© 2021 Daniil Kuželev. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

Last week I found myself engaged in a rather contentious debate with a Twitter user who seemed incapable of understanding that Jesus taught us that sin is a matter of the heart, comes from the heart, and is overcome by gaining a new heart.

What He Really Meant Was . . .

Sometimes Jesus said things that leave us scratching our heads in a state of bewilderment, wondering what he meant. A prominent example of this is what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount about gouging out our eyes and cutting off our hands.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But…


In 1989, while working as a Campus Minister at Kansas University, I attended a National Campus Ministers’ Seminar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Two and a half decades later, I retain a vivid memory of one moment during that seminar in which a man shared an event from his own life that changed my worldview.

God Has a Great Work for You to Do

On the morning that Cameron Corr, our keynote speaker, was scheduled to speak, he arrived at his car to find that it had been broken into. His wallet had been stolen, the speakers ripped out — the thieves pretty much trashed Cameron’s little Daihatsu automobile. …


© 2021 Leehu Zysberg. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay. Used by permission.

In Luke’s gospel, immediately on the heels of teaching the disciples to pray, Jesus launched into a story that expands a bit on the idea of prayer. This is a longer blog posting, so before diving in, grab your coffee, a blanket, and your Bible.

Pestering God

And he said to them, “Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

This is our final look at the prayer Jesus taught his disciples. Next week, we will look at how Jesus expanded on the teaching, but not look at the prayer itself.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

This instruction from Jesus is difficult because we know that God tempts no man, and he cannot be tempted by evil, and therefore we are not to accuse God of tempting us.¹ When praying in the garden of Gethsemene, prior to his execution, Jesus told the disciples to watch and pray that they would not enter into temptation.² …


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

Debts, ὀφειλήματα (opheileimata). This is not an act of wrongdoing. This is an obligation of payment to another. This is something owed, and in our case, because of our sin, it is a debt we owe to God.

Forgive Us Our Debts

The Jews hearing Jesus teach this may have thought of the year of Jubliee. The Jubilee year was the one at the end of seven cycles of schmita, Sabbath years. Every seven years constitutes one cycle, so after seven cycles, or forty-nine years, God commanded a year of Jubilee in which properties revert to original owners, slaves are freed to return to…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

For the past few weeks, we have been letting our minds marinade in the sauce of the Lord’s prayer. This week we are looking at . . .

Thy Kingdom Come

In brief, a kingdom is a domain. It is a reign or a rule; a realm over which one has control. As followers after Christ, we constitute that kingdom with Jesus as our King.

We, Jesus’ subjects, are a chosen people, a holy nation, a kingdom of priests.¹ As Christ-followers, it is our hearts’ longing that increasing numbers of men and women will be added to the reign of Christ.

We are…


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Two weeks ago we began our examination of Jesus’ response to his disciples’ request that he teach them to pray the way John taught his disciples to pray. We made it as far as “Our Father.” That examination continues below.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

I have written previously of the time my eldest son was in his mid-to-late teens and I told him, “Never forget that you are Sheridan Gray.” It was not that I was afraid he would forget his name, but rather that he needed to know his name carries a meaning. As we move through life, attributes and reputational elements become…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

Last week we examined an incident wherein the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Before we look at what Jesus said in response to the request, let us note a number of things he did not say.

Jesus did not mandate that prayer be done with the closed eyes and folded hands so common to Western culture. Neither did he mandate that we pray in any specific posture, whether that be on the knees, standing, sitting, or sprawled out face down on the floor. Neither did Jesus suggest that we speak with an other-than-normal cadence or vocal tone…


© 2021 David Beale. All Rights Reserved. Unsplash. Used by permission.

In two different gospels, Jesus used similar verbiage to teach his disciples to pray.¹ The two incidents are different enough that they appear to be distinct events, and if so, they are similar enough that it captures our attention to know that Jesus would go through this same lesson twice.

The lesson, recorded by both Matthew and Luke, has come to be commonly known as The Lord’s Prayer, but it might be more properly characterized as the believer’s prayer or the disciple’s prayer, since it is the Lord who taught it, but we who pray it and the disciples who…


© 2021 Conger Design. All Rights Reserved. Pixabay. Used by permission.

Last week we began our look at fasting, noting that Jesus never questioned that we would do so. We also looked at the motivation behind our fasting. This week we look at the new covenant purpose of fasting, and fasting as a “new wineskin.”

Fasting for a Purpose

Under the old covenant, fasting was typically a self-renouncing action intended to quell the wrath of God and move him to a gracious disposition wherein he would liberate his people from trouble or oppression. The sons of Israel often fasted as a show of repentance before God because of their foolish behavior.1 Sometimes the children of…

Damon J. Gray

Author & Speaker, Christ-Follower, IT Geek https://www.damonjgray.org

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