Your Kingdom Come

Your Kingdom Come

Luke 11: 2 “He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.”

A kingdom is an area of activity.

It is a place of our influence, a place where we are free to make our choices.

We have been given these areas since childhood, for parents know the quicker a child can be given a ‘kingdom’ the quicker they can learn integrity, responsibility and commitment. “This is your bedroom (kingdom) we expect you to take care of it!”

God has an area of activity. He has a kingdom. Psalm 45:6. Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a sceptre of justice will be the sceptre of your kingdom

In the beginning mankind was invited into this kingdom of God to reign with Him in partnership. “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” Gen 1:28

Because of the fall and our sin we lost the right to that kingdom.

The end result was that our kingdom became cursed, painful, hard work, sweat and toil for little return.

But prophets began to speak of a new, coming Kingdom of God.

Isaiah spoke of a righteous kingdom.

Malachi of a kingdom of peace and healing.

The after 400 years of no revelation a messenger comes …

“In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Desert of Judea and saying, Repent for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Matt 3:1

Jesus comes and of course carries on that same message. He is in fact the Message of the Kingdom.

“Your Kingdom Come” is a request that the kingdom of God overshadows your kingdom.

Let your kingdom come is a prayer for those who are finding that their kingdom is one of sweat + toil, pain + headache, much effort and little return. Is that you today perhaps? Then make the request of your Father knowing this is in line with His will and therefore hallows His name. But there is more.

The more, is to pray these 3 words over others.

On those whose broken kingdoms are far worse than yours. A couple of weeks ago I was attending a Christian Festival and saw first-hand how the Kingdom of God invaded the lives of people whose kingdom was not just broken but was in tatters. People who had never believed that Church would welcome them experienced the embrace of a new kingdom and the kiss of a Father. There are so many who feel the Church doesn’t want them when these people were the ones who swarmed around Jesus? Your Kingdom Come prayer could change your life completely.

Are you ready?

Hallowed be your Name

Hallowed be your Name

Luke 11:2 “He said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, hallowed be your name …”

One of God’s names in the Bible is Yahweh, it means Father. When the Jewish scribes write Yahweh they immediately go and wash their hands, such is the honour they attribute to it. In fact they avoid pronouncing the name God and use names like Yahweh instead, this is the way they choose to hallow the name.

Father, let your name be holy, sacred.

Let people across the world believe in you. Let them obey you. Let them glorify you. This is the desire of God. Jesus shows his disciples that they should begin to pray in line with that desire.

The Jewish history is of course one of being controlled by foreign powers and living in exile among nations not worshipping Yahweh. God raised up prophets to stir His people and to realise that His name would be hallowed. Ezekiel wrote, “I will show the holiness of my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, the name you have profaned among them. Then the nations will know that I am the Lord, declares the Sovereign Lord, when I am proved holy through you before their eyes.” (36:23)

This promise of God to His people is that of redemption through Jesus. Isaiah carried that same promise: “When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.” (29:23)

We are living in times when people are fashioning God into their own image of what they believe God to be, so that they can be who they want to be. They believe in God, they have faith, but perhaps not the God of the Bible.

And before we roll our eyes and point the finger at this group and the next for creating their own version of God, even ‘Bible-believing’ Christians need to be careful. If our prayer life is about us then we will not receive. If we want our Churches to grow bigger than the Church on the opposite side of the road then we will not receive. If we want promotion so that we can get a bigger car, a more luxurious house to live in, more comfort in this life then we will not receive. Yes, pray for provision and Jesus instructs us to do so. But first fall into line. Make your words aligned to the glory, the honour, the hallowing of His Name. Not my will but yours be done.

When people look at us do they see a person glorifying God? That is the point.

Hallowed be your Name.

Abba

Abba

 

Luke 11: 2 “He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father …”

 

The incredible blessing for every Christian today is that they can address God as Father. This personal, intimate, familiar title is given only because of relationship.

No one before Jesus called God this name.

No one after Jesus calls God, Father, except the followers of Jesus.

Much is said about the fact that Luke omits ‘Our’ as Matthew has it recorded. There are lots of ideas about this.

However, the point is it is more about relationship than a rote. God is your personal ‘Father’ and is your communities ‘Our Father’. But you can call Him Father.

Your Father is kind (Luke 6:36)

Your Father gives wisdom (Luke 10:21)

Your Father gives the Holy Spirit to you when you ask (Luke 11:13)

Your Father knows what you need (Luke 12:30)

Your Father can alleviate your suffering (Luke 22:42)

Your Father forgives (Luke 23:34)

Your Father will take you into eternity (Luke 23:46)

Your Father has the set date and time for the end of the world as we know it (Acts 1:7).

