who is not.  Christ came to Jew and Gentile alike.  Christ cared for the outsider and the chosen.  Christ looks at you and sees the real person in your heart; the one hidden from others and from yourself.  Christ came  to fulfill the Promise from the Ancient of Days.  Christ came to save you from the eternal hopelessness of Satan and hell.

What else is better to wait and watch for?  If Christ could come to earth to live and die for His enemies, what reason can we possible have for not sharing with others the grace given to us?  What reason can we have to not be excited and joyful?  I am not talking about how the world views those words, I am talking about the blessed assurance that this life doesn’t have the answer but the Babe in the Manger does!  Christ is the PROMISEKEEPER that you can count on. That is HOPE that not only you can take to the bank, but that you can take to Eternity!

 Let us be like the little children and get our enthusiasm flowing and be the Light keepers of Jesus’ promise keeping.

Lord, help us to spend these next 12 days of Christmas with our eyes focused on You as we wait for the celebration of Your birth.  Give us hearts that are willing to share with others and treat them as Your children no matter what they look like. Let us trust in the hope of You and only You.

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As we sit here, December has just dawned.  We are at that precipice of the year when people start looking to “something epic” on December 25th and 31st, yet spend a lot of time looking back at what has occurred during the last 11 months of the year.   For many, this year, has been an exhausting year that has seen illness, death, destruction, and chaos.  They are at the tipping point and just want to see this year ushered away.  Others have had a triumphant year and want to bask in the past accomplishments.  Still others are just floating on the bubble in between these two ends of the spectrum.  No matter where you are, let’s take a moment and tie some things together in a way that might be new for you.

On November 20th the Church calendar year ended with the celebration of Christ the King Sunday .  We then celebrated Thanksgiving, and then we hit the first Sunday and now Wednesday of Advent.  What occurs to me is how much all of these days are tied together as one!  The messages for each of these worship days are so close that one can’t help but see the unity.  Even our readings for many of these days overlap.

This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem: In the last days the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains; it will be raised above the hills, and all nations will stream to it. Many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. Come, O house of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord. (Isaiah 2:1–5, NIV)

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Romans 13:8–14, NIV)

No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:36–44, NIV)

What to do when you see a King?  Thanksgiving, Don’t miss the Boat, and Crosswords: Faith and Watch each have a singular focus, yet when viewed closer under a microscope, one sees with a wide angle lens the panoramic view.

Christ the King has defeated sin, death, and the devil and will return to take His subjects home.  That is more than enough reason for us to return sincere thanksgiving and praise.  It is also our reason and motivation to stay on guard, ready and willing to jump into service and not miss the boat.  As we stand on guard, even in the midst of battles, we are grounded firmly in the Faith, and Watch expectantly for our Sovereign Lord to move and act.  We go to the only source, Jesus and Scripture, that has lasting HOPE.

In history, God has always been moving and acting.  Nothing has ever taken Him by surprise.  Before Adam and Eve sinned, God already had the plan of Salvation in Action.  When the Israelites, His set-aside people, would ebb and flow with their love and devotion, betrayal, abandonment, and adultery, God’s plan was still in action.  Jesus was standing on the edge of eternity, ready to come to earth in humiliation, leaving behind His Godly power to become a mere man clothed in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  He left the Kingly glories of heaven and took on not only the physical humiliation but all the emotional ones too.  You see, God’s mercy and grace for us and all of man kind, required Jesus’s suffering and humiliation to fulfill God’s justice.  How do we not put aside everything and freely go to the Throne of God and  give thanks, praise, and worship to Him?  How do we not want to rush in and enter His courts with all our beings?

During this season of preparation/Advent, let us come in lowly state and see the full picture, hear the full History, and unwrap the Greatest Gift of All – Christ the King.  During this time ponder these questions:

What do you see when you look toward Christmas?  Who do you see in the Manger?  What befitting gifts do you bring for the King? What do you see when you look upon the weak and broken of this world?  What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you see when you look upon the Crucified Christ?   What are you, in Faith, Watching for?

The Babe in the manger is also the Christ of the Cross.  The perfect Child given a lowly birth, wore a Crown of Thorns.  The infant wrapped in swaddling for comfort was the Savoir Stripped bare and nailed to the Cross.  The Risen, Victorious, Ascended Son of God is our Triumphant King who is coming back.   That is Hope for all seasons!

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Praise the Lord, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psalm 103:1–5, NIV84)

As we are sitting upon the eve of our national holiday, Thanksgiving, it has crossed my mind how it seems many in our country, churches, and homes, only briefly stop to return thanks and praise unto God.  We might give it a blip on the radar but even many Christians are falling into the worldly trap of calling Thanksgiving – Turkey Day.

