UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (6)

Give us this day our daily bread.   -Matthew 6:11

There are 2 reasons for praying, “Give us this day our daily bread” and they have to do with:

His provision. First, while we may have so much food that our prayer is, “Lord, help me to lose some weight,” multitudes go to bed hungry. They pray this prayer because without an answer they won’t make it. And we dare not turn away from them because: “God blesses those who are kind to the poor.

He helps them out of their troubles. He protects them … he publicly honors them and destroys the power of their enemies” (Ps 41:1-2 TLB). Second, Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Mt 4:4). Note the phrase “every word.” Some

of the bread He feeds us is pleasant; some is painful, And we need both. “Ice cream Christians” pick Scriptures that make them feel good. As a result they don’t develop the spiritual muscle required to stand strong in the hard times. God’s promise to you is, “No weapon that is fanned against thee shall

prosper” (Isa 54: 17). Quit praying that the weapon won’t be formed. It will. Just eat right and it won’t prosper. It’s easy to tell when you’re not eating right. People get on your nerves, you go through mood swings, you cave into fear. If that describes you, it’s time to pray: “Lord, I’m nervous, give me the bread. Lord, I’m moody, give me the bread. Lord, I’m going through too many temptations and messing up, give me the bread.” The truth is, without your daily bread you won’t make it!

 

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (5)

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done. – Matthew 6:10

In the kingdom of self, you rule. By the way, how are things going in your kingdom these days? Not too well? That’s because the wrong person’s in charge! In the Kingdom of God, Christ rules. His Word settles all issues. No, “Yeah, buts.” When Jesus taught us to pray “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done,” He was teaching us:

His priorities. The fastest route to success in any job is to find out what the boss wants, and get it done with excellence. Bosses notice people like that. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God [His agenda, His priorities]” (Mt 6:33). The rules are different in God’s kingdom: (1) The way up, is down.

“Humble yourselves … that he may exalt you in due time” (IPe 5:6). Note the words, “due time!’ Your blessing is already scheduled on God’s calendar. Just keep your head down. (2) By forgiving others you free yourself. At the point of forgiveness, all the energy lost to self-pity and resentment is reclaimed and

redirected-and you get your peace back. What a deal! One of the last songs Elvis ever sang was, HI Did It My Way.” In the Kingdom of God we do it His way. Each time God’s will is done, a little more of His Kingdom comes. “But why do we have to pray, ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven?”’ Because we can’t make it happen! The needed energy must come from another source. So, our prayers are more than just an invitation for God to show up-they’re the conduit through which His Kingdom power flows into our circumstances.

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (4)

Hallowed be thy name.  -Matthew 6:9 If you ever get invited to Buckingham Palace and have the privilege of meeting the Queen, don’t show up in cut-off blue jeans and a raggedy T-shirt. They won’t let you in. You’re not coming to a pizza parlor, you’re entering a palace, you’re addressing royalty. Keep that in mind. When Jesus told us to pray, “Hallowed be thy name;’ He was teaching us: His protocol. There’s only one way to enter God’s presence. And it’s not with a shopping list of all the things you want.

If the only time someone comes to visit you is when they need something, you’ll soon stop answering the door. David tells us how to approach God: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves … Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name” (Ps 100:3-4). Did you get that? We should enter His gates with thanksgiving for all He’s done. Then walk across His courtyard with praise for Who He is: “My Savior, my deliverer, my defender, my provider, my source of strength, my way-maker, the center of my joy, the lover of my soul, the author and finisher of my faith.” You say, “But I’m not the emotional type.” Come on, you’ve no trouble expressing yourself when your team’s winning. Whether you’re a morning person or a night person, the Bible says, “From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the Lord’s name is to be praised” (Ps 113:3). The way to enter, to enjoy, and to live in God’s presence-is through praise.

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (3)

Which art in heaven.   -Matthew 6:9

When we pray to the God Who is in heaven, we recognize:

His position. Daniel said, “The Most High rules in the kingdom of men” (Da 4:17 NKJV). That’s God’s answer to frightening headlines and fear-filled hearts. A late-night TV comedian recently quipped: “Tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and now the Avian FIu. Maybe this isn’t such a good time to be trying to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance.” If God is not in control-who is? The

President? The Prime Minister? Nice folks, and no doubt well intentioned, but not good enough if you enjoy the idea of sleeping peacefully in your bed at night. The Psalmist said, “My help cometh from the Lord” (Ps 121:2). Think: if He’s Lord over every circumstance, and if He’s promised to help us when we call on Him, what do we have to worry about?

You say, “What about terrorism? The Middle East?” No problem. God had it all on the drawing board before a shot was fired. God moves men and nations like we move pawns in a chess game. Look at modem day Israel. God promised 3,000 years ago: “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will

rebuild the ruined cities and live in them … never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them, says the Lord your God” (Am 9: 14-15 NIV). Still think God’s not running the show? He’s God, and He’s in charge. And one more thing you need to know: “At the Name of Jesus every knee should bow … and … every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Php 2: 10-11).

 

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (2)

Our Father.   Matthew 6:9

Jesus taught His disciples to pray: “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father” (Mt 6:9). Don’t miss

this: the relationship you have with someone determines the level of comfort and confidence with which you approach them. So Jesus begins by emphasizing:

The person. “Our Father.” Now, if you had an absentee father who was never there for you, or an abusive father who hurt you, or an emotionally unavailable father who never showed you much love or acceptance, then you need a new concept of God-a Scriptural one; otherwise your past will sabotage you. Before you can trust someone you have to know they really care about you. Once that happens you’ll open up to them. Only then can your wounded areas be made whole. “Our Father” that puts an address on the envelope! You need to understand Who you’re talking to and the relationship you have with Him. You approach God on the basis of who you are to Him, and Who He is to you. Your Heavenly Father is a covenant making, covenant keeping God. When two people in Bible days made a covenant it wasn’t a casual “call me sometime” with no commitment. No, they sealed it with blood, meaning, “I’ll give my life for you if necessary.”

You can actually call God “Papa” without a trace of irreverence: “This resurrection life you received from God is … adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike ‘What’s next, Papa?’ … We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children” (Ro 8: 15-17 TM). So, to pray the Lord’s Prayer effectively we must recognize and rejoice in who He is to us-“our Father.”

 

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



UNDERSTANDING THE LORD’S PRAYER (1)

Lord, teach us to pray.   -Luke 11:1

One day Jesus’ disciples watched and listened as He prayed. When He got through they said: “Lord, teach us to pray.” As a result He gave them what’s become known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Can you remember when you last prayed it? If not, how come? Maybe you learned it by rote and you don’t

understand its significance or power. Or perhaps it was repeated like a meaningless ritual at the end of a church service as people put on their coats and headed for the parking lot. That tells you more about the hearts of the people than the power of the prayer. “Well, I think we need more contemporary prayers geared toward fast-trackers,” Really? Have you listened to some of the stuff they’ve replaced the Lord’s Prayer with? Jesus warned us about prayers that are just “babbling” (See Mt 6:7 NIV). There are lots of prayers in the Bible: prayers for deliverance, for guidance, for forgiveness, for unity, etc. Here’s the score: when you pray it should be (a) passionate; (b) scriptural; (c) intimate; (d) unhurried; (e) faith-filled. Take a moment and meditate on each of those 5 things. They’re your keys to answered prayer.

We only tend to keep doing what rewards us, so when prayer becomes an unrewarding experience we quit. If that’s why you no longer pray The Lord’s Prayer, don’t feel condemned-feel challenged. For the next few days let’s go back to the only prayer Jesus Himself gave us to pray. After all, who knows more about prayer? Can you imagine Jesus giving us a prayer that didn’t move God, get a hearing and bring the needed answers?

 

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



WHAT FOLLOWERS SHOULD EXPECT

Honor one another above yourselves.   -Romans 12:10 NIV

If God’S called you to lead, more is required of you.

Those you’re called to lead have the right to expect 8 things:

(1) To know your character. If I follow you will I know who you really are? Will you deal with me with integrity?

(2) That you’ll take the time to explain your vision. What’s the future and where do I fit? Is there a place for me or will you simply use me?

(3) To never be left in isolation. Will you ‘be there’ for me? Will you love me? Will you care about my needs?

(4) To be heard. To whom will you listen? When you’re busy and overloaded will I still be heard, taken seriously and appreciated?

(5) To be trusted. Can I take initiative without fear? Will my ideas be rewarded and encouraged or will I be regarded with suspicion and distanced?

(6) To be given an opportunity to grow. Will I be encouraged to be a lifelong learner? Will my gifts be

increasingly identified and expressed? Will I be developed?

(7) To be held accountable. Will I be fairly evaluated for my performance? Will I be lovingly held to the highest standards and to God’s best for my life? Will you show me how to do it better and be patient while I learn and self-correct?

(8) To be the object of grace. Will I be forgiven even in the face of shortcomings, inadequacies and failure? Will I have the freedom to be who God made me to be? Will I be led with kindness? That’s

what followers have the right to expect of you-so don’t let them down!

