Noon Prayer, Lectio Divina Matthew 5:14-16


Lectio Divina is an ancient way of praying the Scriptures and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Lectio Divina is Latin for “Divine Reading”.

I think of Luke 24.45 how the Lord opens our minds to understand the Scriptures: “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Steps to praying Lectio Divina

Choose a text and place yourself in a quiet environment. Calm your anxieties and thoughts for a couple minutes of silence. Pray that you would here the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your through the Word and ask Him to enlighten your heart, mind, and thoughts in Christ.

  1. Lectio: Read the text of the Bible slowly and prayerfully constantly listening for what the Word of God says to you. Maybe read it 4 or 5 times.
  2. Meditate: Meditate upon the Word. Maybe a word or phrase will strike you. repeat it and listen with your heart to God. Allow it to speak to you in a persona way by pondering it in your heart.
  3. Response: Respond to God in prayer and dialogue as you are directed by your heart. Enter into a loving conversation with your Father.
  4. Contemplate: Rest in the presence of God and receive deeply what you have been shown, what you have prayed, and enjoy the presence of the Lord. Be content and at peace with a wordless, quiet rest in the Father’s presence. This is not your action or doing, rather, silence and contemplations is allow God to act within you.

Close with thanks, maybe journaling what the Father has shown, what you sensed, or felt.

For Wednesday, September 24 noon prayer we will be praying Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)

This is a great way to know the Word, know God, and connect with the Father in prayer. Add this to your prayer life. P. Nate

Less is More


We are always in a hurry and sometimes for no reason. We commit to too much, overplan, set goals that are not reality, and stress ourselves into a state where peace is elusive. We are in a state of perpetual hurry.  Cultivating a relationship with our Father can not be hurried.  That is one of the things God has shown me the last several years.

We need to learn that “less is more” in life.  To not be so busy, so weighted down by commitments, so burdened by trying to be the world’s best mom or dad.  “Less is more” when we come to Scripture.  Sometimes instead of reading a few chapters of the Bible read, and reread a few verses and let our loving Father reveal to you His messages and His truths to your life.  Today I read, reread, prayed and thanked God for Isaiah 43.1-7.  Take a moment

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”” (Isaiah 43:1–7, NIV)

  • Read this a couple times
  • Pray over them and ask Father to speak to your heart about them.
  • Ask  Who is God for me?  How does He see me?
  • What promise does God have for you right now in your life? What are forever?
  • Respond in grateful appropriateness.

Keep in the process of spiritual formation, receiving and responding to God’s love.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Prayer Guide, Day of Pray and Fasting April 28, 2020


Prayer Verses, April 28, Day of Prayer and Fasting

Psalm 63:1-8   and   Psalm 145:1-16

‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12–13, NASB95)

“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” (Jeremiah 33:2–3, NASB95)

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14–15, NASB95)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NASB95)

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:10–12, NASB95)

Prayer Themes

  • Quicken the dead spiritually
  • Fill the empty
  • Wake the spiritually sleeping
  • Bring home the Prodigals
  • Strengthen the Tired
  • Refresh the Weary
  • Protect the Vulnerable
  • Encourage the Hopeless
  • Expand you Kingdom
  • Bring Revival

-Strengthen and encourage those in public health services and in the medical profession: care-givers, nurses, attendants, doctors, all who commit themselves to caring for the sick and their families.

-Inspire, give insight and hope to all researchers focused on developing a vaccine.

-Sustain all workers and business owners who suffer loss of livelihood due to shut-downs, quarantines, closed borders, and other restrictions… protect and guard all those who must travel.

-Heal those that are sick, and protect those who care for them. Be with those that have lost family and friends during this time.

-Deliver us from any form of hate toward those that have differing opinions.

-Continue to move on the hearts of the world as the church takes center stage on Social media. We pray people will make decisions for you that last.

-Pray for our National, State, and Local leaders.

-Pray for Pastors and church leadership. That You would sustain them, encourage them, and give them wisdom.

 

Holy and Great Friday


Today, take time to remember the price that was paid for our salvation. This price was freely given by Jesus who gave up his life for us.  The Gospel of Matthew….

