Charles Stanley – A Biblical Pattern for Prayer

 

Matthew 6:9-13

The Lord’s Prayer has been prayed by countless people, but Jesus intended it to be a pattern for praying, not simply a recitation. When we use it as a model and consider what each line represents, our prayers become more meaningful. As you go through this passage from Matthew 6, keep in mind its three parts:

First is an invocation, which honors the Father’s name, kingdom, and will (Matt. 6:9-10). God’s name encompasses all that He is, in the fullness of His attributes. His kingdom involves both His rule over us now and the promise of Christ’s millennial kingdom on earth. The accomplishment of the Father’s will in our individual life and in His plans for the entire world should be our prayerful desire.

Second is a section of petitions (Matt. 6:11-13). These include daily dependence on the Lord for our basic needs, a plea for forgiveness, and a request for His protection from temptations.

Third is a doxology, or praise, of God’s glory (Matt. 6:13). Emphasizing His sovereignty and almighty power over the earth and our personal lives, this closing segment reminds us that He is our Lord and Master.

From the beginning to the end of this prayer, God is the focus. Is He central in your prayers as well?

Bible in One Year: Psalm 39-43

 

http://www.intouch.org/

Our Daily Bread — Straight Ahead

 

Bible in a Year:

He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord . . . , not turning aside to the right or to the left.

2 Kings 22:2

Today’s Scripture & Insight:2 Kings 22:1–2, 8–13

It used to take the steady eye and the firm hand of a farmer to drive a tractor or combine down straight rows. But even the best eyes would overlap rows, and by end of day even the strongest hands would be fatigued. But now there’s autosteer—a GPS-based technology that allows for accuracy to within one inch when planting, cultivating, and spraying. It’s incredibly efficient and hands-free. Just imagine sitting in a mammoth combine and instead of gripping the wheel, you’re gripping a roast beef sandwich. An amazing tool to keep you moving straight ahead.

You may recall the name Josiah. He was crowned king when he was only “eight years old” (2 Kings 22:1). Years later, in his mid-twenties, Hilkiah the high priest found “the Book of the Law” in the temple (v. 8). It was then read to the young king, who tore his robes in sorrow due to his ancestors’ disobedience to God. Josiah set about to do what was “right in the eyes of the Lord” (v. 2). The book became a tool to steer the people so there would be no turning to the right or left. God’s instructions were there to set things straight.

Allowing the Scriptures to guide us day by day keeps our lives in line with knowing God and His will. The Bible is an amazing tool that, if followed, keeps us moving straight ahead.

By:  John Blase

 

 

http://www.odb.org

Joyce Meyer – A Deeper Level of Prayer

 

. . . Not My will, but [always] Yours be done. — Luke 22:42 (AMPC)

Adapted from the resource The Power of Being Thankful – by Joyce Meyer

Asking God for what we need and want in the natural realm is definitely not wrong, but we shouldn’t have our main focus on those things. God’s Word says that He knows what we need before we ask Him (see Matthew 6:8), so all we need to do is let Him know that we’re trusting Him to take care of everything that concerns us.

After we ask God to meet our daily physical needs, we can focus the majority of our prayer time on talking to Him about our spiritual needs; things like spiritual maturity, developing and displaying the fruit of His Spirit, obedience, and walking in love, to name a few. We also have the privilege of praying for other people and being part of their victories. God is inviting us to a deeper walk with Him, and the closer we get to Him, the more our desires will become like His.

Prayer Starter: Father, thank You for hearing me every time I pray. Even though I have daily needs that I bring to You, help me grow into a deeper level of prayer where I can begin to hear and pray what’s on Your heart. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

 

http://www.joycemeyer.org

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – He Gave His Son

 

“Since He did not spare even His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else?” (Romans 8:32).

George was very faithful in his Christian walk. In fact, he had a little black book in which he recorded all of his activities for each day. These included daily devotions, note-taking, verses to be memorized, appointments to be kept and every activity of his life. Outwardly he seemed so perfect that I, as a young Christian, wanted to be like him. Then one day he had a nervous breakdown. As he told me later, the last thing he did before he went to the hospital was to throw away his little black book and tell his wife he never wanted to see it again. Without realizing it, he had become very legalistic in his relationship with God rather than accepting, by faith, what God had already done for him. while in the hospital he began to recall some of the thousands of verses which he had memorized through the years. It was then that he relaxed enough to allow the Holy Spirit to illumine his mind to comprehend the importance of living by faith.

As Paul writes to the Galatians in the third chapter: “What magician has hypnotized you and cast an evil spell upon you? For you used to see the meaning of Jesus Christ’s death as clearly as though I had waved a placard before you with a picture on it of Christ dying on the cross. Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you heard about Christ and trusted Him to save you. Then, have you gone completely crazy? For if trying to obey the Jewish laws never gave you spiritual life in the first place, why do you think that trying to obey them now will make you stronger Christians?”

I ask you again: Does God give you the power of the Holy Spirit as a result of your trying to obey His laws? No, of course not. He gives that power when you believe in Christ and fully trust Him. The greatest heresy of the Christian life is legalism; and yet, it inevitably seems to attract dedicated, committed Christians. They are happy to accept salvation as a gift of God by faith. But like the Galatians, they insist on earning their way thereafter.