Sit awhile and acknowledge your Father. Abba.

‘How to pray not what to pray’, from a watching disciple.

How to pray not what to pray, from a watching disciple.

Luke 11: 1 “One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’

We were all sat watching him. Time stood still. Transfixed on Jesus who was praying in a certain place. It doesn’t matter where we were but it did matter who we were with. Jesus and His Father. We waited until he had finished. It seemed wrong to interrupt such a powerful moment of intimacy. This was not rote, though Jesus did know the Jewish prayers, he had prayed them since childhood. Many rabbis taught their disciples a prayer, but this was more than that. This was connection, relationship, heart to heart communication which appeared to be that of worshipping as well as asking. This was submission, petition, intercession, praise and thanksgiving. This was the most beautiful sight we had ever seen. This was powerful. It made us think that things would change, be effected and come into being because of this prayer time.

We sat, waiting, watching Jesus. It was so attractive we wanted what he was experiencing. We wanted this ability to enter into prayer like this. We had been appointed as apostles, sent ones, evangelists and miracle workers. But how can we speak to men if we don’t know how to speak to God? We knew how to pray, in that we were not short of words and sentences. But our words seemed cold compared to what we were seeing.

John the Baptist showed his disciples how to pray. Their prayers were that of preparation for the Messiah to come. Prayers of a change of lifestyle. Those disciples seemed to change when they prayed. Their lives followed their prayers.

We were looking for this.

“Teach us to pray”. We asked him. We wanted to know how not what. We were not needing a prayer to be spoken verbatim for the rest of our lives. We were wanting to know how to enter into this prayer life that Jesus had. Jesus seemed to be able to get there. That place of communion with God was what we were seeking.

What came next has been the one thing that has sustained us all our life.

Jesus showed us how to pray…

Don’t you care, Lord?

Don’t you care, Lord?

Luke 10: 40 “But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Have you ever prayed that prayer? Or maybe after thinking it the last thing is you are wanting to pray!

The thought that God just doesn’t care.

From the people who loved Jesus the most comes the question we have all had at some point. Maybe even today. “Lord, don’t you care?”

  • Don’t you care that I am doing everything in the kitchen? Don’t you care there is no one but me doing any work around here? Don’t you care that I am stressed out, worried and losing my temper?

From the people who only were there because Jesus led them there. Obedient followers who hadn’t done anything wrong were now fighting to keep the boat afloat.

Mark 4: 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, ‘Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?’

  • Don’t you care if we die? Don’t you care if it all goes wrong? Don’t you care that we are failing right now? Success seems far away from us. Look around we are sinking, we are going to go under. Financially, in our relationships, in our health, it is all worsening, don’t you care?

What is distracting you? The waves of the sea threatening you? The work that is demanding of you?

Those distractions will pull you away from the truth that YES HE DOES CARE!

Matthew 6: 25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

V26 (Message) “Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds.”

“Careless in the care of God.” What a beautiful few words by Eugene Peterson.

Whether we are in a sinking boat or a hellish kitchen, we must not be distracted from the fact that we worship a God who cares for us. It doesn’t matter what happens, only one thing is needed: either to still trust even if Jesus looks asleep and to sit at his feet if Jesus is speaking. Be still is what we must do. Then we won’t ask that question anymore.

Only one thing is needed

Only one thing is needed

Luke 10: 38-42 “38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus tells Martha there is only one thing he needs.

She had opened her home.

She was making the preparations that had to be made. Food. A place to sleep. Etc.

If all you are doing, no matter how important or needed is causing you to be worried and upset then why are you still doing them?

Do you think Jesus is wanting you to be stressed out with what you think He is asking of you?

He actually only needs one thing.

An undistracted and submitted heart.

You can open your home but not your heart because you have misunderstood what he is looking for.

Are you doing commissioned work?

Are you living a commissioned life?

Sit awhile, listen and ponder.

 

It’s not over yet!

It’s not over yet!

Luke 10: 30-37

In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

 

Of the many wonderful things of this story of the Good Samaritan is the fact that though the man was robbed, stripped naked and very badly beaten up, he was half-dead. Isn’t this great?!
We need to find more encouragement in the fact that we are still alive.
Okay you may be struggling, you may not be happy at work, at home. Maybe every part of your life is not what you would have wanted it to have become. But you are still alive.
Maybe the marriage is bad and nearly finished. Maybe financially you are going under. Maybe your past is better than your future.
But you are still alive.
Let us focus on what is still there not what we have lost.
God knows where you are v33 “But a Samaritan, as he travelled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him.”
There is power in the oil and the wine v34 “He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.”
There is provision to carry you into your next season, v34 “Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him.”
You will have a next day, it will come to pass, v35 “The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.”

