Do you believe? – 1-10-22

Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13 NKJV

Jesus says to pray this way, Jesus also prayed daily – so this is a daily prayer. It is simple and covers all the basis. There are hundreds of study guides to teach you to pray this way and all the things that fall into the different categories when this pray is broken up into section.
Personally I like to prayerfully quote this (sometimes interrupting myself when I have something heavy on my heart) – but then in addition – I just talk with God. Sometimes I just pray in the spirit. Sometimes I just cry and weep and get a bit fervent.  I’ll admit, sometimes I have a grievance with God and I take that to him as well.  Prayer – it is how we talk to God.

RELATIONSHIP:

Do you already have a relationship with a powerful God who cares about your every need because He loves you? Did you know my God can communicate with you and protect you – He has a plan for you to prosper if you just submit to His will and let His plan play out in your life!!! God wants a relationship with you and has already made a plan for your life. He loves you so much He sent His son to this world, to die as a sacrifice for your sins and rise from death with victory over sin and the ability to have a personal relationship with you.
“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10 NIV
Here is a prayer for you to pray:
Jesus, I believe you are the way, the truth, the life, and the only way to the Father. I believe you are the son of God, you came to Earth and lived. That you died on the cross as a sacrifice for my sins, and rose again so that I may be saved from my sins and be able to get to know you. I declare: Jesus, you are Lord!
Therefore, I confess that I am a sinner and I ask that you forgive me of my sins and come into my life. Help me to turn away from my sins and transform me into what you have lovingly created me to be. Help me through a real personal relationship grow and accept your will for my life – that I may live in your blessings. Please walk with me, and talk with me – I accept a relationship with you and with our Father God, through you. In the name of Jesus I pray ~ Amen

BIBLE READING:

Dear Heavenly Father – Please give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of who you are, who Jesus is, and who the Holy Spirit is. Open the eyes of our understanding, please, so we may know the hope of our calling and the vast sovereignty and power of the grace of the cross. Please do not let us miss out on what you want and need from us today. Lord, I pray that your word prepares us and not scares us! We forbid the works and influences of fear over your word and our sound mind. And please keep us and bless us and shine your face upon us and pour out grace over us and give us peace! Thank you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen

Today’s reading is the Book of Matthew chapter 6 (embedded below for your convenience in the NKJV). 

Do Good to Please God

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you [a]openly.

The Model Prayer

“And when you pray, you shall not be like the [b]hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [c]openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
As we forgive our debtors.
13 And do not lead us into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.
[d]For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Fasting to Be Seen Only by God

16 “Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the [e]hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 17 But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you [f]openly.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The Lamp of the Body

22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is [g]good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is [h]bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

You Cannot Serve God and Riches

24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and [i]mammon.

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [j]cubit to his [k]stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [l]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Footnotes

  1. aMatthew 6:4 NU omits openly
  2. bMatthew 6:5 pretenders
  3. cMatthew 6:6 NU omits openly
  4. dMatthew 6:13 NU omits the rest of v. 13.
  5. eMatthew 6:16 pretenders
  6. fMatthew 6:18 NU, M omit openly
  7. gMatthew 6:22 Clear, or healthy
  8. hMatthew 6:23 Evil, or unhealthy
  9. iMatthew 6:24 Lit., in Aram., riches
  10. jMatthew 6:27 About 18 inches
  11. kMatthew 6:27 height
  12. lMatthew 6:29 dressed

MEMORY VERSE CHALLENGE:

Numbers 23:19– “God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

STUDY/DEVOTIONAL:

The first half, or so, of today’s reading is a repetitive lesson – multiple examples all pointing to the same common, core-concept.  
We do not enter into a relationship with the Lord, to become Christians. We do so to have a relationship with God. And like a relationship with a friend or spouse, here on earth, we do things for them not to have it photographed and placed on Instagram with a humble-brag – instead we do things so the other person feels love.  It is a love language to do for someone, so is spending time.  God is very clear that it is one of His love languages… He knows we love him when we talk to him, spend time with him, and do things for him – just giving of ourselves to Him (not to Instagram, not to show off for our friends, and not to be seen). In exchange He shows love the same way, as well as giving us good things.

I was at an all-night prayer meeting last night and with each prayer point, the pastor came to the pulpit and read a verse and gave us the topic we were to agree in prayer for, and everyone prayed at the same time out loud, for 45 minutes on that point, then we sang a song and got the next prayer point.
There was no taking turns to pray – no one could pray to be seen or heard. No one could pray off topic and if they did it was drown out by the droning sound of hymnful agreement in prayer. Most prayed in the spirit, some in song with melody and harmony, it literally sounded like what incents smoke looks like it sound like raising up to the heavenliest. No one’s prayers were sermons reprimanding other. No one was spouting off about things they should have dealt with privately with God and not in corporate prayer. These are the kinds of prayer meetings I remember – these are the prayer meetings I would fight hell NOT to miss.

During one section of Bible reading – a passage I am passionate about and reference here often – something profound occurred to me. It was a subtle shift, like most profound revelations.  I love the verse because it is powerful and I believe it… but to hear it preached, to hear audience erroneously grab only the blessing part and pull it out of context… and the preacher neatly slid it back into context – this is when I realized, people do not really believe. Seriously. The verses say we already have this particular blessing, this is why I am so excited. But if other also believed it…  I mean, God is already moving, so asking for a move is not smart. He is moving, you need to step into his move. I mean, stop asking for more anointing when you aren’t using the anointing he gave you – you are already equipped with EVERYTHING you need. I mean, if we really believe this stuff… things would look different.

