Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Authority, Not of this Realm – Part 3

October 11, 2014

My wife and I regularly make a practice of praying through the Lord’s Prayer together every morning.  We use a technique that she learned, years ago, of recognizing many of the “names of God” that reveal some of His mighty characteristics.  When we started doing this together, I worried that it would become rote and shallow after a while.  I need not have concerned myself.  One cannot touch on the limitless nature of God and have it come back as anything other than “deep calling to deep”.  We pray through the process of putting on the full armor of God to face the challenges of the day ahead too.  I have come to feel like I don’t have my shirt on, if we miss.

One life-changing transformation that has ensued from this spiritual practice manifests in the rest of my prayer life.  I have had a growing sense of volunteering to give my voice to the Word of God as He intends it to be transforming brokenness and oppression in our fallen world.  This does not stop with my private prayers, but proceeds to make its mark on most conversations with others.  Today, I read an article posted on Facebook by Pastor Francis Frangipane that speaks mightily of the Authority vested in the followers of Christ.  It does not shy away from our directive to call for the Power of Heaven to be manifested in our world.  I’m taking the liberty of pasting it here, along with a link to Pastor Frangipane’s Facebook page.  From there, you could sign up to get more good insights.

ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!
We recite it in private and pray it in unison; we have even sung it in reverence on select Sunday mornings. It’s been a familiar prayer at somber cultural events. Yet I wonder if we really grasp what was in Jesus’ heart when He taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer.
The disciples asked Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). In response, the Lord gave them a prayer, not just to help them cope but something that was militant in nature. This was more than a prayer — it was a proclamation.
For centuries the holy realities of the Lord’s Prayer have been obscured by traditions of religious unbelief, as though ritualistic repetition of this prayer would exact a special blessing in the afterlife. It was as though this prayer was disbarred from affecting conditions on earth now. In recent years, however, truth is again filling the words of this heavenly anthem with meaning.
The thoughts in this prayer are best understood as emphatic statements. They ought to be punctuated with exclamation marks. This is Heaven’s “Pledge of Allegiance.” At its core, the Lord’s Prayer is a faith-decree that God’s will, through our living union with Christ, should be accomplished today on earth. Where is the room for compromise in those words? Jesus is saying that, with miraculous power, abounding joy and unwavering mercy, God’s will can be fulfilled on earth with the same degree it is fulfilled in Heaven!”
We have been too polite with God. I do not mean we should be disrespectful or irreverent; I am saying the Lord’s Prayer is not a weak, pleading prayer. Yes, there is a time for pleading with God, but this is a prophetic prayer. There is not a please anywhere in it. Indeed, we know it is the “Father’s good pleasure” to give us His kingdom (Luke 12:32 NKJV). Jesus is not instructing us to beg for a blessing or two; He is commanding us to call for God’s kingdom to rule on earth: in war zones, in places of poverty or plagues or famine, and especially in our very lives and circumstances.
This is a prayer of authority. The Son of God wants us to pray like we were created to bring Heaven to earth. Our prayer simply aligns us with what is already God’s great pleasure to give us.
Of course, it is vital we embrace repentance for our sins and the sins of our forefathers. But this is the prayer of those fully committed to the vision of God! It embodies the expanse of what Jesus came to establish. These are fighting words.
Remember, this form of prayer is not my idea; it’s Christ’s. He told faltering, fumbling disciples to pray like they were mature, victorious warriors. He didn’t say this prayer should be prayed only when they had become perfect. No. This is how we should pray right now, even while we are imperfect. Yes, we humble ourselves; yet we must learn to pray with unsheathed spiritual authority, with heroic faith, and with the fire of divine possibilities burning in our souls.
Even now, the armies of God in Heaven are beginning to unite with the armies of God on earth. Lightening-like power is beginning to fill the backbone of the redeemed. Can you feel it? From every nation, a holy remnant is beginning to stand before the Most High. In their mouths will be the words taught them by the Son of God Himself: “Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!”

Francis Frangipane

 

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Relationship with the Almighty

December 13, 2009

In the Gospels, the interactions between Jesus and the members of one family gets a fair amount of attention:

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Luke 10:38-42

Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. John 11:5

When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. John 11:20

Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” John 11:35,36

Whatever else one may draw from these passages, one thing is clear; there is a vital loving relationship between Jesus, Martha, Mary and Lazarus. It was even evident to outsiders. Martha felt free to bring a complaint to Jesus. Jesus felt free to tell her that she was obsessing about her responsibility to serve beyond anything that He desired. When Jesus came after Lazarus’ death, Martha ran out to seek solace from her grief in His presence.

This kind of loving relationship between men and women and the Sovereign of the Universe is what God desires. The emphasis of the Bible is on the relationship of God and man, but not understanding relationship (because understanding is damaged by sin), men often get the idea that it is about ministry or some other kind of service (like Martha), or knowledge, or something else. That there was originally a relationship between God and man is mentioned in the context of it being damaged by sin in Genesis 2 &3. God interacted with Adam, planting a garden for him to live in, expressing concern about his lack of a partner, letting him name all the creatures God made. Then after sin enters the equation, these passages explicitly speak of the man and his wife attempting to hide themselves from God’s presence when they heard Him coming. What purpose would God have had for presenting Himself in a form that would walk in the garden (and be heard) if it were not to better relate to Adam and Eve whom He had placed there?

So, in Genesis we see the relationship with God broken by sin. In the Gospels, we see Jesus modeling relationships where the participants care about one another and seek each others company. That is why He came, to make a way for that broken relationship to be repaired.

That problem of the compulsion to shrink away from God when He appears is not confined to Eden. In 1 John 2:28 we find this: And now, little children, abide in Him, so that when He appears, we may have confidence and not shrink away from Him in shame at His coming. Look. The solution to the problem is to “abide” (NAS) or “continue” (NIV) in Him. Jesus came to reconcile sinners to a Holy God. He already paid all the penalty for our personal wrongdoing. Take Him up on that offer of reconciliation. Abide. Continue. Love.