Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pray: Your will be done

"In this manner, therefore, pray: 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 forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

Last night in our series Growing in Grace we continued in our study on the model prayer. Specifically we noticed the line “your will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” God is a sovereign God and so there is a sense in which His will always get done.
"… Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it." (Isaiah 46:11)

In His providence or supervision of all things God orchestrates all things according to His will including our salvation.

"In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will," (Ephesians 1:11, NKJV)

Yet there is another sense in which His will is not done. Many reject the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Many will perish forever. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. God has compassion on mankind and desires that all men be saved.

"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9, NKJV)

In the model prayer then we are addressing God and asking Him to accomplish His sovereign will or the will of His decree and we are asking Him to accomplish His desire that His will be done here on here on earth perfectly as it is done in heaven. Our prayers are more than exercises in communication, God uses means to accomplish His will and one of the means is our prayers. How does God do that? I am not sure but I will trust Him and fulfill His declared will in my life to pray without ceasing that His will be done.

"pray without ceasing," (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NKJV)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


"“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:25-34, NKJV)

One of the things our church has done to facilitate our growth in Christ is to select a meditation/memory verse. You may notice on the main page to our web site that we list the precious stone of the month. We use a gemstone merely as a memory cue of what is truly valuable, namely God’s Word.

This month we are focusing on Matthew 6:33. In this verse Jesus tells us to make God’s kingdom a priority and then everything will take care of itself. This verse is easier preached than practice. There are so many things in this life that grab our attention. For most everyone challenges often arise that cause us to doubt the goodness of God. We may lose a job and be in a difficult financial position. Perhaps we are struggling in our personal relationships with friends or family. Perhaps we fear that all our best made plans and dreams will never come true.

Jesus’ word to the anxious soul then and now is to seek the kingdom of God first. Perhaps one of the reasons we may be going through a particular difficulty is to cause us to depend less on ourselves and trust more in God. God takes care of the flowers and the birds which are not made in the image of God. How much more will He care for you who are made in His image. How much more will He care for you who have been adopted into His family through the person of Christ. Lift your head up, seek the kingdom of God first today and your anxiety will be a forgotten memory.

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;" (Philippians 4:6, NKJV)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Of Whom the World was not Worthy

Hebrews 11:30-40 (NKJV)30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days. 31 By faith the harlot Rahab did not perish with those who did not believe, when she had received the spies with peace. 32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

155 - Martyrdom of Polycarp, an early Church Father who was a disciple
of the Apostle John. Arrested at age 86, Polycarp was burned
at the stake for refusing to deny the Christian faith.

When I recount the faith of our fathers it brings up a fresh empathy for their sacrifices and a renewed passion to continue in their tradition. The church has been blessed with many faithful people who have made great sacrifices to further the gospel. The martyrdom of Polycarp is another example of those broad shoulders that provide a firm footing for us today.

One of my favorite chapters in the Bible is the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. It is not my favorite because it talks about faith, but faith is demonstrated in action. Perhaps the most striking line to me is in verse 38 where it describes those saints who paid the ultimate sacrifice and says “of whom the world was not worthy.”

Praise the Lord that He has founded the church on the solid footing of sacrifice.
" Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord," (Ephesians 2:19-21, NKJV)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Behold the Lamb

"And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission." (Hebrews 9:22, NKJV)

Could you imagine what going to the Temple would have been like for those folks in the Old Testament? No doubt that the scene would not be the clean pristine center of worship that we imagine, but a nasty and bloody affair that would have been difficult to stomach.
I think that one of the purposes of the animal sacrifice was to be disgusted. Those people who witnessed the slaughter of innocent animals not for food but for sacrifice recognized that it was because of their sin that this tragedy occurred. Can you imagine being a parent that had to explain to your children why the beautiful innocent lamb must be savagely sacrificed in front of their eyes? Surely the children protested, “Don’t kill him!”

Sin is awful. Sin is nasty and disgusting. We have a way of masking the consequences of sin, but its ugliness shows itself from time to time on our television sets and far too often in the tone of our conversation.

