Prayer Is Relationship!

 

In Matthew 6:19-34, Jesus teaches us some amazing truths about what it means to pray.  The Word Is simple, we just need to live it!  I am learning that the secret is about getting ourselves to the right place.  This means that the work I have to do is on me.

What Is Prayer?  Prayer at it’s most basic level is communion with God!  It’s about relationship!  If you care about someone, then you want to have a relationship with them and that relationship is made possible by investing time with one another.  Most people pray for answers, but this should really be a very small part of our prayer lives.  We need to learn to make the main thing the main thing!  Matthew 6:33 says:  “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you!”

Make God #1!  Matthew 6:19-21 says:  19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  We tend to focus on what we can do, what we can make happen, what we can manipulate.  We treat God as an add on.  God is much more than an add on!  The problem with doing it this way is that we put the burden on ourselves and then wonder why we are frustrated!

God Makes It Work!  In Matthew 6:22-23 it says:  22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!”  It is supernatural and we miss it because we get stuck in the physical.  The saying:  “It is what it is!” is right.  We don’t have to add anything and we can’t take anything away.  No matter what you are going through, then you need to know and believe that “God’s got this!”  If you are in relationship with your Creator, then all the All the devil can do is aggravate you, so don’t allow him anymore influence or power over you.

We Obsess & Stress Over The Wrong Things!  Talking to God is also talking to yourself!  Matthew 6:24 put’s it this way:
 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”  Get your heart and head right by getting into God’s presence.  Don’t allow anyone rent space in your mind.  You were made by God and God wants to change your life for the better!

Matthew 6:25-27 says:  25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?  We obsess about the wrong things!  Have you ever stopped to think that 90% of what we stress over can be taken care of simply by loving God.  You can be better off accidentally than you have ever been on purpose, if you will just love God!

Fix The How! Matthew 6:28-32 challenges us to think about it:  “28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.”   The process to a better life is simple: 1.  Start loving God.  2. Stop asking for everything.  3. Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added…

Getting Prayer Right!  We read and we need to believe Matthew 6:33-34 when it teaches:  “33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Salvation, the amazing and beautiful gift of God is about intimacy!  It’s not just so we will not perish, it’s also so that we will have everlasting life.  And everlasting life is a present tense reality!  Stop viewing eternal life as something that is coming and start seeing it as something that is here, powerful and life changing right now.  In John 17:3 Jesus describes it this way:  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom you have sent…”  To know is to be intimate!  The goal of salvation is much more than heaven and hell, it is relationship.

The Good News Is That God Is Not Mad At You!  He loves you and wants relationship.  God wants you to hear it, feel it, experience it.  We don’t need to chase the blessing, we need to love God and the blessing will catch us!  That’s right, The blessing will chase you!  All we have to do is:  Just love God! (We are not human doings, we are human beings.)  God who is love, loves to be loved!  The right approach is to love God whatever, whenever and however and the result is always the same, we will live blessed!

Habits And Perception!

Almost everyday of my life I have the blessing of working with people that are in the midst of facing some of the toughest challenges of life.  Many of the people that I work with, find themselves at a difficult place because of a series of wrong choices, bad decisions and the curveballs of life.  The help that we are blessed with providing is not about a hand-out, but a hand up.  We really want to help ourselves and others take a step up into the better life of blessing that we were all created for.

One of the things that I encounter over and over again is how our choices lead to habits and habits turn into the life that we are living.  If we want to change the life we are living, then we must work on our choices and change our habits.

Do you have a habit you want to change or get rid of?  Is there something in your life that you have lived with that is keeping you from being and doing?  You can make excuses about that thing or those things, or you can do something about them, the choice really is yours.

Someone has said:  “Never underestimate your power to change yourself, never over estimate your power to change someone else.”  The key to getting rid of bad, destructive, self defeating habits is to change our thinking.  To change our wrong or bad habits, we must get rid of excuses and commit to change.

We were created in the image of our Creator, which means that we have the attributes of a creator, which promises that we have built within us, the ability to change the way we look at things and by changing the way we look at things, actually see the things we look at change.

Perception has the ability to alter and change the things within and without.  If we can fix, discipline and grow our perception, then faith will take us to places that we could never take ourselves.  I want to challenge you to think about the life that you were created for and if this is not the life that you are living, the face it and do what you have to do.  Go now, do it and live blessed!

We Have A Mediator!

