Jan 062017
 

A perfect fatherOr which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

Jesus continues with an obvious statement. If my son, Tom, were to ask for some bread, of course I wouldn’t give him a stone and I would never substitute a serpent for some fish. This is pretty obvious.

The hard-hitting part comes next; Jesus assumes I am evil! He calls all of us evil. But am I really evil? I do the best for my kids and try my hardest to make sure they are ok. And yet I am evil!

Firstly, compared to God we are evil. We are imperfect and He is perfect. We make many mistakes on a daily basis, He doesn’t. But this goes further than just a comparison. It brings us to an important doctrine of the state of mankind.

The bible makes it clear that apart from God, mankind is spiritually dead.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins (Ephesians 2:1)

We have no interest in God until He, by His grace, awakens a desire for Him in us. This is called the doctrine of ‘total depravity’ meaning that every part of our being is affected by sin, our intellect, emotions, desires, motives, everything. It’s all corrupted by sin.

The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Genesis 6:5)

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. (Romans 7:18)

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? (Jeremiah 17:9)

This is not to say that we are incapable of doing good, far from it. But even by doing good our motives can be impure and corrupt.

In the context of today’s passage, Jesus is saying that even we, who are sinful, do the best for our children. But our attempts at being good parents are nothing compared to our perfect heavenly father. As parents, we can have the best of intentions but spoil our kids, or the opposite; be too harsh with them.

Our heavenly father made us, knows us better than we know ourselves and is therefore in the best position to know what is right for us. Not just in what we need but the timing of it. God will often withhold things from us for a time, because He knows the precise moment to give us what we need. Sometimes delaying can result in us trusting Him more. After all, if He gave us everything we asked for immediately, where would the appreciation and the trust be?

He does not give in to our petty tantrums and He is not swayed by our attempts at emotional manipulation. Just as well, as the sight of a spoilt child is not an attractive thing.

Jesus has now repeated the same thing in lots of different ways and He really wants to get the message across;

We have a father who loves us, who wants to have a relationship with us and wants to bless us with spiritual blessings. He is the perfect father who we should be running to, not hiding from.

Which one do you do? If you haven’t been doing so already, open your heart to Him. Tell Him your worries and concerns. If you’ve had a bad model of a father or no father at all, allow Him to fill that gap in your life.

Let Him in!

 January 6, 2017  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Dec 302016
 

Prayer answering GodFor everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)

This verse is almost a carbon copy of the previous verse. It mentions asking, seeking and knocking, the subjects we have been looking at over the last 3 weeks. And once again it asserts that these activities will be answered positively when we persevere.

If anything is repeated in the bible, we should especially take notice because God is trying to get our attention. These two verses combine together to show that God is serious when He promises to answer our prayers of persistence.

Let me just remind you though that these prayers are for the gift of God’s Holy Spirit and His generous provision of spiritual blessings. God has no problem answering our prayers for healing, material provision or other things, but they are not guaranteed. What He will always answer in the affirmative is our requests for spiritual blessings.

When God promises, you can be sure that He will deliver. He is not a God who would lie or be deceitful (Numbers 23:19). He is honest and trustworthy and although we may need to press in and keep asking, He will certainly answer our prayers. When God promises something, there is no stronger guarantee! As we saw before, He is requesting us to ask Him, He really wants that relationship with us as He knows that is what will do us the most good. It is all for our benefit.

We need to be in tune with God’s heart and that will only come through developing a relationship with Him. When we know Him well, we are going to be praying the sorts of prayers that please Him. There are many examples of these sorts of prayers in the bible. When we are not in tune, we are more likely to pray with selfish motives or prayers that are outside of His perfect will. The trouble is these unanswered prayers can cause bitterness and resentment in our hearts. We can just assume (wrongly) that God doesn’t want to answer our prayers or that He is distant or mean spirited. He is none of these.

