After the candy is gone...

The love of my life was happy yesterday; I was blessed to be able to give her several small gifts; a very small container of flowers and a tiny box of candy (she is on weight-watchers also) and one heart shaped donut along with a small cup of the iced-coffee she loves.  She thanked me with enthusiasm and that made ME HAPPY!!!  Because I didn't go overboard, there won't be a grave consequences (gaining too much weight from the candy, for instance).  But, I wonder, what if you were to give someone a gift that they asked for and it caused UNHAPPINESS???  

Matthew, Chapter 14
 1 At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard the report concerning Jesus,  2 and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptizer. He is risen from the dead. That is why these powers work in him.”  3 For Herod had laid hold of John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife.  4 For John said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.”  5 When he would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet. 

 6 But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced among them and pleased Herod.  7 Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she should ask.  8 She, being prompted by her mother, said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptizer.” 

  9  The king was grieved, but for the sake of his oaths, and of those who sat at the table with him, he commanded it to be given,  10 and he sent and beheaded John in the prison.  11 His head was brought on a platter, and given to the young lady: and she brought it to her mother.

12 His disciples came, and took the body, and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.  13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat, to a deserted place apart.

Good presents make a good person happy and evil things make those who are despicable delighted!  Just the way it is!!!  Yesterday was Valentine's day and I hope your day was a pleasant one; filled with love and perhaps a present or two.  If you gave candy, its probably gone and if flowers- they will last a few days.  But, when the last remnants of the holiday have gone, remember, there is a GOD in heaven who loves you!!!  The picture reminded me of that and I hope it cause you to ponder the subject as well!!!  One more thing... look up, you just might see the love of God displayed in the heavens for all to see.  And it ISN'T FATTENING!!!

