Treasure

What captivates your heart? What pursuit, activity, person or possession do you treasure? Consider Jesus’ words about the heart’s allegiance:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV

It’s easy to see the cause and effect of worldly gain, because we can experience the tangible benefits. Pursuits such as career advancement and lifestyle upgrades deliver certain amounts of satisfaction, but the life-portfolio of a disciple is based on a forward-looking mindset. It’s a daily contribution noted in a “heavenly ledger”, with the balance reflected across eternity. Material items, career titles, leisure activities, and popularity simply won’t make the cut, but investments in people will.

What captures your heart today and how will you spend your life?

Hidden

Jesus practiced a “hidden” principle in His ministry that He also pointed out to His disciples:

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” – Matthew 6:16-18 NKJV

The point of fasting in private isn’t about the reward, it’ about the audience. In private moments, the audience is narrowed down to the Lord. Jesus prioritized time for conversation with the Father; and with it, He often denied the flesh through fasting. He was referencing food, but there can be other types of fasting as well.

The flesh has many forms of appetites and denying them involves the will. Other people’s awareness is inconsequential (unless He leads you to tell them), because the main point is the investment itself. Following through on a private commitment to the Lord can produce eternal results; and a hidden discipline can affect many visible things.

The Lord’s Day 2-26-17

“For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your works; I will triumph in the works of Your hands.” – Psalm 92:4 NKJV

Do thoughts of His work bring gladness to your heart today? Consider the gentleness of His care, the protection of His watch, and the comfort of His provision. For You Lord, have made me glad!

Glory

The way Jesus ended the model prayer tells us a lot about how we should approach everything after the “amen”:

“…For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:13b NKJV

Acknowledging that the kingdom, the power, and the glory belong to God, is an admission that God is free to do as He pleases. Whether it’s world events or personal matters, God doesn’t need permission to run His world His way. Opinions about cultural issues, political matters or church trends, will ultimately yield to His, because His ways are perfect.

One day, all efforts to honor something or someone more than God will be revealed as vain attempts to claim something only belonging to Him. He has no equal. The kingdom, the power and the glory are all His and His alone…forever…amen.

Are your requests today for His glory or more aligned with your own pursuits? Are you willing to pray for His name to be glorified through you today?

Delivered

Temptation is real, and as close as our thoughts. Jesus never glossed over it, and in the model prayer, He said this:

“…And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Matthew 6:13a NKJV

Our enemy is formidable and dangerous. However, a follower of Christ has the power to overcome him when following the Holy Spirit’s lead. The key part is discerning the difference between the Lord’s leading and our own preferences.

Consider what James wrote:

“Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” – James 1:13-14

Think about how incredible that is. Evil doesn’t tempt God in any way. It doesn’t deceive Him, corrupt His attitude, lure Him into bad choices, or weaken His resolve. For the disciple, the goal should be to stay close to the One who is immune to the daily struggle of figuring it out. He’ll always lead down a path of righteousness because that’s His nature.

Are you willing to stay close today? Are you willing to admit that you need to be led? “…And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is part of the Christian life. Consider the fourth phrase in Jesus’ model prayer is:

“…And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.”Matthew 6:12 NKJV

Genuinely asking for someone’s forgiveness goes against pride. It’s based on contrition and repentance; whereas superficial requests are self-centered attempts to “save face”. When the real thing takes place, there is joy, thanks, and motivation to show the same attitude toward others. Jesus also mentioned this:

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespass.” – Mark 11:25

Being redeemed is forgiveness received, and being a disciple is forgiveness given. For the one seeking to be right with God, both need to be happening (receiving and giving). Thankfully, God’s forgiveness isn’t based on merit, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, ours shouldn’t be either.

Are you willing to forgive today? Are you willing to offer it before being asked to? “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors…”

Given

What does it mean to pray for “daily bread”?

The third phrase in Jesus’ model prayer is:

“…Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 NKJV

In the ancient world, acquiring bread for the day was more than a trip to the store. The irregularity of work and uncertainty of the times made it daily question. However, even when bread is plentiful, (like the Hebrews in the desert getting manna daily), there is a key principle to be remembered: gratefulness. It’s an acknowledgement of dependence on God.

The Hebrews were excited and thankful for the manna to begin with, but quickly slipped into an ungrateful attitude and desired more. God’s hand may not deliver the exact menu hoped for, but the same hand also mends a broken heart, blocks the enemy’s attacks, guides through dark times, and strengthens during weakness. It’s a steady hand and one to be reached for daily.

Do you consider today a provision of the Lord? Contentment in Him is a place of peace and soul-deep satisfaction. “Give us this day our daily bread…”

%d bloggers like this: