“An Outline for Prayer” January 7

 

An Outline for Prayer - Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you're not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, "Lord, teach us to pray." In our New Testament reading we'll talk about Jesus' outline for prayer and how we can use it during our devotional time. We'll also talk about our motives for praying and reading God's Word.Do you ever feel inadequate or frustrated with your prayer life? If so, you’re not alone. It appears even the disciples wanted more when they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.”

In our New Testament reading we’ll talk about Jesus’ outline for prayer and how we can use it during our devotional time. We’ll also talk about our motives for praying and reading God’s Word.

From our Old Testament reading, “How do you evaluate opportunities?,” we’ll see how not to make decisions and some ways to evaluate opportunities.

Also, today, “The Joy of Spiritual Prosperity,” “The Fear of God,” and “The Importance of Forgiveness.”

 

Today’s Readings:
Genesis 13 & 14
Psalm 4.4-8
Proverbs 2.1-5
Matthew 6.1-18

 

An Outline for Prayer

 

Matthew 6.1-18:

Motives

 

In the introduction to the “Lord’s Prayer,” Jesus addresses motives. Why do we do what we do, whether praying, fasting, giving, or reading through the Bible?

Our goal in anything should be the same as Paul’s was in 2 Corinthians 5.9.

“I make it my ambition [some translations say goal or aim] whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to the Lord.”

Paul was saying, I want to please God with my life whether through life or through death. There may be other appropriate goals, but pleasing God should be our primary goal in life.

When it comes to reading His Word, what would be pleasing to Him? Not to gather a lot of Bible knowledge so we can impress others. Not to say we did it. Not to check one more thing off our to-do list.

We are to discipline ourselves to read and study and meditate on God’s Word for the purpose of becoming more like Christ (1 Tim. 4.7) and, like Mary, so we will come to know Him better by sitting at His feet (Lk. 10.38-42).

So as we start this new year in God’s Word, let’s read more thoughtfully. Let’s take time to ask God how we should apply it to specific areas of our lives and pray for His grace to make those changes.

 

“Lord, teach us to pray”

 

Verses 5-13 contain a great outline for prayer. In the parallel passage in Luke 11, one of the disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” That request was followed by this model prayer. Rather than praying it repetitiously, try taking each phrase and expanding on it in your own words.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name” – We should let worship be the starting point. You might pray one or more of the names of God or talk to Him about His various attributes. Continue reading

“Decisions? 4 Questions to Ask” July 2

 

decisions

When you are faced with decisions, try asking yourself these four questions to help gain insight?

 

Today’s Readings:
1 Chronicles 28 & 29
Psalm 78.67-72
Proverbs 20.6-7
Psalm 78.67-72

 

Decisions? 4 Questions to ask

 

1 Chronicles 28 & 29:

Decisions, Decisions … 

Chapter 28.19, “‘All this,’ said David, ‘the LORD made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.'”

Did you notice what David said, “He made me understand in writing …” I’m an on-again off-again journaler, but I see tremendous value in keeping a spiritual journal. I’m not referring to a diary like we usually think of them and I’m not talking about a place to vent and, in effect, sin on paper. I’m talking about a place where we write out prayers, key verses or devotional thoughts and keep a record of our walk with God.

Another way to use a journal in conjunction with our devotional time is when seeking wisdom for a decision. Try writing out your questions and concerns and asking yourself four questions (these are adapted from The Heart of a Woman Who Prays: Drawing Near to the God Who Loves You by Elizabeth George):

Why would I do it?
Why would I not do it?
Why should I do it?
Why should I not do it?

The first two reveal our motives. For example, would I do it because someone else expects it or because of what people may think of me (fear of man, Prov. 29.25)? Would I not do it because of a fear of failure or a lack of trust in God?

The last two get to why God would have us do or not do something. For example, is there a commandment involved? Is God’s glory or my testimony at stake?

This can sometimes be a very helpful process, but we need to remember that something we write out, even in our quiet time, is not the same as God’s inspired Word in Scripture. It is, however, one way God can speak to our hearts and reveal His wisdom to us. Continue reading

The Jesus Code: Making Wise Decisions + LINKUP

 

The Jesus Code

Chapter 10 of The Jesus Code: 52 Scripture Questions Every Believer Should Answer, by O.S. Hawkins. For those of you just tuning in, The Jesus Code has 52 questions, one to contemplate each week. The author believes every Christian should be able to answer these important questions.

This week’s question: “How long will you falter between two opinions?” (1 Kings 18.21).

The occasion for this question was a showdown between Elijah and the One True God and 850 prophets of Baal and their Queen, Jezebel. God’s people had faltered between serving God and worshiping false gods for generations.

I wonder how tired and frustrated Elijah must have been as he asked the people, “How long … how long are you going to live like this? How long are you going to be tossed to and fro? How long will you falter between two opinions?”

