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July 8, 2010 7:17 am
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Harvest podcasts featuring Pastor Greg Laurie are brought to you by harvest partners to receive Pastor Greg free online daily devotions or to become a harvest partner, please visit us firstname.lastname@example.org fluoride let's turn our Bibles now to Matthew chapter 5 the title of my message is the biblical worldview on money and possessions and giving I want to talk to you today about stuff and buying stuff. I mean, you know stuff we all have it guys we we cram it in our wallets and put in our back pocket, dislocated her hip in the process. We stuff it into our pockets girls you have even a bigger place to carry all your stuff in your first and we carry it everywhere that we go on our cars are filled with stuff in the trunk of our cars are filled with stop and think for many the meaning of their life is to get more stuff and then the buying bigger places to put their stuff in, comedian George Carlin said that that's what I houses for it's a place to put your stuff that you if you didn't have so much stuff you wouldn't even need a house. The house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on top of it. So one day you realize you have too much stuff because you open up the doors of your closet and therefore all in the drawer everything. The drawers are overflowing and so you have a garage sale and you sell off your stuff in this always works because there's someone else out there that wants more stuff to their driving around looking for stuff to buy and they come in by your stop by the way, have you ever noticed that your stuff is cool but other people stop his job and no so then you get the money from your garage sale from selling your stop and what you do when you go buy more stuff right and then it begins to pile up and I think one of the best places to store stuff is our garage because you have everything up there you have athletic stop and bike stuff and surfboard stop and spare parts and tools in broken tools you can't let go of an old closing vector so much stuff in your garage is not even room for a car and one of my favorite things that people keep in the garage is one of those very expensive workout machine or they do with it workout know they hang stuff off of that. You see, it is another place to collect at all. Then there's travel and and I have a problem with over packing when I travel. This last trip to Israel was joke because we took our extended family. That's two grandchildren and kids come with a lot of stuff they have their car seats and then they have their strollers and they have everything else that goes with it and it just starts multiplying and your good people see you coming and they run in a horror you know is your dragging all of this stuff to get on the plane and then you get somewhere and invariably despite the negative thinking all those things with me. I forgot the one thing that I wish I had so I got about going to get another don't have a duplicate of stuff that I already have it just goes on and on and on.
We know it. The Bible talks a lot about these things affect. Jesus told the story of a guy who had a lot of stuff that he had so much because it was so successful in business that he billed larger building to house his but the problem was this guy never give a passing thought to God. One day he said to himself, so you've done really well, you've got it made. And now you can retire take it easy and of the time of your life. And then Jesus said in response to that in Luke 12, you fool, you will die this very night, then who will get it all. Yes, Jesus is in conclusion, a person is a fool to store up earthly wealth and not have a rich relationship with God and then Jesus said real life is not measured by how much we'll real life is not measured by how much will, despite the popularity of this saying he that dies with the most toys when that is not the measure of a successful life. Jesus talks a lot about being stuff, possessions, money, and so forth and back to my surprise he did know that 15% of everything that Jesus said related to the topic of money and possessions more than all of his teachings on heaven and hell combine another interesting thing is half of the parables that Jesus told dealt with stuff things, money, etc. in addition, one out of every seven verses in the New Testament deals with this topic now.
If you compare that with other topics addressed in the Bible you'll find that the Scripture offers about 500 verses on prayer. Fewer than 500 on faith. While there are more than 2000 verses in the Bible on the subject of money. However, when you bring the subject up, people cringe, they reached further wallet. Make sure it's still there dangerous proposition preacher talking about money when we feel that way, but we think this is our money. This belongs to us. Don't you dare suggest we part with it in any way shape or form. It appears that the Bible reminds us that you belong to God.
Therefore, everything that you have belongs to God as well. First Corinthians 619 says don't you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, which you have from God, you are not your own for your bot enterprise therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. You belong to God, I belong to God. My health if I have good health and I do. Thankfully is a gift to me from God the breath by drawing in the my lungs right now is a gift to me from God beat of my heart right now is a gift to me from God one time the Pharisees came to Jesus trying to trap him. They sin is unlawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not. Now back in those days they were overtaxed just like we are in our days and it was really a trap because if he said yes pay taxes to Caesar, and they would say will know you think were all overtaxed in the present don't pay taxes to Caesar, then they would say follow your and insurrectionist and you should be arrested.
