Tuesday, February 21, 2017

PRIVATE MEETINGS AND PUBLIC PERFORMANCES



Matthew6:
5"And when you come before God, don't turn that into a theatrical production either. All these people making a regular show out of their prayers, hoping for stardom! Do you think God sits in a box seat?
 6"Here's what I want you to do: Find a quiet, secluded place so you won't be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace.




There will always be people who use prayer as a way of getting attention from others.  It can happen by invading the personal space of others, preaching and judging with the publicly heard content of their words or by hoping that someone watching them will be inspired.

Jesus understood our weakness for wanting attention and showing off.  He invites us to purposely find a quiet place away from others so we can focus on God and not on what the people around us are thinking.

There are those who love the theatrical stage that religion can provide and use it to showboat.  There are also those of us who need seclusion in prayer because we get caught up in wondering what other people in the room are thinking about us.

Do yourself a favour and get alone from time to time.  There you can be yourself in prayer.




Monday, February 20, 2017

ANSWERING OTHERS


Matthew 7:
9   "Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone?
10   "Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he?
11   "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!
12   "In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.


God answers your prayer appropriately with the best, possible solution. There is not a more appropriate responder to human need than the One who created us in the first place. Isn’t this at the heart of justice-- appropriate and fair treatment?  When we pray, God desires to act justly towards us.

In light of God’s good nature to respond appropriately as a loving Father to us, it is not surprising that Jesus’ very next words focus on how we are to treat each other.

If you want people to treat you fairly and justly, then treat them that way.  Some think they can have a love/hate relationship with you and slander you when you don’t answer their requests the way they want you to.

God answers our prayers, and we should have an answer for everyone that asks something of us.



Saturday, February 18, 2017

PRAYER IMPERSONATORS

The animal kingdom is filled with many examples of creatures with strange dances and behaviours to attract the attention of a potential mate.  Often, the male species will be endowed with more colourful feathers, skin colours or mighty horns to show off.


Power struggles occur between competitive males to beat off the weaker ones.

This is characteristic behaviour for animals, but what about humans? Have you seen the way some people act to try and attract a potential mate? While the posturing may be colourful and funny, it has little to do with the integrity of the one acting out. 

Many religions also are filled with examples of followers with strange dances and behaviours to attract the attention of their god. The prophets of Baal shouted, cut themselves with knives and worked themselves into a frenzy trying to get Baal’s attention.

Jesus saw the exaggerations of religion around him and taught by example and teaching how we should approach God.  Jesus’ words on prayer are as relevant today as in the first century when vanity was just as prevalent.

Jesus teaches his followers how to be real.  You do not need to impersonate or act dramatically to engage in prayer. The goal is to be your self before God.  What can we learn from Jesus about being ourselves when we pray?

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