Monday, August 31, 2015



Matthew 7:13-14 "You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way.  (14)  But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

The apostle John records Jesus giving us some clarity on this way. John 14:6 Jesus told him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through Me.

There are many selfish, self-centered, egotistical, and yes even seemingly religious ways to wind up in hell. There is only one gate into God’s Kingdom and that gate is Jesus. Claiming that is why people call us, “narrow minded.” My response to that is, “Yes I am, because Jesus said the way is narrow and that He is that way.”

The narrow road is difficult because we must repent of our own ideas about salvation and true religion and accept what God says about them. In choosing to accept the finished work of Jesus on Calvary we reject our own righteousness and our ability to save ourselves.

The narrow road is also difficult because the world says, “There are many ways to God. And only the worst of sinners will go to hell… if any.” To refute this makes us a target for the world’s disdain. We will be persecuted. Jesus promised we would have trouble in the world, but He also said to be of good cheer because He overcame the world.

Father in heaven, thank You for the way You’ve provided in Jesus Christ. May that message go forth today in the power of Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2015



Matthew 7:12 "Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.

If you ever wanted a guide to help you get day to day life right, this is it. Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. Treat others the way you wish to be treated. You want to be forgiven, forgive. You don’t wish to be cheated, don’t cheat others. You want mercy when you sin or make a mistake, show mercy to others. The list goes on and on.

Father in heaven, this is such a simple truth and yet we scrape and claw and fight to have more and to be ahead of the next guy. Forgive us and fill us with Your Holy Spirit power to love others, to treat others as we would be treated. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015



Matthew 7:7-11 "Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  (8)  For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.  (9)  "You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead?  (10)  Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not!  (11)  So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask Him.

Just as we are not to get tired of doing good things (Galatians 6:9), we are not to get tired of praying. As in all of this Sermon on the Mount, Jesus again deals with a matter of the heart. Jesus came in part to show us the true nature of our Heavenly Father. Our perception of Him is often one of a cruel task master glaring over the ramparts of heaven, just waiting for one of us to step out of line so He can smite us. But the picture that Jesus gives here is that of a loving Father who delights in blessing His children with “good gifts.”

The danger here is that we might see Him as some kindly old gentleman who turns a blind eye to the mischievousness of his grandchildren. No. Our Father is Holy and deserves our respect and worship and when we approach Him with the right attitude and with the knowledge of His love we can approach Him with boldness and without fear. Hebrews 4:16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive His mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
1 John 4:18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

Father in heaven, Thank You that we can boldly approach You without fear, because You do love us. Thank You we can bring every need, desire, request to You, knowing that You hear and that You will answer with the best answer. Today I pray especially for Your children who still walk about afraid You are set upon punishing them. Open their eyes to see Your love. Give all of us undivided hearts that respect You, worship You and truly understand the depth, length and width of Your love. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015



Matthew 7:6 "Don't waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don't throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.

This verse may seem harsh, especially in light of what has just been said about judging. The Greek word for the phrase, “people who are unholy,” is literally the word, “dogs.” Both dogs and pigs are unclean animals in Jewish dietary laws. Here they represent attitudes of contempt and rejection of truth.

Even though we are not to judge a person’s character or motives we still have the responsibility to warn the lost, and to correct our brothers and sisters who are walking in sin. Before we do this we are to search our own hearts and confess our own faults. Once this is done we can speak from a pure heart that desires the salvation of the lost and the reconciliation of our siblings in Christ. But what if they refuse to hear, or choose to mock us or worse? Hear what Christ told the disciples when He sent them out two by two. Mark 6:11 But if any place refuses to welcome you or listen to you, shake its dust from your feet as you leave to show that you have abandoned those people to their fate."

Arguing with those who refuse to hear is like giving precious stones to pigs or giving something holy to a dog. In recent days I’ve seen several pictures of dogs who have all matter of destruction around them because it is in their nature to chew. One such picture shows a large dog with an innocent look on its face.  Behind the dog is a door, or at least what is left of a door hanging from one hinge. The entire bottom half of the door is shredded all over the room. The caption underneath says, “There was a spider. It’s dead now. You’re welcome.”

We can look at a situation like that above and chuckle at the humor, but it is serious business to save a soul from hell or turn a brother from some destructive behavior. If he mocks the holy message or disdains the truth we have no other recourse. Arguing will only aggravate the hearer and probably anger us. In our anger or frustration we will find ourselves sinning. I once heard a preacher say, “Don’t try to bathe a pig. It wastes your time, aggravates the pig and you will both just wind up covered in mud.”