So Jesus said someone show me a calling someone produce the coin with a face of Caesar, I was in an antiquities store in Israel. In this last trip and I said find me a coin like the one Jesus would've held up and in point of doing, they found me a point that the face of Tiberius Caesar on it and I wanted to buy the coin. I said how much is it going $1000. No think you but it was a good illustration.
That's okay I have 1/4. It has a face on it to use that instead. But here's the point. There was the face of the Emperor Jesus said spaces on that calling. They said Caesar. He said therefore give to Caesar the things that belong to Caesar and give to God the things that belong to God, you bear the imprint of God were made after his image in his heart and soul in the same way we should glorify God with our lives.
Everything that you have even if it is a result of hard work, which I'm sure it is is been given to you by the Lord in Haggai 28. God says the silver is mine the gold is mine, declares the Lord is in a great way I it's meant to my strategic investment management through my hard labor and all that I've done that stupid God gave you the ability to do all of those things. Proverbs 1022 says the blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.
He gave you the ability to produce well. Deuteronomy 818 says remember the Lord. He's the one they gave you the ability to produce well that so confirms this covenant disabled regular you're talking to the wrong person because I'm not a wealthy person is seen. I'm pretty low on the economic ladder well is in that somewhat relative when we say were not wealthy people. I mean, who are we comparing ourselves.
Are you comparing yourself to someone living in Beverly Hills swimming pool's movie stars. To quote the Beverly hillbillies well yeah maybe compare to them you're not well think that maybe someone in Beverly Hills as well.
I'm not wealthy because they compare themselves to mega millionaire, then the megamillion arts is yeah I'm wealthy but not that wealthy because look at Bill Gates and then get on it goes, there's always someone higher but guess what, there's always someone a lot lower as well.
It is my belief that the American on the lowest rung of our economic ladder would be considered rich in comparison to a good portion of humanity living in the rest of the world, especially the Third World. Someone said and I quote if you have money in the bank in your wallet and spare change in a ditch somewhere you were among the top 8% of the world wealthy, that changes things sent all of a sudden when I think of that I realize that it is said I'm wealthy.
Everyone is if you have possessions you have a certain degree of well other people that are more than you. Of course there are other people that I was a new absolutely. So that's not the issue. The issue is you have stuff, you have things given to you by God in time. Maybe you'll even have more stop perhaps you love less, but here's what we need to think about how my live in relationship to all of that. What is the Bible say first Timothy 617 says tell those who are rich not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which will soon be gone, but their pride in trust should be in the living God always richly gives us all things we need for our enjoyment.
Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and to give happily to those in need, always be ready to share with others whatever God is given to them. Three things are mentioned in this text to a person who has resources number one, they should not be arrogant or put their ultimate hope in that well again.
They should not be arrogant or put their ultimate hope in that well tell those who are rich.
That would pretty much include everyone not to trust in their money, which will soon be God know you cannot take it with you. One of the wealthiest men were ever live Malcolm Forbes said shortly before his death, and I quote the thing I most dread about death is that I don't think I'll be as comfortable in the next life as I was in this one." That may be offender statements. I'm not sure where Mr. Forbes was that spiritually, but there's no question if you didn't know Christ and that was an understatement.
I did hear the story about a wealthy man was very near death. He had worked very hard for his money and desperately wanted to take some of it they have and so we pray and he asked God if he could be the exception to the role and take some money they have an end.
God said all right one suitcase only as a true story so the men loaded up a suitcase was solid gold bar after he died, he stood at the gate of heaven and was greeted by Peter because Peter always greets everyone in heaven this week know from all the jokes we hear Peter heard of your range of the men made with God and ask to check his suitcase in sewing as Peter later what was in that guy suitcase Peter says hello. It's the funniest thing I don't get it wet to all that effort to bring a suitcase full of pavements.
Yet it that's what gold is in heaven. Pavements that which is valuable on earth has no value in heaven, and that which is undervalued on earth as maximum value in heaven. So number one, don't be arrogant or put your ultimate hope, hope, and well number two, this one might surprise you but it's here in the text we just read enjoy what God is giving no doesn't say that you should feel guilty. It says enjoy it. Verse 17 God richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Sometimes people will suggest that there's a virtue in poverty, but the Bible doesn't teach that the Bible tells us that God can and will bless a person and that can include monetary blessing.
Of course we don't subscribe to the teaching of so-called word faith advocates I would say God wants every Christian to be healthy and wealthy and of unlimited resources. On the other hand, we do not subscribe to the idea that God wants every believer to be impoverished.
