Search

First Pres Joliet

A Daily Devotional from our faith community @ firstpresjoliet.org

Month

March 2015

I obviously know best.

This section of the catechism is just too funny.  How many times have we honestly said in prayer; “God.. this is what I want.. but your plan is best… work your plan, not my plan.”   The answer, at least for me, is rarely.  I usually come to God with it all figured out, asking Him to bless a decision I’ve already made.  What would be different if I was seeking His will instead of mine?

 

Q124. What does the third request mean?

A. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven means, Help us and all men to reject our own wills and to obey your will without any back talk. Your will alone is good.1 Help everyone carry out the work he is called to2 as willingly and faithfully as the angels in heaven.3

1 Matt. 7:21; 16:24-26; Luke 22:42; Rom. 12:1, 2; Tit. 2:11, 12.

2 1 Cor. 7:17-24; Eph. 6:5-9.

3 Ps. 103:20, 21.

Bring The Kingdom

Q123. What does the second request mean?

  1. Thy kingdom come means, Rule us by your Word and Spirit in such a way that more and more we submit to you.1 Keep your church strong, and add to it.2 Destroy the devil’s work; destroy every force which revolts against you and every conspiracy against your Word.3 Do this until your kingdom is so complete and perfect that in it you are all in all.4                                                                             1 Ps. 119:5, 105; 143:10; Matt. 6:33.                                                                                                   2 Ps. 122:6-9; Matt. 16:18; Acts 2:42-47.                                                                          3 Rom. 16:20; 1 John 3:8.                                                                                                4 Rom. 8:22, 23; 1 Cor. 15:28; Rev. 22:17, 20.

Hallowed be thy name

4 Simple words that carry so much weight and meaning. In a way this 4 words help us restore our understanding of who God is, and at the same time the same 4 words calls us to live our lives in a manner worthy of the one we call Father.  Prayer is indeed that daily talk we have with God, but it goes so much deeper than a few words spoken in a rush, prayer is meant to help us see our world with eyes of faith, the way the God sees it.

So if you could have that view that about prayer, how would your prayer change today?

Be Blessed,

Bo M.

Q122. What does the first request mean?

  1. Hallowed be thy name means, Help us to really know you,1 to bless, worship, and praise you for all your works and for all that shines forth from them: your almighty power, wisdom, kindness, justice, mercy, and truth.2 And it means, Help us to direct all our living— what we think, say, and do— so that your name will never be blasphemed because of us but always honored and praised.3

1 Jer. 9:23, 24; 31:33, 34; Matt. 16:17; John 17:3.

2 Ex. 34:5-8; Ps. 145; Jer. 32:16-20; Luke 1:46-55, 68-75; Rom. 11:33-36.

3 Ps. 115:1; Matt. 5:16.

Our Father…

1280px-Creación_de_Adán_(Miguel_Ángel)

I love the notion of “childlike awe” in the context of “Our Father”…now, I am very much aware that in some families, the father is not the most highly thought of individual.  But, this Father, God, is the one seated in divine authority in heaven and the One whom we should not only trust with our greatest joys and deepest concerns but the One who continually seeks us out in relationship even when we have damaged it.  This reminds me of seeing the “Creation of Adam” in the Sistine Chapel in Rome…God reaching his hand out to Adam…God reaches his hand out to us…  We can place ourselves firmly and securely in “Our Father”.

Q120. Why did Christ command us to call God, “Our Father?”

A.  At the very beginning of our prayer Christ wants to kindle in us what is basic to our prayer— the childlike awe and trust that God through Christ has become our Father. Our fathers do not refuse us the things of this life; God our Father will even less refuse to give us what we ask in faith.1

1 Matt. 7:9-11; Luke 11:11-13.

Q121. Why the words, “Who art in heaven”?

A.  These words teach us not to think of God’s heavenly majesty as something earthly,1 and to expect everything for body and soul from His almighty power.2

1 Jer. 23:23, 24; Acts 17:24, 25.

2 Matt. 6:25-34; Rom. 8:31, 32.

Dissecting a Prayer

I am sure that none of us needs to be reminded that prayer is as essential to our life in Christ as breathing is to life itself. When I’m having difficulty falling back to sleep in the middle of the night, and my busy mind is buzzing with all kinds of “stuff”, I find that just breathing “Thank You, Jesus” over and over quiets my mind and allows me to drift back to the sleep I need. So there is no surprise in being told that we must pray all the time. And most of us know the basics of how to pray, because we have memorized the prayer that Jesus taught us, perhaps from a very young age. So what can we learn from today’s H.C. questions and answers? Are there any surprises here? Take a really close look again at Q119, particularly the petition, “…and forgive us our debts, AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS.” Hmmm…If God is to forgive us our hurtful ways, we must first be sure that we have truly forgiven anyone who may have hurt us in any way, even if that person doesn’t know that we have been hurt, even if that person has not asked to be forgiven?? Yes; that is exactly what Christ’s prayer demands of us. So, before we come before our God today, and every day, we must first ask ourselves: What are the hurts that we are carrying: what are the grudges that we are harboring?   Then, as we forgive each one, we will experience the joy, the peace that comes from owning God’s promise that even so, He has forgiven us for all of our sins against Him.

