2021 Good Morning Church

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March 16, 2021

After the Israelites left Egypt, for forty years God gave them manna every day - except on the Sabbath Day. Some Israelites, however , didn't want manna for just a day. They wanted manna for a week, manna for a month, manna for many moons. So they collected mounds and mountains of manna. "Some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, and it bred worms and stank" (Exodus 16:20(.

The temptation is to stockpile. That's because we think stockpiles bring security. So we hoard. We accumulate. We amass money and stuff, just in case there is a rainy day.

Saving is a good idea. Yet there's a difference between saving and stockpiling. Completely depending on stuff only causes us to worry - to no end! Why? Possessions can be destroyed. Economies can collapse. And manna can become maggots. When our survival hinges on a pile of stuff that can vanish in the twinkling of an eye, we spend our entire lives filled with worry. There's a better way. Pray.

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

March 14, 2021

Matthew 6:10  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Stress is killing us. Here are some numbers: 60% of all illnesses and diseases are related to stress; 75% of all doctors' visits are connected to stress; 13% of all Americans lose sleep every night because of stress. If you're 65 years or older, your number-one health issue is stress.

Why are we stressed? Because we pray - "If it's going to be, it's up to me!" We walk around with the world's weight on our shoulders, convinced that if we just work harder, life will be perfect. "Lord, if it's going to be, it's up to me!" This prayer is killing us.

Jesus gives us a better prayer. It's the Second Petition of the Lord's Prayer, "You will be done." With this prayer we're saying,  "Heavenly Father, rule in my heart and in my home. Be the Guider of my past, my present and my future." What a great stress reducer!

Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

March 15, 2021

Matthew 6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.

Part one of the Lord's Prayer is about God's greatness. Part Two addresses our great needs. The starting place in prayer is always acknowledging who God is. Once we recognize God's greatness, we can pray about our great needs.

The first of our need's is provision - "Give us this day our daily bread." We're going to look at this petition over the next three days. Today we consider the words "give us."

In Matthew 7:10-11, Jesus tells us how much God delights in giving us good gifts. "If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him?"

That's why we confidently pray, "Give us."

March 11, 2021

Matthew 6:9  Pray then like this.

When it's all said and done, life boils down to two options. We can either panic or we can pray. Panic produces paranoia. Prayer produces peace. That's what Paul says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

If that's true (and it is), then there are some urgent questions: How do we pray? What should we pray? When should we pray? Where should we pray? The Bible answers these questions with three word: The Lord's Prayer.

For the next several days, we will look at the Lord's Prayer as it appears in Matthew 6:9-13. Here is an outline: Part One: Introduction, God's Name, God's kingdom and God's Will. Part Two: God's Providence, God's Pardon and God's Protection. The first part calls attention to God's power and great might. The second part calls attention to our weaknesses and our desperate needs.

March 10, 2021

Matthew 5:11  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are those who are persecuted because they show no manners, because they rave like fanatics, because they're rude and obnoxious." The reason for persecution is because of Jesus - "on my account," this beatitude says. People turn against us because our hearts have been captivated by Jesus. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we're living out his beatitudes.

The cost of being persecuted is worth it. How so? The beatitudes - humility, mercy, peace, purity and so on - create the best version of us and they bring great glory to Christ.


March 9, 2021

Matthew 5:10  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

In the Midwest, spring weather has a predictable pattern. Wildly wicked tornadoes! Jesus says that if we live out the first seven beatitudes, there will be a predictable pattern. What would that be? Wildly wicked persecution!

People who live according to the beatitudes suffer for it. Saul wanted David dead. Nebuchadnezzar threw Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego into the fiery furnace. Jewish leaders tossed Peter and Paul into prison. Paul, for his part, warns us, "Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted" (2 Timothy 3:12). Living a godly life leads to a predictable pattern - wildly wicked tornados! Painful persecution! That's why we need this promise. "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."


March 8, 2021

Matthew 5:9  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 42% of all American wartime casualties died in the American Civil War. Over 50,000 men died at the Battle of Gettysburg; 24,000 died at the First Battle of Bull Run.

Why are civil wars the worst? Because people know each other! For some reason, when we know each other, we're more likely to tear into each other. This is especially true in families. Jesus has something to say about all of this.

He doesn't say, "Blessed are the peace lovers." Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are the peaceable, those who don't make any waves." Jesus doesn't say, "Blessed are the peace fakers" or "blessed are the peace takers." Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers" - those who actively make peace. How do we do that? Through the cross, where we receive this promise, "Since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1)