So, don’t climb into the slop with them. No, instead knock the dust from your feet as a witness against them and walk away. Let God be their judge. You go onto the next person who will hear.

Father in heaven, grant us clarity of thought and wisdom when we must correct a brother and when we share the Gospel. May our lives preach loudest and may our words be shared with love and truth. Send Your Holy Spirit ahead of us to prepare the lost to hear, repent and be saved. Soften our own hearts to receive rebuke when we need it. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, August 24, 2015

20150824 JUDGING


Matthew 7:1-5 "Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.  (2)  For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.  (3)  "And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own?  (4)  How can you think of saying to your friend, 'Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye?  (5)  Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.

Don’t misunderstand this passage. Many try to use it to justify their own wickedness. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Don't you realize that someday we believers will judge the world? And since you are going to judge the world, can't you decide even these little things among yourselves?  (3)  Don't you realize that we will judge angels? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disputes in this life.

I believe what Jesus is making clear here is that we are not to judge motive or character. What we can judge is what is right and what is wrong based on the truth of God’s Word. However, before we attempt even that we must search our own life to see where we stand in accordance to God’s Word. We are to get our own heart and life right before we try to help someone else get right. That is not to say that we cannot tell the good news until we get our lives perfect. If that were the case we would never share our faith.

When we do judge a person’s character or motives we attempt to sit on God’s throne, a place none of us belong. What is the difference in judging an action and judging a person’s character? We can say, “That was a lie, it is wrong to lie.” What we cannot say with any certainty is, “Because you told a lie you are nothing but a liar.” From a purely technical point of view, yes a person who lies is a liar, a person who murders someone is a murderer, but we are not being purely technical here. We do not know the motive of the individual. Only God knows that and therefore, only He can judge the person’s character. We can only judge the action. When we choose to judge them further than that we set ourselves up to be judged with the same measure we use.

The same standard… I believe this is why alcoholics beget alcoholics and why abusers beget abusers and why drug addicts beget drug addicts. When a child grows up in an abusive home and judges her parents she sets herself up to become the very thing for which she judged them.

What can you do to set yourself free from past situations where you have judged another?

1.  Confess the sin of judging to God. Ask His forgiveness.
2.  Forgive the person you judged for whatever they did that caused you to pass judgment in the first place.
3.  Ask God to call back any judgments you made against another.
4.  Ask God to bless the people you have judged. (Or in the case of his or her death to bless the memory of them.)

Father in heaven, search our hearts. Show us those we have judged and help us to deal with this sin of taking over Your throne. Give us grace to forgive and to even bless those who have hurt us. Remove from our lives the devastating effects of having committed this sin. Thank You for Your faithful forgiveness and love. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, August 21, 2015

20150821 WORRY


Matthew 6:25-34 "That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn't life more than food, and your body more than clothing?  (26)  Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?  (27)  Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?  (28)  "And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don't work or make their clothing, (29) yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.  (30)  And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, He will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?  (31)  "So don't worry about these things, saying, 'What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?'  (32)  These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.  (33)  Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need.  (34)  "So don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today's trouble is enough for today.

Worry is the opposite of faith and when we worry we show that we do not know how much our Heavenly Father loves us. 1 John 4:18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced His perfect love.

Romans 14:17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Life is so much more than the sum of our daily necessities. Science teaches us that worry does quite the opposite of adding to our lives. It shortens our lives. Worry causes us to lose sleep, drives up our blood pressure, causes strokes and heart disease. This is only the beginning of the physical problems it causes. Now, some of you reading this will begin to worry that worrying is going to kill you. Don’t do that. Stop right now and take a deep breath.

Your Heavenly Father already knows what you need. Change your focus. Think differently. Seek His Kingdom and His righteousness. In other words make your aim in life to live a Kingdom life right now. In this Sermon on the Mount we’ve been studying, Jesus is telling us how to live the Kingdom life and how to live in righteousness. So today, when you start worrying about the next bill that is due, stop, take a breath and start looking for ways to live the Kingdom life. Yes, you may ask God to meet that need. Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread. Then give thanks for what you have and begin looking for ways to bless others.