Emma Sticklen

 

Q116. Why do Christians need to pray?

  1. Because prayer is the most important part of the thankfulness God requires of us.And also because God gives His grace and Holy Spirit only to those who pray continually and groan inwardly, asking God for these gifts and thanking Him for them.2

Ps. 50:14, 15; 116:12-19; 1 Thess. 5:16-18.

Matt. 7:7, 8; Luke 11:9-13.

 

Q117. How does God want us to pray so that he will listen to us?

  1. First, we must pray from the heart to no other than the one true God, who has revealed Himself in his Word, asking for everything He has commanded us to ask for.Second, we must acknowledge our need and misery, hiding nothing, and humble ourselves in His majestic presence.Third, we must rest on this unshakable foundation: even though we do not deserve it, God will surely listen to our prayer because of Christ our Lord. That is what He promised us in His Word.3

Ps. 145:18-20; John 4:22-24; Rom. 8:26, 27; James 1:5; 1 John 5:14, 15.

2 Chron. 7:14; Ps. 2:11; 34:18; 62:8; Isa. 66:2; Rev. 4.

Dan. 9:17-19; Matt. 7:8; John 14:13, 14; 16:23; Rom. 10:13; James 1:6.

 

Q118. What did God command us to pray for?

  1. Everything we need, spiritually and physically,as embraced in the prayer Christ our Lord himself taught us.

James 1:17; Matt. 6:33.

 

Q119. What is this prayer?

  1. Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.1

Matt. 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4.

1.1 Billion Dollars a Year

In college I worked as a door-man at the rather prestigious 800 N. Michigan Residences. My first month on the job I helped the couple who owned the penthouse out of their stretched Mercedes after they’d spent a month Caribbean.  He was a nice guy.  I went back to the front desk and looked up his salary.  He made 900 million dollars that year. That’s not a typo. Thats the entire net worth of Michael Jorden… a year.  In contrast, I made $13/hr and it was the best job I’d had to date. From that moment on; there was no tip the guy could have given me that would have been enough.  You just slipped me a 5?  Really?  For the guy that makes sure your Ferrari’s don’t get stolen?  I was jealous.  Its easy in our celebrity culture where extravagance is highlighted to get that way.  When the only thing we see on facebook is that couple who just went to Malibu (never mind the other 736 friends that didn’t..) its easy to get discontent.  The bottom line is that Godliness with contentment is great gain… the rest is as C.S. Lewis would say a “mis-placed love”Q113. What is God’s will for us in the tenth commandment?

A. That not even the slightest thought or desire contrary to any one of God’s commandments should ever arise in my heart. Rather, with all my heart I should always hate sin and take pleasure in whatever is right.1

1 Ps. 19:7-14; 139:23, 24; Rom. 7:7, 8.

 

Q114. But can those converted to God obey these commandments perfectly?

A. No. In this life even the holiest have only a small beginning of this obedience.1 Nevertheless, with all seriousness of purpose, they do begin to live according to all, not only some, of God’s commandments.2

1 Eccles. 7:20; Rom. 7:14, 15; 1 Cor. 13:9; 1 John 1:8-10.

2 Ps. 1:1, 2; Rom. 7:22-25; Phil. 3:12-16.

 

Q115. No one in this life can obey the Ten Commandments perfectly: why then does God want them preached so pointedly?

A. First, so that the longer we live the more we may come to know our sinfulness and the more eagerly look to Christ for forgiveness of sins and righteousness.1 Second, so that, while praying to God for the grace of the Holy Spirit, we may never stop striving to be renewed more and more after God’s image, until after this life we reach our goal:

perfection.2

1 Ps. 32:5; Rom. 3:19-26; 7:7, 24, 25; 1 John 1:9.

2 1 Cor. 9:24; Phil. 3:12-14; 1 John 3:1-3.

No Lies…

e0793da508a7e781bb21c1777d0db16dimages-1

Exodus 20:16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.” (NIV)                             Exodus 20:16 “No lies about your neighbor.” (The Message)

Today is an opportunity to “advance our neighbor’s good name.”  That’s a good way to think about fulfilling this commandment.

