Verse of the Day – Matthew 6:7-8

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Matthew 6:7-8 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: Have you ever had an experience where you begin praying and words just won’t come out, whether it is because of overwhelming emotion or just not sure how to put the words together. Our Father knows what is in our hearts, but the purpose of prayer is to communicate. Perhaps the “Gentiles” prayed from a head knowledge on top of wanting to be heard by others. Our heads have a limited amount of knowledge, but God speaks the heart. Through our hearts, He gives so much more knowledge and wisdom. It is in our souls that the Holy Spirit dwells. It’s almost as if the Holy Spirit resonates in our hearts as to what to pray. As if the Holy Spirit in us is communicating to God the Father. When you pray, don’t worry if you can’t find the words or are overwhelmed by tears. The Holy Spirit prays in groans that we cannot understand. In fact, Romans 8:26-27 says, “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

Prayer for today: I pray that we would seek the heart of God when we pray. That we would practice asking the Father what He desires to hear from His children. I pray that we would experience the Holy Spirit groaning on our behalf and that our heavenly Father would hear the selfless prayers of His little ones.

If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.

God’s grace and peace be with you always…

Verse of the Day – John 14:27

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.”

John 14:27 (NRSV)

Prodigal Thoughts: The gospel writer of John gives some very comforting words as he is quoting Jesus. I know there are a lot of prayer needs between us all, some that have been graciously shared with me and some that weigh heavy on our hearts that have not been shared. In this passage, Jesus is covering some final teachings in the days leading up to His arrest, trial, and death. Multiple times throughout these teachings, He encourages us in this, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…” We need to take this encouragement and treasure it in our very souls. Whether we are fighting health issues, recovery from surgery, being overwhelmed and anxious, depression, or anything else that the world throws in our face, we can truly be at peace. God will redeem the situation. He will heal us and restore us. We just need to keep in mind that He remains in control and He knows best as to what needs to happen.  

Prayer for today: I pray that we would accept this gift of peace from our heavenly Father. That we would pray, not as to what we desire, but as Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but Yours be done.” 

If you need prayer, please reply and I will pray for you. If you would like to talk about this verse or have questions, I’m always open for your feedback.

May God comfort you with His peace…

Maybe Your Forgiveness…

I was driving the SS Vanterprise back from work yesterday and I was listening to a song on the old iPod shuffle.  It was a song that I have heard no less than 100 times (and that is NOwhere enough).  There was something that I noticed this time.  Some lyrics that were in the song all of the 100 times that I had heard it before, but for some reason, this time was the moment for them to pound my chest like King Kong.

Maybe your Forgiveness is right where you Fell.”  Jon Foreman and the Switchfoot crew hit it on the head on this one.

I have always wondered just how close God was when I have fallen.  Or for that matter, when I still fall.  Does He turn His back on me in shame?  Does He hang His head and regret creating me?  Does He sigh?

I think maybe the last one of those, yes.  But it is just like the Prodigal Son.  I mean, the prodigal son wished his dad dead.  In those days, to receive your inheritance it meant that the father had to die.  So dude took off with his inheritance and blew it.  And after a while he decided…  You know, I am just as unclean as these pigs that I am cleaning up after (which was a HUGE disgrace in the Jewish culture) but if I returned to my father’s house and worked as a slave, I would have it better than this.  But watch what happens…

The Bible says nothing about him cleaning up before he got there.  Prodigal would have to go through ceremonial cleansing and sin/guilt offerings to be purified.  Regardless of that, the father ran out to meet his son.  (Another faux pas, it was not proper for to run…)  and then he embraced him, wrapped a cloak around him, and cranked up a party.

The son returned right to where he fell.  What a beautiful story.  The story of Jesus was not too much unlike the prodigal.  God sent Jesus to earth.  When he was born, the swaddling “cloths” he was wrapped in was known to be death shroud.  That is where he appeared and took on flesh.  He lived a blameless life physically apart from the Father.  But when the time came, Jesus took on OUR sin and became separated from God totally.  When “it was finished”, they took him down and wrapped him in (you guessed it) a death shroud…the same as he began.  And as he beat death by raising up on the third day, he was once again reunited with his Father…who welcomed him into the Holy of Holies…the very throne room of God…at his right hand.

Just know that God will break all the rules just to have you back.  But it starts with you.  It is your decision.  You can recognize your sin and distance from God.  Confess your sins to Him.  Ask Him for not only to forgive you, but to change your heart with the power of Jesus Christ.  Surrender your life to Him.  He will embrace you… And you know what?  There is a party going on in Heaven waiting just for you.

Pint-sized Conversation

So Bonnie and I were talking some last night during our Bible time.  I was reading over 1 Corinthians 13 and explaining how living out love is being obedient to what Jesus commands us to do.  We took some time going through each one and I gave her pats on the back for the things she did well and opened the floor to discuss the things she was struggling with.  We had a great little conversation that I could tell was sinking in.

And then it happened…  I asked, “Bon, is there anything you would like to ask about Jesus or the bible?  Anything at all…?”

She asked, “Pop-Pop, how did Jesus stop being dead in the tomb?” 

After I calmed my racing pulse from the excitement of explaining more about the gospel to my eldest, I began walking her through the story.  I told her, “Well, there are some things we just cannot understand.  Jesus is one of them…  The bible says he was God AND man.  So when Jesus died on the cross, the yucky, sinful part of Him died away.  The sins of all of the people who already died, who are living now, and people who haven’t been born yet… Jesus died for all of them.” 

Bon:  “Well, was Jesus stinky when He came out of that tomb?”
Me:  “No, sweetie.  Because He beat up death… He is alive.” 

Bon:  “That’s right.  He lives inside my heart, doesn’t He Daddy?”
Me:  “For those who believe in Jesus, ask Him to wash away their sins, and obey His words, yes… He lives in their hearts.”

Bon:  “And those people are God’s Children…right?”
Me:  “Yes, we are sons and daughters of God.”
Bon:  “Like that song… ‘How Great, How Great that we believe by faith, that we can be called the Children of God’.”
Me:  “Exactly right, Bon.  And good singing.
Bon:  “Yeah!!!!  I’m so glad Jesus lives in my heart!”
Me:  “Me too, Bon.  Me, too.”

I guess kids do listen after all.