We must never forget that salvation is a gift of God which we receive by faith. Nothing can be earned. If we believe God, we will want to work to please Him, not to earn His favor.

Bible Reading: Romans 8:33-39

TODAY’S ACTION POINT: I will invite the Holy Spirit to protect me from becoming legalistic in my walk with Christ. Having received salvation by faith, I shall claim each day’s blessings by faith as I live the supernatural life.

 

http://www.cru.org

Max Lucado – Preparing a Place

 

Listen to Today’s Devotion

God’s purpose from all eternity is to prepare a family to indwell the kingdom of God.  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). God is plotting for our good. In all the setbacks, He’s ordaining the best for our future. Every event of our day is designed to draw us toward our God and our destiny.

When people junk you in the pit, God can use it for good. When family members sell you out, God will recycle the pain. Falsely accused?  Utterly abandoned?  You may stumble but you will not fall. You will get through this! Not because you are strong, but because God is. Not because you are big, but because God is. Not because you are good, but because God is. He has a place prepared for you!

Read more You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Turbulent Times

For more inspirational messages please visit Max Lucado.

Home

Denison Forum – Nation’s largest Protestant denomination elects first African American chairman: How advocacy can change our culture

 

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was founded in 1845. Slavery played a significant role in its formation, a fact for which the denomination has expressed great remorse.

In a resolution adopted on its 150th anniversary, the SBC stated, “We lament and repudiate historical acts of evil such as slavery from which we continue to reap a bitter harvest” and added, “We apologize to all African Americans for condoning and/or perpetuating individual and systemic racism in our lifetime.”

The denomination further stated, “We ask forgiveness from our African American brothers and sisters,” and then committed to “pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships.”

Now the nation’s largest Protestant denomination has taken a significant step in this pursuit. The SBC’s Executive Committee, the group that runs the business of the denomination outside its annual meetings, has elected its first African American chairman.

Rev. Rolland Slade, senior pastor of Meridian Baptist Church in El Cajon, California, was elected unanimously in what the outgoing chairman called a “wonderful and historic moment.” He was previously vice chairman of the committee and chair of its Cooperative Program Committee.

How Tony Evans and Robert Morris are making a difference 

I became a Christian through the outreach of a Southern Baptist church and graduated from a Southern Baptist seminary. While Denison Forum is nondenominational, I will forever be grateful for the contributions made by Southern Baptists to my faith and life.

But I have never been as proud of Southern Baptists as I am today. Nor have I been more committed to their goal of “pursuing racial reconciliation in all our relationships.”

To that end, this week we have been answering Benjamin Watson’s call to respond to racial injustice with awareness, advocacy, and action. Yesterday we discussed awareness, examining the history of racism in American culture and asking God to reveal any vestige of this sin in our lives.

Today, let’s focus on advocacy, defined by Merriam-Webster as “the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal.” We practice advocacy when we use our influence in the service of a value or purpose.

The Executive Committee of the SBC practiced advocacy when it elected an African American chairman. Dr. Tony Evans practiced advocacy when he wrote a brilliant article for the Dallas Morning News stating that “the church must address racial, economic, health care, and opportunity inequity, as well as recognize the systems that work against the fair treatment of people.”

Pastor Robert Morris of Gateway Church practiced advocacy by talking with ministers of different races “to hear the stories from these precious men and women of God of the racism and prejudice that they faced and that their families have faced, their parents, their grandparents.” He adds that their tragic stories “will break your heart.”

His church’s website states, “We acknowledge the evils of racism and discrimination fighting so hard to tear us and our nation apart at the seams.” It adds: “While these issues can be difficult to talk about, we want to keep talking about them and empower you with resources to help you in your own conversations.”

Three steps to justice and truth 

The Bible calls Eve “the mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). We are all created by the same Father and descended from the same parents. How can you and I be effective advocates for the value of every human being of every race as created in the image of God?

One: Identify your platform 

God has given you resources, abilities, and spiritual gifts that are uniquely yours. Ask the Lord to help you define your mission and influence in our culture today. (For more, see my latest Faithwire article, “Are There At Least 36 Intelligent Civilizations in Our Galaxy? Why Our Uniqueness Is Relevant to COVID-19 and Racism Today.”)

Two: Pray for God’s words and God’s heart 

Human words cannot transform human hearts, but God’s word spoken in the power of God’s Spirit will advance God’s kingdom in our culture and impact others for eternity. Ask the Lord to lead you to the biblical truth he intends for you to share with grace (cf. Ephesians 4:15; 1 Peter 3:15). (For more, see my latest Stream article, “How to Talk about LGBTQ Issues and Racism: Speaking the Truth in Love.”)

Three: Use your influence to stand for God’s inclusive love 

God called his prophet to “run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her” (Jeremiah 5:1). There is no justice that is not built on truth, and no truth that does not lead to justice.

Once you know your platform and you have prayed for God’s leading, look for ways to advance truth and justice in the lives of those you influence. And know that, however they respond, your obedience will bear eternal significance (Matthew 25:23).

The urgent question of the hour 

The hymn, God is Love, closes with these words:

Sin and death and hell shall never
O’er us final triumph gain;
God is love, so Love for ever
O’er the universe must reign.

What part of the “universe” will you influence with God’s love today?

 

http://www.denisonforum.org/