It’s Thursday morning and as we do each morning, part of our day is spent grooming in the bathroom and working to make ourselves “presentable and not offensive” to others. I think pretty much everyone when they look into the mirror, they realize they have some physical thing(s) about themselves that is less than “perfect” in their eyes, based on the voice of society. Society is so hard to please and in fact, it is down right impossible apart from touched up photos! People can become very downcast in their souls over it and may spend mega bucks and time to attempt to change their perceived imperfections or cover over them and with age, the more of these imperfections appear. I really haven’t ever met anyone who confidently says “Yep, I’m a perfect physical specimen in the eyes of the world!” If you can relate to the struggle over what seems as physical defects, be encouraged that everyone is in the same boat on this issue, in that we all have them and it keeps us humble so it is actually good for us not to see ourselves as perfect in appearance. Our Father shows me these Words this morning to help us to have a good viewpoint of ourselves. He tells us we are fearfully and wonderfully made and I agree. Let’s see any of us create us from nothing and see what we get. YIKES AND SCARY!!! Can you imagine the time, cost and energy and smarts it would take to even attempt it and where would we even start? I’m glad I don’t have that job assignment!!! Are ya listening, boss? Our Father says man looks at the outward appearance, but He looks at the heart of each of us. It is the heart that is the most important part of us! We should help each other to view and beautify this part of us far more as a priority over our appearances. I am thinking it is important in the mornings to groom our hearts to make them presentable and not offensive by spending time letting our Father’s voice speak to us. At the end of life, what we will desire to be remembered about us will not be “Well, back in her younger days, she physically looked pretty good! I really doubt it will be said “Why she looked as good physically at 92 as she did at 29! I surmise it will be far more important what we did with our life. I hope based on my heart it is said “Why at 92, how she lived her life for the Lord was much better than when she was 29!” Do I hear any “amens” out there? An outwardly beautiful person can be very unattractive if they have an ugly heart and vice versa. As I think about grooming myself for presentation in life, I find my Father’s voice about how He has “groomed” us encouraging: Jesus loved each one of us so much as the church and as His bride that He laid down His physical self to death on the cross to cleanse us from our sin by the washing with water through the Word (renewal and rebirth in Him) and to present us to Himself as radiant (shining, glorious, brilliant, bright), without stain (spot or discoloration, taint of guilt) or any other blemish (a flaw that spoils, a shame). Hence, we are holy (set apart as His and sacred as a temple of God) and blameless (without fault). We now shine with unsullied (unsoiled, undefiled) splendor in the eyes of the Greatest One in the Universe. Ya can’t impress anyone any grander than He and He designed each of us just the way that He desired us to be and covered over all our imperfections through Christ’s cleansing of us. So let’s step out into this day with confidence in Him! We can smile a big smile as we are His amazing, special and loved kids – beautiful right down to our feet that carry His Good News into the world! Whistle, whistle! Eph 5:25-27; Ps 139:14; 1 Sa 16:7; 1 Pe 5:5-6; 2 Cor 6:16; Col 1:22; Ro 10:13-15
Good Thursday morning! Today, I’m seeking to trust in all our Father intends for us! Yahoo! I know Dad has the best plan ever for each of us and I’m excited to see how it all plays out. It’s gonna be exciting. Yep, it’s another adventure. Here we go moving along in this gift called life! That is exactly what the disciples and Jesus are doing as we peek inside of Mark’s storybook today. It says as they went along about life, they came across that fig tree again that we studied yesterday. Peter remembered it well and he pointed it out saying “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered from the roots.” Do you ever keep a prayer journal to go back and look at what you have prayed and how our Dad answered your prayers? It’s good to remember His faithfulness! Peter’s expression here is interesting. It is on one hand an attitude that is very excited in seeing the answer to Jesus’ prayer or heart desire towards the fig tree and on the other hand it is expressing an attitude of shock or surprise that Jesus’ prayer was actually answered as He had prayed it. What happened here is that Jesus’ will was spoken and the Father answered it in accordance to His will. Jesus tells the disciples they needed to pray in the same way. He said “Have faith in God. I tell you Truth. If anyone says to this mountain be cast into the sea and does not doubt, it will be done for you. Faith accepts it as good as done! Have you ever prayed a prayer and then said “thanks, God because I know you will be faithful with this request?” Jesus told His disciples that “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.” In John 14:12-13, Jesus told them “anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.” To have faith is to believe without doubt that all things are possible with God and each day holds the possibility of a miracle. In fact, each moment of every day IS a miracle. This passage of God’s Word is one of those that must be taken in context with all the rest of God’s Word – the Bible needs to be looked at as a whole. As we do so, we find that while all things are possible for God, prayer in accordance to our Father’s will is important. If a father tells his child “For your best interest, I do not want you to eat three giant candy bars right before bedtime,” it seems it would be out of line for the child to then ask his father as he is being tucked into bed for three candy bars. He can believe with all of his heart that the father will give him the candy, but it would be going against the father’s character, his spoken word or will for him to do so. The father would not want to honor his child’s request knowing it would be harmful or not in the best interest to his child’s well being in the long run. It would also be out of line for the father to give in to the child’s foolish request and to do so would not be an act of love. The same is true with our Daddy in Heaven. Our Dad IS love and is all about blessing us, but it is in the context of Jesus’ name. Jesus taught us to pray “hallowed be Thy name” when talking to our Father. To pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in accordance with all Jesus was and is. It is to pray in accordance with carrying forward the work Jesus intends. We see this even in Jesus’ life when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that “if it be possible, that the hour might pass from Him.” He said to His Father “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” At first glance, it can look like all the work Jesus had been so geared up to accomplish on the cross for our sins was now being thrown under the bus so to speak with regards to His heart’s desire. But in reality, it was a prayer for unity in accordance with His Father’s will. He was actually praying the time would move forward (the hour would pass) and that the work on the cross would be completed. His prayer for the cup to be removed was the cup of death that He would experience. He was praying here to be raised up again from the cup of death and three days after His death, He rose again. Praise Dad!!! The Father honored both of Jesus’ requests because He prayed in accordance with the Father’s will. If He had prayed contrary in asking that the cross not happen, it would’ve been a whole different story and one contrary to the character of God. It would’ve been a sad day for us all!!! Jesus ends His teaching in this passage by saying “when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him (her) so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” This speaks to me again the importance of taking a stand in line with our Father’s will when we pray by having an attitude of forgiveness towards others including ourselves. If our Father forgives us, we need to forgive others. Also, do we forgive ourselves? This is important because it is to stand in agreement with the Father that we are forgiven for our sins. It is not good for us to hang on to our failures. We need to learn from them, but release them as cleansed from us and forgiven by our Father so that our Father has an attitude of forgiveness towards us when we pray. Oh, our Dad is so sweet to want to bless us. I’m thinking it is important that we study His Word so that we know His will – His good, pleasing and perfect will. This will help us to pray in accordance to His Kingdom come and that’s what this cowgirl desires as I know it is His best for me! It is also such a comfort to me that even when we do not know what to pray, the Holy Spirit within us takes where we lack and intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. As a result, when we pray or ask about anything with an attitude of desiring our Father’s will, we can believe without a doubt that we will receive His will that holds back nothing as being impossible. That thought for me moves a huge mountain of anxiety into the sea of peace for my life that only my Daddy can bring about. I’m thinking I’ll pray my way through this day and trust my Daddy for the results, how about you? Peace to ya’s!
Mk 11:20-25, 14:35-36; 1 Sa 1:26; Eph 4:32; Ro 8:22-39, 12:2; 1 Jn 5:14-15, Jn 14:12-14, 27, 15:7, 16:23-24; Mt 6:9-10, 18:20