Afternoons with Sherryn

Word For You Today

The Lord's Prayer 5

'...your kingdom come...' Matthew 6:10 NIV

We all tend to want to have our own little kingdom, the 'kingdom of self'. In the kingdom of self you rule, and it's generally a total mess - because the wrong person's in charge! In the Kingdom of God, Jesus rules. His Word settles every issue. No, 'Yes, but...'. The fastest route to success in any job is to find out what the boss wants, and do it with excellence. Jesus said, '...first be concerned about his Kingdom' (Matthew 6:33 GWT).

Did you know that everything is 'upside down' in God's Kingdom? (1) The way up, is down. 'Humble yourselves...that he may lift you up in due time' (1 Peter 5:6 NIV). Note the words, 'due time.' Your blessing is already scheduled on God's calendar. Just keep your head down. (2) By forgiving others you free yourself. When you choose to forgive someone, all the energy you lost to self-pity and bitterness comes flooding back. Jesus made it clear on the cross that forgiveness is at the heart of his mission.

In the Kingdom of God we do things his way. Each time we take a step in Jesus' footsteps, God's will is done, and a little more of his Kingdom comes into our world.

So what now? Why bother praying, 'Your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth, as it is in Heaven'? Because when you do, you will see miracles happen on your watch. Heaven is something to look forward to, but God meant for his glory and goodness to be evident on earth too.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 22-24, Mark 7:1-13, Ps 119:129-136, Prov 22:8-10


The Lord's Prayer 4

'...may your holy name be honoured.' Matthew 6:9 GNT

If you're invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the queen, don't show up in cut-off jeans and a holey T-shirt. She won't let you in. You're not going to your mate's house, you're meeting royalty! Likewise, when Jesus told us to pray, 'May your name be honoured' (Matthew 6:9 NLT), he was teaching us that there's only one way to enter God's presence. Not with a shopping list of all the things you want, but with praise and thanksgiving.

David tells us how to approach God: 'Know that the Lord is God: it is he who made us, and we are his...Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise: give thanks to him and praise his name' (Psalm 100:3-4 NIV).

Close your eyes and imagine yourself walking through the gates to visit God's throneroom. God can hear you coming because you're making such a ruckus about how great he is! Then walk across his courtyard declaring: 'My Saviour, my defender, my provider, my source of strength, the giver of my joy, the lover of my soul, the author and finisher of my faith.' If you can express yourself when your favourite team's winning or when your favourite X-Factor finalist wins, then you can definitely praise God!

So what now? Whether you're a morning or a night person, the Bible says, 'From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised' (Psalm 113:3 NIV). The best way to enter God's presence - is by honouring his name.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 19-21, Mark 6:45- 56, Ps 119:121-128, Prov 22: 4-7


The Lord's Prayer 3

'...Our Father in Heaven...' Matthew 6:9 GNT

When we pray to our Father God, we recognise his position. Daniel said, '...the Most High rules over the kingdoms of the world...' (Daniel 4:17 NLT).That's the ultimate reality we need to remember when we see frightening headlines. This rebellious world has been wrestling against God for thousands of years. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah cried, '...the many nations that rage - they rage like the raging sea...' (Isaiah 17:12 NIV)! Jesus warned the people of his day: 'You will hear of wars and rumours of wars...' (Matthew 24:6 NIV). Today you say, 'What about terrorism? What about the Middle East?' One thing we know is that God's heart breaks over the hatred and violence that human beings inflict on each other.The Prime Minister may pledge to keep this nation as safe as possible, but that's not good enough if you really want to sleep peacefully at night. The Psalmist said, 'My help comes from the Lord...' (Psalm 121:2 NIV). Think: if God really is king over everything that's going on, and if he's promised to help us when we call on him, what do we have to worry about? So what now? Do not fear. God is in Heaven, he is in control and he has a good plan. The exciting bit of that plan is that he's already told us how it ends: ' the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father' (Philippians 2:10-11 NIV).

Soulfood: 2 Chr 16-18, Mark 6:30- 44, Ps 119:113-120, Prov 22:1-3


The Lord's Prayer 2

'...Our Father...' Matthew 6:9 NIV

The relationship you have with someone has a massive effect on how secure and confident you feel with them. When Jesus taught his disciples how to pray, he set the relationship thing out right at the start by saying: 'Our Father'.

'Our Father.' Now, if you, like many people nowadays, have a father who was never there for you, hurt you, or never showed you much love or acceptance, then there's a whole new dimension of fatherhood waiting for you here. Don't let your past rob you of this revelation. You can trust God. He loves you. And the more you start believing that, the more you'll open up to him. As you do that your wounded areas will be healed. And, you are part of a massive global family who all find peace in his arms.