Think about it. Even stuff in my own life, where my own believe fall short. None of us are exempt. If you are, then you must be a world renowned preacher, casting out demons, healing the sick, lame, blind, deaf and making many disciples – like Peter and Paul! And thank you for reading my humble little study! (But even when Peter and Paul self-reflected they admitted they too could do better. None of us believe perfectly.)

Then this I was reading in Mark chapter 6…
“Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief. Then He went about the villages in a circuit, teaching.” Mark 6:5-6 NKJV

It stood out to me: ‘their unbelief’.  Herein is the pandemic! Herein is the fear and the struggles and the lack!  Where is the blessing?

Well, if you believe you do not need to see your blessings to live in it. And how does that make sense? Take me for example: lost my job, struggling with a business startup and it isn’t supporting me yet, multiple things broke down, not to mention so many other things …. What we see with our eyes is some terrible luck. Thank God I do not believe in luck! Maybe it is a Book of Job season? Maybe it is an attack from the enemy? I do not care what it is, because I am safe and sound inside my Father’s Arms completely provided for. My debt is decreasing not increasing as I pay things off. My bills are all paid on time. I have food in my kitchen. I have clothes and heat and shelter. And repairs are slowing happening. I am blessed! There are people without these things. I am blessed in my belief.

Jesus’s solution to unbelief? Teaching.  I like teaching the Bible. I like giving the salvation message and evangelizing.  We are called to go and make disciples… so we need to do a little of both. Which I try to do with this blog.  But I do not know how to teach to increase your faith. I do not know that I can do anything to your mind. Faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17) so I will keep teaching and trust that the Holy Spirit does the rest. Because I cannot cause you to believe this but He can.

Anyway – the core of the beginning of today’s reading is: do you actually believe God is real and you have a relationship with Him? If you do, you will do things for Him and if you do not really believe you will do things to be seen by others.
And if you don’t think the core of it is belief – let’s look at the rest of the chapter which also addresses belief!

Verses 19-21 “Lay Up Treasures in Heaven” – Seriously, if you believe this, then what good are things of this time and place? Can I bring a fancy new comfy sofa to heaven? Can I bring a luxury car? I mean, a car that worked consistently would be nice – but when my car has been broken down my relationship with others are strengthened by the extra few minutes with them. People – they are eternal – store up riches there. You can take them to heaven with you!!! What you treasure will show others your unbelief or belief.

Do you believe this stuff – I mean actually believewith all abandonment of reason, even though it is all quite reasonable in hindsight! This lack of belief will darken you – rob you of the joy – even deceive you into believing it is light – seriously look at verse 23: “…therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!”   Unbelief will show in your eyes.

Your unbelief will show in your management and pursuit of riches.
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Matt. 6:24

And finally – your unbelief will expose you in your worry. With a new variant weekly, lately, and all the declarations of overwhelmed hospitals and dying people… Did you know in American the majority is unvaxxed or had only one and never went back?! That is right – most people are NOT buying this!  Do you know that the ones who have taken the vax are the majority who are sick and dying? Yes, more vaccinated people are sick and dying then unvaccinated! Did you know that the greatest number of new cases came days after a vaccine?
OK – so the truth isn’t out there for everyone – I mean we do not all have access to it. But regardless of the fact that the truth says we are safer then we realize, Psalm 91 says no plague will touch you. Do we believe? If it does touch you, I am not saying you are unrighteous or unsaved or unloved by the father – listen in love to the fact that GOD HAS YOU if you submit to him. It is his perfect will to permit certain things that will bring you into the secret place – for you to dwell and not worry. To be free and not in bondage. Get your eyes off the nonsense or trying to punch holes in and make an argument – that is your unbelieve exposing you. Do you believe the word of God? Then stop fighting it! And stop worrying!

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Matt 6:25-27

I live in a small city. We take out garbage out to the curb, or edge of our property and the street, once a week at night and some time very early in the morning the garbage men come and take it away. It is a nice service. I once lived in a place where we hard to bring the garbage to the dump. With this experience, I learned to be cautious with my waste to clean things so they will not attract animals and bugs. Anyway, they moved garbage night due to New Year’s Eve and I missed the announcement as well as most of the people on my street. A friend told me at the last minute and I did not put out my garbage on the usual garbage night. The next day as I drove down a street, which was covered in garbage and ripped up bags, this verse came to me. God fed the stray cats, skunks, raccoons, possums, AND the birds.  They all started the New Year with quite a feast by the looks of things! Boy did they party!  Not just what they needed… but exceedingly abundant.

How do we then look at this and not believe?  God’s goodness is amazing – we just aren’t always in the spirit to see His ways or we do not believe. I mean aren’t you more valuable to God than a skunk? If he provided a New Year’s Eve feast for the skunk can he not keep you from getting a cold?  Yes the world is getting dark – but we are called to live in the light. DO we believe this stuff or don’t we?  Ok, you caught the cold – now call on the elders of the church to lay hand on you and you’ll be healed! Come on – do we believe this stuff or don’t we?!  Don’t tell me it isn’t wise… because Jesus laid hands of the leper and it is MORE UNWISE to DISOBEY the SCRIPTURES! You hear me?!  Do we believe? Or don’t we?

I think it is time we believe.

“Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24

 ***

Thank you for reading in 2022 – a Year of Wisdom and Salvation
May the God of peace keep you and bless you. May you stay focused on Christ and covered in grace.
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!

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