Hawkins says:

The pages of Scripture are replete with challenge after challenge to make right choices in life. Moses said, “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30: 19, emphasis added). Among Joshua’s last words to his people were these: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the L ORD” (Joshua 24: 15). Luke recorded this statement Jesus made about an important choice: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other” (Luke 16: 13).

 

We are all faced with the choice between making wise decisions and foolish ones every day, in big and little ways. The courses of our lives are not so much determined by what happens to us, but by the choices we make.

Hawkins goes on in this chapter to make four important points about wise decision making:

  • Wise decision making comes from our consciences.
  • Wise decision making is not apart for reason.
  • Wise decision making involves God’s Word.
  • Wise decision making involves the heart.

Some questions we might ask ourselves are:

  • What are we doing to inform our consciences biblically?
  • Are we letting some strongly held desire override our God-given common sense?
  • Have we sought God through His Word and wise godly counselors?
  • Is our heart focused on pleasing Him?

Tf we are regularly spending time in God’s Word, informing our consciences with what He says is right and what He says is wrong … If we are submitting our desires to what pleases God and His will as revealed in His Word … If we have sought godly counsel … And if our hearts are fixed on Him, we can step out in faith and make wise decisions.

Hawkins ends this chapter with these words:

Are you reading these words, realizing you are on the fence and you just can’t bring yourself to make a decision? Choose God! He will not fail you or forsake you— He loves you and has a plan for your life. Decide to follow Him. And remember, not to decide . . . really is to decide!

 

Next week’s question is: “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19.9).

You can get a copy of The Jesus Code and follow along with these 52 vital questions. The chapters are short and can easily be read in one sitting. If you do, I’d love your feedback. Click here to get the book or here for Kindle.

Previous questions:

The question for week one was, “Has God Indeed Said …?”
Week two: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Week three: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Week four: “Who am I?”
Week five: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” (Numbers 21.5).
Week six: “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6.13).
Week seven: “Is there still anyone … That I may show him kindness?” (2 Samuel 9.1).
Week eight: “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12.9).
Week nine: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3.5).

Blessings,
Donna

 

 

 NOW IT’S TIME TO LINKUP:

linkup

 

Be sure to sign up for the “Christian Living” emails so you won’t miss upcoming posts or notifications of each week’s LINKUP.


The question for week one was, “Has God Indeed Said …?”
Week two: “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
Week three: “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?”
Week four: “Who am I?”
Week five: “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?” (Numbers 21.5).
Week six: “If the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6.13).
Week seven: “Is there still anyone … That I may show him kindness?” (2 Samuel 9.1).
Week eight: “Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord, to do evil in his sight?” (2 Samuel 12.9).
Week nine: “Ask! What shall I give you?” (1 Kings 3.5).

 

Divine Counterpart

Be sure to check out the first in my series on Genesis, “Divine Counterpart,” on Ren’s website “A Look at the Book.”

 

I sometimes LINKUP with these blogs:
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April 1 “The Word, wisdom & prayer”

Does anyone really want to be a fool? Do we want to make bad decisions? So why don’t we do the simple things we can to walk in God’s wisdom?

wisdom

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 25 & 26
Psalm 39.7-11
Proverbs 13.4-6
Luke 6.1-26

Well, we’re one fourth of the way through the Bible. If you’re reading with us, whether you’re up to date, whether you’ve fallen behind a time or two, or if you’re a newcomer, let me know? I’d love to know about your progress. And if you’ve gotten off track, just get back up and start with today!

Instead, what we do over and over is say, “I’m too far behind. I’ll start over again next year.” But next year is the same. The enemy will see to it. There are always reasons, excuses really, to give up. As the Nike slogan says, “JUST DO IT!”

I’m praying for you and hope you’re doing the same for me. I’m praying that you won’t give up and that you’ll continue getting to know Him better in the pages of Scripture.

On to His Word …

Deuteronomy 25 & 26:

Law of the kinsman redeemer

Chapter 25.5-10 covers the “Law of the Kinsman Redeemer.” If you’ve ever read or studied the book of Ruth, you see this law lived out in the marriage of Boaz & Ruth. Their beautiful story is part of the heritage and lineage of Jesus Christ. Continue reading

March 5 “Every decision … only two choices”

Life is full of choices. Little choices. Big choices. But in reality, there are only two choices …” Check out today’s reading in Proverbs to see what they are.

choices

Today’s Readings:
Numbers 7 & 8
Psalm 31.1-5
Proverbs 11.4-6
Mark 9.1-29

Numbers 7 & 8:

Confidence & access

It had been 11 1/2 months since the Exodus from Egypt. Moses had finished setting up the Tabernacle and now God begins speaking from the Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies.

But not just anyone could enter in, only the High Priest, only in the prescribed way, and only at set times.

When Christ died on the cross the curtain going into the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom, signifying the fact that He was no longer going to dwell there, but in our hearts through faith and that each believer could communicate directly with Him. Continue reading