“When they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.” (John 21:9) One of the resurrections stories tells of Christ fixing breakfast for the disciples! What a beautiful thought. Cosmic power and concern for practical things. The fourth petition of the Lord’s prayer (give us this day our daily bread) teaches us to speak to the Lord re. our practical needs, because He cares. It is a prayer of trust. “Every good gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). It also assumes responsible effort. “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught” (John 21:10), says the Lord as a reminder that one of the ways He will answer our prayer for bread is by blessing our efforts. Take courage, dear friend. The Lord is near. He cares about our needs. Ask! Obey! Trust!
“Be doers of the word, not merely hearers.” (James 1:22) The great design of God in His word is to make us doers of His will. What we DO is our witness to others. “They will see your good works and glorify your Father” (Matthew 5:16) What we DO is proof to God of our genuine love. “He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves me.” (John 14:21) The third petition of the Lord’s prayer asks “Thy will be DONE”. Nothing will ever bless your life more than the doing of God’s will. Nothing will make you more like Christ. One act of obedience is better than a thousand pledges of our love for God. Friend, today as you pray, will you ask God to help you discern and DO His will?
Does God govern your life? Are your attitudes and actions set by a vital, powerful, daily encounter with the LIVING Lord? The second petition of the Lord’s prayer asks for God’s kingdom to come. We ask for God’s government of our lives to become more and more obvious with every passing day. This coming Sunday, we will study John 20. It tells of one of the appearances of Christ after His resurrection. We will think together about His words, “As the Father has sent me, so send I you”. Question: Is your life a conscious reflection of the purpose of God? If Christ came to seek and to save the lost, doesn’t He send us into the world for the same purpose? Love for Christ requires us to embrace this goal. It is what we mean when we pray “thy Kingdom come”. I am praying with you today. I will look for you on Sunday.
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as LORD and believe in your heart that God RAISED HIM FROM THE DEAD, you will be saved”. (Romans 10:9) Apart from the resurrection, “Jesus is Lord” is an empty declaration. If He is not alive, Jesus CANNOT be our Lord. If He is alive He MUST be our Lord. The second petition of the Lord’s prayer is “Thy KINGDOM come”. It reminds us that Jesus is a King and that we are His loyal and grateful subjects. “The Kingdom of God is. . .righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit”. (Romans 14:17) As the grace of God increases in our hearts, so these Kingdom signs should grow more and more pronounced with each passing day. His Kingdom is not enforced with armies. It comes in the soul conquered by the Spirit of God. When we confess Him as Lord, we should pray for lives that show it.
“He leads ME in the paths of righteousness for HIS OWN NAME’S SAKE”. (Psalm 23) The first petition of the Lord’s prayer is that all men may hallow God’s name. It is an evangelistic prayer. It is, also, a prayer for ourselves through whom lost people are to come to know God’s name and nature. We are part of God’s equation! A dead church cannot preach a living Christ. A sinful church cannot preach a holy God. “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness. . .Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master” (2 Timothy 2:19,21) As you speak to the Lord today about your lost friends, will you ask Him to teach you a life of righteousness? He will use you to draw others to himself.
When Thomas encountered the resurrected Lord, he said, “My Lord and my GOD”. (John 20:28) He worshipped Christ. He “hallowed the name”. It should be our daily prayer that all men do the same. Predicting the cross, Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw ALL men to myself.” (John 12:32) No one was left out! No loss acceptable! As we enter this new week with Easter assurance still ringing in our hearts, are we concerned that so many still do not worship God? Unaware, unconcerned, living secular lives, are these people the focus of our prayers? It is a mistake to talk to people about God before we have talked with God about people. The Great Commandment is to love God with ALL our heart. The Great Petition (and the first in the Lord’s Prayer) is that ALL men do so. Is someone on your heart this morning who does not hallow God’s name?
Today is a day of New Dreams. When Christ rose from the grave He gave the first disciples a new first priority. “That I might know Him and the power of His resurrection” (Philippians 3) was Paul’s dream. It must be ours as well. If Jesus is alive, He MAY be known. If Jesus is alive, He MUST be known. No insult is deeper to God than for us to ignore His son. Perhaps this explains Romans 10:9, “if you. . .believe in your HEART that God raised Him from the dead”. Heart describes the place of our ambitions and desires–the vault where we store what we truly love. Until the Resurrection of Christ changes our deepest loves, until it changes our dreams, we are still strangers to its saving power. In a few hours we will shout together, “He is Risen!” Like prayer, these words only have power if they come from the heart. Bless you, dear friend, on this happy Easter morning.
“that through death he might. . .deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Hebrews 2:15) On Saturday of Holy Week, we remember that Jesus was dead. He never leads us into darker rooms than He, Himself, has gone. Having tasted death Himself, He can support us while we taste it. He can guide us through it to the other side. “Death without Christ is the ‘king of terrors’, but death with Christ loses the sting, the power to hurt that it otherwise would have.” (J.I. Packer) This is why the Apostle’s Creed says “He descended into Hell”. Not because the Lord went to the place of retribution for the godless, (Gehenna) but because He went to the place of the dead (Hades). He really died, and can , therefore, really guide us when that day comes for us. We pray today to a God who understands! He leads us by walking the path with us.
“He Himself partook of the same things (flesh and blood), that THROUGH DEATH He might DESTROY the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil”. (Hebrews 2:14) Today is Good Friday. Good because the Lord’s death on the cross was a GREAT VICTORY. With spiritual eyes, we see through the injustice and cruelty of the crucifixion to the purpose of God. “The cross was the devil’s great blunder. By bringing Christ to the cross, he was defeating himself and bringing about his own ultimate doom.” (Martin Lloyd-Jones) The devil has no power over man except that man is estranged from God. Once the price is paid, and the reconciliation affected, the false kingdom of the evil one crumbled. Sometimes, Christians think of the Resurrection as the victory, the cross being the sad and necessary preparation for the happy day to follow. Not so. The cross was the victory! Today is GOOD Friday.
On Thursday of His last week, Jesus met with the disciples in the upper room. How sweet to think of Him desiring time with us as He did with them! Later in the night, He went to Gethsemane for prayer. Gethsemane is proof that Jesus is truly man. Like us, He wants to avoid suffering if possible. “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” (Matthew 26:39) Have you ever prayed something similar? Gethsemane is also proof that Jesus is truly God. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” Prayer, for the Lord, was the opportunity to learn what may be asked from God with confidence. It is both talking and listening. It is being honest and being courageous when the will of God points in a difficult direction. As we pray today, remember this “other version” of the Lord’s Prayer. . .”not as I will, but as you will”. Teach us to pray, Lord!