“This, Then, Is How You Should Pray”

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9  “This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10  your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
11  Give us today our daily bread.
12  And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.​   — Matt. 6:9-13 NIV

The most often used excuse (not a reason) that we hear from Christians when questioned about prayer and Bible study is “I just don’t have the time”. God foresaw this and gave us a prayer that can be spoken in less than 20 seconds. It includes 3 things that every prayer should include.  It starts with adoration and acknowledging to whom we are speaking.  God is our Father and we agree that He is holy (hallowed) and that we are waiting for Him to come back and establish His kingdom here on earth..  That is adoration and we always let Him know that we love and adore Him.  It includes confession; “forgive us our debts”,  we acknowledge that we have sinned and ask for His forgiveness.  It includes supplication or asking God to provide something for us. Our daily bread is not just physical food but it includes everything that we need to live a godly life today.  We ask for direction as we start our day. “Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”.  Twenty seconds for that prayer leaves you ten seconds to offer up thanksgiving for all that God has done for you up until this very second.

34  Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. — 1 Chronicles 16:34 NIV 

Less than 30 seconds and you have covered all the bases.

A – Adoration
C – Confession
T – Thanksgiving
S – Supplication or asking
The other 30 seconds?  Listen for that whisper!  It’s God’s turn to speak and He doesn’t need time to think about it, He already has the answer.
If you make a habit of doing this every morning, you will be surprised at how quickly you will want to pray longer and stronger.
Time spent with Jesus is never wasted.
This is a beginning.  My prayer is that it will lead you into a deeper, closer walk with God.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“And Peter”

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7 But go, tell His disciples—and Peter—that He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him, as He said to you.” — Mark 16:7 N​KJV

Peter had boasted to Jesus that he would never deny Him. He was adamant that he would stand by Jesus no matter the situation or the cost.

35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.”  And all the other disciples said the same. — Matt. 26:35 NIV  (Emphasis mine) 

We sometimes overlook the fact that they all ran away that night in the garden. Where the others went, we aren’t told, but John was with Jesus and Peter followed at a distance.  We. like Peter, often think that we are stronger in our faith than we really are. If we tell Jesus we will do this or that, He will most often give us the opportunity to do exactly that.  And, if we try to accomplish whatever “that” is in our own power, we, too, will fail.  Peter denied Christ with his actions and his words. Most of the time, we deny Chirst with our inaction and lack of words.  Whether we deny Him passively or actively, it is still denial.  When I fail to speak to someone about their eternal destiny when the Holy Spirit urges me to do so, I have denied Jesus.  And when the Spirit brings conviction, my heart is broken and I repent with remorse and bitter tears.  But the conviction is not punishment or isolation from God, it is discipline and an invitation to come back to God.  When those times come that I fail to speak out and I feel like Peter must have felt that night, I read this verse and put my name there instead of Peter’s.  I make it personal and read it ; “go tell His people –and Wally– that He is still going before us and we will see Him”.   Then I know that I am forgiven and Jesus wants to hold me and comfort me.  My tears of remorse become tears of joy!  My sadness becomes praise to the One who will never exclude me.  Such wonderful, glorious, amazing grace and love encourages me to “be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power”.  I am still on the team,  Jesus has chosen me and I want to shout “Me, too!”  He has chosen “Me, too”! 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Are You the Coming One?”

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Are you the Coming One, or should we wait for someone else? – Luke 7:20b ISV 

Luke 7:16-20 ISV

John the Baptist is the one who had announced that Jesus was the Son of God and had baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.  He saw the dove come down and heard the voice from on high saying “this is my Son in whom I am well pleased”.  Yet, sometime later, when John was in prison, he began to wonder about this man, Jesus. “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” When things are out of whack and it seems like God isn’t in control, I read these verses and I am encouraged.  After the questions, Jesus had this to say about John and us:

28 I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John; yet the one who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” — Luke 7:28 NIV

And there was Thomas who is remembered for doubting.  He was not rebuked by the Lord but was allowed to touch Him and confirm that Jesus was Jesus.  I have never been quite sure why Thomas was pointed out since all of the group had expressed doubt by their actions or lack thereof.  And what did Jesus have to say to Thomas?

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” — John 20:29 NIV

Those that had been with Jesus had doubts and Jesus reassured them with tenderness and love.  We have Jesus in the form of the Holy Spirit.  He reassures us with that same tenderness and love.  Ask, if you must, but believe that it is true. Jesus quoted the Old Testament which should remove any doubt about its authenticity.  If He accepts it as truth, we can be confident in doing the same thing.

