Monday, June 1, 2020

Things to keep a secret

S - Scripture     
Matthew  6 v.  18  That your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who is in secret will reward you.     

O - Observation  
The very last portion of this verse, "And your Father who see's in secret will reward you", must be very important. Jesus said this 3 times, Matthew 6 v.4, in relation to giving; Matthew 6 v. 6 in relation to praying and then this verse in relation to fasting. All three are spiritual discipline. All related to the heart or motivation of the person doing this. The other cool thing is God never lies and he is all knowing or seeing - so doing these things in private for the Lord will be a blessing.

A - Application 
 Am I practicing these disciplines in private?  

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Give me the heart work to do these disciplines.  Love Will.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

God's Will - A great plan for us

S - Scripture     
Matthew  6 v. 10  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.      

O - Observation 
Thy will be done. What is God's will? We know that God wants Everyone to be saved. We know that God wants us to be in a relationship with him. We know that God wants us to bless his children. We know that God wants us to live in Love and Unity. Hmmmm.... If the world achieved that, it would be like... Heaven.

A - Application 
So... Am I helping or hindering God's will? What areas do I need some divine help on to complete God's will? 

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Use me as a tool to accomplish your will while I am on Earth.  Love Will

Image by lmaresz from Pixabay 

Pray Then Like This

GUEST ELDERS BLOG
by Clif Baumer

Pray Then Like This

Scripture: Matthew 6:9-15, “Pray then like this: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Observations: Today’s scripture is familiar to us all. Perhaps it is too familiar. I say this because it is very easy to speak the words while our minds are elsewhere. If Jesus is telling his disciples (and us) to “pray then like this,” then we should study this prayer carefully.
Christ’s instruction on prayer is part of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). The focus of the Lord’s Prayer is first on God and his kingdom; then on us and our needs. This principle is also displayed in Matthew 6:33 where Jesus instructs us to “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Luther’s Small Catechism divides the Lord’s Prayer into an introduction followed by seven petitions. Let’s briefly consider what each of these divisions say.
In the introduction we address God as, “Our Father in heaven.” First, we see that it’s our Father. By “our,” we acknowledge that we are members of the body of Christ; not “lone rangers.” Jesus could have instructed us to address the Father as Almighty God or some other lofty title but instead instructs us to address his Father as our Father and to come before his Father as dear children.
In the first petition we pray, “hallowed be your name.” God’s name is holy (set apart) and we are to treat it with reverence. God revealed his special, personal name to Moses (and to us) at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14-15). God told Moses to remove his shoes because he was standing on holy ground. God’s personal name means “I AM” or I AM WHO I AM.” In the introduction we see the intimacy of God as Father and in the first petition the transcendent holiness of God as the great I AM.
In the second petition we pray, “Your kingdom come.” Romans 14:17 tells us the Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” Righteousness (right standing with God) is imparted to us by grace through faith in Jesus. It is not something we are able to earn. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes what the kingdom looks like as his followers are salt and light to the world. We pray God’s kingdom will come to all who live in this world.
In the third petition we pray, “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This is difficult for some to pray because they feel that they know the preferred outcome and may not fully trust God if his direction is different. Yet God’s understanding is unsearchable and his ways inscrutable (Isaiah 40:28; Romans 11:33). His good and gracious will is done whether we ask for it or not. Prayer for God’s will to be done reminds us that we are his servants and not vice versa. The heartfelt sincerity of our prayer serves to gauge our level of trust in him.
In the fourth petition we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Whether your tastes lean toward whole grain wheat or Wonder white, we intuitively recognize that this petition refers to more than a baked fermented mixture of flour and water. We ask God to provide this day all that we need for our bodies and lives. People have a tendency to worry about the future. This petition reminds us to take one day at a time; be thankful for what we have today, and trust God for tomorrow. In a parallel interpretation, Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Jesus is the “bread that came down from heaven” (John 6:51). He was born in Bethlehem which means “house of bread.” We all need more of Jesus every day of our lives.
In the fifth petition we pray, “and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” This is difficult for some to pray because they have suffered terrible wrongdoing at some point and carry hatred and unforgiveness in their hearts for the perpetrator(s). Jesus offers no exceptions to this rule. In fact, he underscores its importance in verses 14 and 15 by declaring plainly, “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). As we have received grace, we are to show grace to others. If you struggle with unforgiveness, there is hope. Contact Pastor Tim or an elder for help.
In the sixth petition we pray, “And lead us not into temptation.” God temps no one to sin. He does however test our faith to develop our “steadfastness” (James 1:2-3). He is able to keep us from stumbling when we are tempted by the devil, the world, or our own sinful nature (Jude 1:24).
In the seventh petition we pray, “but deliver us from evil.” Our spiritual enemies will attempt to lure us away from God and his ways. We ask God to deliver us from evil (or the evil one) so that we would not be led away from God nor be harmed by the devil.
Application: Am I actually praying the Lord’s Prayer or am I just saying the words?
Prayer: Let’s pray:
Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for sending your dear son, Jesus, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, to suffer and die in our place that we might walk in right standing with you. Thank you that Jesus taught us how to pray. Help us to pray the Lord’s Prayer; not just say the Lord’s Prayer. In Jesus Name we ask. Amen.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Talk to God


