When Praying

Matthew 6:7 And when praying, do not choose many words, as the pagans do. For they think that by their excess of words they might be heeded. I have attended meetings where someone is asked to say a blessing over the meal. Too often I have witnessed those table blessings go on and on often filled with many extraneous words, such as repeating “Father” a dozen times in the prayer. As if God needs to be reminded who He is or that you are still speaking to Him. You would not do that if talking to “Bill”. How strange that would sound if you said, “Bill, I thank you, Bill, for coming, Bill, to our gathering that, Bill, you could be present, Bill, when, Bill, we dedicate this building, Bill, in your name, Bill.” The best prayer is a conversation with God. Say what needs to said then stop and listen. Prayer Lord, forgive us for not giving you enough time to answer and for piling up empty words when we pray. Amen. Also visit my other blogs
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    THEY HAD ONE JOB TO DO

    Mark 14:32-42

    Then they came to a place called Gethsemane. He said to his disciples, “Stay here while I pray.” He took Peter, James, and John with him and began to feel distressed and anguished. He said to them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying. Wait here, and stay awake.” After walking a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible he might not have to suffer what was ahead of him. He said, “Abba! Father! You can do anything. Take this cup of suffering away from me. But let your will be done rather than mine.” He went back and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake for one hour? Stay awake, and pray that you won’t be tempted. You want to do what’s right, but you’re weak.” He went away again and prayed the same prayer as before. He found them asleep because they couldn’t keep their eyes open. They didn’t even know what they should say to him. He came back a third time and said to them, “You might as well sleep now. It’s all over. The time has come for the Son of Man to be handed over to sinners. Get up! Let’s go! The one who is betraying me is near.”

    This person had one job to do, paint two parallel yellow lines in the middle of the road. For mile upon mile he had done just that. And then something happened. Maybe he dozed for just a moment or maybe he was distracted momentarily. For whatever reason, he failed to do the one thing he was supposed to do.

    Jesus gave Peter, James, and John one job to do, wait and stay awake. He had told them, “My anguish is so great that I feel as if I’m dying.” Three times he prayed and they slept. One simple job, and they failed … repeatedly!

    Imagine for a moment that your best friend had just told you that they felt like they were dying and they asked you to wait and watch over them while they prayed. What would you do? Now put yourself in the other place. You are the one who feels like your dying. What would you expect of your friends?

    I would expect to pray with my friend and have them pray with me. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to fall asleep when I was at my darkest hour.

    Prayer
    Lord, forgive us for times that we also “fall sleep”. It may no not be actual sleep but times when inattentive to you calling to us. Or those times when our friends have needed us and we’ve not been there for them. Open our ears that we may hear. Open our eyes that we may see. Open our minds that we may know. Open our mouths that we may speak, and open our hearts that we might love. Amen

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    Truly Wise Men

    Matthew 2:9-12 After they (the wise men from the east) had heard the king, they started out. The star they had seen rising led them until it stopped over the place where the child was. They were overwhelmed with joy to see the star. When they entered the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary. So they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. God warned them in a dream not to go back to Herod. So they left for their country by another road.

    When the wise men visited King Herod of Judea and said that they were seeking the King of the Jews, Herod wasn’t happy. He was man jealous of his power. So much so that Herod murdered his wife Mariamne, her two sons, her brother, her grandfather, and her mother because he suspected that they were plotting against him.

    Then men from the east came seeking a new King. He told the wise men to find this new King and report back to him so that he might go and worship him.

    They were not fooled and followed the warning from God not to return to Herod.

    Prayer Lord, let us hear your voice so that we also may be truly wise. We hear so much from the mouths off powerful people, claiming to want the best for us. Not all are being honest. Give us discernment. Amen.

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    For You and Me

    Hebrews 2:14-17
    Therefore, because children have a common flesh and blood, he (Jesus) himself also, in like manner, has shared in the same, so that through death, he might destroy him who held the dominion of death, that is, the devil, 15. and so that he might free those who, through the fear of death, had been condemned to servitude throughout their entire life. 16. For at no time did he take hold of the Angels, but instead he took hold of the offspring of Abraham. 17. Therefore, it is fitting for him to be made similar to his brothers in all things, so that he might become a merciful and faithful High Priest before God, in order that he might bring forgiveness to the offenses of the people.

