Hope for today: pray to our Father

Hope

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 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

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

Hope for today: thirst satisfied

HopeGod, You are my God; I eagerly seek You. I thirst for You; my body faints for You
in a land that is dry, desolate, and without water.
So I gaze on You in the sanctuary to see Your strength and Your glory.

My lips will glorify You
because Your faithful love is better than life.
So I will praise You as long as I live; at Your name, I will lift up my hands.
You satisfy me as with rich food; my mouth will praise You with joyful lips. Psalm 63:1-5

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

Father…

Luke 23.34

As you know, God is preparing my heart for a great Resurrection celebration on what some call Easter Sunday. The celebration is not just that I am able to shout Hallelujah on that Lord’s Day but it is also the takeaways.

You know, the Lord pours His Word into us [me] day after day of His Great, Loving Sacrifice and the question that must be answered, now what? What am I do with all these wonderful truths? What is the application for my life that will increase my relationship with Him and cause me to be a greater display of His glory? As I look at the sayings of Jesus on the cross, the above verse is the first one and I immediately see one takeaway. It says, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do (Luke 23:33).

Now, I know many of you already believe that this post will be about forgiveness. We will get to that but in actuality, this post is about “Father.” Or perhaps continuing to see the Father as my Father in the tough times of suffering. This verse allows us to know that Jesus was able to do this,  Jesus is still hold to His relationship as He calls to His “Father.”

You know, how we are, if we are not careful our suffering can cause us to walk in a distant relationship. No, we don’t lose our salvation but if not careful we doubt, sulk, and sometimes angry. No doubt, someone reading this has turned their backs on God because they do not like the suffering life has brought perhaps through death, illness, relationships, finances, etc. Somehow, we believe the lie satan plants that life will be easy for Christians. He then comes back around and accuses God and sows disbelief and anger in our minds and heats in the hard spots.

Let’s face it, the suffering caused by utter wickedness in this world will cause a person to shake their heads in unbelief. Our spirits become wounded as we see weak Christians and our leaders choose transgression and sin without repentance. To be honest, there are times that we look for justice but we see none and become discouraged.

The enemy swoops in with questions that root all the way back to the garden. Did God really say and if He did what kind of God would say or allow that to happen. Are you sure you want Him for your God?

Right here in this verse, we find our answer and response to those who would dare to ask us such questions when we are suffering in our personal lives and as we the events of the world take place. What kind of God? The same One Who allowed His Holy, Perfect, Sinless Son to suffer, to be falsely accused and brutally beat beyond recognition, scourged, spit upon, endure false trials, and nailed to a cross. The Son who did not receive justice but our [my] sins on His back.

Son of Man and Son of God, are you sure you want Him? The answer is a resounding Yes! My heart’s desire is for the One who despite all the rebellion and wickedness of man kept relationship with the Father for my good. He did it…for the world, He did it for me. Even as the flesh tore on His back,  the Son did not get mad at the Father, nor did He no longer desire fellowship. Rather, He is calling to Him and no doubt taking comfort and drawing strength in knowing the Father is with Him. The son cries out, “Father’ and the cry was not even for Himself. It was for us, that we would have forgiveness and relationship. My, my, my…Selah!

Once again, I am reminded that life comes with some “stuff” – suffering, disappointment, pain, sorrow, sickness, death and wickedness – remembering how Jesus responded to the betrayal, suffering, brutality, and wickedness by clinging to and calling on the Father will help me.

The enemy and even our flesh rises to steal our faith. May we follow the example of Jesus and instead of running away, turning our backs, failing to pray, ceasing communion, fellowship, and devotion…may we call to our Father and seek the true and living God all the more.

May we find comfort and strength in His promise to never leave nor forsake us. He is God and all His ways are perfect.2 Samuel 22.31

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Hope for today: encouragement in Christ

hopeIf then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4

I kneel before the Father…

Ephesians 3.17-19

The above verse was part of my devotions today. Yesterday’s post and the reference to six long hours is still in my heart, still stirs my spirit, still humbles me, still causes me to bow in worship. Jesus has already paid it all and He is God! 

The greatest love, ever, proven at Calvary! So I pray for you and I pray for me…for our immediate and extended families, I pray. I pray for our churches… and for our communities, I pray. I pray for this nation and for the nations…for the unsaved to come to Jesus for salvation and for the saved to grow and be filled with ALL the fullness of God.

I kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named.  I pray that He may grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power in the inner man through His Spirit,  and that the Messiah may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:15-19). In Jesus Name and for His glory, Amen!

1 John3.1

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Now this is eternal life

John 17.3

 And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God,
and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. John 17:3

We are studying John in Bible study and this week’s lesson includes the verse above. Jesus prayed this verse before He was arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. God is using the verse to help prepare my heart for the Resurrection Celebration that is coming!

Only twenty words but enough to bring tears. As I read the verse, my heart and mind respond by saying, “this is why He came…that man [I] would know the Father and the Son [and the Holy Spirit].” Jesus desired that we would know the only True God and this is why When the days drew near for Him [Jesus] to be taken up, He set his face to go to Jerusalem (Luke 9:61).”

Jesus knew what lie ahead for Him in Jerusalem – the rejection, mocking, spitting, false trials, scourging,  nails hammered, separation from the Father, a borrowed tomb…and yet He knew what lie ahead for man and resolutely, He set His face to go, to finish the work the Father had given Him.

Why? That we would know the only true and living God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Not just know about Him, not a second-handed relationship, but know Him intimately and personally. The Amplified translates it like this:

“And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.”  John 17:3

And we [have seen and] know [by personal experience] that the Son of God has [actually] come [to this world], and has given us understanding and insight so that we may [progressively and personally] know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

I pray that you are included with me in 1 Peter 2:10, “Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” My heart is fixed and my mind made up…the Lord is worthy of all praise, honor, glory, majesty, and honor! I bow at His feet in worship and cry holy, glory to the Son of God!

See what an incredible quality of love the Father has shown to us, that we would [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are!”
1 John 3:1

Lavished Love from the heart of the Father!

1 John 3.1

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Fear God…do not be afraid

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18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke,they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Exodus 20:18-20

Moses has completed the giving of The Ten Commandments to the Israelites and they respond with awe, reverence, and trembling and they remained at a distance.  I can only imagine the thunder, lightning, and trumpet sound  but know that I would have been there trembling as well.

The people are standing at a distance so fearful that they tell Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.” Moses assures the people that all of God has spoken and that they are experiencing has purpose. It is a test so that the FEAR of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.  

It is good to fear the Lord. The Lord, He is God and worthy of our reverential fear. He is to be treated with honor, respect and reverential trust. God is holy and righteous, so completely other and unique, and we are not to treat Him as though He was mere man.

As Moses stated, God had come them keep us from sinning by helping them to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy fear of the Lord. Moses assured the people that they did not need to be afraid of God. To be afraid is to be worried, anxious, even terrified that something undesirable might happen. But rather they (and we) are to love and obey the Lord.

The Lord wants His children to know that we have no reason to be afraid of Him but we are to fear Him, have a deep and abiding respect, honor, and reverential trust in Him as we walk in faith, being sure and certain that He is Who He says He is and He does everything He says – “Now faith is being sue of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1).”

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Matthew 10:28 – And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 – Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole [duty] of man.

Proverbs 14:27 – The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Psalms 111:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do [His commandments]: His praise endureth for ever.

Luke 1:50 – And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation.

1 John 4:18 – There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

I am reminded of God’s perfect love that sent His precious, special, unique Son to earth to make atonement for our sin. The earth quaked that day as well. It was not that we would be afraid but know in an intimate and personal relationship the perfect love that drives out our being afraid.

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. 51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split 52 and the tombs broke open. … 54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:50-52,54

The earth quaked not so we would be afraid but that the curtain would be torn and we come enter boldly into the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16), not that we would run from God but draw near to God (James 4:8), not that we would be afraid but experience joy (Psalm 116:11, Romans 14:17)!

Surely, I thank God for Jesus, our resurrected Savior on this day! It is my privilege to love and fear Him!

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

1 John 418

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Honor human life

 

exodus-20-13“You shall not murder.
Exodus 20:13 NIV

In this command, God speaks to the sacredness of life and our responsibility to be mindful that every man is an image bearer of God. 

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in His own image.” Genesis 9:6

In early years, this text was translated to say “Thy shall not kill.” Most modern translators agree that the correct translation is murder. It is important because The Jews were allowed to defend themselves (Exodus 22:2) and accidental death was addressed separately as well (Exodus 21:12-14).

The Word of God:

 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. 

Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. 1 John 3:15

You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13:8-10

So I expect that some are you are expecting a great discourse on abortion or the senseless violence that we see in our nation every day…and rightfully so, BUT if you are expecting this, you already know truth. Sssooo…let me ask another question. Have you ever murdered someone with your mouth (gossip)? Or in your heart (anger, hate, jealousy)? 

“After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.” Jeremiah 31:19

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” James 4:7-10

romans-13-8

To Know Jesus as Lord and Savior

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Honor your dad and mom

exodus-20-parents

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Exodus 20:12

Remember, one of the Pharisee tested Jesus by asking:

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.”
We have looked discussed the first and greatest command. Today, we begin to look at the second greatest command. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

The Lord begins with the foundation of loving our parents and authority. God expects His children to love others and that it be proven out in how we respect and treat one another. My, my, my…as God has granted knowledge and the life expectancy to extend, it seems that as a society as we have become so self-centered and focused that for some this commandment has been put to the side.

Isn’t it something how we know the application of this verse so well when we are the parents and we relate it to our children…”children are to honor their parents.” But as our parents age and have greater needs, for some, it slips by us that God has commanded that children are to honor and respect our parents.

My granddad use to say as he aged – “once a man, twice a child.” He was speaking of his own recognition that he was aging and his need for help. My aunt loved, honored, and respected him so much that she brought him into her home and cared for him until the age of 96. She was able to do this in his old age because she loved, honored, and respected him in the early years and all the years between. We can’t all bring our parents home but we can all love, honor, respect and watch over their care and spend time in fellowship with them no matter where they reside.  It should be a lifetime of love, honor, and respect demonstrated with action.

It is one of those times that we will let the Scriptures speak to show us how seriously God took this command in the Old Testament:

Exodus 21:15, 17, “Anyone who attacks their father or mother is to be put to death. “Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.”

Leviticus 19:3, 32, “‘Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God….“‘Stand up in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the Lord.

Deuterontomy 27:16, “Cursed is anyone who dishonors their father or mother.” Then all the people shall say, “Amen!”

Proverbs 1:8, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.”

Proverbs 16:31, “Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness.

Proverbs 20:20, “If someone curses their father or mother, their lamp will be snuffed out in pitch darkness.”

Proverbs 23:22, “Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Proverbs 30:17, “The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions
will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.”

From the lips of Jesus:

For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

“‘These people honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
    their teachings are merely human rules.’” Matthew 15:4-9

“You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! 10 For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 11 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— 12 then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. 13 Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.” Mark 7:9-12

And Paul:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Ephesians 6:1-3

“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap in return.”
Galatians 6:7

ephesians-6-20

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The Sabbath and the need for rest

matthew-11-28“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. 11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Before continuing, I feel compelled to once again declare this truth, For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).”


While we do not see  the commandment to “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” given in the New Testament, I do believe the principle of REST is taught in the New Testament. REST not so much FROM physical labor but a RESTING in the Lord, a withdrawing from the cares of life to spend time in worship and fellowship with the Lord.

It is so easy to become busy, busy, busy even about the work of the Kingdom and forget the God of the Kingdom. No one was or ever will be more focused on the work the Father had sent him to do than Jesus and yet, we see that there were times He chose to withdraw and led the disciples to do the same.

  • Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”
  • Matthew 14:23, “After He had sent them away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. When evening came, He was there alone,”
  • Luke 6:12, “In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God.
  • And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) Mark 6:31
  • “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Mark 11:28-30

The principle of rest takes me to Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” This is rest, sweet rest in the presence and fellowship of the One who is our Savior. I believe that our Creator knows that we need the down moments of worship, away from the cares, noise, and throws of life to be with Him…to rest in His presence, to hear His voice alone, without the noise, to be revived, restored and renewed…ready to press on!

That’s why, to me, the OT Commandment 4 goes with the Greatest Commandment to love. and worship God, it’s not about ritual or law but about true worship of the One True and Living God in Spirit and in Truth.

I am reminded of Psalm 62:

Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

 …
Yes, my soul, find rest in God;

    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God;
    he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, you people;
    pour out your hearts to him,
    for God is our refuge.

May God ever protect us from becoming so busy that we forget to “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while” in His presence, in communion, fellowship and worship that yields an intimate and personal relationship with the God who loves us so much that He gave His special and unique Son, gave Himself, that we would be His children. 

May we be faithful to “come alone and rest.”

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, to proclaim the virtues of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10

1-peter2-9

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