A Prayer Prompted by Mark 3

Heavenly Father,

We see Jesus having to endure being misunderstood by his family and accused of being evil by the religious leaders of his day.

We do not want to make those mistakes. We realize that if we reject Jesus, then there is no payment available for our sins against you.

Our relationship with you, through Christ, is and always needs to be the most important relationship in our lives.

It makes us your family and gives us the truest family we will ever have – the family of God.

Help us to be obedient and willing to do your will. Help us to respond well to whatever calling you place upon our lives.

And help us to see Jesus as Lord, the one who truly deserves our worship and complete obedience.

In Christ,

Amen.

A Prayer Prompted by Concern for God’s Kingdom as Seen in Matthew 17

Heavenly Father,

We declare Jesus to be King of kings, Lord of lords and supreme Ruler of heaven and earth. We also declare him to be King, Lord and Ruler over our lives.  

May your Kingdom come and your will be done.  We ask your help in discerning your will so that we will more faithfully represent Christ as we go about our earthly business.  Help us to know how to exercise Christ’s authority in the spiritual realm, in our families, in our church and in our daily community life.  Help us to see when we are not doing so, especially when that is the result of a lack of faith. We admit that our faith needs to grow.

Help us also to see all those numerous cases when submission to earthly rulers is the right thing to do.  We thank you that we live in a place where we are free to worship you.  We pray that you would give those that govern wisdom to govern according to your will.  We also pray that you would have mercy on them and lead each of them into a saving knowledge of you.

And finally, we look forward to the soon return of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Is this the Jesus we wanted? – Matthew 11:2-6

Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” And Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

John the Baptist was languishing in prison.  Conditions were harsh even for him, a man unaccustomed to comfort.  Further, he was not a criminal, and he knew he didn’t belong there.  Where was that Messiah that was going to set the world right?  Jesus was certainly that very man, wasn’t he?  There was the voice from heaven and the Spirit descending like a dove.  He was a relative and John knew him well enough to believe Jesus of Nazareth was the one.  But again, here he was, locked up and no happy ending anywhere in sight.  Who can blame him for asking Jesus for some word of hope or instruction?

The doubts of a saint are vastly different from the doubts of the skeptic.  When we find we don’t have the Jesus we wanted, we need assurance, even if we are determined to believe.  It’s a question of trust.  We can trust someone during difficult times, but still acknowledge that the times are difficult.  Disappointment with God is a real thing.  Our faith may waver, but it will not fail.  Surely, as we wait, God will strengthen our heart.

The skeptic sees things differently.  Difficulties just add to his denials.  She builds a wall of doubt out of bricks inscribed with objections.  Trials are never an acceptable outcome of obedience.  Disobedience can always find its reasons.

The saint knows better.  The narrow gate and the difficult way lead to life.  The rugged cross is something to cherish and something to cling to, while awaiting to exchange it for a crown.  Is this the Jesus we wanted?  No matter, it is the real Jesus.  And he would tell us the same thing he told John: 

“The blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”

Loving in Truth – 2 John

Apostle JohnLoving in Truth     2 John

Truth without love is brutal; it can be simply callous or cruel.  Love without truth is deceptive; it nurtures a sentimental fantasy world. 

2 John.pdf 

2 John.mp3

 

 

(Eternal) Life – 1 John 5

Apostle John(Eternal) Life     1 John 5

The Christian life gives us more than one thing that needs our attention. They are all related and none can be ignored.

1 John 5.pdf     

1 John 5.mp3