Tuesday, October 18, 2011

On Earth As It Is On Heaven

On Earth as It Is in HeavenOn Earth as It Is in Heaven by Warren Wiersbe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As usual Warren Wiersbe has written an excellent book. Many great insghts on the lord's Prayer! Check out this quote, "When God is not permitted to rule, He often over-rules and is able to bring blessing out of disobedience and disappointment." If you are interested in learning more about "The Lord's Prayer" then this is the book for you!

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Below are several quotes from the book:

Martin Luther said that “the ancients ably defined prayer an Ascensus mentis ad Deum, a climbing up of the heart unto God.”  p. 10

“Not to want to pray, then, is the sin behind sin,” wrote P.T. Forsyth, “and it ends in not being able to pray.”  p. 10

Prayer isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity. P. 12

If prayerlessness is one of our sins, this is a good time to confess it. p. 12

The most important “great thing” about prayer is that, when God answers, it brings great glory to His name. Jesus told His disciples, “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13). No Christian believer can take credit for the miracle of answered prayer, whether that answer is the healing of the sick, the providing of employment, the conversion of the lost, or the solving of a difficult problem. “We do not know what to do,” King Jehoshaphat prayed, “but our eyes are on you” (2 Chron. 20:12; see also Heb. 12:2).

God answers prayer, not just to meet the needs of his burdened children but to bring glory to His name through the answers. That’s one reason why God permits difficulties in our lives, so that His ministry to us will reveal His power and glory to those who are watching. Do we pray only to have our needs met and our wants supplied as soon as possible, or do we pray because we want to see Jesus glorified on earth? Are we willing to suffer or even to fail if this will honor the Lord in a greater way?  p. 14

If our praying calls attention to itself or our abilities instead of glorifying God, something is radically wrong. p. 15

To be gripped by the miraculous magnificence of prayer means to be humbled and broken, deeply grateful for the privilege of access into the presence of the Almighty. It means following the example of the publican and crying out for help, not bragging about our achievements as the Pharisee did (Luke 18:9-14). It means depending wholly on the grace of God and not being ashamed to admit it. p. 15

This prayer (The Lord’s Prayer – Matt. 6:9-13) is at the heart of the Sermon on the Mount and is preceded by two warnings from our Savior: don’t use your prayers to show off how religious you are (6:5-6), and don’t just “babble” a lot of meaningless words (6:7-8). Get to the point! It’s the strength of our faith and the length of our prayers that pleases Him. Yes, some long prayers are recorded in the Bible (see 2 Chronicles 6, Ezra 9, Nehemiah 9, and Daniel 9), but there are many more short prayers that God heard and answered (e.g., “Lord, save me!” [Matt. 14:30]).

The Lord’s Prayer contains six requests, and we will study them in this book. Since the days of the church fathers, it’s been pointed out that the first three requests in this prayer focus on matters that especially concern God – the glory of His name, the coming of His kingdom, and the accomplishing of His will – while the last three requests deal with the needs of the one who is praying – the necessities of life, personal forgiveness of sin, and victory over trail and temptation. The prayer asks the Father to forgive the sins of the past, to provide what we need for the present day (both physical and spiritual), and to guide us in the future as we anticipate the coming of Christ’s kingdom. Just about every prayer burden we might have, either for ourselves or for others, can fit into each of these six requests.  pp. 16-17

The plural pronouns in the Lord’s Prayer remind us that we belong to a great family of faith and we must never ask anything for ourselves that would adversely affect our Christian brothers and sisters in the church at large. p. 17

This prayer is simple and to the point, and there is no needless repetition, the very practice Jesus warned about in Matthew 6:7-8. Jesus rebuked the teachers of the law who “for a show [made] lengthy prayers” (Mark 12:40). I recall preaching at a church in Norhern Ireland where an elder stood and prayed at great length. As he journeyed through Scripture, I was worried that my passport might run out before he ended. In one of his public meeings evangelist D. L. Moody asked a man to pray, and the man prayed for so long that Moody interrupted him and said to the crowd, “As our brother finishes his prayer, let’s sing a hymn.” That helped to save the meeting and perhaps even some lost souls. p. 18

God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in His holiness (Hebrews 12:10). He is a Father who is determined that His children will obey Him and grow in godly character. pp. 24-25

What does it mean to walk by faith? It means to obey God's Word in spite of the feelings within us, the circumstances around us, and the consequences before us. The people of Israel saw the Red Sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them, but Moses looked by faith to the Lord above them, and he led the nation safely out of Egypt.  p. 29

To live above with saints we love,
Will certainly be glory.
To live below with saints we know -
Well, that’s another story. p. 36

As a Christian, I'm not a physical unit in a religious organization. I'm a living part of a miraculous spiritual unity in Christ - a member of one body, a stone in one temple, a branch in one vine, to name but a few of the New Testament images of the church. All Christians are different, and yet we are all united in Christ. Regardless of race, color, gender, political, or economic status, believers are "all one in Christ Jesus."  Unity without diversity is uniformity, and diversity without unity is anarchy; but unity and diversity combined by the Holy Spirit in the church will produce a dynamic life of sacrifice and service that can change the world.  p. 41