11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. — John 14:11 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“No One On Earth Who Is Righteous”

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20  Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. — Eccel. 7:20 NIV

We all fall, but we don’t stay fallen.  I am encouraged by Paul whose claim to be the “chief of sinners” could be contested by some of us in today’s society. He clearly knew who he was, Whose he was and where he was on his journey. He lets us know that he is not there yet, but he is on his way and he is determined to arrive there.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. — Phil. 3:12-14 NIV


”Forgetting what is behind” is the example Paul sets for us. That is a hard thing for humans to do.  But, if we don’t practice that, then satan will use those memories of our failures to condemn us and make us feel unworthy to approach God and ask for His forgiveness.  If we allow this to continue, we will soon become beaten down with guilt.  Condemnation is from the devil, conviction is from the Holy Spirit.  Rebuke satan and his condemnation.  Accept the conviction of the Holy Spirit and ask for His forgiveness.  Accept that forgiveness and “press on toward the goal to win the prize”.

8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1:8-10 NIV

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“There Will Your Heart Be Also”

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21 because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt. 6:21 ISV

Matt. 6:19-21 ISV


We spend the majority of our time working to make money and another good portion of our time figuring out how we are going to spend that money. Plans, goals and budgets are good things. Our goal is to make it to heaven, but Jesus understood that it takes money to make the trip.  After all, Judas was the “treasurer” for Jesus and His disciples. But Jesus also told the rich young ruler to sell all that He had and give it to the poor.  So, the question is how much is enough and how much is too much.  The writer of Proverbs put it this way:

8 Keep deception and lies far away from me, and give me neither poverty nor wealth. Feed me with food that I need for today, 9 so that I don’t become overfed and deny you by saying, ​ “Who is the Lord?” or so that I don’t become poor and steal,​ and then misuse the name of my God.— Proverbs 30:​8-9 ​ISV

Jesus taught us to pray “give me this day my daily bread”.  When God sent manna from heaven, He instructed the Israelites to collect only enough for each day (except for the day before the Sabbath when they collected enough for two days). If they collected more, it rotted and was of no use.  How much is enough is a question each of us should ask the Lord.  We just need to remember who we are serving and be sure we allow Him to be Lord of our lives.  Then, when the bank account is overflowing, it won’t be too much and when it is empty, it won’t be too little.  He has promised to provide and if we are obedient, He will do just that.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Clothe Yourself With the New”

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24 and to clothe yourselves with the new nature, which was created according to God’s image in righteousness and true holiness. – Eph. 4:23 ISV

Eph. 4:21-24 ISV

Jesus laid aside His glory, came to earth and clothed Himself in flesh for one purpose.  That purpose was to redeem the earth and its inhabitants from their fallen state. He lived a life here to set an example of how we should live. He died and rose again to fulfill His purpose of redeeming us.  We remain in the flesh, but we now have the opportunity to be clothed in His righteousness.

10  I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God.  For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. — Isaiah 61:10 NIV

Think of the time the couple spends together getting to know each other and planning their wedding. Think of the hours, effort and money that earthly brides spend in preparation for their wedding.  Consider the excitement of the wedding party, the family, friends and acquaintances as the big day approaches. Then compare that to how much time we spend in preparing ourselves spiritually to meet our Bridegroom. Not only has our Bridegroom paid for the wedding, He has furnished us with the wedding clothes, prepared the wedding feast and has the home all ready to move into. That kind of love should behoove us to spend time every day getting dressed for the wedding. Spend some time each day with the Groom, get to know Him and put on the wedding garments He has given to each of us. You can’t wear them out, they will always be clean and ready.

Are You Dressed for the Wedding?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“All People Everywhere”

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29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill.30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. — Acts 17:29​-30​ NIV

When we read scriptures about idol worship, we tend to think of those that worship statues or symbols of dead men or useless religions.  While we may not have an image of the dollar setting on the mantle of the fireplace, we can still be worshiping all the things that money can buy.  While we may not have statues of anyone in our homes or churches, we can still hold others in higher esteem than we hold Jesus. If someone asks you to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or violates your beliefs and you go ahead and do it, you have placed that person above Jesus. Our work here is to do the will of the Father, not the will of those around us.

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.– John 6:38 NIV

We are not in a popularity contest.  Our goal should be to please our Father.  If we do that, He will take care of us. If we are obedient and seek Jesus and His righteousness, He will handle all of the issues that satan puts in our way.