STEWARDSHIP by Gary Womack


When Joseph was sold by his unscrupulous brothers to a band of Ishamaelites traveling to Egypt, he ended up being sold on the auction block as a slave in that foreign land. In God's providence, he was bought by a wealthy government official by the name of Potiphar. "And his master saw that the Lord was with him and that the Lord made all he did to prosper in his hand. So Joseph found favor in his sight, and served him. Then he made him overseer of his house, and all that he had he put under his authority. So it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all that he had, that the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the house and in the field. Thus he left all that he had in Joseph's hand, and he did not know what he had except for the bread which he ate..." (Gen. 39:3-6)
Joseph was faithful in the carrying out of his duties, and as a result he glorified God, and God blessed both Joseph and Potiphar. By the very definition of Joseph's responsibilities, he was a steward. In the Greek, oikonomos is translated "steward" and is a compound word; oikos, meaning "a house" and nemo, meaning "to arrange." Hence, "the manager of a household or estate." (Vines) In the English, or Anglo-Saxon, "steward" or stiweard, has the same meaning; sti, meaning "an enclosure or hall" and weard, meaning "a ward or keeper." Hence, "a person put in charge of the affairs of a large household or estate, whose duties include supervision of the kitchen and the servants, management of household accounts, etc." (Webster)
Jesus used the illustration of stewardship in His famous parable of the talents. "For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey....After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them." (Mt. 25:14-15, 19) In this parable, Jesus taught the importance of being responsible for that which the Lord has put in our charge and, that there is a corresponding accountability to Him in view of the fact that what we are responsible for belongs to Him.
Until we come to realize that everything that we have belongs to God, we will fail to understand the magnitude of our responsibility as His stewards. As He said, "For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine. If I were hungry, I would not tell you; for the world is Mine, and all its fulness." (Psm. 50:10-12)
God taught His people under the law of Moses this lesson of stewardship when He gave them the law of tithing. They were to first learn that God was to receive ten percent off the top, thus declaring Him to be worthy of preeminence. Also, they were to learn that even what they tithed was never really their own, but belonged to God all along.
Malachi made these lessons clear when he asked, "Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings." (Mal. 3:8) It would not be robbery unless it already belonged to Him. After all, everything they had from which to make an offering to the Lord, had been given to them by Him. And while we are not under the law of Moses and subject to the law of tithing, we are under the new covenant which is built on better promises and we are each taught to "...give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." (2 Cor. 9:7)
There are as many areas of stewardship as there are kinds of blessings. We are stewards of our bodies, the world we live in, the money we earn, the abilities He has blessed us with, the opportunities He puts in our way, as well as the spiritual blessings that we enjoy in Christ which we are to share with others, not to mention a knowledge of God's word and its soul-saving message.
As we consider the greatness of God's blessings, we should soberly consider how seriously we accept responsibility for them. Stewardship is not to be taken lightly as many do. Jesus contrasted between those who are stewards and him who is the owner. He said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep." (Jn. 10:11-13)
Can it be said of any of us that we are "hirelings" when it comes to how serious we are about our stewardship and our responsibility to the Lord? Do we take it personally when we hear people use God's name in vain, or when we hear people make light of that which we hold sacred? Do we take it seriously and accept it as a personal challenge when we see a need within the church that depends on that which "every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share?" (Eph. 4:16) Does our heart break when we see brethren drifting away, or when the cause of Christ is taken lightly by others? Do we have a passion for lost souls?
Peter admonishes us to be faithful to the stewardship that has been given to us. "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen." (1 Pet. 4:10-11)
It is a matter of honor that we have been called to service under Christ in His kingdom, and that He has blessed us each with abilities to do so. "Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them:" This applies to "he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness." (Rom. 12:6-8)
When Jesus told the parable of the talents to His disciples on the Mount of Olives (Mt. 24:3; 25:14-30), He was teaching what has come to be known as the greatest lesson on stewardship that has ever been taught in word. As He taught the importance of faithfulness in stewardship, He also pointed out that there is a corresponding accountability that accompanies such responsibility.
Those early Christians in Jerusalem learned a valuable object lesson on stewardship while many of them were selling lands and houses in order to supply the needs of many others of their newly acquired brethren (Acts 5:32-37). When Ananias and Sapphira his wife sold some of their land, and lied about how much of the proceeds they were giving, God put them to death. In their effort to appear to their brethren that they were more generous in their giving than they really were, they had actually lied to the Holy Spirit. This was an example of poor stewardship, and as a result "...great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things." (vs. 11) If God struck people dead today for the deceptiveness of their giving as they held back more than they let on, there would surely be many church buildings with much smaller numbers.
The untimely demise of this couple was the result of a failure on their part to understand the gravity of stewardship when it comes to money and giving. After Peter questioned Ananias why they had lied about the money from the sale of their land, he said, "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? " (vs. 4) This shows us that Ananias and Sapphira were responsible for the land and also for the money that they obtained from its sale. The land had "belonged" to them and the money from its sale was theirs to do with as they chose because it was "in their control." In short, they were stewards of what was in their possession and therefore accountable for their giving to the Lord accordingly.
While in Tennessee, I had several occasions to talk with members of the church who held to the idea that "whatever the individual could do in matters of money, the church could do also." Of course their thinking was in error, but it was consistent with the practice of many of the churches in that area who financially supported human institutions from the church treasuries. But if we consider what Peter said to Ananias, we can surely understand that after the land had been sold, it was in his control. Once he had given the money into the treasury, it was no longer his and no longer in his control. There is a difference in the money in our pocket and the money in the church treasury.
This is understood no more clearly than in the teachings of Paul in regard to widows and the responsibility that children and grandchildren have to support their needs. In 1 Tim. 5:1-16, Paul dealt with this issue, rebuking those family members who failed to act responsibly in caring for their own widows; "But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." (vs. 8) But then notice how Paul concluded this subject; "If any believing man or woman has widows, let them relieve them, and do not let the church be burdened, that it may relieve those who are really widows." (vs. 16) Carefully notice that the church is not to be responsible for those widows who have believing family members that are to be responsible for their care. This shows that there is a difference in what the church is authorized to do and that which individuals are responsible to do.
Because many churches have failed to understand this, we find it common for them to build and maintain orphan homes, homes for the elderly, homes for unwed mothers, hospitals, colleges, private schools, etc.. This is a failure on the part of churches to use the money in their treasuries within the boundaries of scriptural authority. Paul said that "...the church is subject to Christ" (Eph. 5:24) Therefore, the church is answerable to Him as her head. This is so because, when Christ died on the cross, the Father "...raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all." (Eph. 1:20-23) In short, the church is to exercise faithful stewardship under the authority of Christ.
All who are in the body of Christ are instructed that "...whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17) We are not at liberty to legislate in matters of faith where the Lord has instructed us according to His word. Nor is the church free to become involved in that which is outside the scope of her responsibility that He has given her.
Churches are accountable before the Lord in their faithfulness to His will. A look at the letters to the seven churches of Asia that are recorded in Revelation 2 and 3 gives testimony to this. John saw in his heavenly vision, "...seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man..." and "He had in His right hand seven stars." (Rev. 1:12-13, 16) Jesus revealed to John the meaning of what he saw by explaining that "The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches." (vs. 20) What John saw was the power, the authority and the glory of Christ as He stands in the midst of His people as represented by the seven churches. In the letters to those seven churches, we find them instructed to "repent" or to "hold fast" or to "be faithful." His warnings to them were sharp and with authority as characterized by that which He warned the church at Ephesus; "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place - unless you repent." (Rev. 2:5) If churches are removed from His presence, it will be because they have failed to honor His will in their grave responsibility of stewardship.
- Gary V. Womack - September 2004