Humble prayers build bridges, but selfish prayers tear down and build barbed wire fences.  p. 42

The Lord usually starts to answer prayer by working first in the hearts of those who are praying.  p. 43

"Well, the least I can do is pray for you," we hear Christians say, but they are dead wrong. The most we can do is to pray for others, because that's the first step in our getting involved with them to help meet their needs.  p. 43

The phrase "love one another" is found at least a dozen times in the New Testament, and prayer is one way we practice that love.  p. 43

"The purpose of preaching is to express and not to impress," and the same truth applies to our praying, especially our public praying. We should pray because we want the Father to be glorified, not because we want to impress Him or anyone else with our vocabulary or our theology. How tragic to please everybody except God!  p. 48

Has the glory of God departed from some of our homes, churches, and parachurch ministries and we don't realize it? Is there really "glory in the church" or just crowds of people seeking religious entertainment? Not to desire to glorify God  is the beginning of sin and leads to a dark and foolish heart (Romans 1:21).  p. 56

When I see worshipers arriving late and walking into the sanctuary carrying cups of coffee, I wonder if they would arrive late to see the president at the White House and carry their cups into the Oval Office. . . . I recall visiting a famous national historical site, and the sign at the door read: "No Smoking-No Food-No Chewing Gum." I wanted to get copies for the church I was serving.  Standing on a church platform, I've often seen people in the congregation chewing gum one minute and singing "Holy, Holy, Holy" the next minute. There is a better way for those who revere God's name (Mal. 4:2).  p. 57

"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God" (Ps. 20:7). If you want a 20th-century application of that verse, I suggest: "Some trust in money and management, others in clever promotion and sophisticated equipment, and some in Hollywood-style religious entertainment, but we will give ourselves to prayer and God's Word and trust in the name of Jesus."  p. 59

I once was an outcast stranger on earth,
A sinner by choice and an alien by birth;
But I've been adopted, my name's written down,
An heir to a mansion, a robe, and a crown.
I'm a child of the King, a child of the King:
With Jesus my Savior, I'm a child of the King.  ~Harriet E. Buell  pp. 62-63

Our task as a chosen people is to advertise by our words and deeds the glorious virtues of Jesus Christ. We are to live and serve in such a way that others will want what we have in Jesus Christ.  But how can the church advertise the virtues of Christ if the church is imitating the world? We have been called to shine as lights, not to reflect as mirrors. We don't belong to this world system (John 17:14-19) but to a heavenly counterculture that is hated by the same world system that hated Jesus and crucified Him.  p. 66

Near the end of the Fiddler on the Roof is a brief but poignant conversation that may help us better understand the use and abuse of a future hope. The Russian authorities gave the residents of the Jewish village of Anatevka three days to clear out and find other places to live. Mendel, son of the rabbi, says to his father, "Rabbi, we've been waiting for the Messiah all our lives. Wouldn't this be a good time for Him to come?"  His father replies, "We'll have to wait for Him someplace else. Meanwhile, let's start packing."  Like some people today, Mendel saw the coming of Messiah only as the perfect solution to the painful problems of life. Let Messiah come! In an instant, the enemy will be defeated and the village will be rescued! But the beloved rabbi had the correct approach. To paraphrase his reply: "The promise doesn't change, only our location changes, and we can take the promise with us. The promise must not be an excuse for indolence. Now, get to work!   p. 69

"Your kingdom come" implies that God rules first of all in our lives and then through us in the lives of others as we pray for them and minister to them. We want God's kingdom to rule in homes and families, in places of employment and ministry, in various government offices and agencies, and in places of authority and ministry around the world. p. 73

Someone has said, "The secret of happiness is to have someone to love, something to do, and something to look forward to."  Certainly we who have trusted Jesus have someone to love, and He asks us as He asked Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" (see John 21:15-19). Jesus didn't ask Peter about his doctrine or his progress in preaching. He asked Peter if he loved Him most of all. That's the foundation for ministry and the first step toward happiness.   p. 73

Someone to love means worshiping.
Something to do means working and witnessing.
Something to look forward to means waiting and watching.  p. 74

The will of God is nourishment, not punishment! To live and serve in the will of God means to mature spiritually day after day, to discover our gifts and use them joyfully, and to become all that we can become for the glory of God. The more we do the Lord's will, the more we enjoy the Lord's blessings that he has tailor-made especially for us.  p. 79

Yes, there are times when obeying God's will is costly and painful, but not doing God's will is even more costly and painful.  p. 81

Don't try to explain God's ways (Romans 11:33) . It can't be done. Just do what He says by faith and He will take care of everything. Faith is living without scheming.
Don't try to change God's mind (Romans 11:34). You'll be the loser.
Don't try to buy God off (Romans 11:35) His will is nonnegotiable. You don't bargain for God's blessings; you obey his commands. 
Don't try to steal God's glory (Romans 11:36). Then you'll miss everything God wants to give you. He will provide all that you need, but He will never give His glory or praise to anyone else (Isaiah 42:8)  p. 84

