In Christ, To Live Is To Love

If you are taking up your cross daily and following Christ, then it will seem perfectly fitting to pray along these lines:

…Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done…
–  Matthew 6:9-10 (emphasis added)

The emphasis in the Lord’s prayer is on what is His, not on what is ours.  We are doing things for His sake, not our own.  That we means are living life for His sake, not our own.  This is the love of God – genuine selflessness.

If you’ll focus closely on the words of these initial petitions in the Lord’s prayer and slightly rearrange the word order in the first line, you’ll see even more clearly the consistent perspective on which the Lord’s prayer is based.  It is the perspective of love, the kind of love Christ demonstrated for us.

Your name be hallowed
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
– Matthew 6:9-10 (emphasis added)

For this reason, the apostle Paul could write:

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
–  2 Corinthians 5:14-15

We no longer live for ourselves, but rather for Him.

For this reason also, the apostle Peter could write:

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
–  1 Peter 4:1-2

We no longer live for our lusts, but rather for His will.

There’s nothing inherently good about suffering, but suffering for doing what is right is redemptive because it is the way of Christ.  It brings the blessing of peace and joy to our souls, and simultaneously leavens the lump of family.

Daily Prayer

When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He gave them a form of prayer (called The Lord’s Prayer) which implied that it was to be a daily exercise.  Here’s the specific part to which I’m referring:

Give us this day our daily bread.
–  Matthew 6:11 (emphasis added)

You’ll also recall that the words Jesus gave encouraged a “we” rather than an “I” focus:

Our Father…Give us this day…And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
–  Matthew 6:9-13 (emphasis added)

These features make the Lord’s Prayer perfectly suited to our desire to be a redemptive force (an uplifting factor) in our respective families.  This prayer encourages us to pray daily with a focus beyond our individual selves.

God created us to live in community.  We are born to two parents who will need to nurture us for roughly twenty years before we’re ready to stand as independent adults.  And, by the time we are independent adults, we’ll want to marry and start families of our own.  Thus the cycle begins anew with community being the central thread – marriage being the transition from one family to another.  Thus the Lord’s Prayer shapes the daily life of a believer so that it benefits those around him.

The final petition in the Lord’s prayer is:

…deliver us from evil…
–  Matthew 6:13

This petition goes to the very heart of a Christian life: overcoming evil with goodness.  You drive evil out of your family’s life by first driving it out of your own life.  As Jesus also said:

Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
–  Matthew 7:3-5

Therefore, when you ask God to deliver you from evil, focus first and foremost on getting it out of your own heart.  If you succeed there, you can keep it out of your life that day.  And, as a consequence, the leavening of the lump of family will be proceeding as a matter of course – often in ways you yourself might not immediately recognize.

Each Day Has Enough Trouble of Its Own

Jesus said:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
–  Matthew 6:34

Therefore, He also said [emphasis added]:

“Give us this day our daily bread.”
–  Matthew 6:11

Therefore, when you rise each day, pray until hope for the day enters your heart.  Then act on that hope.  Don’t wait on hope for tomorrow – you can look for that tomorrow.  It wouldn’t do you any good today anyway.

Live today in the hope God gives you for today.

Trying to do right in a fallen world can be a discouraging task.  That’s why Jesus taught us to pray daily.  It’s how we renew our hope.

Each day has enough trouble of its own

Jesus said:

“So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
–  Matthew 6:34

He also said:

“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
–  John 16:33

Here’s a notable example of how Jesus followed His own advice, how He practiced what He preached.  He knew that He was going to be crucified long before it happened, yet He did not allow Himself to be concerned about it until He was in the garden of Gethsemane on the night before it was to happen.  As Paul later spoke of Jesus on that night in his letter to the Hebrews:

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.
–  Hebrews 5:7

Jesus sought the strength to endure the crucifixion on the night before the crucifixion.  He did not worry about it in the months, weeks, and days leading up to it.  Now His anguish that night was severe, to be sure.  But His anguish was confined to that night.  That was His genius and we do well to imitate it.

We eat food today for the strength we need today; we don’t eat food today for the strength we will need tomorrow.  Likewise, Jesus instructs us to seek the spiritual strength we need today for the trouble we will face today; tomorrow we can pray for the spiritual strength we’ll need then.

Remember that in the prayer the Lord taught us to pray (that is, “the Lord’s Prayer”), He instructed us to petition in precisely this way [emphasis added]:

Give us this day our daily bread.
–  Matthew 6:11

“Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Therefore, seek the Lord’s strength each and every day.  The strength He gave you yesterday was for yesterday; you’ll need fresh strength for today.  Be sure to seek it.

Those Who Seek His Grace Find It

Our hearts were made to absorb His grace as a sponge absorbs water.

When we pray – that is, when we call on His name – His grace seeps into our hearts.  The more effective the prayer, the more grace we store.

Close your door and spend private time with Him.  Enrich your heart with His goodness.  Let your heart be filled in those times.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

The Lord Is Near to Us When We Call on Him

The Lord Jesus responds to our faith.  Therefore, He is near when we call to Him, for He cannot but help hearing the cry of faith.

His children are dear to His heart; He cannot leave them forsaken.  Such would be outside of His nature.

Therefore, assure your soul that when you call upon Him in truth that He will hear you and respond.

If you are seeking His direction to do the right thing in life, what possible reason would there be for Him to deny you?  Do not capitulate to doubt.  Believe firmly in His goodness…that you might receive it.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

A Quiet Heart Has an Ear for the Lord

A heart that is quiet has an ear out for the Lord.

A heart that is noisy, busy, or otherwise crowded and distracted has a hard time hearing Him.

You want always to keep a quiet heart because you never know when He might want to say something to you.

Isn’t hearing one little word from God better than having a heart full of worry?

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast – SC106

Don’t Listen to Jesus with Amnesia

When you’re listening for Jesus in silence, remember and ponder the things you already know about Him and have already heard from Him.

In the context of what you know of Him, He will show you more.

Those who forget or disregard what God has already shown them are not good candidates for hearing more.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC050

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence; Jesus Will Be There

Some people are actually afraid of silence.  Don’t be.  He will be there.  He loves you, and He will teach you.

Be humble toward Him…and toward others.  That’s when you’re most likely to hear Him.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC049

Listen for God in the Silences

God is not easily heard in the noise of life.  In fact, the very purpose of that noise can be to keep you from having a quiet moment to listen for Him.

Carve out your moments of quiet time, and make sure you get them just like you make sure you get your meals.

Bible notes on this post.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ to those who want to hear about Him without having to join a church – or anything or anyone else – but Him.

Podcast SC048