Read Matthew 22:1-14. It’s the parable of the Wedding Banquet. It’s a story about how God sent people to teach us and encourage us to follow His ways. Those that didn’t follow his ways were uninvited from the wedding banquet (aka. Salvation). And since those who were originally invited (Jewish people) didn’t follow his ways, the wedding was opened up to others (aka. Gentiles. e.g. you and me). [Read more…]
Ever feel disconnected from God? People often express this feeling, but don’t seem to know how to get reconnected.
I want to offer a possible solution by considering worldly relationships. For example, how do you have a relationship with the friends and family in your life? You talk, hang out, get together for meals, movies, activities, etc. Yet, do you ever feel “disconnected” from friends and family? Sure! Does that mean they don’t exist? No. It usually means I’m distracted with other things. I’m not reaching out. I’m absorbed in my own life.
Isn’t this true then of our relationship with God? When you are absorbed in your own world, it’s easy to feel disconnected from God. Remember, just like with friends, you can talk with God. That’s called prayer. Just like with family, you can “hang out” with God. That’s called quiet time. You can join God via the activity called Bible study. Finally, you can share a meal with God through communion…or the holy sacrament.
So, the next time you feel disconnected from God, consider where your heart and mind have been. Reconnect with God through prayer, quiet time, Bible study, and communion.
As always, share your ideas on how to reconnect with God. Let us hear what you think too!
Worry is a control issue. We want control over uncertain or uncomfortable situations. But God says to trust in Him. This isn’t to say that life will be without pain and problems. But Christian maturity means trusting God that His plans for us are greater than our present difficulties.
So, when you start to worry, instead-start to pray…and place your trust in God.
Our Glory or His?
God isn’t a big fan of humans doing things for our own glory. In fact, look at any behavior where the goal is to draw attention away from God and to ourselves. You can bet that God is frowning upon it. Focusing on God’s glory (more Him, and less us) is a sign of Christian maturity.
The Jewish Pharisees were known for praying in public as a show of their self-righteousness. They were seeking their own glory and Jesus Christ saw right through it.
But let us not think we are immune from such actions. Us mere humans are bent upon seeking the approval of other people. We want to look better than we are. We want to appear like we have it all together. We want to come across as more spiritual or holy than we are. God knows our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him.
Pray in Private
And so, this installment of “2 Minutes to Christian Maturity” is about private prayer. Let’s read from Matthew 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
So God says we should pray in private. Does this mean public prayers are not heard? Of course they are! God is recommending private prayer so we aren’t tempted to pray with the wrong motivation (self glory).
The most effective prayers are those when we come humbly before our God, lay ourselves bare before Him, repent of our sins, and ask for His grace and forgiveness. When was the last time you prayed like that in public? God knows that praying in private is the best place to have “quality time”.
When I started caring more about what God thinks of me than what other people think of me, it evolved into a genuine act of worship instead of trying to “look Christian”.
But when it comes to Christian maturity, God knows best. If given the choice, private prayer, free of distractions, is preferred. Take 2 minutes, and find a secluded spot where you can connect in prayer with our Holy God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, the Giver of life, the One who knows what we need even before we ask.
Can we ask you to do us a favor?
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Have you ever read the Psalms? They are written prayers to God. Some are songs and others are just the outpourings of the heart.
I just listened to an audiobook version of “Here I Stand”, which was Martin Luther’s self defense of his writings which sparked the Protestant Reformation in 1521. (google it. It’s a great read)
Although he had many supporters among common Christians, he was facing an onslaught of criticism and pressure from the Catholic leadership to recant his writings against the church’s misuse of authority and contradiction with scripture. In preparation for his defense, he wrote out a prayer to God for strength to persevere according to God’s will.
It struck me that we too should sometimes write out our prayers to God. And so, I want to encourage you to give it a try.
But in addition to the short prayers, let’s seek the maturity of some of our faith’s forefathers and write out our heartfelt, earnest prayers to God.
But in addition to the short prayers, let’s seek the maturity of some of our faith’s forefathers and write out our heartfelt, earnest prayers to God. Leave a comment or send me a note and let me know how it impacts you.
Can we ask you to do us a favor?
If you enjoyed this article, would you please share it with your facebook friends? Send a message about this page (https://changingthefaceofchristianity.com/christian-maturity) to Christian friends on facebook. Thanks!