God is a present help to the downtrodden, the broken-hearted, and even to those of us who are in discomfort. Often our troubles make us feel isolated, and sometimes the only remedy is the power of God’s presence. Even if he doesn’t do anything, we were built with an internal longing for God’s nearness unto us.
When I look at the scriptures I resonate with the narratives of Esther, the intercessor and advocate who saved her people from extinction; Joseph, the brilliant economic strategist that saved a world in famine; and Daniel, the advisor to numerous kings, who functioned as a vice president in Babylon. These narratives are an inspiration to me and serve as broad templates as I navigate through the realm of governance.
What you do matters to the Kingdom, and ultimately it matters to God. Your task is to tell whatever narrative(s) God has given you.
Happy Resurrection Sunday! In this season we recognize that Jesus did indeed exist, and that he came to earth as the Son of God with the express purpose of bridging the divide between God and humanity.
What are your strengths? What are you good at? What tools have you already been given to help you carry out our mandate as ministers of reconciliation? You must figure out your functionality so that you can determine what your Kingdom contribution is to God’s plan.
Before Jesus could teach the disciples how to pray, there had to be an acknowledgment that they were willing to be students. And when Jesus began to teach them his prayer template, it was unlike anything they had ever understood about prayer. He had opened their eyes to a whole new system. He took a familiar concept, turned it on its head and encouraged them to look at it with fresh eyes in a new way.
Jesus was drawing from his experience in the wilderness to prove that by depending on God, we can pass the test of temptation and thereby mitigate the need for forgiveness. As you pray and determine to do God’s will, know that he is able and willing to keep you from falling. With God, you will pass your seasons of testing.
Jesus ties the relief of their debts to their willingness to relinquish the debts of those who transgressed against them. Forgiving others unlocked God’s forgiveness for them. Instead of a cycle of offenses, they would enter on a cycle of forgiveness.
There is nothing like security. We like feeling secure—the satisfaction of knowing that all of our needs are met, both now and forever. In fact, it can be quite unsettling when facing a mountain of unknowns and unanswered questions. What shall we eat? Where shall we go? Where shall we work? I can imagine that questions like these were at the forefront of the disciples’ minds as they followed Jesus from town to town. Some could describe it as living life on the edge.
All too often, prayer has been exclusively viewed as a time of petitioning. However, the truth is that petitions are an aspect of prayer, not the only expression. Instead of dialoging with God, some of us are guilty of using prayer to only gripe and ask. We rattle off our lists of wants and desires, complain about the difficulties of life, slap an “amen” at the end and go on about our day. But Jesus has shown us a different way through this template in Matthew 6.