I have prayed many prayers in the past that I have assumed are in God’s will and certain that He will answer, but when I look back, I can see that actually He had a much better plan all along. God knows the end from the beginning and every permutation of life. That is why He doesn’t always answer in the way or manner we expect. When we submit to Him and acknowledge that He knows best, we will find that our prayers are answered much more regularly, because we are not praying what we think is best but with a quiet confidence that His perfect will is the best path.

 December 30, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Dec 232016
 

KnockingAsk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

God has invited us to have an amazing relationship with Him, through prayer. It is clear from this passage that He is not necessarily going to answer all our prayers straight away and in the manner we want, but He has encouraged us to keep going. To keep badgering Him. He knows that in the constant seeking, our faith and trust will grow stronger and our relationship will deepen. Prevailing prayer does not mean that God is unwilling to give until we twist His arm and He finally gives in. It is so that He can develop and purify us. God knows exactly what we want before we ask, but He loves to draw out of us the desires He has first placed in our hearts. It is a mystery to us, but the bible makes it clear repeatedly that is how God likes to do things.

and give him no rest until he establishes Jerusalem and makes it a praise in the earth. (Isaiah 62:7)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints (Ephesians 6:18)

I don’t necessarily think that the list in the passage today of; asking, seeking and knocking is necessarily in ascending order of desperation. For example we’ve tried asking, so we then put a bit more effort in and seek and if all else fails we try knocking. I don’t think it matters. Jesus is encouraging us, in whatever way we seek Him, to do it tenaciously and persistently. That is the principle.

Looking at today’s word – knocking, suggests we are at a door and we are trying to get the attention of the occupant on the other side of the door. This is something that Jesus himself does, when He tries to get the attention of the church at Laodicea, who have somehow left Him on the outside!

Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. (Revelation 3:20)

If He can do it out of love and a desire for relationship, we can certainly respond in the same way, following his example.

The tenacity required is the spirit shown by Jacob who wrestled with an angel in Genesis 32. He declared “I will not let you go unless you bless me. (Genesis 32:26)

The more we ‘press in’ the more we get to know God’s ways. We will never reach an adequate understanding of God if we only shoot up a quick prayer every now and again. Prayer is jolly hard work but very rewarding. Whatever you are asking for, keep knocking until your knuckles hurt!

I’ll finish this blog with a quote from the great evangelist and missionary, George Muller

The great point is never to give up until the answer comes,” said Muller. “I have been praying for sixty-three years and eight months for one man’s conversion. He is not converted yet, but he will be! How can it be otherwise?”

 December 23, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount 1 Response »
Dec 092016
 

seekAsk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

Last week we looked at the amazing invitation by God to ask him for spiritual blessings. This week we will consider what we do when those blessings aren’t immediately forthcoming.

If you have been a Christian for even a short amount of time, you will have realised that when we come to God in prayer we don’t always get everything we ask for immediately.

We have already encountered the word ‘seek’ a few verses back when we considered Jesus’ encouragement to seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.

Seeking God is a very important part of our relationship. It shows how desperate we are for Him. If someone asks for something only once and then gives up, we could conclude that they didn’t really want it that much in the first place. But if someone is tenacious and persistent in their request, it is obvious that they will not take no for an answer and desperately want the thing that they are requesting.

Jesus told a parable in Luke 18:1-8 of a determined widow who constantly badgered an unjust judge with a request. She wore him down with her persistence and eventually got what she wanted. How much more will our loving heavenly father give us good gifts when we persist?

God really doesn’t want us to give up. See what Paul says in the letter to the Galatians

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Just like asking, God has invited us to seek. It is initiated by Him

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.” (Psalm 27:8)

This section of ‘The sermon on the mount’ is about prayer, but on a deeper level it is about our desire for God and determination to know Him more and have more of Him in our lives.

You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

If God would answer every request we made immediately, our relationship would be a lot shallower. A lot can happen on the journey of waiting. God can develop our character, deepen our reliance and cultivate our faith and so much more. The longer we wait the more glorious and satisfying when the answer eventually comes.

I want to end with an encouragement that God has promised in this verse to answer this prayer. Some things we ask for we won’t necessarily get. But when we seek after God himself He has promised He will answer. It might not necessarily be straight away, but if we pursue Him with determination and not give up, we will surely gain our reward. If you are about to give up, keep seeking, the answer could be just around the corner.

