Tuesdays I plant a seed for the coming Sunday message. Starting Sunday I will begin a series which draws inspiration from Bob Hostetler’s book, The Red Letter Prayer Life, 17 Words From Jesus To Inspire Practical, Purposeful, Powerful Prayer.
This week’s text is Jesus’ words on prayer after watching the self-absorbed Pharisees who prayed publically to get attention:
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:5-6, NIV).”
Is Jesus saying we are only to pray in private? I don’t think so.
I believe Jesus is teaching his followers that until they work on their relationship with God through private prayer, their public prayer will only look like the performance of the Pharisees.
So when you pray, get alone with God and talk to him…really talk with him…and don’t perform.
I’m a day late, but I’ll bounce back.
Definition: the capcity to bounce back quickly from difficulties.
My husband and I are going on a vacation—together. That may not sound like news to most people, but for us it is more rare than a blue moon.
In 40 years we’ve only been on vacation together about a dozen times—and most of those were with family.
He’s always been a go and see kind of guy. Fill up the schedule. See all the sites. I would come home exhausted.
This time, he’s on vacation. No agenda. Not interested in going or doing.
Resting. Really resting.
I’m encouraged. It’s as if I have permission to rest, too.
Why do I need someone else to give me permission?
Do you need permission to rest? To Sabbath?
We’re planning to go to Hawaii next year for our 40th. I asked for recommendations from friends on Facebook. One of the best came my friend Mike. He said this: My recommendation… just go to Hawaii (I liked Maui)sit on the beach during the day and relax. Go to a Luau in the evening and enjoy yourself. Take notes for all the stuff you would like to visit on your next trip, maybe squeeze one of those in on this trip but most of all relax. Don’t worry about your hair while you’re there because there is no such thing as a good hair day on the islands. And relax, treat like one long Sabbath.
There’s something to be said for this kind of thinking. Get someplace in nature. Appreciate God’s amazing handiwork. Breathe.
I’m breathing a lot of Arizona air this week. And thanking God for the opportunity to rest.
Do you ever wonder if God gets bored with our prayers?
I know I do.
A confession like that from a pastor might sound odd. But it’s true.
If my prayers are all fluff and stuff, lacking substance or direction: what’s the point?
They begin to sound as meaningful as Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah, wah, wah wah wah wah.”
Jesus had an encounter with a blind man. He looked at the blind man and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51ff)
The man didn’t hem and haw. He didn’t talk around the issue. He didn’t try to butter Jesus up to get him to do “whatever.”
To Jesus’ direct question, the man replied directly, “I want to see.” And that’s just what he got.
God doesn’t want us to hem and haw, dance around the issue, or butter him up.
God speaks us to directly because he loves us.
Why would we do any less?
I don’t know how life goes for you, but there are times (too many) when I feel like I’m doing everything to just keep the plates spinning.
Could that be why God established the fourth commandment: 8 “Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 You have six days each week for your ordinary work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy (Exodus 20:8-11, NLT).”
What in the world is Sabbath? How can we find that rhythm of rest?
According to Lynne M. Barb in her book, Sabbath Keeping, Finding Freedom in the Rhythms of Rest, she describes Sabbath this way:
”What is Sabbath? A weekly day of rest and worship. A day to cease working and relax in God’s care for us. A day to stop the things that occupy our workdays and participate in activities that nurture peace, worship, relationships, celebration, and thankfulness. The purpose of the sabbath is to clear away the distractions of our lives so we can rest in God and experience God’s grace in a new way (p. 11).”
I created several memes for this week’s message, but the two that seem to fit the direction of the message were these:
How is God speaking to about keeping Sabbath?