We live in a time and place when rarely do we hear and return appreciation or thanks to others that serve and work hard for us.  We just take it for granted and assume it will all be the same tomorrow with someone serving our desires from the time we get out of bed until the time we fall back into bed at night.   We live in an instant gratification world and it’s all okay as long as “I get my whopper.” Very rarely do people stop to think and return praise for the farmer who grew the cow, the slaughter house that processed the meat, the person who fried and assembled that whopper, or the employment that paid for it.

In days, not that long ago, church was the only place you would find people gathering on the night before Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, to sing praise, adoration, and thanksgiving to the God who has given them EVERYTHING!  Today, our families, jobs, and travel plans are more pressing than the Lord and Giver of All.  People use the “long weekend” to go to casinos to pursue impossible wealth or to malls to acquire more.  This is surely not an attitude of gratitude.  People barely give it a thought how hard others are working on this National Day of Thanksgiving that was designed for us to all stop and be with the Lord.

This attitude, concept, and lifestyle is contrary to what God’s Word says.  All of God’s Word points to God as our Creator, Sustainer, and Benefactor.  The air we breathe is only because God has given us life and lungs to breathe the air He has created.  We only have the ability to move and work and play because He has given it to us.  Our intellect and our entire lives are gifts from God.  We have no food without the farmer, who God gave the skills to plant, tend, and harvest. We have nothing in this world that is not given by the Lord and when we stop and truly think on what is important and worthy to be praised, don’t forget about Salvation and Eternal Life.  We have a God that sacrificed His Only Son so that all of His children could live and return praise for all the great things He has done.

If somehow along the line you have fallen off the gratitude and thanks train, I encourage you to start today.  Start thinking outside the daily grind and pursuits and start thinking about how many people it takes for you to get through one day.  From the cashier at the store, to the gas station owner, to the garbage man, to the police and fire that are standing ready to care for you.  While your at it, start thinking about all those people that work so hard to pray over and care for your souls.  Think how much they give up so that you can walk into a lit space and be given the Words of Truth and Life.  Then after all that, how can you not think of God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit who gives us everything on this earth as well as for eternity.

While we are talking about it, why not drop everything and come to worship the Lord tonight at 7:30 PM?

May Gratitude, Thanksgiving, Praise, Adoration, and Loving be not only on your Thanksgiving Menu but 24/7 for the rest of your lives and into eternity.

 

background-3Worship is a word that is often times misunderstood.  In the church setting it can be even more confusing.     Merriam Webster defines worship as :

  1. reverence offered a divine being or supernatural power; also :  an act of expressing such reverence
  2. form of religious practice with its creed and ritual

If we look at the worldly definition of “worship” we see it’s a reverence for the Divine, an expressing of that reverence, and practice.   Reverence is having deep respect.  In our culture this word is often bantered about but little practiced.  Practice, is synonymous with sports and exercise.  It’s also something you do with almost any type of activity such as art, music, dance, and the likes.  Practice is taking something you know and doing it and a becoming proficient at it.  Apply the lesson you have been taught.   So how’s your practice going in the Christian faith?  What does worship look like for the Christian? Are you worshiping “weakly” or “weekly”?

Worship is something we do in a public group/corporate setting and something we do individually.  As a Christian, it is another thing that should be part of our Christian DNA.  Worship is more than just getting together with a group of others whenever we feel like, in a familiar building or space, and singing a few songs, hearing someone say some words, and going back home until we hit repeat the following week or month or Easter or Christmas.  Worship is putting into practice what we have learned about the Triune God.

Unlike earthly teachers and coaches in sports and activities, we have Jesus Christ as our example for worship and how to practice and revere.  We learn from Jesus by being connected to the words He left for us in the Bible. Jesus and the Bible are our syllabus for this life as a Christian and we have much to learn about Worship.  So what did Jesus do in the area of worship?  Since to be a disciple means to follow the master, we should look to see what Jesus did when it came to going to church. Here are a few statements on whether or not Jesus went to church.

Matt 12:9 Going on from that place, [Jesus] went into their synagogue

Matt 13:54 Coming to his hometown, [Jesus] began teaching the people in their synagogue

Matt 21:14 The blind and the lame came to [Jesus] at the temple

Mark 1:21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue

Mark 3:1 Another time [Jesus] went into the synagogue

Luke 4:16 [Jesus] went to Nazareth . . . and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom

Jesus went to church. If we are to be Christians – Christ ones – followers of Jesus, we are to be in church.

God’s word also says: Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:23–25, NIV84)  Did you catch it?  Meeting/Worshiping together encourages the others that have come to meet God.  When we give up meeting weekly, we are cheating others of the full worship and joy that God has designed for us to help strengthen one another on in the faith.  These times are hard and we need God and one another to keep encouraged.