 December 9, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »

Ask

Dec 022016
 

AskAsk, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7)

I’m going to look at the 3 aspects of this verse (asking, seeking and knocking) over the next few weeks as they are all slightly different.

This verse, like quite a few others we have looked at recently, has been misinterpreted and taken out of context.

It has been misused by people who take this verse to mean we can ask for whatever we want. You may have heard of the phrase ‘name it and claim it’. Basically the idea is that we can ask for whatever we want and as long as we have enough faith and enough tenacity we will get it. People have taken it to extremes to ask for cars, houses, boats, lottery wins… you name it they’ll claim it!

In the context of what Jesus has already been speaking about, this cannot be the application. He has already been speaking about providing for our material ‘needs’ but has never suggested that we can ask for everything we want. This verse comes soon after Jesus told us to seek first His kingdom and I believe in these verses He is encouraging us to pray and ask for spiritual blessings. Let’s look at the parallel passage in Luke 11 which is more specific;

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11 What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12 or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-13)

So it is the Holy Spirit we are to ask for. The Holy Spirit is the source of all our spiritual blessings and greatest joy. So much better than any material possessions we could ever acquire.

Today’s word is simply ‘ask’, which highlights our relationship we are to have with our heavenly father. Throughout the bible it is clear that God loves to have a relationship with us and us coming to him and asking Him is a great way of maintaining and even strengthening that relationship. I immediately think of my own relationship as a parent with my children and how I love to give them things when they come to me and ask.

We can often think of prayer as a last resort, after we have tried every other avenue with our own resources. But God wants us to come to Him first. It would actually save an awful lot of trouble. I’m sure we would see a lot more answers to our prayers if we did so. The actual phrase is in what is called the ‘present imperative’ so the phrase should be ‘keep on asking’.

The word ‘ask’ is found 71 times in the New Testament alone and many times in the Old Testament such as:

Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. (Psalm 2:8)

It is God’s invitation. He has taken the initiative by saying we can ask, it is now down to us to actually do the asking.

I’ll leave you with a thought provoking verse on this subject from James;

You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2)

 December 2, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Aug 052016
 

deliver us from evilAnd lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. (Matthew 6:13)

Last week we looked at the phrase “Lead us not into temptation” which is the negative part of this verse. This week we will look at the positive part “but deliver us from evil” The phrase could equally be translated “deliver us from the evil one” but it pretty much amounts to the same thing.

I think that we can all agree that evil is real. You only have to turn on the television to watch the news or open up a newspaper to see a constant stream of evil happening every single day. The bible is clear that this evil has a source and he has numerous names, the two most common being ‘the devil’ or ‘Satan.’ The bible also makes it clear that this evil one wants to destroy humanity. Describing him as a ‘thief’ in John 10:10 it describes what he wants to do;

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.

He is our enemy and he is very powerful and adept at what he does because he has been wreaking havoc from the very beginning.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Jesus has defeated him through his death and resurrection. Even though he is a defeated foe, make no mistake he can still cause havoc, but Jesus wants to continue to help us overcome him on a daily basis. There is an aspect of this prayer that we need to not be passive in defeating evil, but we pray this part of the prayer to show that we need God’s help. We cannot do it on our own. We are, in humility, asking for His gracious assistance and support.

If you have an enemy and you know he wants to attack you, it’s important to know how he is going to do it. That’s why reading and knowing your bible is very important.

Let’s look at a couple of ways he tries to attack us:

(1) Deception

And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. (Revelation 12:9)

He will try to deceive you in every way possible, mainly through lies. Lies are his native language;

He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with 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)

(2) Accusation

As part of the lying process, he will tell you untruths about yourself constantly and try to make you feel worthless.

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. (Revelation 12:10)

(3) Temptation

He will try to expose your weak spots. We all have them. It could be sexual, anger, gluttony, gossip. Basically anything that would cause us to sin. He even tried to tempt Jesus after He had been fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights and at His weakest point. (See Matthew 4:1-11)

In this account of Jesus’ temptation, He gives us the best answer to counteracting these onslaughts from the devil – God’s word.

