Tag Archives: God’s love

God’s promises to us in prayer

The last Tuesday of the month is out monthly prayer breakfast at First Saint Johns Lutheran Church. It is a time to lift up prayer for each other, for the church that God has put us in, for our community, any other needs that people bring up. Everyone is welcome, it’s a great breakfast and a really great time of fellowship in prayer.

It is also a time for a little teaching. We can all always use a little more guidance in our prayer/devotional life and I found he following is from Martin Luther which will be a topic of conversation:

“Good prayer that is heard by God has two prerequisites. First, we must consider God’s promise that he will hear us. By reminding him of his promise, we can dare to pray confidently. For God hadn’t asked us to pray and hadn’t promised to hear us, then all people praying their requests together wouldn’t be able to receive even the smallest item.

So no one receives anything from God because of the quality of the prayer, but only because of God’s goodness. God anticipates all of our requests and desires. With his promise, he prompts us to pray and desire these things so that we will learn how much he cares for us. He cares for us so much that he is prepared to give us even more than we are ready to receive or to ask for. Because he is offering us so much, we can pray with confidence.

Second, we must not doubt what the true and faithful God promises to do. He promises to hear our prayers – yes, he even commands us to pray. He promises this so that we might firmly believe that our prayers will be answered. As Christ says, ‘That’s why I tell you to have faith that you have already received whatever you pray for, and it will be yours’ (Mark 11:24; Matthew 21:22). Christ also says, ‘So I tell you to ask and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. Everyone who asks will receive. The one who searches will find, and for the person who knocks, the door will be opened’ (Luke 11:9-10). By trusting in these promises and obeying thee commands, we can pray with confidence.” (Through Faith Alone  365 Devotional Readings from Martin Luther October 30)

As in everything in our relationship with God it is about Him guiding us in prayer, it is about Him leading us in everything. We can certainly lift up inspired, high prose in our prayer, but that’s not really the point. Often we would do well to wait in prayer for the Holy Spirit to move us to understand what we really should be praying for and get on God’s track for us instead of us trying to force our prayer and struggle. God truly is waiting to God us in all parts of our life. That is faith, trusting His leading instead of fussing about what we’re supposed to do.

Church is important Douglas Morton of Institute of Lutheran Theology

This is a big issue to me, I hear so much nonsense, to the effect “I’m too smart for church”. Yet when someone needs it, they expect the church, the people, the worship etc, to be AJ perfect, even though they haven’t done anything to contribute to it. It is important to be a part of the Christian community and that culminates every Sunday morning in worship. For too many people in our society today, it’s the only time when (at least Lutheran worship), it’s about God and not about them.

There  is so much to be done, and there is nothing more important than witnessing to the love, strength, comfort, power of Jesus Christ and the eternal life of the resurrection that He promises. But to be in communion with Christ, you have to be in communion with His Body which is the church. We are His for eternity beginning with being part of His Body in worship and service. The following is from Douglas Morton, take some time to consider what it is to be part of the Body of Christ in worship, service and the prelude to life and life eternal and abundant in Jesus.

Institute of Lutheran Theology, Douglas Morton
Yesterday at 11:06am ·
“You don’t have to go to church to be a Christian?”
True. Nor do you have to breathe to be human. However, we know what happens when we don’t breathe.
The Gospel is the message of sins freely forgiven in Christ. This Gospel gives us life. It’s also what we are to find and breathe in when we “go to church.” Below are four ways this Gospel comes (or should come) to us with its fresh air in the church service.
First, in “church” we come in contact with the word of God. If this doesn’t happen in your congregation, then find another. I’m not saying the church service is the only place we come in contact with God’s word. What I am saying is that the church service is the important place for this to happen. Here we listen to the Scriptures. God’s word often permeates the hymns. The pastor proclaims this word to us in the sermon. We hear both law and Gospel; the law to show us our sins and the Gospel to show us our Savior, who freely takes away our sins. We can get the law in many places. God has even written it on our hearts. However, the Gospel is foreign to us. It must come to us from the outside, in a word from God. Thus, “church” is a great place to hear this Gospel.
Second, in “church” we come in contact with two visible ways (often called “the visible word”) God proclaims his forgiveness for us. In Baptism, we meet the God who puts his name on us – “the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit” – and marks us as his own. In the Lord’s Supper, we meet the whole Christ in his body and blood broken and shed for the forgiveness of our sins.
Third, in “church” we hear God’s audible word of pardon for our sins. This voice comes not in an “immediate voice from heaven,” but in the voice of another, our pastor. Certainly we can hear this absolution elsewhere, from other people. However, many church services begin with a confession of sins. Here we admit before God that we have sinned and need his forgiveness. Then comes absolution, where God speaks his word of pardon to us through the voice of our pastor.