We know that God can bless a person materially I am. She looked at the pages of the Bible you'll find that there were people that were believers that had resources like Abraham, David, Joseph Joseph of Armadale, Barnabas and Mary only had wealth in varying degrees, but the point of it is, is that God can bless us in this way in one verse that is often cited as a story of the rich young ruler and Jesus told him to give up what he had to follow him and sometimes removal quote that like that is a prerequisite for being a Christian. Jesus only said that the one man one time and the reason he set it to that one man in particular is that young man was ruled by his possession and when Jesus told him to give it up. He was unwilling that showed that was the case. No heirs of God says if he's blessed you with things. Go ahead and enjoy civic Rick doesn't the Bible say that money is the root of all evil actually. The Bible does not say that and I am surprised how often I hear this quote, it money is the root of all evil is in the Bible. The Bible doesn't say that doesn't know what the Bible says verse Timothy 610, the love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they veered from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. There's a different you can have money and I love it and then you can have money.
11 you can have a lot of money and not necessarily love it.
Every little money, and love it a lot. It's not even how much you have it. Your attitude toward it. Money is neutral. It's not moral or immoral.
It's a moral there's no evil and money.
There's no good at it either. The problem with well-designed and having Susie the problem in wealth is not inhabiting it. It's when it has you.
It's how we get it how we guarded and how we give it them repeat that again, how we get it how we guarded and how we give it.
It can be used for good or bad. One final thing the pulses in relationship to a first Timothy 618 again.
Tell them to use their money to do good.
They should be rich in good works and give happily to those in the and always be ready to share with others. You can tell a lot about a person's spirituality by his giving or lack thereof, because Jesus said were a man's heart is or where man's treasure is, there will his heart be also in the works. True followers of Jesus we should get to the work of the kingdom of God. It's been said we should give until it hurts.
But Jesus teaches it should hurt when we cease to get that's a real test of our faithfulness to God because Jesus said if you have not been faithful in the use and handling the worldly well: trust you with true riches. And if you've not been trustworthy with someone else's property will give you property of your own. So it's all pulled together now before us in the sermon on the Mount.
Let's read Matthew six verses 1 to 4. Jesus is talking about giving this to key that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed don't sound the trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues in the state that they may have glory for med. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. When you do a charitable deed that is when you bring an operator offer a gift. Don't let your left hand know what your right is doing your charitable deed may be in secret, and your father who sees you in secret will reward you openly.
I don't forget that the theme running through the sermon on the Mount is the heart. Jesus is already dealt with this. He said you know you prove that it has been said, you shall not kill you if you have hatred toward someone that's like murdering them in your heart you heard that it has been said, you shall not commit adultery but if you lust after a woman. It's very similar effectively the same thing and now he is saying that these Pharisee that love to make a big show of offering their gift. Don't do it in a way that will cause others to see you. I mean, if someone sees you. Give five but don't do it in a way that draws attention to your giving your father who sees you in secret or reward you openly.
God watches everything we do. He always has his eye on us. You know when you are around small children find yourself doing the same thing with by two granddaughter, Stella and Lucy. You have to really keep your eye on them, especially when they start to walk. You know, little Lucy just started to walk in and she walks like a little sumo wrestler.
She just sorta like this. You notice she hasn't quite got the boys down yet. Stella Watson, a very ladylike way. But Lucy, she's just getting worked up and he was only a couple weeks ago she was calling. She is the fastest calling baby I've ever seen that that child could cross the distance of the house. It seemed like a nano second get out to your always watching, watching because as her walking there, there you go grabbing things and pulling themselves up in pumping their heads on things that in this sort of thing. So you have to watch watch watch watch what you can't take your eyes off of them wasn't God is always watching you because you're like little spiritual babies bumping our heads getting ourselves in the trouble he's watching us interesting text Mark chapter 12 we see that Jesus paid attention to what people did with their money that we read that Jesus went over to the collection box in the temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money.
Many rich people put a large amount then a poor woman came along. The widow actually dropped into Penny's. He called his disciples, he said, I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others are given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus is poor, she was given everything she had find it interesting that that verse says that Jesus went over to the collection box in the temple and one doesn't say that he just happened to notice. He actually went over with the express purpose of observing how people gain any notice how the wealthy would come in and no one measure of money that was a significant amount of money to a normal person, but not to them because they had so much more than this woman with her two pennies. Not a lot of money was everything she had. And so he saved his praise for her. He gave her more crazy than condemn the others. He just praised her they gave much much more. And they had much much more. But she gave everything.