If you notice, each time Jesus was tempted, he replied “It is written” and proceeded to quote scripture. Yes of course God will deliver us from evil, but He has placed the tools in our hands to help ourselves. The word of God is so precious and powerful, that studying and reading it on a daily basis will really help us overcome evil and fight every accusation the devil throws in our direction.

What are you doing to get the word of God inside you?

If you want to read the bible every day and not get pushed around by the Devil’s lies and deceit, why not visit my other blog www.readbibledaily.info

There are two bible reading plans; one has a short reading with some useful notes and a prayer and the other goes through the bible in a year. These readings are ‘rolling’ so you don’t have to wait till 1stJanuary to start.

I haven’t had time to mention the other weapons we have to fight the evil one such as the armour of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6, but I wrote a series of blogs on this subject some while ago. If you want to read further click on the following links:

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-armour-of-god/

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-belt-of-truth/

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-breastplate-of-righteousness/

http://adrianpursglove.com/peaceful-shoes/

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-shield-of-faith/

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-helmet-of-salvation/

http://adrianpursglove.com/the-sword-of-the-spirit/

 August 5, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount 1 Response »
Jul 292016
 

temptationAnd lead us not into temptation (Matthew 6:13)

We are approaching the end of ‘The Lord’s prayer’ within my ‘sermon on the mount’ series. Last week we looked at the huge issue of forgiveness and forgiving others just as we have been forgiven.

Verse 13 is split up into two phrases which go ‘hand in hand’. This week I am going to look at the negative aspect “And lead us not into temptation” and next week the positive statement of “but deliver us from evil.”

Today’s phrase on the surface could give us cause for concern. Surely God is not tempting us? After all it says in James 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.

We understand the word ‘temptation’ today in purely negative ways, however at the time of Jesus it did not just mean to cause to sin. The meaning had the idea of being tried and tested or put under trial. It is clear from the bible that God did allow certain trials to come people’s way to see if they would prove true. A classic example is Abraham who was prepared to sacrifice His son Isaac. When Abraham passed the test, God said “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” (Genesis 22:12)

Joseph too, in Genesis 39, was severely tempted when Potiphar’s wife kept pressing him to sleep with her. He passed the test even though it meant being in prison for at least another 2 years. Through this trial, God had seen his character and rewarded Him in due time.

And what about Jesus? He was tempted in the wilderness after fasting for 40 days, as recorded in Matthew 4. This was of course not the only time Jesus was tempted. Even in the garden of Gethsemane before His crucifixion He was in torment and asked the father if there was another way possible. But He stood firm. The bible makes it clear that Jesus went through every temptation that we go through, He did not receive special privileges;

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)

I believe this prayer about God not leading us into temptation, means we are asking not to be tempted prematurely or unnecessarily. We are asking God to restrain us from heading into trials and temptations of our own making. We want His help rather than coping on our own. Praying this prayer earnestly, reveals your utter dependence on God and a realisation of your own weakness and a determination to do what’s right. You will do all in your power, as far as it depends on you, to avoid temptation. You are following the example of Matthew 26:41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Notice that the first thing to do is ‘watch’, you need to be mindful of what temptations you are vulnerable to. The phrase “Don’t play with fire” springs to mind. Find out what the fire is and then don’t play with it!

After we have done all we can to avoid temptation, sometimes God still allows them to get through, but take heart that He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Next week we will look at what it means to be delivered from evil.

 July 29, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, Temptation, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Jul 222016
 

Forgivenessand forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors……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. (Matthew 6:12, 14-15)

Today we arrive at a key point of the ‘Lord’s prayer’. I don’t think I am overstating it, but this subject is crucial if you want to be a true follower of Jesus. It’s such an important subject that straight after Jesus taught His disciples about prayer, He reiterates the point again in verses 14 and 15 to accentuate the importance of this subject.