Father in Heaven, Thank You for the blessings of Your Word. Thank You for Your provision in our lives this day. Remind us how much You love us. Do not let us forget and help us as we walk out the Kingdom life today. May we be found faithful in trusting You, loving You and loving others. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

20150820 MAMMON


Matthew 6:24 "No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Mammon in the KJV).

I mentioned the word, “mammon” a couple days ago and want to repeat Matthew Henry’s definition here. Mammon is a Syriac word that signifies gain; so that whatever in this world is, or is accounted by us to be, gain, is mammon.

The NLT translates mammon as money, but not all people desire money as much as other things and any desire that competes with God for our attention is mammon. You cannot serve two masters unless they are both in full agreement. The masters of this world are not in agreement with the Master of all.

Again we must go back to repentance which is to agree with God. With that in mind, God believes He knows what is best for us, and His first commandment is that we would have no other gods but Him. So it is our duty of love to Him to agree that He does know best and put Him first above all other things. It is to make Him our only god.

Some would say, “I have no desire to be rich. I just don’t want to have to worry about having enough.” What that really means is, “I want to see that my cupboards are full. I want my refrigerator to be full. I don’t want to have to wait on God to come through tomorrow. I want to know way in advance what tomorrow holds. I don’t want to have trust God.” Ouch!

There is a story about George Mueller at one of the orphanages he started. One morning when the children gathered for breakfast there was no food and no milk in the home. George had the children bow their heads and he gave thanks for the food that God was going to provide that day. He gave thanks in faith that what he hoped for would actually happen (Hebrews 11:1).

As George said, “AMEN” there was a knock on the door. Two deliveries arrived within minutes of each other. One was a milk wagon that had broken down right outside the orphanage. The other was from a bakery that had an over-abundance of bread that morning.

Father in heaven, fill us with faith to trust You. Show us if there are any other desires in our hearts that we bow to as gods. Cleanse us of this sin and focus our eyes on You. Give us undivided hearts that worship You. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015



Matthew 6:22-23 "Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.  (23)  But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

There is much said about spiritual blindness and sight in the scriptures. Let us look at these two verses in light of what Jesus has said thus far in this chapter.

A good eye looks to give as quietly as possible because someone has a need. It looks to pray secretly because it sees its own need for the Father daily and the same need for its siblings. It looks to forgive quickly because it sees that it has been forgiven. It looks to fast quietly because it knows how much it needs the Father. And that eye is wide open and the light of God shines into the body through that eye and to it God gives His reward in His time.

A bad eye looks to be admired and to receive the praise of men. It gives with much fanfare when others are watching. It prays in public with many words and much false humility for the sake of those listening. It watches through a squinted eyelid for others to get the retribution coming to them and even looks in a conniving and secret manner for ways to bring it about. It fasts with a long, sorrowful face groaning about its sacrifice for
“the sake of God.” All the while its lids are barely slit so it can keep a watch on who is recognizing and adoring him as some great, sacrificing guru of the faith. That eye thinks it is letting in light, but it is only darkness that enters, a very loathsome dank darkness. The only reward it will see is the praises of those caught up in man worship. In the end those rewards will be as empty as the darkness that fills its heart.

The good eye is always looking to the Father and seeking Him and His Kingdom. The bad eye is always looking out for itself.

Father in heaven, be our eye doctor today. Search the motive of all we do and cleanse it, make it pure and holy. Wash all impure motives from our eyes and hearts. Do laser surgery if necessary, but give us eyes that are holy and wholly given over to You and Your purposes and then our lives will be filled with Your light for Your glory. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015



Matthew 6:19-21 "Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  (20)  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  (21)  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

In verse 24 we will look at the word, “Mammon.” “Mammon is a Syriac word, that signifies gain; so that whatever in this world is, or is accounted by us to be, gain (Phi_3:7), is mammon.” –Matthew Henry

The rest of this chapter begs the question, “What do I treasure? What do I consider to be true wealth?” I ask you to take a moment to ask your Heavenly Father to search your heart and give you an answer to that question right now. Please don’t rush through this today. Take some time now or put it on your calendar to do so sometime today.

Jesus points out the temporal state of all earthly treasures. They all fade away or are taken away over time. And they are not all physical, tangible things. In the earlier verses we find those who give, pray and fast for the treasure of the praise of men. Fame is a god for which we have written books, produced television shows and concocted competitions. People give all they have and put themselves through grueling practice and trials to gain a title. Others lose family, friends and health to climb the corporate ladder.

