Temptation

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Consider the last verse of the Lord’s Prayer:

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” Matthew 6:13

Bob Hudson share’s these helpful thoughts on this verse.

Spiritual Warfare: “We acknowledge that there actually is a spiritual battle and it is not against people, but rather with forces dedicated to separating us from God, His presence and His love. That is the temptation – push away and separate.The consequence?  We are divided.  The enemy’s mission is to destroy by diverting us from God’s will – love and unity (John 17).  Here is a sobering thought. By yielding to division with one another – or anything contrary to God’s will – we are cooperating with evil.  Praying for God to deliver us from evil is central to our awareness of the spiritual battle that we all participate in consciously or unconsciously.”

Today, may we commit to love and unity. May we willingly receive the power of God to stand against the schemes of the enemy and pursue love and unity with all.

Relational Maturity

Friday, March 29, 2019

Continuing our look at the Lord’s prayer and the theme of transformation, consider again the Lord’s words from Luke and Matthew:

“Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.” Luke 11:4

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”          Matthew 6:12

I share again my friend Bob Hudson’s take on the Lord’s Prayer as it relates to Relational Health and Maturity: “‘Forgive us as we forgive.”  We come to God in our brokenness, in our imperfect humanity, acknowledging our need for mercy and grace.  There is a correlation between our receiving God’s mercy and grace and our willingness to offer it to others.  To withhold forgiveness – mercy, compassion, grace – is to demonstrate our own inexperience in receiving what God offers us.  The healthiest persons and relationships are those where there is an abundant experience of the love and mercy of God for self – and for others.  “We love, because He first loved us.'”

Let me ask you, do you see yourself and your flaws with the compassion of Christ, or are your critical and judgmental of yourself?  What if today you gave yourself the love and compassion Christ has already extended to you, and choose to share that same compassion with others around you? We might experience true transformation and growth in our relational maturity.

Relational Transformation and Healing

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Jesus’ incarnation and earthly ministry show us that transformation is relational. The brokenness or wounds we’ve experienced, and sin, are relational. And relational wounds are healed in relationship. Jesus chose to come to forgive and heal and reconcile a relationship, through a relationship, with you and me.

We, too, have a choice: hang onto the wound or seek reconciliation. Let it fester and become toxic and destructive or seek to embrace the healing journey. Healing is often a  journey entailing a lot of emotion – pain, denial, anger, sadness, grief. But we hope ultimately for forgiveness that leads to wholeness, reconciliation and joy.

I’m experiencing the choice now. I received a phone call earlier this week that opened up a 45 year-old wound that has had painful repercussions all my life. I am dealing with grief and deep sadness. It is calling me to healing and forgiveness on many levels. Two verses are hitting me:

Now Jesus began to go all over Galilee…healing every disease and sickness among the people.                                                                                                     Matthew 4:23

Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.      Luke 11:4

Today I chose to welcome Jesus, His love and forgiveness. I trust His loving power to meet me deeply and relationally in my wounded-ness and bring healing – though I know it is a process, a journey.

Is there a wound, a sin, a brokenness that you need to invite Jesus into today? If so, would you take a minute now and just breathe deeply. Welcome the breath of life – the healing love of the Spirit of the Living God – and welcome His healing and transformation.

 

Transforming Presence

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Lord’s Presence is the most transformative power in the world. In His presence is the fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11). When he taught us to pray, he said in essence, ask for My Presence – daily.  Today we’ll look at another of the four theme’s Bob Hudson draws from a deeper dive into the Lord’s Prayer.

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

“Trusting God as our Source: The simple request for God to give us our “daily bread” goes far beyond our need for physical nourishment.  Our “daily bread” is representative of everything that God intends to give us through His presence – all that He provided in the Garden.  Love. Safety, Strength. Worth. Value. Purpose.  This prayer can anchor us in the deep reality that He is our Source.  This is important because our human tendency is to look outside of ourselves – to others and to circumstances – to give us what we need.  Turning our focus to our heavenly Father and acknowledging that He is the Provider of our deepest longings will liberate us from the frustrations and disappointments of expecting situations and other people in our lives to meet our core needs.”

Today, will you welcome transformation? Will you ask for His Presence to fill you – to overflowing with everything you deeply desire – and trust Him to do it?

Welcoming Transformation

Tuesday, March 25, 2019

Our journey to Holy Week and Resurrection Sunday is part of a greater journey of transformation. Christ’s work in us is transformative – from one degree of glory to another. The Welcoming Prayer from yesterday invites transformation.
The Lord’s Prayer also calls us to deep transformation.
Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.                      Matthew 6:10
Consider this reflection on the Lord’s Prayer from my friend Bob Hudson:
The invitation for God’s kingdom to come is an invitation for God to rule over every part of your life. I like to specifically invite God to rule over areas of my life that I am dealing with in the moment – relationships, my desires, my emotions, and my thoughts.
Transformation only takes place through surrender.  “Your will be done, on earth – in my life – as it is in Heaven.”  What am I surrendering to? When I consider what God’s will is I am drawn to Jesus’ command – “love one another as I have loved you.”  The call to love is the greatest expression of doing the will of God.  What if we daily prayed that we might love one another?  What would happen?  We would be transformed into the likeness of Christ as we surrender everything in us that blocks love.”
Today, will you surrender to God’s transforming love? What might happen?

Saying, “Yes God”

Monday, March 25, 2019

You are a tapestry woven together by the hand of God. Every weave, every thread, every stitch, every color and even every snag is part of the beauty. Glory is woven, over time, into the work of art that is you. Beauty and glory are magnified as we welcome the Artist’s hand.

Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.  (Hebrews 13:20-21)

It is His work for His glory – glory that He is pleased to invest in you and me. Our role is to welcome His equipping hand upon us. Yet we will only welcome it to the degree we are convinced “that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28). Do you believe this?

Below is the Welcoming Prayer for your contemplation. It is a challenging prayer that may offend your senses on first reading, but the invitation is to say “yes” to God – and welcome his artistic hand in every fold and facet of life.

Welcome, welcome, welcome.

I welcome everything that comes to me today 

because I know it’s for my healing.

I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions, persons, 

situations, and conditions.

I let go of my desire for power and control.

I let go of my desire for affection, esteem, approval and pleasure.

I let go of my desire for survival and security.

I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition, person 

or myself.

I open to the love and presence of God 

and God’s action within me. 

Amen.

 

March Madness

Saturday, March 23, 2019

In the middle of our Lent Journey comes the NCAA basketball tournament- March Madness. I love the underdogs, the Cinderella Story teams. Murray State University and the University of Buffalo are not typical Big Dance teams, but they have played well, and won. These teams have great spirit and are tenacious competitors. Simply getting to the tournament is victory.

Our journey is better than a Cinderella story. We don’t belong at the big dance and we have not earned the win. Yet the Bible says:

“No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours [we are conquerors] through Christ Jesus, who loved us.”                                                                                                   Romans 8:37

We are winners because of Christ alone. The victory of Jesus over death and sin has been credited to us – we are the Cinderella Story! The power of Christ’s love conquers every foe; No hostile power, accusation, enemy, or sin can keep us from the overwhelmingly victorious love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.

Today, breathe deeply of the victory that is yours by the grace of God. In Christ, you cannot fail, you cannot lose, you cannot be defeated.  Thanks be to God who delivers us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!!