    Jesus, God with us, CHOSE to live the life of a human being. He likewise chose to die a physical death to free us from the fear of death. This is how much he loves us and chooses to have us share eternity with him.

    Prayer
    Jesus, thank you for your great sacrifice for us. Forgive us for the times we have failed to makes the tiniest sacrifice for you.
    Amen.

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    True Peace

    2 Chronicles 14:6 

    The king of Judah built fortified cities in Judah. For it was quiet, and in his time no wars had arisen. For the Lord was generously granting peace.

    I remember something a Marine friend of mine said, “Nothing is a frightening as a time of peace.” I think I know what he meant. Countries use a time of peace to build up their defenses. More weapons can be stockpiled during peace than during war. Resources can be used to prepare for the next battle, the next war.

    True peace is more than an absence of fighting. Jesus said, “Peace I leave for you; my Peace I give to you. Not in the way that the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let it not fear.” (John 14:27)

    His peace is the true peace. It is the peace you carry inside you. It is the peace of knowing that the Holy Spirit dwells within you, teaching, guiding, and protecting you. His peace is with you during times of conflict not just between conflicts and wars.

    Prayer
    Lord, we see conflict all around us, nation against nation, neighbor against neighbor, and family against family. Strife is everywhere, at home, at school, and at work. We now claim your peace that passes all understanding.
    Amen.

    ©2020 Thomas E. Williams

    Luke 4:16-21

    Luke 4:16-21, 28

    And he went to Nazareth, where he had been raised. And he entered into the synagogue, according to his custom, on the Sabbath day. And he rose up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. And as he unrolled the book, he found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; because of this, he has anointed me. He has sent me to evangelize the poor, to heal the contrite of heart, to preach forgiveness to captives and sight to the blind, to release the broken into forgiveness, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution.” And when he had rolled up the book, he returned it to the minister, and he sat down. And the eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. Then he began to say to them, “On this day, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

    And all those in the synagogue, upon hearing these things, were filled with anger.


    First a little history. The practice in the synagogues was to have seven readers every sabbath, the first a priest, the second a Levite, and the other five Israelites of that synagogue. Jesus was raised in, and a member of, that very synagogue. As a member, he may have often been one of the readers for the day. However this day was special. This was the day that he announced to family, friends, and neighbors his God given ministry.

    Family and friends may be the hardest to whom you ever minister. Those who’ve known you longest know all your failures, the foolish things, and perhaps the sinful ways of your past. But they are the ones whom you most want to seer saved.

    One Spirit

    1 Corinthians 12:4-11

    There are different spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit gives them. There are different ways of serving, and yet the same Lord is served. There are different types of work to do, but the same God produces every gift in every person. The evidence of the Spirit’s presence is given to each person for the common good of everyone. The Spirit gives one person the ability to speak with wisdom. The same Spirit gives another person the ability to speak with knowledge. To another person the same Spirit gives courageous faith. To another person the same Spirit gives the ability to heal. Another can work miracles. Another can speak what God has revealed. Another can tell the difference between spirits. Another can speak in different kinds of languages. Another can interpret languages. There is only one Spirit who does all these things by giving what God wants to give to each person.


    For the common good is the reason that the gifts of the Spirit are given.

    Wisdom
    Knowledge

    Courageous
    Healing
    Miracles

    Prophecy
    Discernment
    Speaking languages
    Understanding languages,

    These are given to be of service to the church, which is the body of Christ, for the glory of God. Do not be prideful or boastful puff your gift. No gift is given for self glorification. No one earns a gift of the Spirit. The GIFTS are given by the Spirit to fulfill the will of God.

    Prayer
    Lord, we come seeking Your will and purpose. We place these Spirit given gifts under your direction that they may be used for the common good.
    Amen.