Treasure gained for self-importance, self-indulgence is treasure stored here on earth. It cannot break through to heaven’s shores. It is bound to this planet and chained to its fiery destruction.

Treasure gained for God’s glory and for the aid of others and dispersed in secret is everlasting treasure stored in heavenly lockers. Its full weight and worth will not be known until our works are judged by fire. 1 Corinthians 3:12-15  Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  (13)  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person's work has any value.  (14)  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  (15)  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

So, what are the desires of your heart? What do you want more than anything else? That is the answer to what you treasure. If the answer still eludes you, take a look at your expenditures and your calendar. What do you spend your money on and what do you spend your time on?

Father in heaven, search our hearts. See if there is any wicked way in us. Show us what we truly treasure and give us hearts willing to change. Put the right desires, Your desires in our hearts for Your glory and for the advancement of Your Kingdom. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

20150817 WHEN YOU FAST


Matthew 6:16-18  "And when you fast, don't make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get.  (17)  But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.  (18)  Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

Thayer Definition:
1) to abstain as a religious exercise from food and drink: either entirely, if the fast lasted but a single day, or from customary and choice nourishment, if it continued several days

Again we see the word, “when” instead of “if,” meaning God intends for us to fast. He also intends it to be done with the right attitude and for the right reasons. A detailed study of the subject, which I won’t go into here, seems to suggest that fasting makes the following statement; “God, I want You more than I want the food it takes to sustain my life. I need Your answers above my own reasoning.” Throughout the scripture people fasted for various reasons. David fasted hoping God would spare the life of Bathsheba’s first child. Esther and her friends fasted when she prepared to go in and approach the king to try to save her people. Jesus fasted before beginning His earthly ministry. There are many other examples for us throughout God’s Word.

The point that Jesus is making here is that we are to fast and we are to do it secretly. We are not to boast about it, nor make a show by refusing to bathe or by wearing a long mournful face. Nor are we to sit around the dinner table groaning as someone else takes each bite. While fasting it is a great idea to take meal times and pray. Use that time you normally use eating to spend time with your Heavenly Father.

It is interesting to note the word, “reward” is used twice in these three verses. Jesus puts emphasis on a reward for giving alms, praying and fasting. When these things are done for His glory as quietly and privately as possible the Father will reward you. When these things are done so that others will see and admire you that brief admiration is all you get.

Father in heaven, Thank You that You want to bless us with rewards. You have already given us so much in Jesus Christ. May our giving, our praying and our fasting be done in love for You, not out of fear of You, for Your love cast out our fear. In Jesus Holy Name, AMEN!!!

Friday, August 14, 2015



Matthew 6:13 And don't let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one. [For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.]

Note: The words that are gray up above are in some manuscripts, but not in others. The NLT and other translations point this out. Since I’m using the NLT with permission I left the words as they have them.

Here Jesus teaches us to pray for protection, for rescuing from sin and the evil one. [1st Attitude] When temptation comes do you immediately look to your Heavenly Father for assistance? Do you ask Him to help you make the right choice? [2nd Attitude] Or do you start weighing the consequences if you give in? Do you look around to see if anyone is watching? Can you get away with this sin and not get caught?

I’ve heard it said that the strength of one’s character can be measured by what he does when no one is watching. But, God is always watching. He does not sleep, nor does He slumber.

The 2nd Attitude above shows a heart that has not fully agreed with the Heavenly Father about sin and therefore has not fully repented. Sin is what got Adam and Eve kicked out of the Garden of Eden. Sin is what separated us from the Father. Sin is what made us in need of a Savior. Sin is what would send us to a devil’s hell. Sin, our sin is what Jesus took upon himself on the cross of Calvary. He died to pay the penalty for our sin, and to set us free from the law of sin and death. He gave us victory over sin, Satan and death. He didn’t do all this for us to continue to walk in sin. His desire is that we would be a light to the rest of the people in the world who don’t yet know Him.

“Why so hard on sin, preacher?” Because sin will always take you farther than you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay and keep you longer than you want to stay. That is not just some cute saying that preachers spout to get more “AMENS”. I have seen the devastation in the eyes of spouses who’ve been cheated on. I have heard the desperation and unbelief in the voices of children who grew up being abused. I have sat in a locked room on the other side of a table from a prisoner caught with drugs, or caught driving under the influence. I’ve watched them weep over the lost opportunities with their children and spouses. I’ve sat with the family members of one who paid the ultimate price for his or her sin and wondered, “Where do I find strength and hope to offer this family?”

Jesus wasn’t just looking for something else to add to a short prayer. He knows the hearts of men. He saw the struggles we deal with. He was tempted in every way like we are and yet He did not sin. In the garden of Gethsemane He told Peter to pray so that he wouldn’t give into temptation. See Matthew 26:41.

James tells us, James 4:7 So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

He doesn’t suggest we have a conversation with the tempter. No, the instructions are to 1) humble ourselves before God and 2) resist the devil. The result is that Satan will flee. It is imperative that we are humble before God and that means that we agree with Him fully. We agree that He is right about sin and therefore we look to Him for help in defeating it in our lives daily, moment by moment. Then we will not be looking around for a way to sin and not get caught. We will quickly say, “NO” to sin and the devil.

Someone put it like this, “When Satan comes knocking ask Jesus to answer the door.”

Heavenly Father, don’t let us yield to temptation and please deliver us from the evil one. Thank You for the promises in Your Word that You will indeed help us and that the evil one will indeed flee. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2015



Matthew 6:12, 14-15 and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
(14)  "If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.  (15)  But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

I have included verses 14-15 with verse 12 for continuity sake. Lord willing, tomorrow we will look at verse 13.

Out of all of the model prayer verse 12 is the only part that Jesus comments on. That must mean that this is very important, so pay attention. This isn’t the only place that Jesus brings up this topic. In Matthew 18:22-35 Jesus shares the story of a man who was forgiven a great debt. He in turn refused to forgive another man for a much lesser debt. In the end He is sent away to pay his original debt. I urge you to read the passage by clicking the above link.

The point is clear. We are expected to forgive others as God has forgiven us. If we have truly repented, that is, changed our minds to agree with God in all things then we must forgive. Ephesians 4:32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Let’s take the idea of agreeing with God a bit further. God sees all sin as horrible. We have a tendency to see the sin of others as worse than ours. But look at James 2:10  “For the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God's laws.” So God sees all of us in the same way. No one is better than anyone else. All have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Rom 3:23 my paraphrase). Imagine we all, one by one, must jump across a bottomless pit to reach God. The closest distance is 30 feet and we are only allowed to use our bodies, no machines. The world record for the long jump is presently held by Mike Powell at 29 feet 4 ½ inches set in 1991. Most of us might be able to jump a few feet and some of us would do well to get to the edge and fall over, but all would still fall short. The point is this. God demands perfection and deserves perfection, but none of us are capable of it on our own.

When we refuse to forgive someone we look at them and judge them worse than ourselves and unworthy of God’s forgiveness. God sees us all the same and He wants us to see each other the way He sees us, in need of a Savior and “savable” by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Father in heaven, let us see each person as You see them through Your eyes of love and forgiveness. Give us Your grace to deal with all our past hurts in loving and forgiving ways. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

20150812 ENOUGH


Matthew 6:11 Give us today the food we need,

I never quote this part without hearing the words of Agur. Proverbs 30:7-9 O God, I beg two favors from You; let me have them before I die.  (8)  First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.  (9)  For if I grow rich, I may deny You and say, "Who is the LORD?" And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God's holy name.

This part of the model prayer says, “Give us enough.” It is important to note that Jesus taught the disciples to pray for “us” not “me.” The prayer starts with the plural pronoun, “Our” and here we are praying for “us” to have enough. Un-selfish prayers are prayers that include the welfare of all. This reminds me that we are our brother’s and our sister’s keeper. We should be concerned about whether or not they have enough as well.

Enough… Enough to meet the needs of the day. The Greek word used here could actually be translated, “tomorrow.” Even if that is the case the prayer is for the immediate day or so, not for weeks and months ahead. This keeps us coming back to our Father each day. It also keeps us from joining the foolishness of the rich man with too many crops… Luke 12:17-19 He said to himself, 'What should I do? I don't have room for all my crops.'  (18)  Then he said, 'I know! I'll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I'll have room enough to store all my wheat and other goods.  (19)  And I'll sit back and say to myself, "My friend, you have enough stored away for years to come. Now take it easy! Eat, drink, and be merry!"'

That man’s end was miserable and swift. He died that very night. How much better, when we are blessed with abundance, to ask, “Father, what am I to do with this blessing? Who needs it? Who shall I bless in Your Holy Name?” Oh, the rich man asked some questions, but he asked them of himself. As believers we are to walk in the Spirit with our Heavenly Father. Carry on conversation with Him. Ask direction of Him.

Father in Heaven, today give us what we need, and perhaps more to share if You would trust us to be conduits of Your blessing. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

A SHAMELESS PLUG: For some time Fairview Baptist Church in Kokomo has been giving support to Our Father’s Home orphanage in Lahore, Pakistan. Presently they have 36 children they care for. It cost $400 a month to feed the children. Our goal is to be able to feed the children every month for the coming year. That would be a total of $4800. On September 26 at 5 PM our Cowboy Church Band will be hosting a Special Request and Open Mic Night. We will be receiving offerings that night and it will all go to Our Father’s Home Orphanage. If you would like to donate, but are unable to attend you may give through our donation button at the bottom of the church web page found here. When donating this way be sure to click the special instructions to the church link which will show up right before you okay the donation. From that link you can let us know that your donation is for the orphanage children. God bless and keep you. --Steve

Tuesday, August 11, 2015



Matthew 6:10 May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.

Jesus has already begun to preach, "Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near." (Mat 4:17) And in Matthew 12:28 He says, “But if I am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you.” In other places Jesus says that the Kingdom is “near” or “already among you.” I won’t take time to go into all of this here, but I believe that Jesus clearly showed that the Kingdom is indeed here and is indeed active. However, not everyone sees it. It is not fully established as it will be one day. Therefore, our prayer is, “Fully establish Your Kingdom here on earth as it is in Heaven.” When His will is done His Kingdom is being established.

This brings us to the part of this verse that we should pray more fervently, “May Your will be done.” God whose ways are far above our ways and whose thoughts are far above our thoughts (Isa 55:9) desires that we would seek His will over our own.

Life is full of trouble. Jesus even promised it would be (John 16:33) but He also promised He had overcome and would be with us. Much of our prayers are for God to get us out of the trials of life when they should be for God’s purposes to be fulfilled in them. Now, I cannot pretend to fully understand, nor interpret God’s purpose in any given trial, but I know He desires that we would be like Christ (Rom 8:29). I know that sometimes He will use us to help others be like Christ (Gal 4:19). And I know that He is not willing that any should perish (2Pet 3:9).

So, knowing these things let us be found faithful in our prayers, crying out to God for His Kingdom to be fully established and for His will to be done even through our suffering, in our suffering and, when it is His will, through sufferings removal. Our brothers and sisters who are imprisoned for the faith often ask us to pray; 1. Not for our release 2. For the salvation of our captors and fellow prisoners 3. For God’s will to be done through our suffering. 4. And that our faith will not fail. It seems they get that God has a purpose in their suffering that goes beyond just setting them free from it.

Father in heaven, fully establish Your Kingdom in my heart, in our hearts and lives and upon this planet. May Your will be done today for Your glory. As John Ortberg says, “Father, bring up there down here.” In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Monday, August 10, 2015



Matthew 6:9 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may Your name be kept holy.

As I said in our last writing, God wants us to pray according to His will. Jesus gave us the Model Prayer, or what some call The Lord’s Prayer. Many people can quote this portion of scripture and do so often without giving much thought to what is being said. When we do that we babble as mentioned in verse 7. So, it is worth our time to take this passage verse by verse.

The prayer begins by naming who we are praying to, “Our Father in heaven,” our Creator who reigns and rules from the highest heavens.

The first thing Jesus told us to pray is for our Father’s name to be kept holy. Most of us would not consider using any of God’s names in vain, or in a swearing manner. We may even speak up if we hear someone else use His name like this. But, do we keep His name holy (to separate from profane things -THAYER)? This, like the other teachings here begin in our hearts and therefore, I quote again Psalms 19:14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Is there, toward God, any awe in you when you pray? When you worship? When you wake up each day? Are you driven to moments of gratefulness and praise because you recognize God’s handiwork? Psalms 8:3-4  When I look at the night sky and see the work of Your fingers—the moon and the stars You set in place— (4)  what are mere mortals that You should think about them, human beings that You should care for them?

Do you remember throughout your day that the Holy Spirit is with you and in you at all times? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, (20) for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” That means what you say, what you do, what you think should all honor God by keeping His name holy.

So when we pray, “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy,” we are asking for us, all of us to do just that, keep His name holy.

A thought to ponder… If it were against the law to be a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? Is His name holy in your thoughts, words, deeds?

Father in heaven, make this true in our lives, our thoughts, words and actions. Be glorified in us and through us. In Jesus name, AMEN!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

20150807 WHEN YOU PRAY


Matthew 6:7-8 "When you pray, don't babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again.  (8)  Don't be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!

When you give, when you pray- It is assumed that the followers of Jesus Christ will indeed give and pray.

Prayer should be as natural to us as breathing. It is conversation with our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. I appreciate how The Message paraphrases these verses. Matthew 6:7-8 "The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They're full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God.  (8)  Don't fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need.

Although there are biblical ways to pray, just saying the same thing over and over does not guarantee the answer you are seeking. That is not to say we should not continue asking for something. We will talk more about this later in this chapter.

Have you ever heard a child ask for something repeatedly without taking a breath? For instance, “Daddy, can I have a drink? Can I have a drink? Can I have a drink? Can I have a drink? Can I have a drink? Can I have a drink?” (No, that was not another computer glitch.) And, while the child is doing this daddy is engrossed in a conversation on the phone. That child will eventually get a drink, but it will probably follow a lecture on interrupting and maybe a time out.

When we repeatedly pray selfish prayers we are just like that child who is clueless about respect and about how much his daddy loves him. That dad wants to bless his child and meet his needs. It is not necessary for the child to ask rudely nor with such urgency. As the child grows up he learns that he can have a conversation with his dad and share thoughts and ideas.

It’s the same for us. Our heavenly Father loves us. He knows what we need long before we ask. He wants us to pray according to His will. To do this we need to know His desires and pray accordingly. Lord willing, we will begin looking at “The Model Prayer” next.

Father in heaven, grant us a desire to pray, to talk to You and to listen to You. And as the disciples asked Jesus, teach us to talk to You with clear understanding of Your love for us, and with faith in Your provision. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015



Matthew 6:1-6 "Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.  (2)  When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.  (3)  But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.  (4)  Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.  (5)  "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get.  (6)  But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

We discussed this somewhat when we looked at 5:16. It’s important to note that we are dealing with two different Greek words here. In 5:16 the word is ἔργον- ergon and expresses the idea of work, as in doing a really good job at what you do. The word here in chapter 6 is ἐλεημοσύνη- eleēmosunē and is translated better as “alms” or deeds done, or gifts given to the poor.

As is the case with most of this message from the mount, Jesus is again dealing with matters of the heart. The question we are to put to ourselves is, “Why am I giving? Why am I praying?” If the answer is, “To impress those watching,” then our heart is not right. Because our hearts so often deceive us it is best to do these things secretly. Then we can look forward to the Father’s blessing and reward.

This is not to say we should be legalistic about this and refuse to give because someone is watching or might see. Nor, that we should refuse to pray aloud when called upon in public worship. Again we must walk in the Spirit and pray for God to lead even our motives to be holy. Psalms 19:14  May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

Father in heaven, thank you for the ability to bless others. May we be found faithful in our giving and our praying and may these acts of love be out of pure hearts. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!



Matthew 5:43-48 "You have heard the law that says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy.  (44)  But I say, love your enemies! [Bless those who curse you. Do good to those who hate you.] Pray for those who persecute you!  (45)  In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For He gives His sunlight to both the evil and the good, and He sends rain on the just and the unjust alike.  (46)  If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much.  (47)  If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that.  (48)  But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Love is the key to the Christian walk. It is the key to being “perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” Thayer’s Greek dictionary defines the word for perfect like this… Thayer Definition:
Τέλειος teleios
1) brought to its end, finished
2) wanting nothing necessary to completeness
3) perfect
4) that which is perfect
4a) consummate human integrity and virtue
4b) of men
4b1) full grown, adult, of full age, mature

Yesterday we talked about not getting even. Today we take this same idea even farther. Don’t just do what you do for your enemy out of a heart of love for the Father, but love your enemy. To do otherwise is to be immature, childish, full of envy and selfishness. Worldly wisdom says, “Make your enemy, that ex-wife or ex-husband, the bully at work or school, the neighbor with the land dispute, make him/her pay.” Look at how James puts it… James 3:15-18 For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.  (16)  For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.  (17)  But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  (18)  And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Last night at the supper table my granddaughter, Rena prayed for several things not particularly pertaining to our meal. But one of those things caught my attention. She prayed, “Father, help that old snake to change and be good so he won’t try to hurt anyone anymore.” She was referring to Satan, the ultimate enemy of our souls. She’s almost 4 and she was praying for God to change Satan’s heart. Wow! “And a little child shall lead them.” I don’t think Satan will change, but I’d love to be wrong on that. Never-the-less… Can you pray for and love the Radical Muslim who would take your head for disagreeing with him? Can you pray for and love the ex? The boss? The murderer? The rapist? The bully?

Father in heaven, I really don’t like thinking of myself as immature, but through Your word I see when I don’t love those who would hurt me, when I strive for revenge, when I demand an eye for an eye, when I jockey for position on the road I am being childish. Please help us, Your “true children” to walk in Your love. Help us go beyond just being cordial to really loving our enemy. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!



Matthew 5:38-42 "You have heard the law that says the punishment must match the injury: 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.'  (39)  But I say, do not resist an evil person! If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also.  (40)  If you are sued in court and your shirt is taken from you, give your coat, too.  (41)  If a soldier demands that you carry his gear for a mile, carry it two miles.  (42)  Give to those who ask, and don't turn away from those who want to borrow.

Exodus 21:24 “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot,”

In our passage today Jesus expounds on the “Law of Retaliation” or what we might call “The Law of Getting Even.” Mankind’s problem with getting even has always been that what we really want is to be ahead. The law of an eye for an eye was given, in part, to keep people who had been wronged or injured from going beyond what was just. In other words you are not allowed to lop off someone’s arm because they pinched your finger in a door. But the law did allow one to get even. Slap my face and I get to slap yours and then we are even.

This law was also a warning to one who would do injury to another. “If I kill my neighbor, I will be killed. If I lose my temper and poke out my neighbor’s eye I’m going to have an eye poked out.”

What Jesus is pointing out to us is a better way. Rather than lowering ourselves to the tactics of an evil person accept the injury and offer the other cheek. Don’t demand to be “even.” Demand to be better, to be like Christ in your response to others. Don’t pay insult for insult. Instead, show love and forgiveness and forbearance.

If someone sues you don’t just do what the law requires. Give more than what is demanded. Roman law allowed a soldier to demand aid from the Jewish people for a distance of one mile. If he asked a Jew to carry his armor that Jew was compelled to carry it for one mile. A Roman mile was a thousand paces. At the end of the mile most would cast down the load and grumpily walk away. Jesus command of love would cause us to “go the extra mile.” Imagine, you are in that situation and instead of counting steps, you carry the soldier’s armor with a smile and joyfully share your faith. Before you know it you’ve gone two miles or further and the seed of the Gospel is sown in the heart of that soldier and perhaps he will become a brother in Christ.

Move that scenario up to modern day. Your lost slave driver of a boss asks, or demands that you work longer on a project. You have a choice. You can gripe to everyone about your plight. You can refuse and possibly lose your job. You can do just enough to satisfy the bare minimum of the task. Or, you can do your best at the task with joy as if you are doing the task for God instead of for man. If you take the last approach you are again sowing the seeds of the Gospel and you are honoring your heavenly Father.

I don’t believe this to be a call to pacifistic martyrdom. 1 Timothy 5:8 “But those who won't care for their relatives, especially those in their own household, have denied the true faith. Such people are worse than unbelievers.” As the verse above states we are to provide for our families and I believe that includes protection. There came a point in Paul’s sufferings that he did defend himself as a Roman citizen (Acts 21:39).

That being said, as in all of life we must walk in the Spirit. He will give us direction in each situation as to whether we need to defend ourselves or if we are to submit to an evil person.

Let me suggest an exercise to help us with this. We live in a very sarcastic age. We often react to one another with criticism and sarcasm and biting insults. Today, make an honest effort to respond to each individual, situation, and even news reports with love, prayer and your best effort for God’s glory.

Ephesians 4:28 “If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need.”  It would be good if we could work with this thought in mind, “Work, so you may have, so you may give.” If that were more our mindset we would not often have to turn the beggar away empty handed.

Father in heaven, Jesus came and showed us a new and better way. It is so easy for us to go with the flow of society by demanding our rights and by demanding that we be even. Fill us with Your love and power to walk in Your love. May others be drawn to the truth of Who You are by our lives of sacrifice and love. Give us grace to respond the way Jesus would respond in each situation this day. In Jesus Name, AMEN!!!