Finally, in “church” we gather with our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We share with each other God’s love and forgiveness in the Savior. This sharing is called the “mutual conversation and consolation of brethren.” There is something wonderful and refreshing about being around others who share with each other the Gospel of sins forgiven in Christ.
The Gospel word is the only word that gives us breath, and thus spiritual life. We live in a world that often suffocates our faith in Christ. In “church” we gather around the fresh air of the life-giving Gospel. The Holy Spirit uses this Gospel to create and sustain our spiritual breathing, thus sustaining our spiritual life.
By the way, “I’d much rather use the words “Worship Service,” or better yet, “Divine Service,” than “church” or “church service.” The “Church” is God’s people. These people come together in the service. Here God serves each with the Gospel that creates and sustains faith. And in faith, we respond with thanksgiving and a life of service.
The Gospel of sins freely and totally forgiven in Christ is the most important air we will ever breathe. Find a Christian congregation that proclaims this Gospel in all of its wonders. Gather regularly with others to breathe in this life-giving word of forgiveness in Christ. You’ve got nothing to lose and a lot of fresh air to inhale.
Douglas V. Morton, the writer of the above article, is the Director of Certificate Programs and Director of Communications at the Institute of Lutheran Theology, an Independent Lutheran Seminary, in Brookings, South Dakota (http://www.ilt.org). He is also Senior Editor of the school’s magazine, The Word at Work and on the Faculty in the Certificate Programs. He is coauthor of From “Vesper Chimes” to ‘The Way International” and The Integrity and Accuracy of The Way Word. He has also written for the Journal of Pastoral Practice, The Quarterly Journal of Personal Freedom Outreach, and for The Word at Work. You may contact him at dmorton@ilt.org.

Fear and awe of Him who wants what is best for us, He loves us very much.

This is from Henry Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day “Those who perceive God as a benevolent and gentle grandfather will treat their sin superficially. They will worship halfheartedly. They will live life on their own terms rather than God’s.”

That really is the way we are in this day and age, it’s all about me, I know best, everyone/ everything is here for my convenience, my pleasure. Come on, you know what Blackaby is talking about. We think of God today as an indulgent, enabling, kind of senile, out of it old man. We reject the Old Testament, because “oh my that has to be a different God…” Really? How do you figure? We paint Jesus to be a sort of milquetoast, meek and mild. This is the same guy who said, ““Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34 ESV, Bible Hub) Cleansing the temple, confronting the Pharisees. In the Old Testament, Yahweh directed Israel to destroy the people in Palestine. These people were profoundly evil, sacrificing their babies, temple prostitution worshipping false “god’s” by trying to pacify evil “gods”. Yahweh wanted His people, Israel, to go into a land where they would not be influenced by evil of these people. To give them a chance to be isolated from the pagan evil around them. They didn’t, the Old Testament is all about Israel/us playing around with evil, getting in trouble, being saved by God, rinse, repeat.

God is perfectly just, He does not tolerate sin. Hey I’m as guilty as anyone, justifying sin as a “mistake”, an isolated incident, misjudgment, whatever gratuitous phrase we like to use. I don’t see anywhere that God has suspended the Ten Commandments, yet we all break them without so much as a “how do you do.” Yes we are all sinners and we do offend God, but for those who are in Christ they are forgiven. They do fear God, fear in the sense of respect, awe, treating Him in the manner that we should treat the Creator, Sustainer and Judge of everything. I really think that deserves profound respect, instead of the casual nod we usually give.

“One of the great condemnations of our day may be that we have lost the fear of God. We promote Him as a ‘best friend’ who saves us and ‘lives in our hearts’, but we do not fear Him.” For many of us, our human dads were stern, they could be fearsome. Often they would act angrily and lash out. Hey, dads are human too, I’m one, I know. But come on, our dads wanted what was best for us, they wanted to send mature, responsible, decent people into the world. To do that, yea sometimes their wrath would be manifested (like that little turn of phrase?). We should want to grow closer to God, to His nature. We can’t achieve that, but that’s where we should be moving. Instead we move towards self-idolatry, living in our self-absored adolescence, convinced that it’s all about us and we don’t owe anyone, no less God anything.

  The world is a dangerous place, no less spiritually then physically. Frankly spiritually it’s far more dangerous. Physically most of us will be fairly safe and die from some break down in our body. Spiritually? Heck check out television, all the people around us, what government is moving towards compelling us to do, what it already does impose. The world is continually trying to position us to compromise our relationship with God. Too often we go along with it expecting that God is supposed to just give us a wave. That’s not the lesson of the Old Testament, heck ever read Revelation, New Testament? 

Blackaby closes by saying “If you find that you have become complacent with God’s commands and have become comfortable in your sin, you are completely isolated from God’s holiness. Take time to meditate upon the awesome holiness of God and allow the Holy Spirit to instill into your life a proper reverence for almighty God.” There can be no question that God loves you, if you are in Christ you are His adopted child. As His child He expects to be treated as the great and awesome God that He is. He wants what is best for you, He is God, He knows what is best for you. If we understand that, why wouldn’t we want God’s way in our lives and put aside our adolescent understanding?