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:50–56, NASB95)

I am reminded of Ephesians. Because of the “Holy and Great Friday” as the Greek Orthodox call it, we walk now in Christ

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:1–6, NASB95)

Take moment today, get alone, and with a grateful heart thank the Lord Jesus for surrendering his life, yielding his spirit and purchasing our salvation and standing with God. I am so grateful for Christ’s gift of salvation.  That he poured His mercy on me, because of his love, and that my salvation was given and I did not have to earn it.

He brought me from spiritual death to life, and together we have been raised up, and now enjoy our place in this Kingdom of God.  It is all because of Jesus love, and that love was demonstrated.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8–9, NASB95)

So Grateful

Pastor Nate Elarton

Advent, Change, and Jesus


Nothing changed human history more than the coming of Jesus.  His life, death, resurrection, teaching, and promises have impacted life on His planet.

We are all changing.  As I approach my mid-fifties I recognize change.  Age, energy level, thought, and priorities all are shifting.People clamor for change, but many find the changes they want elusive and difficult. We  mostly pursue change that centers  around our comfort, looks, age and weight prevention, relationships  and the such.

The changes we all need and should pursue are the internal changes of our thoughts, character, and inner peace and contentment.

Too many of us allow our world, our environment, and our experiences to change us into the person we don’t want to be. We received the broken and deceptive messages that we don’t measure up, that life is hard, that we don’t have enough nice stuff, love hurts so be guarded, and anyone that stands in the way of what I want is my enemy.  These message bring negative change to us.  This  change will happen through cultural osmosis  if we are not aware and proactive about the state of our heart and soul.

Jesus wants to change us every day.  We need to spend some time with Him.  Silence, humility, hunger for righteousness, a desire to know the Lord and His ways, at the same time resisted and rejecting the negative messages  of this earth.Want to be changed?  We can let our Lord change us, or we can let this world change us. It’s really up to each one of us.  We decide.

Spend some time alone. Invite the Lord to speak to you. Read a Psalm, say a prayer, surrender a grudge, confess your desire to be like Him, for that is the changes we need.  Read about Jesus and what he was like, how he loved, what he did, who he impacted, who he served. Listen to him in the stillness. Hear with your spirit not your ears.

Change is not impossible. Jesus came to change us. His advent is all about change. He wants to change us, forgive us, pour grace upon us, and show us how much he loves us.  It’s His desire, but change can’t happen if we do not share His desire.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB95)

 

Living Poor


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.3

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? To be poor means to be utterly dependent on others and totally impoverished. The Greek word that Matthew uses here is the strongest word he could have used for “poor” (Gr. ptochos) it  literally means “undone, pathetic, miserable.”  This is the only place in the New Testament “poor in spirit” is used like this.

I am starting to understand this spiritual mystery a little. I have been a follower of Jesus for over 35 years, and I sit here pondering how I can live daily  “poor in spirit.”  To be miserable without God, and His presence? To be totally undone if He and I are distanced.  To have a motivation everyday to draw close, to need Him so badly, that I am pretty pathetic without Him.   I confess, I am so capable to not think or feel this for extended periods.  Without the conscience desires and heart-grooming to love Him more, I am able to live without that strong living connection, and consciousness  of Jesus’ presence.  I can study, function, think, eat, and even be kind and loving without being “poor in spirit.” But to live daily “ poor in spirit” is a different level of desire, motivation and heart posture.  It requires a consistent exposure to a posture of poverty in spirit I must posess.

To be needy in my spirit for Jesus, is something I cannot will, but I must “be”. How can this happen? What does this look like?

  • To be in such a love relationship with Jesus that distance brings my poor spirit distress.
  • To have such faith and true knowledge of the Lord, that I can do nothing of eternal value without working in tandem with His Spirit.
  • To verbalize, ponder, and meditate of my spiritual poverty and deep need for Jesus.
  • To know that “in Him I live, and move and have my being. (Acts 17.28), as I go about the daily, often, mundane routines of life not alone, but with the joy and light of Christ.
  • To not allow my experience, self-sufficiency, or knowledge to substitute a life that is indwelling with the living Christ.
  • To be with Jesus, to keep reminding myself of His glory, love, friendship, and life, which my life must be lost within.