I am currently in the middle of a teaching series about prayer on Sunday mornings at Grace Place.  The Spirit has been rocking my spiritual world with some insights that have opened up whole new areas of supernatural territory.  Most people think they know what prayer is, but our limited knowledge does not even come close to scratching the surface on what prayer is really all about.  

At a very basic, but profound level:  Prayer is communion with God and is as much for our benefit as His.  One of the big problems in most of our praying is that we tend to focus on what we’ve done for God, instead of what He has done for us.  We just don’t get that God has already done it!  That’s right God knows your needs and has already taken care of it.  God is not surprised or caught off guard by anything.  And since God has always known about our need, it just makes sense that He would meet it, before we ever had it, because He is God and that is how God works.

We read in Luke 11:1-13  “It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples.” 2 And He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. 3 ‘Give us each day our daily bread. 4 ‘And forgive us our sins, For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.’”  5 Then He said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and goes to him at midnight and says to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves; 6 for a friend of mine has come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; 7 and from inside he answers and says, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been shut and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him as much as he needs.”

For years, I heard these verses taught and even taught them myself in a very wrong way.  I taught from the perspective that Jesus was telling us to keep going to God and to not stop praying until we got our response, but there was something about that philosophy that never quiet measured up to Who I believe God to be.  

These verses have been taught all wrong.  Jesus is making a contrast, not a comparison in this story.  When we teach these scriptures, we often teach from the comparison side of the equation, which is totally messed up, because it is does not take into account the character of God in all of His awesomeness.  When we view it as a contrast, then we realize that this is not instruction about how to do it, but how not to do it.  Our very wrong view has actually limited the effectiveness and power of our praying.

In this story, Jesus is saying:  If people will treat you better than this, then what about God?  If man will give in and give you what you need, then how about a loving God, Who has already given you the greatest gift of all?  Our problem, is that we often have more faith in people than we do in God and the proof is in our actions and reactions to the challenges of life.  It really is an insult for us to think of God in such a limited way!

Faith is not about moving God, it’s about moving you and me!  God has done his part!  God wants to bless and do miracles in and through our lives, because He loves us.  Some people think that God is mad at us because of our sin, but I want to share some good news with you:  God’s not ticked off and the reason that He is not ticked off, is because His Son paid the price when he came and died on the cross in our place.  When God looks at us, He does not see sin, He sees the righteousness of His son – Jesus.

We often mistakenly think that our praying is about moving God to where we need Him.  We don’t need God to move, we need to move!  You don’t move the blessing to where you are, you move yourself to where the blessing is, because God has placed the blessing exactly where it needs to be and it is in the perfect place because it has been placed there by our perfect Creator.

There Is A New And Better Way!  In our Bibles we find the Old Covenant in the Old testament and The New Covenant, which came through Jesus in the New Testament.  The Old Covenant principles can be found in Genesis 18:22-33 where it says:  “Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, while Abraham was still standing before the Lord. 23 Abraham came near and said, “Will You indeed sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will You indeed sweep it away and not spare the place for the sake of the fifty righteous who are in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous and the wicked are treated alike. Far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth deal justly?” 26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account.” 27 And Abraham replied, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord, although I am but dust and ashes. 28 Suppose the fifty righteous are lacking five, will You destroy the whole city because of five?” And He said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.” 29 He spoke to Him yet again and said, “Suppose forty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it on account of the forty.” 30 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak; suppose thirty are found there?” And He said, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.” 31 And he said, “Now behold, I have ventured to speak to the Lord; suppose twenty are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the twenty.” 32 Then he said, “Oh may the Lord not be angry, and I shall speak only this once; suppose ten are found there?” And He said, “I will not destroy it on account of the ten.” 33 As soon as He had finished speaking to Abraham the Lord departed, and Abraham returned to his place.”

In this passage, we find that God was angry and he judged sin!  Abraham was acting as a mediator and was very much needed in that role, because this was before Jesus and the New Covenant!  You will see that God wanted to show mercy, but was unable to, because of the sinfulness of man and man’s inability to do anything about his sinfulness.

But in 1 Timothy 2:1-8, we find information about a New Covenant, when it tells us: “1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time. 7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 8 Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.”

The reality has and always will be that sin has to be judged!  But the good news for you and me is that Jesus bore our sins and they have been judged! (All of them – past, present and future!)  God has made the provision, but we have to believe!  The good news is that God has forgiven you, but you have to accept it!  Sin does not send you to Hell, it’s our unwillingness to accept His gift of forgiveness that sends us to Hell!

Jesus is our mediator, who has made the way, where there was no way.  The question that we need to ask and answer is this:  “What have you done with Jesus?”