Jesus described how we should pray. It wasn’t a set of words to be repeated daily, but a model of prayer containing powerful principles. The first phrase is:

“In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name.” (Matt. 6:9)

What does it mean to hallow God’s name? Is He dependent on us for His name to be glorified and respected? Absolutely not! His name is praised and honored every minute of every day, whether we acknowledge Him or not. It’s for our benefit and a proper foundation, because the heart must be willing to admit that God is sovereign over His creation.

To “pray without ceasing” as Paul instructs in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is to go through the day with an awareness that God is ultimately overseeing everything, and to be communicating with Him within that understanding.

Will you hallow His name today in prayer?
Will you hallow His name today through your actions?

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Wisdom 16.32

“Patience is better than power, and controlling one’s temper, than capturing a city.” – Proverbs 16:32 HCSB

All power is a temporary arrangement which ultimately yields to God’s sovereignty. Even the most authoritative rulers eventually succumb to death, which ends their futile attempt to control reality. Patience however, is a proactive posture. It’s not to be confused with inaction based on fear; it’s the willful decision to embrace God’s will and timing.

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An eye for an eye” seems fair (and was stated so in Leviticus for legal guidance), but Jesus’ teaching on the subject was directed at personal hearts and attitudes, not jurisprudence. He said this:

 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on the cheek, turn the other to him also.” – Matthew 5:38-39 NKJV

Those words are simply not easy to receive. The natural person inside wants to place all kinds of conditions and prerequisites on them. The truth is though, Jesus said what He meant. At the personal level, a follower of Christ must look beyond the moment and find strength in the Lord to be a channel of grace. It doesn’t mean tolerance for abuse or such things, there are appropriate measures for that, but it does mean an internal “giving up” of the personal “right to vengeance”. It takes a strong resolve to stand firm and display internal strength when it may look like cowardice. The word “meek” in the scripture doesn’t mean weak, it means “strength under control”. It’s the word picture of a powerful horse that’s usable. Will you choose to be strong in Him today?

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What does it mean to “keep your word”? Is it sticking to a promise as long as the other person does, or is it more? When it comes to describing an event or recalling a conversation, what does “integrity of story” mean? Jesus narrowed it all down to simple terms. He said this:

 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’.” – Matthew 5:37a NKJV

In the Jewish culture, invoking Heaven or Jerusalem as a signature to a statement was often used to identify it as true and binding. Jesus taught that our character should back up our word without the need for addendums. Our commitments or story-telling should be readily received as true, based on a previous track record. As a disciple, we represent Christ, and our words should reflect that. What are some of your commitments? Are they to a spouse? To your kids? To serve in a position at church? How about in your vocation? Are you known as a person of “word-integrity” or do you edit things to primarily benefit yourself?

Thankfully there is forgiveness for the times of “missing the mark” (which may also require making amends), but going forward today; “Let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes’ and your ‘No’ be ‘No’.”

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Your heart is a private conference room. It’s where emotions and thoughts engage in personal deliberation. Sometimes the conversation is quick, sometimes it’s ongoing, or even none at all. Jesus spoke and taught much about the heart. It was at the very core of His preaching. Consider His words:

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” – Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV

What is the conversation inside your heart like and what are the resources in the room? Is the discussion dominated by a single voice? For example, does “reason” do all the talking? Perhaps “emotion” gets so loud that others just submit to keep the peace? In the mix of debate, the Holy Spirit’s voice is the one to listen for. He isn’t obnoxious and loud, and the Bible is His “Book of Standards”.

Our flesh often wants to counter and debate, but His counsel is true, motivated by love, and always in our best interest. What’s happening in your heart today?

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Light can be blinding, but also illuminating, guiding and healing. Jesus spoke of light when describing His followers:

“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16 NKJV

Throughout the scriptures, light is connected to God. At the beginning of creation, He brought it to be. In the Old Testament, the psalmist said:

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” – Psalm 119:105 NKJV

John said of Jesus:

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” – John 1:4 NKJV

Works glorifying God are the ones reflecting Him, because He’s ultimately the source of true light. They reveal the presence of the Holy Spirit at work. Where is the “lampstand” you’re placed on today? Is it among co-workers, customers, family, students? What works will they see in you? May His light shine bright though you today…

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Wisdom 16.31

“The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.” – Proverbs 16:31 NKJV

Age doesn’t automatically produce wisdom, but experience can be a great teacher to those who learn from mistakes. The ones who have done so by the counsel of God’s Word are a great source of advice. However, the benefits of such conversations only come to those who admit the need for such dialogue. When that happens, “old-age wisdom” becomes “timeless”.

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