Saturday, December 31, 2011
Monday, November 14, 2011
Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” 2 And he said to them, “When you pray, say:
“Father, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come.
3 Give us each day our daily bread,
4 and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And lead us not into temptation."
5 And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, 6 for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. 9 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!”
I apologize for the length of that passage. Now, the first thing when you look at this, is you see the Lord's Prayer. Our man Luke here does things, again, differently then the other Disciples. Whereas the others in their Gospels focus more on the Lord's Prayer, Luke widens his focus a little bit. The first thing also, is that we see here that Jesus calls us to be BOLD in our approach to God. We must approach God with bold persistence, knowing that as a Loving Father, He will Provide for our Spiritual Good. Another thing, is that sometimes we can worry about Prayer. We can think that sometimes, we just don't know how to pray and think it's the end. Well it's not. Jesus says here what we ought to do. We may not necessarily say those exact words...but in Truth, our prayers should long for His will to be done. So prayer is a thing that CAN be learned, not something that either people have, or don't. Some may even wonder what the teaching afterwards actually has to do with the Lord's Prayer. In all honesty, the instruction of verses 5-13 assume the Foundational Instruction of the first four verses (the Lord's Prayer).
Now, onto the actual 'story' part. Sometimes for us in this Modern Era, it is sometimes hard to understand the backdrop of these times. In the time when Jesus walked the Earth, Hospitality was a BIG DEAL. A very big deal. Unfortunately, however; their 'supermarkets' of the day weren't open 24 hours as Walmart or some of our other superstores are. For the man knocking on the door, this is a HUGE deal to him. Why? Well, the verse makes it clear that he has 'friends' traveling from afar that have just arrived, and he has NOTHING to feed them. He's DESPERATE to feed his friends, because that's what his culture has him do. Another thing that we miscalculate today is their 'houses'. Back then, it was usually one big room and one huge 'bed'. Usually the family and a couple of the small 'farm animals' would all sleep in the bed...which means it's a big deal for one to get up without waking the entire family.
The main point with this story, is the fact that annoyed, the man got up after the neighbor wouldn't stop banging on the door for food. This isn't saying we need to push God to the limits...but the idea is that even if the man, being sinful, still gets up and gives the neighbor what he needs...how much more will a perfect God of Love give you what you need? In more of the 'application' part, Jesus goes on to say the well known: Ask, and it will be given, Knock, and the door will be opened, Seek, and you will find. The idea of 'Persistance' is really reinforced by the increasing intensity of the words 'ask', 'seek', and 'knock'.
Martyn Lloyd Jones had this to say on the matter: "The importance of this element of persistence CANNOT be exaggerated. You find it not ONLY in biblical teaching, but also in the lives of the saints. The most fatal thing in the Christian Life is to be content with 'passing desires'. If we really want to be men of God, if we REALLY want to know Him, and walk with Him, and experience those boundless Blessings which He has to offer us, we MUST persist in asking Him for them DAY BY DAY. We have to feel this hunger and thirst for righteousness, and then we shall be filled. And that does not mean that we are filled once and for ever...No, we go on hungering and thirsting." Well, that's paraphrased at least.
Hmm, I'm only realizing how good this quote is (though long...) my pastor didn't really hit on it enough. One thing to definitely put on a note: "The most fatal thing in the Christian Life is to be content with 'passing desires'". That's at least the one that jumps out at me the most.
Jesus then moves on to another illustration, and it's definitely a home-run (yes, I did just reference my worst sport) of an illustration. What's the illustration? Well, it's found in the last three verses of the passage we're looking at. What is that? YES, it's the father-son illustration, and I love it. "What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?" And the truth he brings is that, if evil sinful men can be decent fathers and give their sons (children, really) what they need...How much more will God, the Perfect God of Love, give His children the things they need? And truly, the Holy Spirit (besides Himself as a sacrifice) was the best thing that Jesus gave us. Another entire sermon (or good length of pondering) could be focused on the Holy Spirit, but I'm sure you know who 'He' is. Well, still, God, but just another part of the Godhead Trinity.
So just a few thoughts from here on out: If we truly recognize how much we are in need, then we'll easily grow from there in earnest prayer and become closer to God as we keep on moving towards him in prayer. Also, the main thrust for prayer is really for the Father's Kingdom then REAL SELF needs. Yes, you do have your needs...But what better need do we have then for God to radiate the light in His Gospel around the world? Anything else falls way below that. Also, NEVER EVER back away from God because of past sins or you feel like you're not worthy enough to plead your case before him. A. if we waited until we WERE worthy enough, we would NEVER COME! B. None of us will be worthy anyway...so if you shall ever come, come now. Sooner is better then later. Another thing to think about is the fact that we can't really DISTURB God into giving us our needs (as the neighbor did in the text) but He wants, wants us to plead His case before Him. You won't be answered the same instant...and sometimes in long periods of prayer (maybe years even) we become more desiring for the need. If we didn't have to wait long for something, how'll we know how much we want and need it?
