Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hallowing God's Name

A thought on prayer for all of us today: One of the great mysteries of God is he has allowed the holiness of his name on this earth to be bound up with the character and conduct of his people. We are a reflection of the character of God in the eyes of a watching world. To pray "hallowed be your name" and really mean it - not just recite the words - is to say, "All right, God, I hereby give up sin as best I can with your help. I will live each moment of my day in such a way that you'll be able to sign your name to my day."

But the truth sometimes is, that when we come to that part of our prayer we really have to confess, "Father, all too often other names dominate my day. Some other important person or a spouse or a boss, a girlfriend or a boyfriend or other gods named money or health or achievement. So once more I come to you, Father, and I repent. And so I come to you Father, and renew the cry of my heart: hallowed be your name in my every moment today."

What would happen if every follower of Jesus prayed along those lines? How would that transform your family? Your work-place? Your school? Your marriage? Your friendships? Your church?

And what if we started praying that kind of prayer for those around us? What would it look like for a growing number of people in our community and across the world for God's name to be hallowed in their lives?

This prayer that Jesus gave us in Matthew 6:9-13 is a GAME CHANGER. Begin praying today along these lines,

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And  lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (KJV)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Snare of Arguments

How often do you get into arguments? With your kids, your spouse, roommate, co-workers, or family members? Well here is a verse that could improve your relationships and maybe even save one....

"It is to one's honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel." ~Proverbs 20:3 (NIV)

Getting into petty arguments (strife) is an easy thing to do; Proverbs says that fools are quick to quarrel. Fools are often mentioned in the book of Proverbs and in many of those references it says that fools will come to ruin. In other words, their actions and ways don't achieve for them success. Being quick to enter into petty arguments (or even not-so-petty arguments) generally doesn't achieve for us success. So, is there a better way?

Well, consider the first part of Proverbs 20:3, "It is to one's honor to avoid strife...." Think about that statement for a moment. To whom do we normally give honor? Whom do we generally esteem? As you think through the list of people you have great respect for, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess that they probably aren't known for getting into arguments. In some way they have learned to stay away from arguments and yet they are still successful - in fact, they have your respect.

To be clear, arguments and confrontation aren't necessarily the same thing. Sometimes we need to confront someone who is on the wrong path or who is acting in destructive ways (destructive to either themselves or to those around them or to the organization of which they are a part). Jesus made this point very clear in Matthew 18:15-17. There are times when it is right to - in fact God expects us to - confront people.

But generally our strife/arguments don't come from those kinds of situations. If you find yourself getting into arguments on a regular basis, you need to ask yourself, "Why do I do that?" Also, consider the end result of those arguments. Are they really achieving for you a better life? Are they really improving your relationships? Do they change the people with whom you argue? Once you start to drill down on these kinds of questions, you'll begin to see things more clearly, and when you see more clearly you'll be able to make better choices.

Think on these things and you'll be glad you did.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Avoiding the Regret of Quick Decisions

Do you ever rush into decisions? Ever act on impulse? Do you ever look back and regret your actions in those times?

Well here's a verse that gives us great wisdom that, if we heed it, will keep us from regret later on. Here's the verse:

"Desire without knowledge is not good -- how much more will hasty feet miss the way!" ~ Proverbs 19:2 (NIV)

Don't know about you, but this is a verse I need more than I'd care to admit. Get the facts before making decisions. Consider the implications of those facts and how the proposed decision will impact things as you move forward. Be patient in making decisions, even those that seem "small" at the time. Generally we think through big decisions (buying a house, who to marry, etc.). Sometimes the "small" decisions are the ones that cause us the most regret later on.

Should I return his phone call? Should I go to that party with them? Should I ignore a small injustice at work or school? Should I join that sorority/fraternity? Should I cut class and go with them? Should I turn in that "expense"?

Desire without knowledge (or thinking it through) is not good. When I'm careless in my decision making because I just want to "go and do" will generally put me on a path that I'll regret.