I know I’m generally going through the ‘sermon on the mount’ verse by verse, but rather than cover the same subject in two weeks’ time, I thought I would do it all today.

Forgiveness is a key aspect of Christianity, because anyone who is a follower of Christ has asked for and received forgiveness. If anyone just follows Christ because they think they are already a good person, they have missed the point. Before we come to Christ, we are all sinners and a long way from God. In fact the bible refers to us as ‘dead’ in our sins (Ephesians 2:1, Colossians 2:13 etc). We cannot reach God through our own efforts. We come to an acknowledgment of our sinful state before a Holy God and receive the forgiveness Jesus offers that is available through His death and resurrection.

The important point of our verses today is that when we have received forgiveness we should in turn forgive others. God has given us the example to follow. It just isn’t right to receive God’s forgiveness and not extend forgiveness to others. Jesus makes this point in the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21-35. In fact the consequences of not forgiving somebody are quite shocking.

God knows that forgiveness is one of the hardest things for us to do. It is not just a ‘one-off’ process either. We have to forgive some people over and over again. We do it continuously, because every now and again the same old hurt and resentments come back to us. That’s why we should repeat this prayer, if not daily, then very regularly.

This subject is so important because we are all part of God’s family. As a parent I hate it when my kids fall out and fight, God is just the same. He loves it when His children get on with each other and forgive one another. In fact the bible says that when it happens He has reserved a big blessing for us:

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!….. For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore. (Psalm 133:1,3)

There is generally a lot of misunderstanding regarding forgiveness. Forgiveness is not necessarily restoring a relationship to its previous state before things went wrong. Sometimes when trust has been broken it can take a long time to win back. It’s not becoming a ‘door mat’ either so that someone sins against you multiple times and you are stuck just having to forgive them without them facing up to the consequences of their sins. Sin needs to be confronted and not tolerated.

I will finish with just a few more points about forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness is a process. People can be very hurtful and especially those closest to us. Some emotional problems can take a long time to heal. Start with the intention to forgive and then let God help you achieve it.
  • We forgive if they repent or not. Some people can hurt us and they seem to be quite happy to do so. Remember this; Forgiveness is about our attitude, not their action.
  • We don’t always have to tell them. Some people can be blissfully unaware that they have hurt us. Telling them we have forgiven them can be a bit of manipulation to make them feel guilty. It can also be a form of pride. Some people need to be confronted though, so make sure you are confronting with the right attitude.
  • Forgiveness does not mean forgetting. It’s normal for memories to be triggered in the future. When we get these memories, it’s what we do with them that counts. Many times we have to forgive over and over again. It should get better the more you do though!
 July 22, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm forgiveness, Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Jul 152016
 

DAILYBREADGive us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11)

This next part of ‘The Lord’s prayer’ may come as a bit of a surprise. We have been praying about the glorious themes of God’s kingdom and His will and rather than continuing on to other ‘spiritual’ things we instead focus on a rather mundane subject of daily bread. But the placement of this ‘mundane’ subject at this point reveals a lot about the care and compassion of God.

I’m going to take this simple sentence bit by bit and reveal to you what it shows about our wonderful God.

Firstly, notice it says “give us” not “give me.” I have said it many times before, that our culture is all about ‘me, me, me.” We are encouraged to only think about ourselves; “What can I get out of it?” “Is it right for me?” God’s kingdom is much more about ‘us’ about God’s church together. God doesn’t mind us praying for our own provisions but He loves it when we look out for our brothers and sisters and consider their needs too.

The next thing to notice is we are requesting our bread for “this day.” We are not asking for bread for the week or for the month. We only need enough for this day. Looking any further could lead to worry and perhaps a lack of trust. This has echoes in the Old Testament where God gave an amazing provision of daily sustenance called “Manna.” The passage is found in Exodus 16:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not. (Exodus 16:4)…….And Moses said to them, “Let no one leave any of it over till the morning.” But they did not listen to Moses. Some left part of it till the morning, and it bred worms and stank. (Exodus 16:19-20)

We need to trust God on a daily basis for that day’s provision. Our faith will grow ever stronger as we become reliant on Him and trust Him for each day’s supply.