 

Rotten at the core

Rotten at the core

Luke 10: 29 “But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

“But the man wanted to show that he knew what he was talking about. So he asked Jesus, “Who are my neighbours?” (CEV)

“And he, determined to acquit himself of reproach, said to Jesus, And who is my neighbour?” (AMP)

“Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbour’?” (Message)

Meaning:

We all want to be seen to be more knowledgeable, more able, more loving, more giving than our human nature truly wants to be. (CEV)

We all don’t want people to be disappointed in us. We crave praise. (AMP)

If we can cut the corner we will, if we can get away with it, we will (Message)

This particular expert is wrong-footed by Jesus, he was expecting not such an accurate response. He was hoping for something like, “Eternal life? Then put your trust in my words.” But Jesus responded with the Shema. This makes the man look less of an expert because every Jew knew this answer.

So who is my neighbour? What a strange question! Isn’t the answer ‘everyone’? Isn’t it ‘people’?

But he knows he doesn’t love everyone. So he is trying to narrow Jesus down so that he can feel that he is right not to view everybody as his neighbour. That would be simply too many people to love. He wants to choose the nice people to love at least!

At the core of humanity is selfishness. We have to fight it all our lives with love and mercy to all, even those we think do not deserve it.

At the core of our culture is ‘to walk on by’ and ‘don’t talk to strangers’, compassion will cost. Keep moving. We have to surrender this daily.

We need the cross to run right through our core.

 

What does it say?

What does it say?

Luke 10: 25-28 “On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”

This was a test. From an expert in the ‘Bible’. Maybe he as trying to see how Jewish Jesus was? Did he follow the law? Did he even know it properly? Was he here to get rid of the law of Moses or keep it? Was he a threat to their culture?

A test.

Jesus answers, “What does it say?”

“Let’s get the Bible out and have a look.”

This week I am at a Christian Camp called Elim Family Festival, it has been held annually since 1962 in Yorkshire and this year we have sensed God is doing a new thing amongst us and the Camp will be a catalyst for a fresh move of God in Elim, 2020 is going to be great and details will soon be available on http://www.elimfestival.org/ (promotion over!)

At the camp I heard of a woman who saw something in the Bible for the first time and was visibly convicted by what she read compared to her lifestyle! Her response was ‘I have to change!’ YES! The Bible speaks today!

What does it say? More than that. How do you read it? How do you interpret and apply what you are reading?

In the Bible Study mornings I became excited as we studied the Lord’s Prayer and also John 17 and I saw something I had not seen before. The Bible does that. You read it all your life and then one morning you turn the page and there it is, staring right in front of you! The truth for the moment!

What does it say?

Every Jew knew it and they still do.

So we are not surprised that Jesus, being Jewish has this answer to what is the greatest commandment.

The Shema: Deuteronomy 6:4-9

It’s the first passage children recite. It is prayed twice a day and at the end of festivals.

It starts with the word Shema = Listen or Hear.

Do those 2 things and you will live. The second stems from the first. Your love for others comes out of a living experience of loving God.

On Mission, part 10

On Mission, part 10

Luke 10: 23-24 “Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”

The final lesson in this context from Jesus to the 72 followers who have returned from a short-term mission trip:

YOU ARE BLESSED

Today is the funeral of Joan Shaw who went to heaven 2 weeks ago. She was a key figure of the Church I was privileged to Pastor for 17 years. Of the many people she has met in heaven already will be the ‘prophets and kings’ who longed to see the Messiah but who did not show in their generation. Prior to Christ’s appearance on earth many lived their life with faith and hope that the Messiah would come but it was never planned for their generation. They are the ‘cloud of witnesses’ in Hebrews 12 who paved the way for Jesus to come.

Jesus tells his disciples quietly that they are blessed:

  1. Because they have seen Him. Their eyes had been opened and they agreed with Peter, “You are the Christ, the Son of God.”
  2. Because they would be seeing and understanding the reason for His coming.
  3. Because they saw the fulfilment of the Old Testament in Christ.
  4. Because they realised that Christ was here to build his Church.

Today I conduct another funeral of people I have known who have gone from this earth to heaven.

One thing they all will realise is how blessed they were indeed on earth to have:

  • Their relationship with Jesus
  • Understanding the death and resurrection of Jesus.
  • Their Bible pointing them to Jesus.
  • The Church that worshipped and lived for Jesus.

We are right now indeed blessed.