Saturday, April 18, 2015

Devotional Reading for Sunday, April 19, 2015

Today's Reading: 1 Samuel 22; Psalms 17,35; Matthew 6

Many blessings on this special Sunday! I pray you receive a time of rest and time to deeply connect with our Father on this day. There is so much wisdom and direction to pull from today's readings.
This morning during devotions, I hope to encourage you as disciples of Jesus. Each one of you has been given talents and abilities very specific to your individuality and have dedicated these for the purpose of the Lord. You are followers of Christ!

It is difficult to remember this reality sometimes, when the situation becomes overwhelming, challenging or just simply mundane: the same old everyday, the long wait, the trials, the hard work, the tasks and agendas, the sacrifices... our own struggles can take center stage when we reach the limit of our own efforts, are feeling challenged, or long for just a little something more (even when we are fully aware there is nothing greater than God).  So how do we stay reminded of that which is so much greater?

Matthew 6 covers teachings of Jesus. In these verses we are given specific instructions for discipleship: it's the how-to and how-to-not manual for those called to be followers of Christ.  The Lord’s prayer placed among these verses provides a way for us to convey to the Lord our most basic needs as we live out a life dedicated to following Christ. Jesus teaches us how to follow Him, knowing very well that we can only go so far based solely on our own efforts, abilities, and desire. Therefore, even as we prayer the last three verses (6:11-13) as petitioned needs of a disciple, let us pray the first three verses (6:9-10) as our highest needs, transcending our basic needs:

     [Let] Your name be hallowed. 
     [Let] Your kingdom come.
     [Let] Your will be done.

In the book of Luke, it is a disciple who asks the Lord to teach them how to pray, and Matthew writes in his gospel,

“...for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Pray then like this:
Our Father in Heaven, Hallowed be your name;
Your kingdom come, Your 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.  — Matthew 6:8-13

It is a missionary's prayer! It is a true disciple’s prayer (no matter what your ministry), and as disciples of Christ, let us speak every line of this prayer as our hearts' longing to Our Father who is in heaven. And may it be prayed aloud: a daily reminder that all of our gifts, talents, abilities, struggles and sacrifices are for the purpose of His name, His kingdom and His will, which is our greatest desire as we continue following our Lord Jesus Christ all the days of our life. In Jesus’ precious name, Amen.

~ Jessica & James

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