Tag Archives: relationship

Repetition

It is a struggle to get up out of my toasty bed, especially when another hour of sleep sounds so enticing but Proverbs 6:10-11 from the Amplified Bible helps me bring my thoughts back on track.

“Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to lie down and rest”— So your poverty will come like an approaching prowler who walks [slowly, but surely] And your need [will come] like an armed man [making you helpless].”

King Solomon may have been pointing to a physical poverty but it applies just as readily to spiritual poverty. Father, our time together is vital to my spiritual wellbeing. My relationship with You must be cultivated. It is of the utmost importance. Bless our time together. May I hear clearly what You have for me this day. Amen.

Matthew 6:7-13 (<<click the green)

It’s interesting in this passage to read Your warning against “repeating [our] words again and again” thinking that that is how our prayers are going to get answered and to see that it is immediately followed by a prayer You gave us, that many of us know by heart, that we repeat every Sunday in our worship together.

I have read where some think we should eliminate the Lord’s Prayer from public repetition but I think what’s important to remember, once again, is the relationship aspect.

Several years ago I attended a funeral service where the minister lead those gathered in the Lord’s Prayer and honestly I felt he was trying to make sure he finished ahead of everyone else! It felt like it was a race to get through it as quickly as possible! Now I’m not questioning his relationship with You, Lord, but his prayer sure did not reflect that relationship.

Every Sunday both of my congregations repeat this prayer at the conclusion of our prayer time together and I purposely do not rush when I lead them in reciting it. I have preached on the importance of prayer and highlighted the wonderful aspects of this prayer You set before us as an example of how we should pray. But again, it comes down to our relationship with You. Repetition is not the problem – complacency is the problem.

Lord, help us to keep our hearts and minds in the right place. Help us to keep You in the right place. Repetition is a benefit, not a detriment if our hearts are set in pursuit of our relationship with You.

Dec 6th, Wed, 6:47 am

Vital Relationship

Thank You, Father, for answering my prayer. I am up early enough to spend some time with You. May I be attentive and receptive. Amen.

Matthew 6:5-6 (<<click the green)

I think we would all agree, Lord, that communication is of the utmost importance in any and every relationship. We have all experienced the budding of relationships, be they romantic or friend based…and communication is key. We talk about who we are, what we’ve done, where we’ve been, what we are passionate about, our struggles, our victories – anything and everything can be discussed and shared. It’s what brings us together. It’s what strengthens the ties between us. Interdependence and love make for a rock solid relationship upon which we can build our lives. If we truly care about someone, we make sure that we cut out slots of time, no matter how crazy our schedules are, to interact with them.

Doing so for others is vital to our relationships here on earth. So if it is so important in these instances, why do we struggle to do the same with You? I regularly stress the importance of developing an intimate relationship with You to my congregations. If our relationship with You is to grow, we absolutely must spend time with You.

Once again Ephesians 1:4 tells us, “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.” We don’t need to spend time with You for You to get to know us, we need to spend time with You to get to know You!

The lines of a hymn written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855 are fitting,

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Lord, help my love for You to always be growing – may it never wane. May my heart’s desire always be to be about spending time with You each and every day. Amen.

Dec 5th Tues, 6:24 am

Going After God’s Heart

Good morning, Father! Thank You for so many things – my wonderful wife, my exceptional son, a job that more than adequately meets my needs, a beautiful home, two churches that You have blessed me with to serve, a world of diverse variety in which to live – and my mind goes on and on! But, Father, most importantly thank You for Your love for me! For my salvation sure and free, for the awesome (and this is where this word truly fits!) sacrifice You made to make it possible for me to love You back! All praise and glory and honor to You, O God!

Colossians 3:1-4 (<<click here)

“…set your sights on the realities of heaven…” v.1b

“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

“Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” v.2

Lord, I have much in this world for which to be grateful – but in reality, all of it is temporal. In the blink of an eye, it could all be gone…or I could be gone. There is nothing here that is forever. Only what You are involved with is eternal. When I step free from the clutches of this world nothing that I cling to here will be anything – it will all be as nothing. The only things that will remain are my relationships – my relationship with You (may it grow every day) and my relationship with others that are based on You! But even those relationships will be different – deeper, fuller, richer!

