Thursday, February 9, 2012

February 10, 2012

"Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." Matthew 6:11

The Lord's Prayer is not just a prayer or a pattern for prayer it is a new way to think about God. God is a Father Who desires to know you and to be known by you.

Jesus taught that prayer connects you with God and brings you into His presence and helps you bring Him praise. God wants to make your life a living praise offering to Him. And He taught you to accept His will and align your life with it so His kingdom can be lived out through you.

Over the last couple of days you learned God wants to provide for you  daily so you can be focused on Him and enjoy His fellowship. We talked about how God wants us to know Him in the "NOW". He wants you to trust Him to provide on a daily basis. He knows it is easy for you to fret over something in your past or stress over something in your future and when you are worried or anxious you can't enjoy Him fully in the "NOW".

When you pray, "Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our debts as we forgive our debtors", you are telling God you want to trust Him today and you are going to commit to him your past so you won't have to worry over the past. You are committing to know Him in the "NOW".

So, if God takes care of the past and the presence does that mean you don't plan for the future? Not at all! In fact, by making plans for the future it is easier for you to love God in the "NOW". With your past covered and your future planned you are free to enjoy Him and His blessings in the "NOW".

When you are in fellowship with God you can seek His guidance as you plan for the future. Proverbs says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path."  Proverbs 3:5-6.

When you are in relationship with God you can know that He will lead you into the future as a Good Shepherd leads his sheep. You will have confidence know that as you remain in His presence He will provide and guide and protect you daily.

Prayer has a powerful and pervasive impact on your life. Prayer is the language of His Kingdom. It is communication with the King and fellowship with your Father!

Learning to pray as Jesus prayed will aalow you to know God as Jesus knew Him. You will know His Person, you will know His peace because you will know His pardon and you will know His power because you will live in His presence.

If you thought you didn't have a prayer of ever knowing God in a significant way, Jesus is here to tell you that you DO have a prayer! He gave it to you!

February 9, 2012

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

You are created for God’s pleasure! He made you to be the object of His love and grace! God desires to be known by you and to know you. One way that happens is through prayer.

Therefore, prayer is not a ritual or a religious exercise but a relationship with the Heavenly Father! Like all good Fathers, God delights in providing for His children.

I was blessed by the thought that God desires to relate to us in the “NOW”. Relationships happen in the moment and you must capture those moments to know and be known by God or by your loved ones.

Last night I saw this truth demonstrated in a powerful way in the recent movie “Courageous”. I recommend this movie for everyone but particularly for dads.

The men in this movie, like many of you, were busy making a living and providing for their families and in that process became easily distracted from the very family members they wanted to protect and provide for. So, like you, when they actually came home to be with their families they were physically present but emotionally absent. Like many of you they struggled with switching that mental switch that takes you from “THEN” to “NOW”. A God-given desire to provide and protect your wife and your children and the drive it takes to do that can be the very thing that prevents you from providing them with the emotional connection they desperately crave. Not many things are lonelier than living around the people you love but not giving or receiving that love.
Often it takes something dramatic happening to shock you into the importance of being “THERE’ when you are there. You and I need to be emotionally engaged in the “NOW” with wives and children. Otherwise, you wake up one day to discover you are living with strangers.
What does this have to do with the Lord’s Prayer?

Jesus teaches His disciples – and you – that you should pray for God to help you know Him and trust Him on a daily basis. He is helping them understand the importance of relating to God in the “NOW”. Relationships happen moment by moment. If you miss those moments you miss out on relationship. All relationships.
As in the movie and in your world, what keeps you from enjoying the “NOW” are the pains of the past, the pressures of the day as well as your plans for the future. When you are distracted by your past regrets or future concerns or the demands of the present, it keeps you from enjoying the “NOW”. Life happens in the “NOW”. Love happens in the “NOW”. All of us have missed moments we would love to have back!
One of the truths the Master wants you to get from this teaching on prayer is how to live in the “NOW” by trusting Him for the day and the days to come. One of the messages of “Courageous” is how to seize the moments with your family that shape lives and build love.
Pray the prayer. See the movie. Learn to live in the “NOW”. Start now.