Our sinful acts are the very things which caused the ugliest bitter sweet sacrifice of all time.
"knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (1 Peter 1:18-19, NKJV)

Salvation is free because someone paid the price.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romney Suspends his Campaign

" Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence." (1 Timothy 2:1-2, NKJV)

As Christians our main objective should be to vote for someone who will allow us to have the freedom to practice Christianity, all other issues are secondary. Our hope is in nothing less than Jesus Christ. Should the candidate you support fail to reach their objectives then prayerfully support the remaining candidate that is most favorable to your Christian world view. American

Family Association has produced a brochure that gives the position of presidential candidates on some key issues important to many Christians. You can download their material by clicking on the following link.

Tornado at Union University

Below is a link to an interview with some of the students at Union University, a Southern Baptist college in Western Tennessee. On Tuesday the 5th a tornado went through that area and devastated the community. No one was killed at the university but several people were seriously injured.

Please pray for the students and their families as they try to rebuild their lives.
Thank God for His grace in this event. Remember that none of us know what circumstance we may find ourselves today or tomorrow.

"whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." (James 4:14, NKJV)

Our Father

"In this manner, therefore, pray: 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 forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." (Matthew 6:9-13, NKJV)

On Wednesday evenings we are continuing in our study on prayer. For the next couple of weeks we will review the pattern of prayer as outlined in the model prayer. When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray in Luke 11, Jesus gave them this model prayer also found here in Matthew.

The point of this prayer is not to memorize and recite it, but to use it as a guideline when we pray. It is important to pay attention to the particular attention the elements of this prayer. In this prayer you will find three essential elements to prayer.

· Praise to God
· Penitence of sin
· Petition of God

Praise to God begins with the statement “Our Father hallowed be your name.” Penitence can be found in the request to for forgiveness, “forgive us our debts.” Petition of God can be found in a number of statements including, “give us” and “deliver us.”

This prayer opens with the statement “Our Father.” God is the father of all mankind in that He created everyone (Malachi 2:10). Due to the fall of man God’s sons are condemned (John 8:44) and are now in a sense sons of the Devil. By His grace God has redeemed some and thus they are His chosen sons (John 1:12-13)

If you are one of God’s redeemed and thus chosen sons you can pray every day to God who is truly your Father. As His son you have a unique relationship with God as your father who is perfectly attentive and will listen and answer your prayers according to His will and wisdom which is always good.

Not only is God your father but He is also our father. The “our” mentioned reminds us that as we pray we pray as a community of faith. We are a people of God truly brothers and sisters in Christ whose unique relationship will endure forever.

I encourage you to consider the model prayer this week as a guideline for meaningful prayer.

Monday, February 4, 2008

This Day in History

1950 - American missionary and martyr Jim Elliot resolved in his
journal: 'I may no longer depend on pleasant impulses to bring
me before the Lord. I must rather respond to principles I know
to be right, whether I feel them to be enjoyable or not.'

I have always been inspired by the legacy left to us by Jim Elliot. He was an ordinary guy that God used in an extraordinary way. It is helpful to see some of the insights he left us from his diary. I think he is right to make a commitment to do the right thing even though you do not feel like doing it. It would be better if you had a strong desire to read the Bible daily and pray daily, but creating a routine of regular devotion to God may give you more opportunities to have the joy of secret devotion with God.

In 1 Thessalonians 5:17 the apostle Paul said, “pray without ceasing.” He did not call on us to pray when we feel like it but pray even when we do not feel like it. Perhaps the time we need to pray the most is when we do not feel like praying at all.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. The Lord looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, Just as we hope in You." (Psalm 33:12-22, NKJV)

The truly blessed nation is a nation whose God is the Lord. In America we have the privilege and opportunity to vote for our nation’s leader. Some will choose a person because they are the front runner in their own particular political party. Others may choose a candidate because there are several characteristics or issues in which they can identify with the candidate.
Below are some comments and resources to help make a more informed choice from Vision America Action.

