Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

April 4, 2018

Have you ever considered that when we pray for personal good, it might not be a bad idea to consider how our prayers might affect other people?

It was Abraham Lincoln who started me thinking down this road.

Lincoln once said, “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, because God is always right!

Lincoln issued this quote during an Illinois senatorial debate in 1858 between himself and incumbent Senator Stephen Douglas.  He would reprise it numerous times as he guided this nation through the Civil War.

Much of the time I wonder if we give any consideration whatsoever as to our being on God’s side anytime!  We often seem so starved to have our own way, regardless of the cost!

Maybe today would be a good day to give some thought to the fact that our greatest personal good is inseparable from the good of everyone else.

It was a word study that brought me here.  Yes, I know!  It sounds boring to mention a word study, but sometimes these exercises can take us to some exciting places.

The Aramaic word for heaven is SHMAYA.  This sounds boring enough until we unlock the power of Jesus’ prayer when he prays, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Luke 11:2b KJV).”

When Jesus invokes this usage of heaven, it means cosmos, universe, harmony, peace and to prosper.  His audience would have understood that he was referencing the ancient prophets and astrologers.

Their idea of heaven was obtained from watching how the planets stayed put in their orbits and functioned harmoniously with each other without colliding. 

We know today that there are physical laws that God put into place in the solar system so that the planets can live together and not beat each other up!

The very essence of our universe is one of order and intelligence.  Christ is praying that you and I learn of this order and harmony by invoking the righteous will of God in our lives.  After all, God is always right!

Another interesting Aramaic word for religion is DINA.  DINA means balance.

When we remove balance from our lives, what we end up with is chaos.  In our chaos, we spin out of our orbits and collide with others!

The Christian religion, when practiced rightly is the study of God and the way God keeps everything in balance.  Therefore, Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

We cannot achieve balance in life when we love self too much or too little.  There has to be a sweet spot or otherwise, we will be flung from orbit.

It is God’s vision for us to have the same harmony in our lives that there is in heaven.  It is not all that far-fetched to consider that we can actually pull this off!  

We must learn to stop fighting against the built-in forces that God has placed in the universe.  If we are at struggle mode…stop and regroup.

Struggle is our sign!  If we feel we are swimming upstream, there’s our sign.

When life feels like one endless mountain trail that’s always winding uphill, there’s our sign!  It means we have moved out of our orbit!

When we’re out of our orbit, we will also notice that we collide with others far too often and harm is being done.  Our souls can take a beating!

The key is to work with God and not against God’s current.  Jesus taught us that there is incredible, divine power within us.  Jesus said, “…the kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21b TLB).”

We can actually express these divine forces by tuning into God’s harmony, current and right-thinking!  We’ll have to admit there are times in life when the door cracks open, we see a sliver of light and we just feel the flow!  

My darling son flies out today.  He was home for Easter but now it is time for him to resume a life that he has made for himself in California.

I just hate watching him leave.  Why’d we have children in the first place?  Will there ever be a time when we do not worry about them?

Well, Jesus addressed this matter as well.  Again, we are never left alone to our own devices.

Speaking of harmony and all, we are told in The Great Sermon, “What man among you would give his son a stone if he should ask for bread?  Or if he asks for a fish, would he give him a snake?  You are sinful and yet, you know how to give good things to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him (Matthew 7:9-11 NLV)?”

So, today let us pray for harmony.  Let us pray for movement in the flow of God’s systems.  And, for crying out loud let us pray we don’t have to collide with anyone unnecessarily!

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