Bible Reading, Feb. 15

Feb. 15
Genesis 46

Gen 46:1 Israel traveled with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father, Isaac.
Gen 46:2 God spoke to Israel in the visions of the night, and said, "Jacob, Jacob!" He said, "Here I am."
Gen 46:3 He said, "I am God, the God of your father. Don't be afraid to go down into Egypt, for there I will make of you a great nation.
Gen 46:4 I will go down with you into Egypt. I will also surely bring you up again. Joseph will close your eyes."
Gen 46:5 Jacob rose up from Beersheba, and the sons of Israel carried Jacob, their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons which Pharaoh had sent to carry him.
Gen 46:6 They took their livestock, and their goods, which they had gotten in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt--Jacob, and all his seed with him,
Gen 46:7 his sons, and his sons' sons with him, his daughters, and his sons' daughters, and he brought all his seed with him into Egypt.
Gen 46:8 These are the names of the children of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons: Reuben, Jacob's firstborn.
Gen 46:9 The sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi.
Gen 46:10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul the son of a Canaanite woman.
Gen 46:11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
Gen 46:12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. The sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul.
Gen 46:13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Iob, and Shimron.
Gen 46:14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
Gen 46:15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan Aram, with his daughter Dinah. All the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty-three.
Gen 46:16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli.
Gen 46:17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and Serah their sister. The sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel.
Gen 46:18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob, even sixteen souls.
Gen 46:19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob's wife: Joseph and Benjamin.
Gen 46:20 To Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, bore to him.
Gen 46:21 The sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard.
Gen 46:22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob: all the souls were fourteen.
Gen 46:23 The son of Dan: Hushim.
Gen 46:24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
Gen 46:25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel, his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob: all the souls were seven.
Gen 46:26 All the souls who came with Jacob into Egypt, who were his direct descendants, besides Jacob's sons' wives, all the souls were sixty-six.
Gen 46:27 The sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two souls. All the souls of the house of Jacob, who came into Egypt, were seventy.
Gen 46:28 He sent Judah before him to Joseph, to show the way before him to Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen.
Gen 46:29 Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel, his father, in Goshen. He presented himself to him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while.
Gen 46:30 Israel said to Joseph, "Now let me die, since I have seen your face, that you are still alive."
Gen 46:31 Joseph said to his brothers, and to his father's house, "I will go up, and speak with Pharaoh, and will tell him, 'My brothers, and my father's house, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me.
Gen 46:32 These men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks, and their herds, and all that they have.'
Gen 46:33 It will happen, when Pharaoh summons you, and will say, 'What is your occupation?'
Gen 46:34 that you shall say, 'Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we, and our fathers:' that you may dwell in the land of Goshen; for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians."

Matthew: Fasting That Pleases God (6:16-18) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                   Fasting That Pleases God (6:16-18)


1. You don't hear much about fasting these days
   a. In a culture where the landscape is dotted with shrines to the
      "Golden Arches" and an assortment of "Pizza Temples" (Richard
      Foster, Celebration Of Discipline, p.47)...
   b. ...fasting seems out of place, out of step with the times

2. But the Scriptures have much to say about fasting...
   a. There is more teaching in the NT on fasting than repentance and
   b. Jesus taught more on fasting than on baptism and the Lord's 
   -- Yet some question whether fasting is something for Christians 

3. In His sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught concerning "Fasting That
   Pleases God"...
   a. In connection with other acts of righteousness like charity and 
   b. In calling His disciples to exceed the righteousness of the 
      scribes and Pharisees

[In this study, we will examine Mt 6:16-18, and consider what Jesus
had to say about "Fasting That Pleases God."  But in so doing, let's
begin by answering a few questions...]


      1. He fasted during his forty day period of temptation in the 
         wilderness - Lk 4:1-2
      2. In His teaching on the subject of fasting:
         a. He assumed His disciples would fast -- He said "when" not
            "if" - Mt 6:16-17
         b. He said they would fast when He was gone - Mt 9:14-15
         c. He taught:
            1) How to fast so as to incur God's good pleasure - Mt 6:
            2) When done properly, fasting would incur God's good 
               pleasure - Mt 6:18b
            3) Fasting should be done only when appropriate - Mt 9:16-
            4) There were occasions when prayer needed to be joined
               with fasting - Mt 17:20-21

      1. The brethren at Antioch - Ac 13:1-3
         a. Fasting in their service to the Lord
         b. Fasting and praying as they send out Paul and Barnabas
      2. The churches in Galatia - Ac 14:21-23
         a. Done in EVERY church
         b. When appointing elders

      1. He listed fasting among things which proved him as a minister
         of Christ - cf. 2Co 11:23-28
      2. Are we not commanded to imitate him, even as he imitated
         Christ? - 1Co 11:1 (and both fasted in their service to God!)