GOP gets heated as Super Tuesday looms

Super Tuesday will be definitive for both parties as the field narrows down. While Clinton still has the national lead in polls, Obama won in South Carolina and received Kennedy's endorsement so he has an outside shot at the Democratic nomination. The departure of Edwards will have an interesting impact also. Giuliani has been the big loser. After months of double digit leads in 2007, his aloof treatment of early states has cost him as he banked everything on Florida. To his credit, he is dropping out of the race before Super Tuesday to avoid further confusion of his party’s nomination process. Giuliani is encouraging his supporters to back McCain.

Giuliani and Schwarzenegger have endorsed McCain. While this should draw liberals and moderates to McCain, it could further call into question his conservative credentials. Romney and McCain spent the bulk of the CNN debate attacking one another on conservative credentials. Romney attacked McCain for not supporting the Bush tax cuts or ANWR and for his misleading attacks in Florida. McCain responded by attacking Romney on his flip flops on social positions and for not standing strong for victory in Iraq. Huckabee stayed above the fray and continued with another strong debate performance. CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said Huckabee had the best performance of the three.Senator McCain is clearly the Republican front-runner. His victory in the “Republican only” primary of Florida was significant for a candidate all the pundits and media had written off last summer largely due to his unpopular stance on amnesty for illegal aliens. Super Tuesday states will determine whether the social and fiscal conservatives will rally around him or chose one of the two viable candidates left standing – Huckabee and Romney.

Governor Huckabee could pick up a considerable number of delegates next Tuesday. He is leading or near the top in Georgia (72), Alabama (48), Arkansas (34), Missouri (58), Tennessee (55) and Mississippi (58). He is showing strong support in Louisiana (47) and Texas (140) as well, both of which conduct their primaries after Super Tuesday. Huckabee has proven he can compete without the massive bankroll Romney has. His supporters are printing their own signs and leaflets and working tirelessly for their candidate. He picked up several state Right to Life endorsements this week. His candidacy promises to make this year's convention very interesting if he loses.

Governor Romney’s personal wealth and early start have benefited him but his attempts to base his campaign on being the true conservative in the race is being challenged by many conservatives due to his recent stances supporting homosexuals and abortion. He seems to have radio commentators Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's support but as one article pointed out this week, Romney's Bain Capital owns Clear Channel that produces and carries both of their popular radio shows.
Values Voter Guide for Presidential Candidates

God has granted to you an instrumental role in determining who will lead this Nation for the next four years. Five different candidates have won in the early primaries. Super Tuesday states should decide the nominees for each party.

Vision America Action hasn't endorsed a candidate and is legally precluded from doing so. Under the very restrictive McCain-Feingold law, what Vision America Action is permitted to do is to tell you about the positions of the candidates on important issues and policies. You as an individual must make up your own mind. As you make up your mind, you should be aware of the facts about the issues that will impact our nation for years -- generations -- to come. As I stated three months ago, "This is the primary season where little is much in terms of turnout, and now is the time for us to rally our people for our core values."

Another important aspect to remember as well: How long have each of these candidates held their positions on these core values? Is their position an election year conversion? Or is it a lifelong, dedicated and consistent core value to them? You need to look at these candidates - and find out who is saying what they truly believe and who is saying what they think you want to hear right now, just before an election. Here are core values that most Values Voters focus on:

Reversal of Roe vs. Wade

Huckabee: Supports
McCain: Supports
Romney: Supports
Paul: Supports

Clinton: Opposes
Obama: Opposes

Federal Marriage Amendment

Huckabee: Supports
McCain: Opposes
Romney: Supports
Paul: Opposes

Clinton: Opposes
Obama: Opposes

Funding of Human Embryo Destruction
Huckabee: Opposes
McCain: Supports
Romney: Opposes
Paul: Supports

Clinton: Supports
Obama: Supports

Signed AFTR Pledge to Not Raise Taxes
Huckabee: Signed
McCain: Not Sign
Romney: Signed
Paul: Signed

Clinton: Not Sign
Obama: Not Sign

Immediate Removal of Troops from Iraq
Huckabee: Opposes
McCain: Opposes
Romney: Opposes
Paul: Supports

Clinton: Supports
Obama: Supports

Select here to see full guide and sources: (Select Here)