December 4, 2022 – Matthew 1:18-25
Sunday’s message was of Joseph as the first follower of Jesus. The thought came to mind of the phrase “Lead, follow or get out of the way.” In relating to us as Christians, we absolutely want to follow Jesus. There are also times we need to lead and time to get out of the way.
As a God honoring Christian leader, their characteristics include love, humility, obedience, honesty, faithfulness, trust in God, attitudes of a servant and prayerfulness.
In following Jesus we accept Him as Lord and Savior, we have the characteristics as a leader but we also can add others like knowing the bible, being thankful, bringing God into all aspects of our life and relying on the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance. Peter says, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21)
Getting out of the way has a lot to do with letting go and letting God. Giving it to God simply means to put your complete faith in God to work things out for your good, and to know that, ultimately, it is His will and not your own that determines the outcome. Here are some things we should give to God:
Our prayer for this week is, “God, I surrender as I follow You! I surrender my life, my control. If You want me to lead, guide me. If I’m in the way of any part of my life, help me to let go.”
October 9, 2022 – Matthew 6:9
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name…” (Matthew 6:9, NIV)
As you pray, recognize that you are talking to a personal God. In this relationship, you are in a place of safety, and you can trust Him. In reverence, seek to know and submit to His will. Believe that you may humbly ask for anything knowing that God hears and cares about you as any loving father would who loves his children.
Understand that His name is holy and set apart. With this, it may be beneficial to meditate for a moment on the greatness of God, before you bring your praises, requests and concerns, to the Creator of the universe. Above all know that God is love and He loves you and really wants to hear from you, so talk to Him every day.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV)
October 16, 2022 – Matthew 6:10
“…Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, NIV)
In this week’s message we primarily focused on two things: 1. “God’s” kingdom and 2. “God’s” will.
First, we see that God’s kingdom was central to the message of Jesus, He spoke of it in the past, present and future. He Himself described it as an obligation laid upon Him. The kingdom of God has a range of meanings, but Gods kingdom is wherever God reigns. If God reigns over our lives then the kingdom of God is within us.
Later in this chapter we are told to seek first the kingdom of God. The New Living Translation states Matthew 6:33 this way. “Seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.” It’s not just what God wants, but what God wants for each of us.
Secondly, we focused on God’s will. His will not ours. We can pray God’s will to be done, but have different attitudes of acceptance. For example, we can have a tone of defeated resignation or of bitter resentment, but let us be challenged in this area that the attitude we need to have is one of perfect love and trust…no matter what His will may be.
This week we are asked to pray, “God, You first.” You do what you think is best. You are the expert in our lives and will never lead down the wrong path.
October 23, 2022 – Matthew 6:11
For those of us that have never had to wonder if we would be able to feed ourselves or our families, this scripture may seem that it doesn’t apply to us. Most of Jesus’ listeners, even if they weren’t desperately poor, knew what it was like to face uncertainty in their basic needs. This petition was very relevant for the laborers who were paid on the very day that they worked. It was typically low wages, and only provided enough to buy food for that day. This prayer would have given them great hope. God would meet their needs today just as He did the day before.
It’s interesting to note that the Greek word for daily, “epiousios,” is not found in any other Greek text except the parallel text in Luke. Some scholars thought Matthew invented the word. But in 1889 the word was found on papyrus which was, believe or not, on a woman’s shopping list.
I think the point in this scripture is to pray in humble dependence on the Father and ask Him to meet our needs every day. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are reliant on God. We should never have anxiety about daily needs, our Father knows what we need and will take care of them one day at a time.
In prayer this week let’s pray that, “We know Father that You are the giver of all we have and all we need. I’m not hungry for bread for this day, but I am hungry for You God, the Bread Of Life.”
October 30, 2022 – Matthew 6:12
Matthew 6:12 “And forgive our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors”
We know the past cannot be undone, there are debts which we can never pay. For us, then the one helpful prayer is, “Forgive the debt.” This plea literally implies debt, but is used as a reference to wrongdoings or sin.
William Barclay describes five different words used for sin in the New Testament:
- Hamartia which is failing to hit the target.
- Parabasis is the stepping over the line between right and wrong.
- Parotoma which means slipping, like on an icy road.
- Anomia is lawlessness. The sin of a person knowing right and wrong, but yet does wrong.
- Opheilema which means debt, the failure to pay what is due.
The forgiveness we are taught to pray for, here, implies something mutual. It suggests that being forgiven and forgiving others are closely tied together in our own spiritual lives. This was especially meaningful to Matthew, who at one point was a tax collector.
These are critical needs for every person: to be forgiven of sin By God and follow God’s example by forgiving anyone who has offended us.
But WHY keep confessing our sins to God daily if we are already saved from them? Because, although we are not “lost”, we commit daily sins, and unconfessed daily sin puts a “cloud” between us and our relationship with God.
This “cloud” hinders our fellowship with Him, and as a result we will not have the sweet fellowship with Him that we want to have until we confess that sin.
For example, in a marriage you may have an argument. Later you say things are “fine” — but you know better. You can feel it; it is like there is a little “cloud” between you in the relationship. That little “cloud” doesn’t mean that you are not married but there is a loss of harmony in the relationship.
C.S. Lewis seems to put it as well as anyone: “To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable (in others), because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.”
So as Matthew 6:11 connects to Matthew 6:12, let’s also pray this week, “God I’m hungry for You AND please forgive me and help me to forgive others.”
November 6, 2022 – Matthew 6:13
“And not into temptation…” (Matthew 6:13a, NIV)
After the petition for forgiveness of sin in Matthew 6:12, comes now the request to be preserved from new sin. If we honestly seek the assurance of forgiveness for past sin, then we will strive to avoid committing it in the future.
It appears that this request contradicts James 1:13 which says God would never tempt anyone. But God does allow us to be tempted and tried, which is sometimes needful and useful to make us stronger and better. We also know that with that temptation God provides an escape
We should also be aware of the temptations from Satan that include the doubts and fears which he will instill. He will always remind of your weaknesses and the sins you have committed in the past. That’s why Matthew 26:41 tells us to, “Watch and pray so you will not fall into temptation.”
Matthew 6:13b “but deliver us from the evil one”
When we pray, “deliver us from evil”, it is because we are desperately seeking to be kept from the power of sin. We pray to be delivered not only from external evil, but from the evil within us. We pray not only to be delivered from sin but its consequences. From Ephesians 6:12, we know that, “…our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Let’s pray this week not only to be delivered, but for God to please keep us safe.
November 13, 2022 – Matthew 14:22-32
This week we looked at Peter’s response to Jesus walking on the water. We were encouraged to “Get out of the Boat”. We demonstrate our trust in God by putting our faith into action. We understand that faith is necessary for salvation, and the closest that the bible comes to offering an exact definition is Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” From this particular passage we see that the central feature of faith is confidence or trust. Simply put, faith means trusting completely in who Jesus is regardless of what you may or may not know.
There is no benefit to inactive faith. We really can’t sit on the sidelines. The bible warns us about that. “…faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:17). We need to get out of the boat.
Here are some things we can do to help us: 1.Choose God Daily 2. Study His Word 3. Remind yourself of God’s goodness. 4. Redirect when you get off course. 5. Remember that you’re not in control. God is. 6. Listen to God. 7. Follow God. and 8. Repent and avoid sin.
This is a helpful prayer for us this week.
“Dear Lord, help me – every single morning – to find faith in the midst of the chaos. Give me the desire and ability to work for You, see You, hear You, talk to You, and give thanks to You. And as I do, I pray that I will draw nearer and nearer to You, and that my faith will multiply exponentially as I understand in new, deeper ways that You are everything I ever hoped You would be. And so much more. Amen.” ~ Kelly O’Dell Stanley
November 27, 2022 – Matthew 1:1-17
When I consider the sermon title “First Things First“, I’m reminded of how we need Christ to be first in our life. If you are in the habit of doing devotions in the morning, it needs to be the priority before other events of the day happen. So many times those other tasks that need to be done, tend to occur first, pushing devotional time out of place. When that happens, it’s very difficult to get that time back.
As fallible Christians, our priorities seem to get mixed up. It’s not our intention, but the devil likes to deter us. He is a master of interfering with our desire to keep the first things first. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” It’s so important do what we should be doing, first.
There are times that priorities get out of order, we end up doing dumb things, maybe even bad things. We may be ashamed, but as we learned Sunday, Jesus isn’t ashamed of us. God is able to work through the bad and the good. Scripture confirm this in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
This week let’s pray “Jesus help me to remember to do those things that should be first, will be first every day! Help me to seek Your kingdom and Your righteousness first!”