“It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11–13, NIV84).

We have been given people on this earth to help us in our life of Worship and we should give thanks and praise for those God has called into the vocation of earthly leaders (Pastors and Ministers of Music) in our churches.  They have the tremendous joy and responsibility of weekly giving us God’s word in speech, study, and song.  They have been entrusted to give us the full word of God for all times and all places.  They are part of the lifeline of our Christian Discipleship and Life in the area of Worship.  They are our coaches in the journey of life. To be strong in practice, it takes more than just an occasional visit or nodding acquaintance with the playbook to be proficient.  If one practices poorly, there are weak results.  If one practices daily they see positive results.  Often times you get out of something proportionate to what you have put into it.  Worship is no different.  The more you put into preparing and practicing worship, the more you will be ready to hear God’s message.

How do I prepare for worship you might ask?  Spend some time in prayer and study before walking into cooperate worship.  Ask God to give you eyes to see Him and ears to hear from Him in all that is going on in words and music.  Just like you practice hard for an exam, job training, music recital, or sporting event where you will be an actively participant, put all your heart, mind, soul, and body into the effort.  Be dripping wet with the sweat of eager expectation that God will meet you in Worship, just as He has promised.   Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed.” (Psalm 22:3–5, NIV84)

We are blessed each week to have God minister to us in corporate Worship.  Yes, we have the only God that reaches down to His people.  The True Triune God, Father, Son- Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit, visit us when the Word is preached and sung.  But the greatest act of Divine Service comes at the table of Christ’s forgiveness and mercy.  God wants us to know that He is present with us now and forever and that our sins are forgiven.  He tells us that in receiving His very Body and Blood at the Lord’s table.  We are assured that our sins are forgiven, we are made new creatures, and God lives in us.  That is communion!

Worship is communion with God.  It’s relationship.  It’s something we are called upon to do with our family, the others who believe in the Triune God. It’s how we live out our faith in our daily lifestyles.  From the way we serve Him by serving others.  From the way we greet and treat others in Jesus’ name.  It’s in the way we give thanks and praise to the Creator and Sustainer of all things.  Worship is ceaseless and is our lifeblood to the Lord.  As we would no more than cut off blood supply to our brain and vital organs, let us not cut off the Lifeline of our faith and family by cutting off our corporate and individual worship. May we truly show and give reverence to God, while joining and encouraging others in the faith, and then carrying it out to others in our daily lives as we practice a life of Worship here and into eternity.  Let’s face it, heaven is all about being in the presence of the King in worship and praise for all eternity.  No better time to start practicing, than now.

God has been actively working in the hearts of His people and we have been blessed in the Backpack for Back to School project. Gifts of love have been flooding in to Prince of Peace.  The packs will be distributed to Rev. Morales next week, so filling and distribution can begin in time for school.  Keep a watchful eye on the blog for upcoming pictures.

You still have time to participate.  Pick up a new backpack, several places have really nice packs for $5 and under right now, and drop off during this week. Better yet, drop off when you come and join us on Sunday, for time with God, at 8:15 am and 10:45 am.

1428250327951For many of you, seeing the title of today’s blog, instantly conjured up images of the 37 foot 2 inch wall in the Red Sox’s ballpark.  Others might have seen the green gooing claw marks from the energy drink can.  Yet for others maybe you saw a green monster figure like a nasty dinosaur.  Maybe your first thought was the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. Whatever image you had jump in your mind, hold onto it as we walk through a few likely scenarios.

What I had in mind actually can have similar traits as those images we just talked about.  It can be a high almost insurmountable monolith of a wall once it gets into your ballpark, and it will enter your playing field.  It also is an oozing, creepy claw marking thing that just rips to shreds all that it touches.  It has an energy of its own and it doesn’t generally wear off like the stimulating drink.  It’s also a very nasty, ugly large dinosaur of a creature that can carry you away without a trace.  What about the Wicked Witch?  Yes, this thing I am talking about even has her nasty disposition. It takes away your ability to love, care, and be nice to others.  You only see the ugly and it melts your heart like the witch when doused with water. Are you a little curious yet?  Are you a tad anxious to know that this doesn’t allude a single person and it’s as corrosive as cataracts to good eyesight.

This green monster is simply summed up in one little five letter word but has the impact of the green monster wall, energy drink, green dinosaur creature, and Wicked Witch, wrapped up in one and then even dwarfs all of those.  It is GREED!