 

Taken from “The Best of The Word for You” 2007



SEVEN LESSONS FROM THE CROSS (7)

Into Your hands I commit My spirit. Luke 23:46 NKJV

Lesson 7: Release it to God. Some of the issues we struggle with seem to be never-ending, like money worries, family problems and health concerns. Even when we get a break and should be resting, we sit up anticipating the worst, wondering, “How long, Lord?” The only way to have real peace is to commit the outcome to God. When Jesus cried, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” it wasn’t a cry of

defeat or resignation. No, it was an act of trust that meant surrendering control to the Father. His atoning blood had been shed, salvation’s work was finally complete. But before Jesus could pray that prayer He first had to pray, “Not my will, but yours be done” (Lk 22:42 NIV). And that’s a prayer we must

each learn to pray. In Philippians 3: 10 Paul wrote, “I want … to know Christ and the power that raised him to life … to suffer and die as he did … that … 1.. .may be raised to life” (CEV). We all want to rule and reign with Christ some day, we just don’t want to submit our will to His today. But it doesn’t work like that. Jack Hayford writes: “The charted course … always has been … the way of the cross.’ The cross not only calls us to Jesus, it also calls us to a life, to the wisdom of God’s ways in all our relationships and pursuits … to the pattern of Jesus .. .in the face of our deepest struggles.” So whatever you’re wrestling

with today, release it to God once and for all. When you do you’ll experience His peace, and you won’t be disappointed with the outcome.

 

The daily devotionals so far this year have been taken from “The Best of The Word for Today” published in 2007.  This outstanding daily devotional has been a blessing to many. I trust it will bless you today.



SEVEN LESSONS FROM THE CROSS (6)

It is finished.   -John 19:30 NKJV

Lesson 6: You can add nothing to it. In the Old Testament tabernacle there were different items of furniture such as the table of showbread representing our need for fellowship, the lamp stand representing our need for light and understanding, etc. But there were no chairs. Why? Because the

priest’s work was never finished! He couldn’t sit down. But after Jesus cried, “It is finished” He returned to heaven and sat down at the right hand of His Father-the work of redemption was complete! The Greek words for “It is finished” literally mean “paid in full” It’s what folks in those days wrote across a receipt when the bill was paid. Christ’s death covers your every sinfrom the cradle to the grave. And to offer your good works as partial payment, insults God. You can’t add to a finished work!

Imagine seeing a finely crafted coffee table sitting in a carpentry shop ready for delivery. You reach for a wood plane and say, “It’s good, but not good enough, let me show you.” The master carpenter immediately steps in and says, “No, you’ll ruin it!” Or imagine receiving a very expensive gift from a loved one. Immediately you pull out a $5 bill and say, “Here, let me help you with the cost.” No, the smaller the gift the greater the offense. You’re robbing the giver of his joy and the sacrifice of its worth.

Listen: “This is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9 NIV). Saving faith requires -. trusting only in a finished work of Christ!

 

The daily devotionals so far this year have been taken from “The Best of The Word for Today” published in 2007.  This outstanding daily devotional has been a blessing to many.



SEVEN LESSONS FROM THE CROSS (5)

I’m thirsty!   -John 19:28 TM

Lesson 5: Acknowledge your humanity. Combine the torment of being crucified in the intense Judean heat, with the loss of bodily fluids, and you can understand why Jesus was thirsty. However, the Bible says that when they offered Him water containing “a mild painkiller … he wouldn’t take it” (Mk 15:23 TM). Why? Because it would have dulled His senses and He wanted to stay alert Make no mistake, Jesus could have summoned a host of angels to deliver Him. But instead He chose to die for our sins. He said, “No one takes my life .. .I give it up willingly!” (In 10:18 CEV). This also explains why John wrote: “Jesus, seeing … every thing had been completed” (He deliberately fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy concerning His crucifixion) said “I’m thirsty!” His next statement would be so history changing that He wanted His voice to be loud and clear: “It is finished!”

When you’re in a dark valley like Jesus was that day it can cloud your thinking and make you lose perspective-unless you voice your needs to those around you. By acknowledging His physical thirst, Jesus reminded each of us that there are times when we’re not self-sufficient, when we need help from others.

Why else would Paul write: “Bear one another’s burdens, and … fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal 6:2 NAS)?

David writes: “As a father has compassion on his children .. .the Lord … remembers that we are dust” (Ps 103:13-14 NIV). God remembers we are just human-s-we are the ones who forget! The bottom line is, Jesus was humble enough to acknowledge His humanity, and we need to learn to do the same.

 

The daily devotionals so far this year have been taken from “The Best of The Word for Today” published in 2007.  This outstanding daily devotional has been a blessing to many. I trust it will bless you today.




 

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