To live like this is to live within the Kingdom of Heaven. To live without being “poor in spirit” is to live in the systems of this temporal world’s ways. To live in a state that we do not recognize we truly need Him in every way is to live in the un-desperate self-sufficient mode and the deception that Jesus does not matter and really doesn’t make a difference in who we are, and what we are doing.  May we not be deceived. May we desperately with all poorness throw our life, our day, our strength, our thoughts, our desires, into His hands.

Cultivate your poverty in Spirit daily by being with Jesus. More than a “devotion” or “quiet time” but a posture of heart that continues throughout the day.  Commune with Jesus in such a way, that if that communion is broken, you immediately know it, and return to being poor and needy for Him. So we really do live in poverty.

“For thus says the high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 NRSV

Pastor Nate Elarton

Submission, the Lost Discipline


gardenAt Compelled church I have been teaching on the spiritual disciplines in our series called “Making Room”.  This weekend I will teach on the discipline of submission. As I study and read and realize this is definitely a concept we don’t like to talk about and surely struggle to live out.  But it is a discipline of the heart nonetheless.

Submission comes easy to me when I want to submit, serve, and obey.  Maybe I will be noticed for it, or I will be thought of highly for submitting or serving in some “public” way that others can see.  Submission is really deeper than that. It is of the heart.  To give up perceived or even real “rights” is hard for our flesh and not thought of as honorable in our culture.  We truly believe we have a right to do whatever we want and if anyone disagrees or questions us they become enemy #1.

Submission has been abused by religion, leaders, churches, and organizations, but that does not mean it is not a virtue still.  Jesus had to submit, “not my will but thine” (Luke 22.42). Paul’s teaching to the Philippians show the submission of Christ, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Phil. 2.8)”.  He submitted to the plan of the Father, to us for our freedom from sin, to death which God should never experience, and He submitted to how that will happen,  on a disgusting cross.  Do we think we do not have to submit, serve, obey, and give up our rights, when our example did, and He did for us.  

Submission of the heart to the ways of God is the deepest and most secret act and posture of our heart. Our jealousy, offense, hate, bitterness, all the things we believe we have a right to have, and to feed, must be forsaken for the sake of the love of Christ and His desire for our soul to be spiritually healthy. It is also an act of love for others.

Submission of our souls, and lives to the truths of the Bible, the moral compass, God gives us, and the love he wants to shower us with.  When we do not truly give him all areas of our life, we forfeit an awareness of His love and presence.  Our relationship turns into religion and our hearts can turn to stone.

The true mark of a child is they must have their own way.  Submission is a virtue for the mature.  We love others more than ourselves.  Just like Jesus did.

Read the teachings of our Savior,

Mark 8:34-36  “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

May the Lord helps us submit, which is the deep virtue of love, and our world needs this so desperately, as does our families, spouses, children and community.

Pastor Nate Elarton

The Discipline of Confession


It’s hard to be honest.  To speak of our own weaknesses  is against human nature.  We always want to protect ourselves and control what others think of us.

Honesty is another one of those character traits that just can’t become rare

Confession is being honest with God and others about our failures, fear, inadequacies, and even sin.

Our culture does not want to appear vulnerable or weak.  We care way too much what people think of us, and we even try and control their thought about us.  We want to impress others, to be loved, and in doing the things that require this to happen to we are not true to ourselves or to them.

We live in a world where secrets and shadows are the norm.  to be totally and honest with someone is a very special relationship.  Priceless I would say.

We have learned to be dishonest, because we are all judgmental, and we expose others weaknesses for our gain.  We are a dark bunch in that way.

Admitting fault is ever so difficult but a strong character link,  — It is tough to say “I did it”  “I was wrong”  “I can’t do that”  “I struggle with….”  This all admits weakness?  Maybe not, maybe this is admitting honesty which is humility, which is a godly attribute, the fruit of the Spirit, and an attribute of Christ.

When we practice confession as a discipline it shapes our heart, molds our spirit, and attracts Jesus.  Confession is coming clean with the truth with God and others.

There is some wisdom here from Solomon

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”  Proverbs 28.13

Confession is humility. and humility always attracts the Holy Spirit.

Unconfessed sin will harden our heart to sin, invite more and we may be in danger of straying away from the Lord.  Sin separates, plain and simple.  We have a promise and a wonderful invitation, to total forgiveness,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9–10, NASB95)

Go be free, confess, and enjoy the mercy and love of Jesus!

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