« February 2014 | Main | May 2014 »

2 posts from March 2014

03/31/2014

Honest to God

 

 At our campuses we talked last week about how honest and transparent Jesus was in prayer looking specifically at the prayer of Jesus in the Garden.  Small talk doesn't advance a human relationship and small talk in prayer I think actually keeps us from seeing God as who He is.

We talked of four areas I think we would do well in to be honest before God in our prayer life. Here is a summary of those four we see from the scriptures.  

a.  He wants us to be honest about our heart in prayer.

 David was brutally honest about things in his heart as he prayer.  He was a man after God's own heart who openly shared his own heart. He took personal reflection seriouslty. Talk to God about what is going on in your life.

 Psalm 4:1  I was in distress

Psalm 6:2  My bones are troubled

Psalm 6:6  I am weary from groaning

Psalm 13:2  There is sorry in my heart all day long

Psalm 25:16  I am lonely and afflicted.

Psalm 30:8  I am pleading for mercy

Psalm 31:7  There is distress in my soul

 

b.  He wants to be honest about our sin.

 Prayer becomes self serving and shallow if we aren't honest about our own life and sins. Talk to God about those.

 

Psalm 66:18 If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.   

 

He wants us to be transparent about our relationships

 Peter says without honesty and authenticity when it comes to our relationships, there are barriers between us and God's listening ear.  Take time to be honest about  your relationships.

 

I Peter 3: 7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers

 

He wants us to be honest about prayer

 Why do you pray? Jesus was praying less to force God to do something and more to embrace His willingness.  In prayer do you honestly desire to surrender to His willingness.

I love this quote from Francois Fenelon, a 17th Century monk who speaks about growing in honesty in prayer. Well worth following.

 

 

"Talk with God about the thoughts of which your heart is full. If you enjoy the
presence of God, if you feel drawn to love Him, tell Him so. Such sensible
passion will make the time of prayer fly without exhausting you, for all
you'll have to do is say what you feel. But if you are in a time of dryness,
or inner resistance to God, or feel that he has abandoned you. Do the same
thing. Say equally what is in your heart! Tell God that you no longer feel any love for Him, that everything is a terrible blank to you. Tell Him that things concerning Him exhausts you, that His presence doesn't move you emotionally, that you long to leave Him for whatever comes your way, and that you won't feel happy until you've left Him and can turn your time into thinking about yourself. Tell Him all the evil you know about yourself. But don’t just leave it there, say to God take my heart and change it, and have mercy on me in spite of myself! Tell God without hesitation everything that comes into your head, with simplicity and familiarity, as a little child sitting on its mothers knee."
Francois Fenelon, a 17th century monk

 

03/03/2014

We are having pancakes tomorrow...what are you hungry for?

Tomorrow is a big deal in our house. Some call it Shrove Tuesday. My kids call it Pancake Tuesday.  My kids are already deciding what sweet things will go on those pancakes. Let's say it is a big deal.

 The celebration it begins is a big deal. Shrove Tuesday is the day before Lent begins.  This is the season which some  Christians over the years have used to prepare their hearts and spirits for the celebration of Easter often through fasting and prayer. Because it was a season of fasting they would use their luxury items of eggs, sugar and milk to create pancakes. It was the night they would have something decadent before a period of austerity. Now pancakes don't seem quite so decadent...unless like my kids you top them with whipped cream, chocolate chips and any other candy you can find in the house!

 Following Pancake Tuesday people would hunger for 40 days to see God move powerfully in their life. What are you hungry for?

 This Wednesday begins that forty day journey towards this year's celebration of Easter. Some Christians fast and pray as they prepare for Lent and they have given up something to show their seriousness. Others have not put a lot of thought into preparing their hearts.

 The concept of Lent is not found in Scripture. But the concept of fasting and getting hungry for God is.  I know people who grew up with Lent and the yearly ritual became just that...an empty ritual. I know others who did not come from that background and find the sacrifice incredibly meaningful.  Of course there are others who have never even thought of Lent and many who have used this time meaningfully in preparation for Easter. This is a season to consider ourselves dead to sin and fully alive in Christ as Paul writes in Romans 6:11. It is a time not only to look at ourselves but to the faithfulness of Jesus and of what He has done for me.

 

I don't know where you fall in your consideration of Lent but let me encourage you to do a couple things. Would  you take some time these next 40 days to be hungry for God to move.  Would you meditate and reflect on your need for a savior?  Would you worship with confidence the Jesus who conquered sin and death. Would you reflect on where you might need to pick up your cross and follow Him. Would you put to death your flesh  and let the same power that raised Jesus from the dead be in you through the Holy Spirit.

 Would you come prepared to celebrate Good Friday by having contemplated the cross?

Would you come ready to worship with abandon on Easter morning the Jesus who took your place and who raised you to life?

Would you reflect on your need of a Savior and let these verses become your hearts cry.

 

Joel 2:12-14

Yet even now, says the Lord,
Return to me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;
Rend your hearts and not your clothing.
Return to the Lord, your God,
for he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love,
and relents from punishing.
Who knows whether he will not turn and relent,
and leave a blessing behind him,
a grain-offering and a drink-offering
for the Lord, your God?

O Praise the One who paid my debt

And raised this life up from the dead.