Help me to be a “man after your own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14Acts 13:22) and in that frame of mind to be forever seeking to establish your kingdom here on earth. May I be always striving to bring others into a closer relationship with You, Lord, so that they and I will be investing in what is truly worthy of our time and energies.

June 16th, 2015, Tue, 6:06 am

Love and Law

Thank You, Father, for a wonderfully productive day! You have been with me all the way and all the physical things are ready for worship. May I continue to prepare spiritually so that I may say, be and do exactly what You need. Praise Your holy name!

Matthew 5:20 (<<click the green)

When we first read this verse Lord I think we are a little shocked – even if we know who the “teachers of the religious law and Pharisees” were. Maybe I’m just not enough of a rebel but I was brought up to respect leaders in all walks of life. But regardless of how high someone is in any organization – even the church – lines can be crossed. And evil cannot be tolerated…and it must be dealt with. I’m sure there were good men amongst this nefarious crew of religiosity but they may have been few and far between, as well.

You have just proclaimed Your intent to fulfill the law as given to Moses and we are also called to be obedient to it. My study Bible* helps a great deal in understanding this law.

First of all, “there were three categories of law: ceremonial, civil and moral.” Ceremonial law dealt with Israel’s worship and it all pointed to You. Your death and resurrection fulfilled it all! So we “are no longer bound by” them but the “principles behind them – to worship and love a holy God – still apply.”

Our world is a “radically different” place from when the civil law was given to Israel for daily living. We don’t follow them specifically but Your example showed us that the “principles behind the commands are timeless and should guide our conduct.”

Lastly, the moral law (i.e. the Ten Commandments) “is the direct command of God” and we are accountable to abide by it. Lord, You abided by it in its entirety.

And that is the rub with the religious leaders of the time You walked this earth. They were so busy splitting hairs that they didn’t really take time to live out the law where it was really important. Lord, Your desire was and still most assuredly is for us to live in a loving, intimate relationship with You. We can strive to abide by every rule and regulation but unless there is relationship…it is worthless.

Lord, help me (and I know You do) to love You more every day. May there be a burning in my heart to spend time with You regularly. The more time I conscientiously spend with You the closer our relationship will be. Amen – so be it!

*Life Application Bible New Living Translation

Oct. 19th, Thurs, 3:43 pm

Filthy Rags

Father, there is such great assurance in Your presence. Thank You for going before me yesterday. I realize that it is an everyday occurrence but I don’t ever want to take it for granted. I am blessed. Amen.

Matthew 3:7-10 (<<click the green)

Wow! Reading what John had to say the religious leaders of his day makes me step back a bit. He sure didn’t sugar coat it. He pretty much laid it all out and they, within just a few moments, knew exactly what he thought about them.

In our Bible study last night we discussed people of “religion” if you will. Many feel that they have the bases covered because they are so diligent in following the rules and regulations. Many feel that their eternal destiny is secure because their daddy was a believer and his daddy before him and his daddy before him, etc., etc. But John made it very clear that none of those things proved anything.

As Isaiah proclaimed “our righteous deeds…are nothing but filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:5-7) Nothing we are, nothing we can say, nothing we can do is worth anything in regards to our standing before God – it is all worthless. The only thing that is worth anything is when we turn from our way and give ourselves over to God’s way. John calls to us as well, “Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God.”

We cannot earn our salvation by our deeds – that is a gift from God alone – but we must show by our deeds that salvation has taken place.

Lord, I am grateful that You have offered me salvation. It was at great cost to You – your very life. You gave Your life when mine should have been forfeit – my sins should have resulted in my death. But You took my place. Lord… may I “prove by the way [I] live” that I have turned from my sinful ways and turned to You. May my life be living proof of that relationship. Amen.

Sept 26th, Tues, 6:47 am