I must admit, I have never really been a 'praying' person...but I'm definitely growing. As I look back on the hardships of this past year, I realize how much I did pray more then I ever had before, and I still think I didn't pray enough. I suppose you can never pray enough, though. Anyway, the point is, prayer is a really important and strong showing of Faith...Let's put more and more of our trust in God today, shall we?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Well.... I. Rejoice Because The Harvest Is Huge.
(but the laborers are few). Well why should we Rejoice in this? Doesn't it sound like there aren't enough laborers to reach out to the World? Exactly. Rejoice in the Mission...The 'Harvest' is getting the message out into the world. What comes next is pretty interesting...Jesus is sending them out, but he also tells them to pray EARNESTLY to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers INTO His harvest. The interesting thing that's going on is that they're praying for Laborers...and then they're set out to go into this 'Harvest' and labor. So really what they're doing in this (at least in MY interpretation) they are in a 'way' asking God to bring them into His harvest...to bring His message everywhere, which leads us to the second reason to Rejoice. What is this second reason?
Well... II. Rejoice Because The Peace Of God Is The Message.
Truly though, the Disciples aren't really getting what's going on...but they will after the Crucifixion. But what 'Peace of God' am I talking about? Well, right now in our culture, Peace really simply just means 'no war'. When a country is in 'Peace', that nowadays will usually imply that the country is in a state without war. Hmmm...okay, there may not be a war going on, this is true. But that's only the relative meaning of the word Peace. Peace is of prosperity or good health, easy of mind and not having battles inside of you etc. Nowadays, even if a country isn't at war, they are. Wait a second...what do you mean, you might ask. Well, they may not BE FIGHTING against another country...but they are at war with themselves. No matter where you look, even if a country is prosperous and peaceful, they're still dealing with war inside of themselves. Truly, the 'Peace of God' is the Gospel. We Rejoice in THIS because the Gospel is the only thing that can TRUTHFULLY bring PEACE. Trust me...I've been involved with different things...I could find no peace but in this...that I'm a sinner in need of a Savior, because I try to do better...but then I just fall. If I can't do it, then someone has to...and that someone is Jesus Christ, Savior and Lord of All.
Before I move on though, I want to point out something else. Quickly flip back to Luke 9:51-56. This and the verses of 10:10-15 really coincide. In the 51-56 verse section of chapter 9, Jesus does not 'call down fire' from Heaven onto the Samaritan Village because that wasn't his mission. The section that I just pointed at in Ch. 10 is interesting. Soon, the Son of Man will be handed over to be executed...although no one knows this yet, His actions would save mankind from their spiritual and physical destruction. What he's really saying is, that if anyone of these cities denies him, it would be...well, His message would be in front of them. Unlike the cities before in the Old Testament, these guys could see everything...and if they wouldn't, they'd be worse off then those who really couldn't know about Jesus' Sacrifice. I find that interesting. Anyway, the next point to Rejoice comes in the section of verses 17-20 of Ch. 10.
III. Rejoice Because Heaven Is Your Destination.
The Disciples have just returned from being out in the 'Harvest'. They are Joyful and in Awe that the demons were under their power in the Name of Jesus. I REALLY love Jesus' response. What Jesus was implying when he spoke of 'I saw Satan fall like lightning from Heaven' is that Satan has been hurt by this 'Harvest' and will be COMPLETELY defeated after Jesus' Crucifixion and rising from the Dead to conquer Sin in Death forever. Satan, the power of Sin...is broken. On The Lord's Day spoken of in Revelation, that will be when Satan shall be thrown away, never to make any problem again. Although he is defeated, he still tries to deceive the world's occupants from the Truth...and that's all he can do. God could just do away with him now...but he wants us to go out and proclaim the Truth with His power...to be used to radiate His light into the abyss that Satan has attempted to create. That too shall break...and those who come to know Jesus' Gospel and believe in it will stand with us in Heaven. Their names too shall be on Heaven's book...but let us Rejoice that our names are in that book...not on account of what we've done, but what our Savior has done for us so that we could put our belief in him and go up to the Father. Very quickly before I move on, read verse 19. What does this mean? That nothing will ever hurt us in life? No. It means that we are above those Hostile Creations, that the outcome of our lives is secure: That we will be in Heaven.
This has been going on into one long post...but read the final verses down to v. 24. It is interesting because here is where you see the Godhead Three In One in action. Very interesting indeed.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
But right now, I want to just talk a little bit about the debates going on...first off, I'm either for Perry or Cain at the moment. Paul is good on the Economic side, but I think he lost a few points in my book for some stuff he said last night on the debate. About the others that I would consider...Gingrich could work because of his high intellect and quick wit. He's very knowledgeable about the problems at hand, and he knows that we need to mix and match some good stuff between all the candidates and then throw them into one. Unfortunately, because of his lack of morals, he's technically unelectable. Santorum has a mouth, he's very vocal and loud about getting at other people and putting himself up for the best plausible solution. He's obsessed with himself and the things that he's accomplished. Romney's really just a rich jerk trying to find his way into the White House. On the other side of things, Bachman has really good morals...but I give her nothing for the intellectual side of things. She keeps attacking Obama and his failures...but she doesn't really say what she'll do to change things...only very vaguely if at all.