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. — Matt. 6:33 NIV

“All these things” is everything that we need to live a Godly lifestyle. Everything means everything.  Don’t stress out. Repent, Relax, Remember, Repeat.

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Always Be Prepared”

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15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16  keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. — 1 Peter 3:1​5-16 NIV

In the Old and New Testament, the word “heart” refers not to the physical organ, but to the center of all of our life processes.  The “heart” is the seat of our minds, emotions, and wills. Therefore, it refers to our thought patterns, our attitudes and our desires. Our thoughts become actions which become habits which become our lifestyle. The things and/or people that we spend the most time thinking about, in reality, are the things that control our lives.  This is characterized by the following verse:

45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. — Luke 6:45 NIV

Revere can be defined as “honor, look up to, or  put on a pedestal”.  A throne is a pedestal and our “hearts” are the center of our lives.  So, if we revere God, we honor Him by putting Him on the throne of our hearts and make Him the center of our lives.  Our decisions and thus, our lifestyles, will be examples of the Person we love and admire the most.  We will want others to follow our Leader.  In light of all this, we need to spend the majority of our time thinking about our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  If we do this, we will “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  We need to do this with love, gentleness and respect.  Just as our checkbooks show the patterns of our physical lifestyles, so our conversations show the patterns of our thought life and our spiritual lives. It is a law unto itself: 

5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. — Romans 8:5 NIV

So, let us, along with the Psalmist, ask God to create a clean heart in each of us. We need clean hearts if we are going to fulfill the sole purpose for which we were created and that is to glorify God.

31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. — 1 Cor. 10:31 NKJV


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“Must Keep His Tongue From Evil”

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​1​0“For the person who wants to love life    and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.  ​- 1 Peter 3:10 ISV

1 Peter 3:10-12 ISV

Somehow, somewhere, it seems that we have gotten the idea that it is not necessary for us to be careful of the words we speak and the tone of voice we use when we speak those words.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  When I become frustrated and/or angry, I hear myself speaking unkind words in a tone that I should not be using.  I am always convicted of the words and the attitude that caused me to speak those careless words.  Not always immediately, but the Holy Spirit does not leave me alone until I agree with Him and confess my sin. I am so grateful that God loves me enough to discipline me, no matter how long it takes. The passage of scripture quoted here in 1 Peter (originally from Psalm 34:12-16) reminds me that as a Christian, I should not be guilty of speaking words in that tone of voice.  If I truly “love life” and want to “see good days”, I must “keep my tongue from evil and my lips from deceitful speech”.  I must “seek peace and pursue it”, then God’s eyes will be on me and He will hear my prayers.  If I continue to rebel against God with unkind words and a bad attitude,  I have no basis to expect Him to do anything for me. God seems to be teaching me a lesson that “bad things happen to good people” sometimes because He disciplines His children.  The obverse of this is that He doesn’t discipline those that are not His children, but they will receive the full brunt of His wrath in the fullness of time.  Our part, then, is to remain obedient and faithful and He will do His part. As the Psalmist puts it:

8  Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.  9  For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land.  10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found.  11  But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. — Psalm 37:8-11 NIV

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

“The Pain of Unjust Suffering”

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19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. — 1 Peter 2:19-21 NIV

As we look back and honestly assess the hard times in our lives, we can attribute most of them to bad decisions that we have made.  Those decisions may have involved unkind words that we spoke causing ill feelings and anger between us and others.  The decisions may have been based on our fleshly desires and caused us to commit acts that we should not have committed.  The decisions could have been bad financial decisions we made because we did not want to wait until we were able to afford certain things.  We get no credit or praise for enduring those times that were brought on by our own wrongdoing.  I cannot recall one time in my life when I had to suffer because of a good deed that I had done.  I read the horror stories of our brothers and sisters being abused and persecuted for the good deeds they have done and are doing and I pray for them.  Those events seem so far away and foreign to me.  And I wonder what my reaction to that kind of treatment would be.  Would I stay faithful to God and endure the pain?  We are called to and warned to be ready for such acts.  We have the examples of those in the Bible and in our daily news of those who do endure.  They are the ones who make up the “cloud of witnesses” that surround us.  I shed tears of grief as I listen to their stories and I feel so small and unworthy knowing that the tears they are shedding as they tell their stories are tears of joy, the joy of sharing in suffering with our Savior.

 “The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous