Scripture reading for January 8th: Matthew 7, Psalm 6, Proverbs 2:9-11
Jesus liked stories that His listeners could identify with. He was good at picking out simple stories that illustrated his teaching. Jesus had been talking about what life in the kingdom of heaven was like and how people who were seeking that kingdom would conduct their lives. Kingdom life is all about living in obedience to God by faith. The world lives by the senses and the flesh and has its own way of doing business. The people of God’s kingdom follow the Lord and His holy word.
In Matthew 7, Jesus covers instructions for some common worldly ways of doing business. His people are not to judge others and condemn them, for with the measure they give, they will be judged. (Matthew 7:1-2) Judging others and finding fault with others is sinful because we cannot know the heart of another person and how they really stand with God. Only God has this ability and it is best left to the One who knows everything perfectly.
God’s people ask Him for their needs. This kind of asking is persistent in that it seeks an answer and knocks hard on God’s door. God promises that one who asks will receive and find an open door. God is good and willing to be entreated, but this doesn’t mean He is like a heavenly slot machine that dispenses miracles according to a formula. God is a loving Father who knows all things and sometimes answers in ways we did not expect or even says “no” or “not now”.
Jesus warned his followers to stick close to His teaching and to Him because the gate is narrow leading to life and few find it. Jesus is that gate! (John 10:7) The broad way is heavily populated and many are on their way to destruction. In fact, those who hear the word and obey it, putting it into practice are likened to a builder who built on a rock. The house will stand against any storm. Those who hear but don’t apply His teaching are like those who build on the sand. A storm comes and the house comes down with a great crash! (Matthew 7:24-27) Just hearing the teaching is not enough. The key is in applying the word to daily life. Our house are being built daily. Is yours on a rock or sand? A great storm is coming!
Scripture reading for October 25th: Luke 10-12
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When He finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.”” Luke 11:1 Jesus was a man of prayer. He always spent time communing with the Father to determine what He was to do and where He was to go. The disciples often watched Him pray and one was curious enough to ask Him for help. I don’t know about you, but I could use some help learning how to pray more effectively!
“He said to them, “When you pray, say, “Father, hallowed be Your Name, Your kingdom come, Give us this day our daily bread. Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation.” (Luke 11:2-4) These simple instructions were not meant to be used as a prayer to be said by memory. Jesus was teaching them principles of prayer. First, God is our Father and is holy. We should show Him reverence for His position as Father and because of His holiness. Another principle is that we must submit our will to God’s kingdom. We are to be praying more in submission to God than demanding God do what we want.
We are to ask God daily for our needs to be met. God is the source of our daily bread that sustains our physical life, as well as our spiritual nourishment in Jesus Christ. We are dependent people who humbly recognize our need of God’s provision. We especially need forgiveness of sins. Jesus notes that we must also willingly forgive those who have sinned against us. We also need help avoiding temptation and must ask God for it. We are very dependent on God’s grace and help.
We are to go after what we need from God by persistent asking and knocking! “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” (Luke 11:9-10) The Amplified Bible translates the verbs in the continuous sense of “ask and keep on asking; seek and keep on seeking; knock and keep on knocking.” Prayer is so important for us as children of our Father! We must humbly ask Him for all our needs and be persistent! PUSH: Pray Until Something Happens!