Once you understand who you're talking to, and the relationship you can have with him, you are free to approach God as a child, knowing that he'll be delighted to hear your voice. Your heavenly Father is a promise-making, promise-keeping God. When two people in Bible days made a promise, it wasn't a casual 'call me sometime' with no commitment. No, they sealed it with blood, meaning, 'I'll give my life for you if necessary.' And we know that it wasn't an empty promise. The cross of Jesus proves that God keeps his word.

So what now? To really step into The Lord's Prayer and discover its power, we must be ready to speak those first two words with confidence: 'Our Father'.

Soulfood: Jer 31:31-37, Heb 8:1-13


The Lord's Prayer 1

'...Lord, teach us to pray...' Luke 11:1 NLT

Jesus always led by example. One day Jesus' disciples watched him praying. Afterwards they said: 'Lord, teach us to pray' (Luke 11:1 NLT). It was then that he gave them what's now known as The Lord's Prayer.

Can you remember when you last prayed The Lord's Prayer? If not, how come? Did you grow up saying it so often that it's become boring? A bit too traditional and structured for you; not free-flowing enough? Or have you never taken the time to learn it off by heart? Or do you not know it at all? You should - it's amazing - and powerful!

There are many types of prayer throughout the Bible, and today millions of people around the world offer their prayers for guidance, forgiveness, unity, protection, salvation! The Lord's Prayer is great in that it covers every area of our lives.

It's time for us to take up The Lord's Prayer challenge! For the next few days we're going to go back to the only prayer Jesus himself gave us to pray. And let's face it, who knows more about prayer? Can you imagine Jesus giving us a prayer that wouldn't move us, move God, or move the mountains we face?

So what now? Get ready to take a deeper look at the most famous prayer, from Jesus himself. Why not read it for yourself before we go into it deeper tomorrow - in Matthew 6:9-13.

Soulfood: 2 Chr 12-15, Mark 6:14- 29, Ps 119:105-112, Prov 21:28-31


Right place at the right time with the right answer

'...Namaan told the king what the girl had said.' 2 Kings 5:4 CEV

God used a cleaning maid to reach an army general, and introduce him to a God who could heal him of his leprosy. Her story is recorded in 2 Kings, chapter 5. Dig your Bible out and take a look at it. There are two important lessons in it for you:

(1) There's a purpose for you being where you are! Instead of complaining, start looking for somebody who needs what God's given you. This girl wasn't there just to clean the house; she was there because God specially arranged it. Think: all of your life could be training for one shot, one opportunity, one moment. Peter writes, '...Always be prepared to give an answer...' (1 Peter 3:15 NIV). Will you capture it or just let it slip?

(2) What a difference a day can make! Yesterday she was a nobody; today changing someone' life, for good. The world focuses on the big names, but when they've run out of answers and can't manufacture hope, God says 'I will pour out my Spirit even on servants - men and women alike' (Joel 2:29 NLT). When he does, people who normally look through you will suddenly begin to listen, because you're in the right place, at the right time, with the right answer.

So what now? Don't allow your lack of experience, your postcode or low grades to silence you. Keep your mind fresh and your faith strong! Just be available for God to use you today as only he can!

Soulfood: 2 Chr 8-11, Mark 6:1-13, Ps 119:97-104, Prov 21:24-27


Practise practise practise

'...even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy...' Ephesians 1:4 NLT

The world says: 'I did it my way' and 'nobody tells me what to do'. It's an independent streak breaks apart families and communities. But Paul shows us that God's best for us is to be holy in Jesus - something we can't do on our own!

Paul writes later, '...put off your old self...put on the new self...' (Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV). When you start letting go of the self-made you and putting on the God-made you, it'll feel strange. But just as new shoes don't feel comfortable at first, so your new way of approaching life will also take getting used to. As you continue to 'put on the new self' you'll become more and more at home with it.

It works like this. You have to: (a) practise doing the right thing until you automatically do the right thing; (b) practise being on time for appointments until it feels weird to be late for anything; (c) practise giving some of your spending money to the needy in the world; (d) practise telling the truth until the smallest lie troubles your conscience and sticks in your throat; (e) practise speaking encouragement until every cynical word is deleted from your vocabulary.

So what now? We all need practise, daily. By taking practical steps like these, you are re-training yourself to walk God's way - and restraining yourself from walking any other way. You are saying to God, 'It's no longer a matter of me making up my own rules, it's about what you say and direct me to do.'

Soulfood: 2 Chr 5-7, Mark 5:31-43, Ps 119:89-96, Prov 21:20-23

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