Closing the Gap 7.16.18

Week 28 Day 1

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

Matt. 6:9-13 This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Reflect:

“When tempted, no one should say, ‘God is tempting me.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed” (James 1:13-14).  How does what James wrote jibe with what Jesus said? Is there a contradiction? No, because God does not tempt people to disobey him. When Jesus said we should pray to not be led into temptation, the word can have the connotation of “testing.”  But then there is another problem because James also wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds” (James 1:2). In that case, why would we pray to escape trials if we are to consider them pure joy? The solution, once again, is in finding a biblical balance.  Jesus, when in severe soul agony in the garden, prayed that God would deliver him from the trial of the cross, but then immediately afterwards he prayed that God’s will would be done. Therefore, in order to “pray the biblical balance,” we are to ask God to keep trial and testing from us and we are also to pray for his will to be done in our lives.  Pray for deliverance from trial, but if he still takes you there, trust his good purposes and pray for endurance and JOY in the face of testing. Rejoice and be grateful when God takes you “around” trials and also trust God and find his joy when he chooses to take you “through” them. The Bible does not contradict itself and neither, of course, does God.  However, the Bible is not a “simple” book. How could it be? It is the book of God and though he is not intentionally vague or hard to understand, it would be an understatement to say he is complex. As you wrestle with what sometimes appear to be competing truths, be sure you understand that they are, in fact, complementary truths. To pray for escape from temptation and to also pray for safe passage through temptation are not prayers that contradict each other; they are prayers that together comprise a single principle. The principle is this, “Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done in my life as it is in heaven…whether you take trials from me, or take me through them.  Amen.”

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)

Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

 

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