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.
God’s giving always follows His forgiving. God does more than pardon us, if pardoning is simply the non-infliction of penalty. God does more than that! He loves!
That’s what makes the parable of the Prodigal Son so great, even better than the two parables that introduce it (Lost Sheep/Lost Coin). The lost son was pardoned and then capable of receiving greater gifts than he had before.
He received a robe, ring, shoes and feast. The robe parallels to “putting off the old man, putting on the new.” See also Revelation 19:8 as well.
The prodigal just wanted to return to as a slave but his father gave him a ring. The ring is an emblem of wealth, position, honor. It is a sign of delegated authority like the Pharoah’s signet-ring was placed on Joseph’s ring. So the son went as low as possible but restoration was possible to highest dignity.
What about the shoes? Is that just drapery?
God does prepare us for future service and for every step they have to take. It starts with forgiving our past which gives us power to live the future.
And the feast? Remember what drove the son back: not his heart or conscience, but his stomach. Even so low a motive is accepted by God!
He had to learn that he could not get bread on his own terms, and that what he wished most was not what he needed first. He had to be forgiven before he can be fed.