Q112. What is God’s will for us in the ninth commandment?

  1. God’s will is that I never give false testimony against anyone, twist no one’s words, not gossip or slander, nor join in condemning anyone without a hearing or without a just cause.1 Rather, in court and everywhere else, I should avoid lying and deceit of every kind; these are devices the devil himself uses, and they would call down on me God’s intense anger.2 I should love the truth, speak it candidly, and openly acknowledge it.3 And I should do what I can to guard and advance my neighbor’s good name.4

1 Ps. 15; Prov. 19:5; Matt. 7:1; Luke 6:37; Rom. 1:28-32.                                                     2 Lev. 19:11, 12; Prov. 12:22; 13:5; John 8:44; Rev. 21:8.                                                      3 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:25.   4 1 Pet. 3:8, 9; 4:8.

images

#7: Temples of the Holy Spirit…

indwelling-holy-spirit

When we hear the word adultery and the first natural response is with regard to marriage.  But…is it (notice the answer to question 108 – married or single)?  Eph 5:18 provides context and is best understood in the broader scope of Paull’s words to the church…Eph 5:15-18 and Eph 5:1-18.

What fills you?  Instead of being filled anything that leads to wasteful living like ________ (you fill in the blank)…We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit – “Temples of the Holy Spirit”.  The Holy Spirit’s work in us Is not done apart from our individual involvement…Or the community of faith around us.  Paul is challenging here…It’s their responsibility to be receptive to the Spirit…The whole church…is to be receptive and filled by the Spirit.  And, so, a couple of questions:  How are you receptive to the Holy Spirit?  How is the church receptive to the Holy Spirit?

Q108. What is God’s will for us in the seventh commandment?

A.  God condemns all unchastity.1 We should therefore thoroughly detest it2 and, married or single, live decent and chaste lives.3

1 Lev. 18:30; Eph. 5:3-5.

2 Jude 22, 23.

3 1 Cor. 7:1-9; 1 Thess. 4:3-8; Heb. 13:4.

Q109. Does God, in this commandment, forbid only such scandalous sins as adultery?

A.  We are temples of the Holy Spirit, body and soul, and God wants both to be kept clean and holy. That is why He forbids everything which incites to unchastity,1 whether it be actions, looks, talk, thoughts, or desires.2

1 1 Cor. 15:33; Eph. 5:18.

2 Matt. 5:27-29; 1 Cor. 6:18-20; Eph. 5:3, 4.

Commandment #6

Christianity is all about relationships, how we get along with each other, how we treat each other.  Obviously, we need a lot of help.  In the midst of sexism, racism, jealousy, envy, hatred, bigotry, intolerance, it is evident that we are far from the images of God whom we were created to be.  This commandment with questions 105-107 deal with these kinds of relationships and give some pretty pointed instructions and guidance as to how to relate to each other.  For example, revenge must be left to God.  Murder is out of the question.  Rather, give your enemies food and water, pray for them, make peace instead of allowing anger to be the overriding force.  It’s not easy, but with God’s help it has a chance.

Bob Haas

Q105. What is God’s will for us in the sixth commandment?

A. I am not to belittle, insult, hate, or kill my neighbor— not by my thoughts, my words, my look or gesture, and certainly not by actual deeds— and I am not to be party to this in others;1 rather, I am to put away all desire for revenge.2 I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself either.3 Prevention of murder is also why government is armed with the sword.4

1 Gen. 9:6; Lev. 19:17, 18; Matt. 5:21, 22; 26:52.

2 Prov. 25:21, 22; Matt. 18:35; Rom. 12:19; Eph. 4:26.

3 Matt. 4:7; 26:52; Rom. 13:11-14.

4 Gen. 9:6; Ex. 21:14; Rom. 13:4.

 

Q106. Does this commandment refer only to killing?

A. By forbidding murder God teaches us that He hates the root of murder: envy, hatred, anger, vindictiveness.1 In God’s sight all such are murder.2

1 Prov. 14:30; Rom. 1:29; 12:19; Gal. 5:19-21; 1 John 2:9-11.

2 1 John 3:15.

 

Q107. Is it enough then that we do not kill our neighbor in any such way?

A. No. By condemning envy, hatred, and anger God tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves,1 to be patient, peace-loving, gentle, merciful, and friendly to him,2 to protect him from harm as much as we can, and to do good even to our enemies.3

1 Matt. 7:12; 22:39; Rom. 12:10.

2 Matt. 5:3-12; Luke 6:36; Rom. 12:10, 18; Gal. 6:1, 2; Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:12; 1 Pet. 3:8.

3 Ex. 23:4, 5; Matt. 5:44, 45; Rom. 12:20, 21 (Prov. 25:21, 22).

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