In All Things...

August 21, 2019

In All Things...
Matthew 6:5-13
Philippians 4:4-9

 

We pray the words every week as we worship together... and if you’re like me, then, you also pray these words several times throughout the week, too.

 

We call it the “Lord’s Prayer” - but - it should probably (and more accurately) be called “Jesus’ Model Prayer” - because Jesus offered these words as an example or illustration on how we should pray - while delivering his most famous message: “The Sermon on the Mount.”

 

Of course, Jesus’ “model prayer” begins by teaching us to honor God FIRST... to proclaim and declare his name “holy” - consecrated, sacred, or revered, in-other-words.

 

Then, after honoring God’s name... we’re taught by Jesus to ask for what we NEED (doesn’t say a thing about asking for what we want, does it?)... followed by asking God to forgive our debts (our sins) as we forgive the sin (debts/trespasses) of others. 

 

Jesus’ illustration then ends with Jesus telling us we should ask God to lead us away from testing (trial or temptation) while delivering us from evil - something Jesus himself had personal experience with after his baptism... as he was “tested” or “tempted” by Satan in the wilderness. 

 

Of course, for our purposes today... it’s verse 11 that stands out. It’s the point in the prayer where Jesus instructs us to ask God for something... and that something, is “daily bread.”  Just what we need, for the day. 

 

God wants you and me to trust him, in a daily, ongoing, continual relationship: one day at a time: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

 

Not for next week. Not for next year. Not for next month. Just one day at a time.

 

That’s not how we live, is it?  We’re so blessed by God... most of us already KNOW where our next meal is coming from - for the foreseeable and extended future - maybe even for the rest of our lives!  We all have a nice bed to rest in, a roof over our heads... and plenty of food in the fridge, freezer and pantry to keep us going for a while. We’ve been so abundantly blessed that we don’t have to worry about such things as “daily bread.” But God still calls us to trust him for our needs... daily. 

 

Philippians 4:6-8 reminds us that there are four things that you and I can do, in order to trust God on a daily basis:

 

FIRST: Worry about nothing. Don’t worry! It’s a biblical principle that’s echoed time and again: Jesus in Luke 12:25 even asked, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?”  To worry... to be anxious is a natural, common experience - we all worry about something at some point. So, why is worry such a big deal? Listen: Because it’s not just a bad habit... it’s a sin. To worry is to express a lack of faith! You and I are called to be concerned... being concerned is a good thing, but being concerned is not worrying. 

 

The fact is: God keeps his promises, and you can trust that he will take care of us. “Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today” (Matthew 6:34).

 

The SECOND thing we can do, in order to trust God on a daily basis... is to PRAY about everything. The difference between worry and concern is... worry causes us to fret, and concern leads us directly to prayer. 

 

Prayer changes things. James 5:16 say, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” 

 

And the fact that you’re here today is proof!  There’s not a person in this room who hasn’t been prayed for... not one.  I can’t help but wonder how many of our parents and grandparents wore-out their knees praying for you and me to become followers of Christ. And if they didn’t... God himself did. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us (Romans 8:26-27). And Jesus himself prayed for us (John 17).   

 

Romans 8:32 says, “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (NIV) God has provided for us in our GREATEST need... our need for a Savior...  when he sent Christ to die in our place.  And if God loved you and me enough to send Jesus to die for us, don’t you think he loves us enough to take care of all the problems and stresses of this life, too? 

 

Consider the lilies of the field... the birds of the air...

 

The THIRD thing you and I can do, in order to trust God on a daily basis... is to thank God in all things. No matter what happens, give thanks. The Bible doesn’t say, “For all things give thanks.” It says, “In all things give thanks” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Our Lesson for today (Philippians 4:6) says, “IN EVERYTHING... by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God...”

 

You don’t have to be thankful for bad things in your life.  You should never be thankful for evil.  You don’t have to be thankful for cancer or a car accident or war or abuse. But God’s Word DOES say in everything give thanks.  Why?  Because, IN FAITH, no matter what we’re going through - you & I know that God’s going to take care of us. You & I know God is always with us!  You & I know Christ is going to meet our needs.  We know he’s going to help.  We know that IN ALL THINGS God is working - somehow, someway - for the good (Romans 8:28). So in all things, we give thanks!

 

And then, the FOURTH thing you and I are called to do, in order to trust God on a daily basis... is to think about the right things. Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your mind on things above, not earthly things.” Of course, our Lesson for today offers us a list of things to think about: things that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise.

 

Where do you find things that are pure and lovely to think about? At the movies? I don’t think so. On TV? No. You will only find pure and lovely and honorable thoughts in the things of God... and Word of God. You need to read it, study it, and fill your mind with it. Isaiah 26:3 says, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” (NLT)

 

Where do your thoughts go most often? To worry? To anxiety? To fear?

 

Rely on God’s grace... every day.  Worry about nothing. Pray about everything. Thank God in all things. And set your mind on the things of God. 

 

By doing so... the peace of God will always be with you.

 

Amen.

 

 

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