[At the very least, we can say that it is not inappropriate for
Christians to fast today.  Unless we have medical reasons not to fast,
we have very good examples to motivate us TO fast!  But to be sure that
we fast for the right reason, we should answer another question...]


      1. Some do it solely for health reasons
      2. Others do it only in times of grief and sorrow
      3. Still others do it as a way to gain self-control
      -- But these are not reasons Christians should fast in their
         service to God - cf. Col 2:20-23

      1. In the Old Testament; people of God fasted...
         a. In times of war, or at the threat of it (Israel)
         b. When loved ones were sick (David)
         c. When seeking God's forgiveness (Ahab, Daniel)
         d. When seeking God's protection (Ezra)
      2. In the New Testament; fasting occurred...
         a. When dealing with temptations (Jesus)
         b. When serving the Lord (the church at Antioch)
         c. When beginning a work for the Lord (again at Antioch)
         d. When selecting and appointing elders (in Galatia)
      3. Such fasting should be done in conjunction with prayer
         a. For fasting, when done properly...
            1) Humbles the soul - Ps 35:13
            2) Chastens the soul - Ps 69:10
         b. The prayers of the humble are more likely to be heard! 
            - cf. Ezr 8:21-23

[This being true, this should help us to answer the next question 


      1. These may be occasions on an individual level
         a. When faced with difficult temptations
         b. When faced with the serious illness of a loved one
      2. These occasions might be on a congregational level
         a. As when appointing elders
         b. As when sending out missionaries

      1. Such would be an occasion for fasting joined with prayer
      2. Are we not taught that God is more likely to answer our
         a. If we are persistent? - cf. Lk 18:1-8
         b. If we fast in the proper way? - cf. Mt 6:17-18

[So whenever there is a matter requiring much prayer, fasting in 
conjunction with such prayer would be appropriate.  Finally, let's take
a look at...]


      1. As practiced by the hypocrites of Jesus' day, it involved:
         a. Doing so with a "sad countenance"
         b. Doing so with "disfigured faces" (perhaps by applying
         -- The only good such fasting might do them is win the praise
            of men, but certainly not of God! - Mt 6:16
      2. Rather, our fasting is to be seen of God
         a. To be done without any outward appearance of fasting - Mt 6:17
            1) Therefore, it should include "anointing your head"
            2) Also, "washing your face"
            -- I.e., what people would normally do to as part of their
               daily ablutions
         b. By doing this, only God will see your fasting and He will
            reward you openly (perhaps by answering prayers offered 
            while fasting) - Mt 6:18

      1. This point Jesus made in Mt 9:14-17
      2. It should be done only when the occasion calls for it (such as
         situations where you would already be spending much time in 

      1. Cf. Isa 58:3-9
      2. All the praying, all the fasting, is of no avail if it is not
         accompanied with penitent obedience on our part

      1. Don't go out and fast just because it sounds like "a neat 
         thing to do"
         a. Take the subject seriously and prayerfully
         b. Fast only when the occasion is a serious one
         c. One in which you desperately desire God's help
      2. If you have never fasted before...
         a. Start slow, fast only for brief periods of time
         b. End slow, gradually breaking your fast with fresh fruits
            and vegetables in small amounts
      3. Fast when you have time to spend in prayerful meditation
         a. Remember the purpose for fasting
         b. To humble oneself in God's sight; to seek a favorable 
            answer to prayer for some important plea


1. There is much more that could be said on the subject of fasting
   (cf. Fasting - A Special Study)

2. But I hope this suffices to stimulate our thinking on a subject
   which has often been neglected in both study and practice

3. But implied in Jesus' teachings is that His disciples would fast,
   and so it is important that we know what is involved in "Fasting
   That Pleases God"

Now as useful as fasting might be, praying and fasting alone cannot
save a person who is lost.  Paul found this out when he fasted three
days after coming to believe in Jesus as the Lord (Ac 9:3-9; 22:6-16).

Have you heeded what Paul was told to do?

   'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash
   away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' (Ac 22:16)

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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Matthew: Prayer That Pleases God (6:5-15) by Mark Copeland

                        "THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW"

                    Prayer That Pleases God (6:5-15)


1. A wonderful privilege enjoyed by the children of God is prayer...
   a. Through prayer we can receive mercy and grace to help in time of
      need - He 4:14-16
   b. Through prayer we can find peace that guards our hearts and mind
      - Php 4:6-7

2. But the privilege of prayer assumes God will heed our prayers...
   a. Not all prayers are acceptable to God - cf. Pr 28:9
   b. Indeed, God does not hear the prayers of all men - cf. Isa 59:
      1-2; 1Pe 3:12
   c. Jesus described the prayer of one man which did not please God
      - Lk 18:9-14

3. Do we know what qualifies as "Prayer That Pleases God"?
   a. In His sermon on the mount, Jesus had much to say about prayer
   b. Especially the kind of prayer which finds favor in God's sight

[In this study, let's take a look at Mt 6:5-15, where Jesus taught
His disciples regarding prayer.  First, we find Jesus telling us...]


      1. Who love to pray...
         a. Standing in the synagogues
         b. On the corners of the streets
      2. This they do "that they may be seen of men" - Mt 6:5

      1. That is, they are indeed seen by men
      2. But that is the extent of their reward (the praise of men)
      3. They have no reward or blessing from God!

      1. Evident from the fact that He Himself prayed in public - Mt 11:25; Jn 11:41
      2. As did Paul - Ac 27:35

[The emphasis is the same as stated in Mt 6:1, "do not do your [deeds
of righteousness] before men, TO BE SEEN BY THEM."

How, then, are we to pray as to be heard by God?]


      1. This is the main idea of "praying in secret" - Mt 6:6
      2. "The sincere and humble worshiper, one who is not interested
         in making a public display for the sake of enhancing his
         prestige, will find the secluded nook or den to be most
         appropriate for his devotions." (unknown)
      3. The person who prays much in secret is praying to be seen of
         God, not men!

      1. Avoiding the use of "vain repetitions" - Mt 6:7
         a. As was often practiced by the heathen religions
         b. "The heathen tried to tire out their gods with such endless
            prayers. Mere formulas were repeated over and over again;
            the Jews had such prayer formulas, Catholics also have
            them in the form of their rosary." (Lenski)
      2. This is not condemning all repetition, but "vain" (insincere,
         useless) repetition
         a. Jesus repeated Himself in prayer at Gethsemane - Mt 26:
         b. Paul repeated his requests concerning his "thorn in the
            flesh" - 2Co 12:7-8
      3. Since "your Father knows the things you have need of before
         you ask Him," prayers to be heard by God do not have to be
         filled with superfluous words
         a. Have you ever noted the brevity of prayers recorded in the
         b. God is not swayed the by quantity of words, but by the
            quality of the heart!

      1. The phrase "in this manner" suggests that this prayer...
         a. Is a pattern for praying
         b. Not a liturgical exercise as sometimes practiced
      2. The pattern of proper prayer:
         a. First, simplicity
            1) Notice the word "therefore"
               a) It connects what follows with what was said before
               b) Jesus' pattern for prayer is an "illustration" in
                  contrast to the "many words" used by the heathen
            2) In the prayer itself, note the brevity of words
         b. Then, in its content, proper prayer includes...
            1) Reverence for God and His "Name" (i.e., His being and
               character) - Mt 6:9
            2) Prayer for the progress of God's Kingdom and His Will on
               the earth - Mt 6:10
            3) Asking for physical necessities - Mt 6:11
            4) Also, our spiritual needs
               a) Forgiveness of sins - Mt 6:12
               b) Protection and deliverance from evil - Mt 6:13
            5) Praising God - Mt 6:13

      1. As indicated in the pattern prayer itself - Mt 6:12,14-15
      2. Otherwise, we cannot expect mercy for ourselves - cf. Mt 18:
         21-23; Jm 2:13
      3. This must be very important to Jesus, for this is the only
         part of the pattern upon which He elaborates!


1. This is not the only occasion in which Jesus taught on prayer...
   a. Later, His disciples would ask Him to teach them to pray - Lk 11:
   b. He taught them about the importance of persistence, faith and
      humility in prayer - Lk 11:5-13; 18:1-14

2. But in this sermon Jesus sought to stress prayer that is designed...
   a. To be seen by God, not man
   b. To be heard by God, not man
   -- Who knows better what kind of prayer that is, than He who now
      sits at the right hand of God!

If we believe that God hears prayer (Ps 65:2) and that He is a
rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (He 11:6), then let's be sure
we offer the kind of "Prayer That Pleases God"!
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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