I am quite convinced that Jesus wasn’t talking about just bread. I believe ‘bread’ here is a metaphor for every kind of provision in our lives. God provides for us in many different ways and in many different areas. Apart from physical food, He also provides emotionally and spiritually, shelter and clothing too, jobs, loved ones and family, even sleep (Psalm 127:2). He provides everything that is essential for the wellbeing of our lives.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

In many ways, those of us in the affluent west have many things we need already. Many in the rest of the world wonder where their next meal is coming from. We must never forget or take for granted how blessed we are living where we do. Perhaps the ‘us’ part is God asking us to help others less fortunate than ourselves. Something to think about!

When we ask God to provide for us, we are humbly acknowledging Him as the sole giver of all that we need. We are living day by day, not worrying about tomorrow. We need to come to Him every day in full expectation that He will do all that He has promised and provide for our every need.

 July 15, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »
Jul 082016
 

Gods kingdom and willYour kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. (Matthew 6:10)

We are currently going through a mini-series on ‘The lord’s prayer’ within a very long running exploration of the most famous sermon of all time, ‘The sermon on the mount.’

Last week we explored the privilege of being able to call God ‘father’ and how, when we pray, that we should desire that His name would be; honoured, revered and adored. We discovered that it is not just a prayer to be repeated over and over, but each part is like a heading we can use to expand our prayers.

Today we are going to look at two more headings: God’s kingdom and His will.

Have you got clear in your mind what God’s kingdom is? It can be a little confusing can’t it? There have been many opinions over the years about what His kingdom is. Some would say it is all in the future, when He comes again and makes everything new. Some think it is His church, or social reform, or even that it is a personal conversion experience.

The Kingdom of God is mentioned many times in scripture and so we can get a good understanding by studying these passages together.

The phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ refers to God’s rule and reign. It is clear that there are two kingdoms which are in conflict; ‘Satan’s,’ or the ‘kingdom of this world’ and the kingdom of God.

Jesus came to bring God’s kingdom down to earth, to meet the opposing kingdom head on. He announced on many occasions that the kingdom of God had arrived;

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:15)

Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ (Matthew 10:7)

There is an aspect too that God’s kingdom is yet to come fully. There are many prophecies in the Old Testament and multiple passages in the New (not least the book of Revelation) which speak about God’s kingdom being established and Jesus sitting on the throne.

So we can say that the Kingdom of God has an aspect of ‘now’ and ‘not yet’. Until the time that Jesus fully establishes His kingdom when He comes again, He has passed the rule of His kingdom here on earth to His ambassadors; those of us who have accepted Him as Lord. We can bring His kingdom in now, through prayer and action. When we pray for healing, when we witness, when we forgive and love and help the poor and many other ways, we are bringing God’s kingdom to earth. This is the essence of this part of the prayer, we are asking for God to establish more and more of his kingdom right here in the enemies kingdom. For the light to push back the darkness.

The second part of the passage today talks about God’s will.

It’s so easy, when we pray, to focus on our own needs and wants. That is the way the world is, always focusing in on itself. When we pray to God it must be different. We need to lay aside our own agendas and pray in line with what God wants.

Jesus was the perfect example of this type of attitude

For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 6:38)

Even when He was in complete anguish, His determination was still true. In the garden of Gethsemane when He was sweating blood, He still had the grit to say;

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

Knowing God’s will is actually very easy, it is the obeying of it which is hard. God’s will is clear throughout the bible, in the way we are to be and the way we should act. It’s actually as simple as copying Jesus. He has provided The Holy Spirit to equip us and help us accomplish God’s desires.

What you need to remember is that God has a perfect will for your life and He wants to help you to achieve it. We can often think we know best but we don’t. Only God knows the full picture and He wants to keep us on the path of contentment, of love, joy and peace. The closer we follow His will, the more we will achieve those things.

Let’s pray this week that His kingdom and will are first in our lives.

 July 8, 2016  Posted by at 12:00 pm Prayer, The sermon on the mount No Responses »