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    The Great Reward

    The teachings of the LORD are perfect. They renew the soul. The testimony of the LORD is dependable. It makes gullible people wise. The instructions of the LORD are correct. They make the heart rejoice. The command of the LORD is radiant. It makes the eyes shine. The fear of the LORD is pure. It endures forever. The decisions of the LORD are true. They are completely fair. They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even the drippings from a honeycomb. As your servant I am warned by them. There is a great reward in following them. (Psalms 19:7-11)

    Some assembly required. Those three little words seem so innocent on the package. But when you’ve opened the box and the myriad of pieces fall you the floor your heart sinks. How will this scattered pile of parts ever resemble the desired product? Read through the instructions and follow them step by step and like magic it begins to appear!

    Do You want your soul renewed? Do you wish to be wise? Does your heart rejoice and your eyes shine?
    Read the teachings of the Lord adds follow them.

    Lord forgive us for our impatience. We like children want all of your promises fulfilled in or lives. However, we often fail to follow Your instructions on how to achieve  them. Grant us wisdom and patience as we read and follow the directions.
    Amen.

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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    “I Won’t Grow Up”

    I remember Peter Pan singing, “I won’t grow up, I don’t want to go to school. Just to learn to be a parrot, And recite a silly rule. If growing up means It would be beneath my dignity to climb a tree, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up. Not me!!

    I won’t grow up, I don’t want to wear a tie. And a serious expression In the middle of July. And if it means I must prepare To shoulder burdens with a worried air, I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up Not me.”

    Matthew 18:1-4 1. In that hour, the disciples drew near to Jesus, saying, “Whom do you consider to be greater in the kingdom of heaven?” 2. And Jesus, calling to himself a little child, placed him in their midst. 3. And he said: “Amen I say to you, unless you change and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. 4. Therefore, whoever will have humbled himself like this little child, such a one is greater in the kingdom of heaven.

    Jesus did not say, “Don’t grow up. Don’t mature.” He said that we are to become humble like children. A child is humble because he recognizes how powerless he is. We are to recognize our true powerlessness and who is the true source of power.

    The author of the Letter to the Hebrews has this to say about immature Christians, “Our message about him is great, and difficult to explain when speaking, because you have been made feeble when listening. 12. For even though it is the time when you ought to be teachers, you are still lacking, so that you must be taught the things that are the basic elements of the Word of God, and so you have been made like those who are in need of milk, and not of solid food. 13. For anyone who is still feeding on milk is still unskillful in the Word of Justice; for he is like an infant. 14. But solid food is for those who are mature, for those who, by practice, have sharpened their mind, so as to discern good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:11-14 11)


    My question for you is, have you sharpened your mind? Have you taken time to study the word of God? Have you applied the truths you have learned? Are you about your Father’s business? Have you grown up?

    Prayer
    Father, forgive us our immaturity. Grant us wisdom. Grant us strength of conviction to do the tasks that you have for us. Amen.

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    ©2020 Thomas E Williams
    • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
    http://TomAndEllaJournal.WordPress.com
    • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
    ©2020 Thomas E Williams

    Baptism of Jesus

    Matthew 3:13-17

    13. Then Jesus appeared. He came from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John. 14. But John tried to stop him and said, “I need to be baptized by you. Why are you coming to me?” 15. Jesus answered him, “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.” Then John gave in to him. 16. After Jesus was baptized, he immediately came up from the water. Suddenly, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God coming down as a dove to him. 17. Then a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love–my Son with whom I am pleased.”

    Do you, like me, and like John the baptizer, find it odd that Jesus wound request to be baptized? We’re not alone. Theologians have questioned, debated, and theorized for centuries about this event in the Lord’s life. Jesus was the perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish. Since he was without sin, he had nothing for which to repent.

    And what did Jesus say about the reason for being baptized? “This is the way it has to be now. This is the proper way to do everything that God requires of us.”

    Though it is difficult or impossible for us to understand, it was required by God. It was that initial step required before beginning his public ministry. And, as a dutiful son, he obeyed. He who had no need, humbled himself to be baptized.

    PrayerLord, we are once again reminded that we don’t need to understand but to obey.
    Amen.

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  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
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  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams

  • Tom and Ella’s Daily Journal of Our Lives
  • http://TomAndEllaJournal.WordPress.com
  • My NEW sermons blog Armchair Sermons. Sermons posted Sundays 10 AM central time.
  • ©2020 Thomas E Williams