Christianity means that change is possible. It is possible to become tender-hearted when once you were callous and insensitive. God is the deciding factor in making us what we should be. This frees us from fatalism that tells us change is impossible. His commands always come with freeing, life-changing truths. See Ephesians 4:32-5:2.
“I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spiritof wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.” Ephesians 1:17
Know God better. That’s probably the greatest need in the Church today.
We can always know God better. “Knowing about God” and “knowing God” are not the same as “knowing God well.”
Knowing God well means knowing what God is really like–how He thinks, works, and feels about YOU. It means having the eyes for the WORLD that God has. It means sharing God’s JOYS and His PAIN.
The “Lord’s Prayer” is actually the “Disciples’ prayer” because Jesus did not need to pray for forgiveness.
It’s truly a “model” prayer because he says this is HOW you should pray, not this is WHAT you should pray.
It contains 6 petitions. The first 3 focus on God; last 3 on human beings.
- Hallowing His name
- Advancing His Kingdom
- Enforcing His will
That’s interesting and surprising because God wants us to pray about concerns that focus on Him that He is perfectly capable of doing without our asking Him to do so. But God chooses to operate in response to our prayers.
- Give Daily bread
- Lead us not into temptation
How often do I/you focus on anything BUT these 6?
The purpose of time spent with God is to build a deeper personal relationship with Him. As we spend time with the Lord, we grow in love for Him and are transformed more and more into the image of Christ.
The people I know who have the most vibrant faith have built their lives around a consistent time spent with God.
A disciplined daily devotional life is a MUST for a growing Christian. You don’t build a love relationship by staying away from the other person.
I have never met a person who regrets the time set aside for a daily meeting with the Lord.
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Genesis 3:8
Prayer is conversation with God. What happened in the Garden instructs us about prayer. First, God takes the initiative in prayer. Prayer is essentially a relationship that begins with God.
Second, look at what sin does to prayer. There’s now a reluctance to be in God’s holy presence. Fear replaces freedom. Sin hinders prayer. Unconfessed sin, harbored in the heart, cancels out prayer.
But grace restores prayer. God doesn’t walk away. God initiates the process that leads to forgiveness, to restored fellowship, and to opened channels of communication–to prayer.
When God comes out to meet you today, don’t hide! Welcome Him! Grace has prevailed. In Christ your sins are forgiven. Go out to meet God laughing and skipping. And have a relaxed, informal dialogue that will be a joy for both of you.
I’m concerned about Christ followers of the 21st Century. They know who Christ is and accept Him whole heartedly but I’m not sure why. No one seems BROKEN by their own sin. How can we fully embrace Christ is we don’t clearly see what He saved us FROM?
We have to face our sins and brokenness honestly and truly, like the Prodigal Son, to RUN to the arms of God rather than merely acquiesce.
There is one page in Chuck Hogan’s novel “Devils in Exile” that I’ve been wrestling with. It’s called “The Tomorrow Man Theory.” And in the novel it is espoused by the villain. Yet, it makes TOTAL sense. It’s actually helped me to make some good choices in terms of what I eat and to push me to exercise a few times I didn’t feel like it.
Here it is:
The Tomorrow Man Theory. It’s pretty basic. Today, right here, you are who you are. Tomorrow, you will be who you will be. Each and every night, we lie down to die, and each morning we arise, reborn. Now, those who are in good spirits, with strong mental health, they look out for their Tomorrow Man. They eat right today, they drink right today, they go to sleep early today–all so that Tomorrow Man, when he awakes in his bed reborn as Today Man, thanks Yesterday Man. He looks upon him fondly as a child might a good parent. He knows that someone–himself–was looking out for him. He feels cared for, and respected. Loved, in a word. And now he has a legacy to pass on to his subsequent selves.
But those who are in a bad way, with poor mental health, they constantly leave these messes for Tomorrow Man to clean up. They eat whatever they want, drink like the night will never end, and then fall asleep to forget. They don’t respect Tomorrow Man because they don’t think through the fact that Tomorrow Man will be them. So then they wake up, new Today Man, groaning at the disrespect Yesterday Man showed them. Wondering why does that guy–myself–keep punishing me? But they never learn and instead come to settle for that behavior, eventually learning to ask and expect nothing of themselves. They pass along these same bad habits tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, and it becomes psychologically genetic, like a curse.
The thing is–you can’t fix the mistakes of Yesterday. Yesterday Man is dead. What you can do is help yourself today. Eat a vegetable. Read a book. Cut that hair of yours. Leave Tomorrow Man something more than a headache and a jam-packed colon. Do for Tomorrow Man what you would have wanted Yesterday Man to do for you (emphasis mine).
I don’t know that it’s biblical but it is compelling. And certainly Jesus wants us to love others like we love ourselves. It seems like a lot of us don’t love ourselves and certainly not Tomorrow Man.
How in the world did the disciples of Jesus turn the world upside-down. There was no way they were ready! Their faith was weak. They failed publicly and privately, denying Him or running off. How could they change the world?
By the power they didn’t have yet–but would have soon.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
The word “power” comes from the Greek word “dunamis,” which is what Alfred Nobel used to describe his invention, dynamite.
Dynamite is a metaphor for the kind of power that Jesus promised to His disciples and about which Peter describes as being for us too…
“The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39
That same power is available to us today: the power of the Holy Spirit.