Romans 12:2 says, "test and approve what God's will is." The verb test means "to discern, to find and to follow," as in testing metals and separating the gold from the dross. It suggests that God's guidance usually involves several factors that must be evaluated carefully, such as circumstances, personal counsel, Scripture, self-examination, and the Spirit's inner direction. p. 84

If we are living in the Word and seeking to glorify Christ, the Spirit will direct us when we must make these "routine" everyday decisions. If we unintentionally begin to move in the wrong direction, the Lord will stop us and instruct us (Phil. 3:12-14). Paul called this "keeping in step with the Spirit" (Gal. 5:25).  p.  86

When God is not permitted to rule, He often over-rules and is able to bring blessings out of disobedience and disappointment.  p. 88

It's much easier for us to ask God to change other people than it is to ask Him to change us.  p. 98

If somebody is being a file or sandpaper in our lives, let's ask God to use the experience to polish us, not to scratch or irritate us.  p. 90

We exercise our stewardship a day at a time, a fact so important it is mentioned twice: "Give us today our daily bread!  p. 90

As Henry David Thoreau said in the first chapter of his classic book, Walden, "As if you could kill time without injuring eternity." Christian believers respect time because the way we use time prepares us for eternity. p. 99

Someone has said that the average American is being "crucified" between two thieves: the regrets of yesterday and the worries about tomorrow.  p. 100

There is always time for the will of God. I complained about my schedule at our family dinner one evening and our youngest daughter asked, ,"Dad, who plans your schedule?" Ouch!   p. 100

Knowing, loving, and doing the will of God is the key to an effective life.  p. 101

We are not manufacturers; we are distributors. Our works depend on His grace, and we can't earn grace. "But He gives more grace" (James 4:6), and we receive it by faith.  p. 101

When your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep is your downfall.  They who go a-borrowing, go a-sorrowing, says an old English proverb, and when that was written, there were no credit cards.  p. 105

We may forget our decisions, but our decisions will never forget us.  p. 106

You can measure the distance from the north pole to the south pole but not from east to west. It's a beautiful image of our sins being taken away forever!  p. 107

Love is the circulatory system of the body of Christ, the church.  ~Howard Hendricks p. 112

The word restore  (Gal. 6:1) was a medical term that meant "to set a broken bone." Would you want your physician to set a broken leg using a pipe wrench and a sledgehammer? We must not be gentle with sin, but we must be gentle with sinners. "So if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!" (1 Cor. 10:12).   pp. 112-113

"If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear" (Ps. 66:18 NASB). The word translated "regard" means "to know it is there and approve of it."  p. 114

When we don't permit God to rule, he will overrule us and accomplish His great purposes anyway, but there will be a greater price for us to pay.  p. 114

“The first duty of every soul,” wrote P.T. Forsyth, “is not to find its freedom but its Master.” When Jesus is our Master, we have in Him the freedom we need to live, serve, and grow. We are free to experience all that will make us what we were born to become. p. 117

Sunshine is good for plant life only if the plants have roots. Trails bring blessings to true Christians but not shallow "professors" (Matthew 13:6).  p. 119

. . . faith is living without scheming.  p. 120

. . . the Lord never permits temptations or trails unless they are necessary. We may not understand why God allows us to suffer, but we don't live on explanations - we live on promises.  p. 122

To quote P.T. Forsyth, "It's a greater thing for pain's conversion than for pain's removal." Paul pleaded three times that God would remove his painful thorn in the flesh, but instead God converted the pain into power and transformed Paul's weakness into strength (2 Cor. 12:1-10). p. 123

We don't fight for victory but from victory, the victory Christ won for us on the cross. "And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross" (Col. 2:15).  p. 130

The tail feathers of pride should be pulled out of our prayers, for our prayers need only the wing feathers of faith.  ~ Charles Haddon Spurgeon p. 135

True worship involves praise wrapped in prayer.  p. 140

The command, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10) literally means, "Take your hands off. Relax!" We are too prone to tell the Father what to do and to start manipulating circumstances to suit ourselves, when we should submit to Him because the kingdom is His. p. 141

. . .  my life is fragile and transient; only the Lord can make anything lasting out of it. "The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever" (1 John 2:17).  p. 143

C.S. Lewis wrote in The Four Loves, "All that is not eternal is eternally out of date." We Christians are often called "old-fashioned" or "not with it" or "outdated" by people who don't know Christ, when actually it is our accusers who are out of date! Because we share in God's eternal life, the passage of time takes nothing away from us that really is essential.  p. 145

As unbelievable as it sounds, here on earth we are sharing in eternity! That's why the words kingdom, power, glory, forever,  and  amen, are so important. They help us to take inventory so we can make sure we are "on praying ground."

Kingdom-Am I a faithful child of the King?
Power-Am I depending on His power as I serve Him?
Glory-Is my motive only to glorify Jesus Christ?
Forever-Do I live with eternity's values in view?
Amen-Am I walking by faith and saying "Amen!" to His promises?

If we can answer "yes" to the above questions, then we are privileged to share in eternity as we pray.  p. 148

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