Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Lead Us, Deliver Us

These are the last two of the seven petitions. I think they go together. We should be pleading with the Lord to lead us through testing and out of temptation. We need the Lord to deliver us from evil and the evil one. I think this is one of those areas that we just need to ask, seek and knock. We don't have what we need because we don't ask. I think another problem, is that often times we are so self-sufficient and independent that we don't cling to the Lord as we should.

When we leave the black and white areas into the gray areas we will need the Lord's guidance. When we have to choose between the good thing and the best thing we need the Lord's help. When we follow Him with reckless abandon we will find that this prayer comes more naturally.

Lord help us to follow you at any cost and to depend on you for every day. Guide us and Lead us.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The National Association of Free Will Baptists 2007

Just got back from the NAFWB that was hosted in Little Rock, Arksansas. Our church family had a great time. I was privileged to work with some of the convention staff. They were down to earth and taught me a few things with the time I spent with them. I enjoyed the speakers and especially loved the music. If you want to read more about the convention check out www.onemag.org.

Here is one of my favorite pictures from the week...









Next year is Charleston, West Virginia. Make plans to come!

The Poor in Spirit

We are starting a new series at Calvary. Kingdom Characteristics. We started with the idea of being poor in spirit. We say we depend upon God, but do we live that way? I'm pretty self sufficient. At least I like to think that I am. We pride ourselves in being strong and able and independent. Jesus speaks just the opposite. He is looking for the crippled, the blind, the sick. He comes to give them strength. He uses them for His glory.

Lord help me not to just say I need you, but to truly lean on you for strength with each day that I live.

Forgive Us Our Debts

Forgive Us. I'm pretty good at praying forgive ME. But with this part of the Lord's prayer we are again reminded that sometimes sin is a corporate thing. We need to intercede on behalf of others. When is the last time you prayed for God to forgive US?

Another very interesting thought is presented here...Is your own forgiveness conditioned on your willingness to forgive others? Let's just say it this way - we have been forgiven so much, how in the world could we not forgive another?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Giving Your Very Best

We had another good day of services at church today. We reminded to give God our very best. I showed the "death crawl" clip from Facing The Giants. If you want to check it out click here or check out the embedded video below.



God also answered a huge prayer for me this morning. I am so thankful when God answers a specific prayer.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

Again, with the Lord's Prayer we are reminded it is about US, not about ME. We live in a time and place where we rarely need DAILY bread. Most of us have weekly bread and some even have monthly bread. We aren't worried about where our next meal will come from, we have stocked shelves and freezers.

But "Give us our daily bread" is about more than just needing food each day. I've come to realize that this is a prayer to God asking for strength for the day. Strength to do the tasks that God wants us to do. We should pray for God's will to be done, and then pray that God will supply what we need to do His will.

Sometimes daily bread is finances, sometimes it is rest, sometimes it is courage, sometimes it is discernment, but what I've come to realize is that I need DAILY bread. We need DAILY bread. We need to depend upon God daily.

Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

I should have mentioned this in the last post, but here are the seven petitions:

Thy Name be hallowed
Thy Kingdom come
Thy Will be done
Give us our daily bread
Forgive us our debts
Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil

Notice the first three are all about God and the last 4 concern us. The Lord's prayer begins and ends with the Father. It is good for prayer to begin with God. I'm afraid more often than not, my prayers begin with me. But this is not the model given by our Lord.

Praying "Thy Kingdom come" is maybe the most difficult part of the Lord's prayer for me. It means that I desire God's kingdom above my own. I have often wished that I would accomplish certain objectives before the Lord's return. But praying Thy Kingdom Come means setting aside my goals for the goal of the master.

Praying "Thy Kingdom Come" means seeking God's kingdom on earth here and now. It means seeking out justice for the oppressed and the fatherless. It means keeping ourselves from being polluted by the world. In it, but not of it.

Praying "Thy Will Be Done" is another check on our motivation. Am I praying that God's will be done, or that MY will be done?

The Lord's prayer so far is more about God and less about us. Can you pray this way?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Hallowed Be Thy Name

This phrase, hallowed be Thy Name, is probably the key to the whole Lord's prayer to me. We pray for many things, sometimes we pray for a "good" day or an easy way, or a safe trip. Sometimes we pray for our loved ones or friends to be healed. But when we ask for these things, what is our motivation?

This is the whole key to prayer. We must seek the honoring of God's name. His Glory is our ultimate motivation. There are many Old Testament passages that remind us that we are to be about the glory of God's name. The past week I saw this idea in the story of Elijah and Mt. Carmel.
1 Kings 18:36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."

Notice again, that this was done so that God's name would be hallowed.
Isaiah 26:8 Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.

This has changed my prayers. I still fight selfish ambition. But I am working on my prayer life that my requests would truly be that God's Name would be Hallowed.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Our Father Which Art In Heaven

I just briefly want to relate some of the things that I learned from the series on the Lord's prayer. It has truly changed the way that I pray.

One of the main ideas that caught my eye was this - never once does the model prayer use the word, I or me or my. Think about that. Try to pray without ever using the words I or me or my. It's almost impossible. Yet that is the model prayer.

The prayer has seven main petitions that I will look at in the next few posts. It begins with Our Father. This brought a few things to my mind...
  • Our, not my, but OUR.
  • Father. This really humbles me as I enter into prayer. God is the Father. We are the sons and daughters. He is to be respected as Father.
  • Father. God is our Father. WOW! Think on that one for just a second. You belong to the creator of the universe. He desires to hear from you.
  • Which art in Heaven. God's ways are higher than ours. He is the God of the universe. I am the little sand pebble on the beach. He knows what is best. He is in control. His perspective is perfect.

So lately as I enter into prayer I find myself starting with Our Father. It helps me remember I'm not alone, I have brothers and sisters to remember too. It helps humble me and yet it encourages me to bring petition to the Father. I try to remember that I need to seek Him. His is the only way.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Whew! I made it through June.

If you'll notice the dates between the last blog post and this one you'll see that I have missed an entire month. June was crazy! Vacation Bible School, Camp Hope, CTS Fund Raisers, Baseball, Basketball, and all kinds of other odds and ends.

I must say that even though it was crazy, it was enjoyable. I hope over the next week to blog about the different events in June. The Lord's prayer has so much more meaning to me now. Camp was fantastic! 1 Kings has been a tremendous encouragement in my devotional life. And I have pictures galore - if I can ever get them edited and published.

Stay tuned, hopefully I'll have some posts this week.