S - Scripture     
Matthew    6 v. 8b For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.      

O - Observation 
Why bother? If God already knows what we need then why ask? It's because God wants a relationship with us. He wants us to talk to him. He wants us to share our lives with him. After all, He states, seek and ye shall find, ask and it will be given to you, knock and the door will be opened. One last thing, if your ever at a point where your at a lost for words, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us, talks to God on our behalf. Now that is comforting.   

A - Application 
Am I developing a Relationship with God? Do I really believe that he is listening? 

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Help me to develop a Strong Relationship with you. Help me to talk to you with confidence. Love Will.

Photo by Andy Montes de Oca on Unsplash

Friday, May 29, 2020

Check your motivation


S - Scripture     
Matthew    6 v. 1  Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.      

O - Observation     
This is Jesus's direct comments to the Holy Rollers. Those who show everyone how great a Christian they are.
Not only does this sort of behavior get No Love from Jesus, but it also can turn other people off. Which is exactly opposite of what God wants. God wants a relationship not a religion. 1 Samuel 16 v7b. For the Lord looks not as a man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord look on the Heart.  

A - Application 
What are my motivations when I do acts of service for God? Are they pure or self driven?  

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Help me to keep my acts of service just that. Acts of Service for you. Love Will

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Let it go!


S - Scripture     
Matthew   5 v. 45  So that you may be sons of your Father who is in Heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and unjust.    

O - Observation    
Revenge. People say, Revenge is ours. Not so. Not for us sons and daughters of God. Remember, our time here on Earth is short. Therefore this verse is all the more applicable, Romans 12 v. 19 "Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the Wrath of God, for it is written, revenge is mine, I will repay says the Lord." Knowing this, and that we are his children, and he is a just God, we can let the sun and rain, rise and fall on the unjust without it eating us up!

A - Application 
Am I able to let go? Am I able to let God Judge for me?  

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Help me to stay focused on you. Love

Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Go the Distance!


S - Scripture     
Matthew   5 v. 41 And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.        

O - Observation    
This is Jesus' prescription for persecution, and its not for me, but the persecutor. Remember, we have a higher calling.  We are Children of God.  We have an inheritance better than we can imagine. With this confidence we recognize that our time here on earth is short, and since God wants all to be saved, we need to take a different, Godly approach to persecution. These are our opportunities to live our faith, and nothing is worse to the persecutors. Proverbs 25 v.21-22 "If your enemy is hungry or thirsty, give him something to eat and drink, for you will heap coals of fire on his head." When in pain, people are open to the good news.      

A - Application 
Am I going the distance - and back with those that are my enemies?   

P - Prayer   
Jesus, Give me the power to walk the two miles with all of those that persecute me. Love