Maybe when you see the word greed you think that is reserved for only the rich, powerful, political, or well the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world.  Maybe you think it only refers to money.  Sadly, you would be wrong.  Greed is the Green Monster Elephant in every room in every home, in every heart, that no one wants to admit to seeing, possessing, or being. Greed is rooted in dissatisfaction and lust for more of anything.  It’s a lack of trusting God for the way He provides.  See, we and the world say “feed my wants and desires”, “buy more”, “get more”,  and “spend more”.  The holy ground of the temple of greed beckons us to shop until we drop, buy one more lotto ticket, visit one more casino, get one more degree or job title to be able to get one more thing because that “thing” it will fix my pain, my problem, my emotional emptiness, my broken relationships.  The only thing it tends to fix is a large debt that can’t be paid and empties the heart of joyful, thanksgiving.

The problem with the green monster of greed is that it never satisfies. You can have a million dollars and still not have enough. You can jump from relationship to relationship and still not have enough love that you want.  You can have all the bedrooms in your house filled with kids and still not be satisfied with the blessings you have in your family.  Greed breeds ingratitude and the lust for more of it never fulfills.  It never satisfies.  It never delivers on its bogus lies and keeps us distracted chasing the illusion of the American Dream and heaps on the disillusionment because nothing lasts forever and we can’t get enough, buy enough, earn enough to stop death.  No matter how much stuff we acquire, we will all die. You could pull a U-Haul behind the hearse but you still can’t take it with you into eternity.  No matter your station in life, just like chess, at the end of the game the King and the Pawn go in the same box. Just like we all have death in common, as sinful people, we all have the problem of greed in one area or another and the first step in getting handle on greed is admitting we own it.

Jesus dealt with the sin of greed and we can learn from Him on how to Fend off the Feeding of the Green Greed Monster.

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” ’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”  Luke 12:13-21

Jesus first shows us that for eternity purposes the only inheritance we should be concerned about is storing up treasures in heaven and not worry about worldly wealth and possession.  Jesus then tells this man to guard himself against greed and lust and want of what others have or are given.  He straight up tells this guy STUFF won’t make you happy and life is more than possessions.

So how do we guard ourselves against the lies the world and our sinful selves tell us?  How do we scale the green monster wall? How and where do we find our energy to conquer the green monster in the room of our hearts and souls?  How do we fight off the monster dinosaur of lust, desire, and the likes?  How do kill the green wicked witch of greed?

Jesus tells us to be concerned about God’s riches first.  The riches of knowing Jesus Christ comes in the Word of God.  The power of the Holy Spirit touching us when we read God’s Holy Word and actually digest it.  The Word will teach and instruct us and douse the wicked witch of greed with the Living Water of Jesus Christ.

Worship gives us the ability to be ministered to by God and to be filled up with the love and forgiveness Christ won for us.  The Body and Blood given to us in Holy Communion is a constant reminder that Jesus Christ scaled the monster wall of sin on our behalf.

Giving of our tithes, offerings, special gifts helps us to see how richly God has provided for us in giving us all the things we have.  In turn by giving back to the Lord, we are blessed by knowing that we are caring out his commission to love care and provide for others in not only physical ways but spiritual ways as we tend to the business of the church.  This helps melt our hearts of ingratitude and thanklessness.

When we spend time in prayer this helps us be alert and on guard to where we need to seek God’s direction and repent of our ways when we let the green monster of greed rear its ugly head.  Prayer is always about us being in line God’s will and changing us from the soul on out to the body.  When we spend time to not only seek God in prayer, but listen to Him in prayer, we will find out that again, we are very blessed and rich beyond imagination.

Lastly, when we stop being greedy with our time and chasing our worldly pursuits, and start serving and giving our time at church and in service to others, we will be put in situations that show us people and situations in true need.  We will find out that no matter how poor we think we are there are always others far worse off than we are.  You will also find in serving that there are those that are destitute in the worldly things of money and possessions but way richer than you because they possess a peace and solitude that only God can give them.  They walk upright with the joy in knowing that God is caring for them even in the tough times of life.

So, there you have it.  Let’s start killing the Green Monster of Greed and start examining your holy grounds of the temple of greed and start being RICH in the Things of God!

Gracious Giver of all things, thank You for all that You give us and all that You keep from us because it is for our own good.  Show us our areas of greed, lust, and dissatisfaction and unthankfulness.  Help us turn from our sin and turn to You.  Give us an extra measure of Your Holy Spirit so we can fight this sin that erodes our hearts, relationships, time, and joy.  Put our priorities in proper order so that we only seek and want what Your Word tells us to desire.  Give us the power to give fully of ourselves to Your work and mission so we can help others climb over the green monster wall of greed and move into being rich in Your grace.  Melt our thankless, covetous hearts.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.