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Crossing over to the other end of the spectrum…… there are those who do have a genuine desire to know the Father…… but they feel the need to make this known to the rest of the world….. and end up going about things the wrong way.
1 “BEWARE OF PRACTICING YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS BEFORE MEN TO BE NOTICED BY THEM; OTHERWISE YOU HAVE NO REWARD WITH YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN.
2 “When therefore you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
3 “But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing
4 that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
What we need to understand is that it is all about you and the Father.
If the reason why you are giving 1 million pounds to charity is because you want people to see you as a good person…… you are not doing it because of the Father.
We need to make sure that the “good” we supposedly do…… does not have benefits for “us”…. Otherwise in truth your motive is very likely to be selfish.
Christians make a show of “goodness” indicating once again that they really don’t understand the message.
5 “And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
6 “BUT YOU, WHEN YOU PRAY, GO INTO YOUR INNER ROOM, AND WHEN YOU HAVE SHUT YOUR DOOR, PRAY TO YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET, AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REPAY YOU.
I have a friend that lives next door to a church called “Mountain of Fire”.
True to their name they “call down fire” 3 times a week and are a complete nuisance to everyone that lives on that street.
What is the point of screaming all night at the top of your lungs…… fighting against demons so that everyone will consider you to be a “powerful Christian”.
How does this play any relevance to an individual relationship with the Father?
7 “AND WHEN YOU ARE PRAYING, DO NOT USE MEANINGLESS REPETITION, AS THE GENTILES DO, FOR THEY SUPPOSE THAT THEY WILL BE HEARD FOR THEIR MANY WORDS.
8 “THEREFORE DO NOT BE LIKE THEM; FOR YOUR FATHER KNOWS WHAT YOU NEED, BEFORE YOU ASK HIM.
I cannot count the amount of times as a child I had to say “the grace”…. And all sorts of other prayers that can only be described as “meaningless reptition”.
Imagine having a friend who every time you spoke to him you read something from a script.
Is that a relationship?
Never the less, Jesus gave us a guide line to help our frame of thought.
9 “Pray, then, in this way: ‘OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE THY NAME.
10 ‘Thy kingdom come. Thy 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 also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.’
14 “FOR IF YOU FORGIVE MEN FOR THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS, YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER WILL ALSO FORGIVE YOU.
15 “BUT IF YOU DO NOT FORGIVE MEN, THEN YOUR FATHER WILL NOT FORGIVE YOUR TRANSGRESSIONS.
It is ironic that just above we are told not to engage in meaningless repetition…… yet verses 9-13, more commonly known as the “lords prayer”, is probably one of the most repeated scriptures ever written.
It is important for us to understand the prayer…. And not just repeat it …. In order for it to have any form of relevance in our lives.
The prayer starts with emphasis once again on the name “Father”.
The name “Father” is Hallowed…… meaning that it is holy and sacred.
Belonging to one single individual.
This establishes the relationship and terms of reference.
He then says that we should ask for the will of the Father to be done in our lives…. And for his kingdom to come to us.
It is important to emphasise something critical that we have talked about in the past.
The will of the Father is done in heaven…… but it is not done on earth.
It is your choice….. to take a decision to allow the will of the Father to be done in “your life”.
Then he says that we should ask him for food….. because the Father is in the business of looking after his children.
The Father is also in the business of forgiving….. but only if you are willing to forgive other people as well….. call it “tit for tat” if you like.
Then he says we should ask the Father not to lead us into temptation….. but to deliver us from evil.
Please note: evil is not something that we are absolved from….. but we will be delivered from it…… if we ask him.
This isn’t a prayer that is to be repeated constantly with the occasional rephrasing of words.
It is a guide that gives you an idea of what our mind set should be like.
At the end of the day….. when you have a “relationship” with the Father…… you can talk to him about whatever you want.
Bearing in mind that if you know him…… there are certain things that wouldn’t cross your mind as a frame of discussion in the first place
16 “AND WHENEVER YOU FAST, DO NOT PUT ON A GLOOMY FACE AS THE HYPOCRITES DO, FOR THEY NEGLECT THEIR APPEARANCE IN ORDER TO BE SEEN FASTING BY MEN. TRULY I SAY TO YOU, THEY HAVE THEIR REWARD IN FULL.
17 “BUT YOU, WHEN YOU FAST, ANOINT YOUR HEAD, AND WASH YOUR FACE
18 SO THAT YOU MAY NOT BE SEEN FASTING BY MEN, BUT BY YOUR FATHER WHO IS IN SECRET; AND YOUR FATHER WHO SEES IN SECRET WILL REPAY YOU.
It is important that we recognize that we are dealing with the Father….. and not with a man.
Its not about doing the things that you do so that other men can admire you for it.
It is about a relationship between you and the Father.
23 A TIME IS COMING AND HAS NOW COME WHEN THE TRUE WORSHIPPERS WILL WORSHIP THE FATHER IN SPIRIT AND TRUTH, FOR THEY ARE THE KIND OF WORSHIPPERS THE FATHER SEEKS.
24 GOD IS SPIRIT, AND HIS WORSHIPPERS MUST WORSHIP IN SPIRIT AND IN TRUTH.”
The Father is interested in a relationship with you that has a “meaning”.
He is not interested in your efforts to please men.
He is interested in one thing and one thing only……..”YOU”
To be continued……