It was not a performance she then go and do it in a way to look at what I'm about to do a check this out. Everybody see this one and irritable. This is what I want to give to God. Jesus watched Jesus watches when we give as well. Not for those that do it for the applause of men. For those that do it for the attention. For those that tell everyone how much they've done for the kingdom and I'm not just talking about money not talking about anything they boast of their great accomplishments. They make sure you know of all the great sacrifices they made. Jesus said they've received the reward verse two, by the way, the word reward means paid in full and receded these guys have already been paid. So if you give of your time or your finances or do something in a way to draw attention to yourself. You already received your reward so Jesus says there's a way to give.
Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is know what is happening is obviously my left hand is pretty aware with the standards] often work together. Well, actually, in this culture we talk about this when Jesus talked about cutting off your right hand or plucking out your right I the right hand was considered the primary kind of action you you have a hand you a favor. Like if you shake hands with someone and it's usually you know your right hand that you extend to a person. Maybe even the stop something you put that hand up your other hand you favor unless you're a southpaw, a left-hander, but regardless you have a hand that you favor over another. So Jesus is saying the right can be in the hand of action when you do something odd do it in a way that does not draw attention to yourself and do it for the glory of God. Why verse four that your charitable deed may be in secret, and your father who sees in secret will himself reward you openly listen God will not be your debtor and whatever you've given up for the kingdom of God is duly noted by the Lord himself. If we remember God will forget. But if we forget God will remember them repeat that if we remember God will forget that if we forget God will remember if we remember forgot I forgot Lord to think Yorty were paid for that you got your reward by telling everyone how much of it but you do this thing for God never tell anyone is due it done. You even forget about it and someone has to remind you of this thing you did five years ago or 10 years.I really don't remember that God will remember there's another passage of Scripture that gives us the biblical worldview on the believer and things in that second Corinthians, and you can turn over there if you like. Second Corinthians 911 or read to you from the new living translation. You don't know her second Corinthians is it right after prescriptions at Trice second Corinthians 9. Again, I'm reading this from the new living translation pauses.
Remember this, a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop was the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your mind.
How much are going to give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves a cheerful giver, and God will generously provide all of your needs and you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scripture says God gives generously to the poor. Their deeds will not be forgotten or godly people give generously.
The poor for God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and bread to eat in the same way he will give you many opportunities to do good, and he will produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
What we learn from this number one God loves cheerful giving you the Bible as quite a bit to say about things. God hates I don't know about you but II do have an interest in knowing we got a I certainly don't want to do something that causes God to say I hate that God hates light lying evil, slander, discord, so I don't want to he do what God hates.
But I also am interested will gobble up all right.
God hates line God hates lender guarding people what is God love you want to know God loves he loves a cheerful giver door cheerful giving translated hilarious. I love that he loves hilarious giver because that is a person that is discovered the joy of giving. Remember Jesus said in acts 2035. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
How you discover that to be true yet know when you're a child you don't believe that as a child you believe it is more blessed to receive than the get right and it's all about what you getting for Christmas and nearly detailed maps to your favorite toy store in the aisle were the thing is that you want that new Barbie doll, this thing is your guy, but whatever know or you know you have a URL link that they can they can order it on Amazon.com or whatever it is, but you make sure that your parents or your husband or your wife or whoever to get to this thing that you want, but as you get older you start learning the joy of giving you start to enjoy the look of delight on the child's face when they open that thing that you got for them it's more blessed to give then to receive see kids don't like to give kids don't like to share. It's amazing you can have two very small children who have not even really learn how to talk yet they just know a few words but one child grabs a toy. The other child was completely disinterested in southerly ketchup bottle for the toy and they learn probably. What is the first word for many children today not dad our mama but rather I mind and they start pulling back in for the mind anything silly children learn to share with then you go to the store that's having the big sale and there's an item you're looking at your thinking I might buy that it's a good deal but then again I don't know that I really needed no I don't think him and abide as you walk away some other lady reaches and grabs the item was and is a way where I was again at that first she says no I want to know. I wanted my salesperson has to separate the two of you sometimes things don't change all that much, and we can look at all the things God has blessed us with the we can effectively say mind but again coming back to what we said earlier, you are not the owner.
You are the stewards it belongs to God because you long to God hello's are true.
Okay so what should I do I should lay up for myself treasures in heaven. Jesus is later in the sermon on the Mount Matthew six, where moth and rust cannot corrupt nor can thieves break in and steal for your treasure is that we are hardly also have you ever been ripped off different anyone breaking your house or in your car or steal your wallet and my wallet stolen recently.
That's a lot of fun. I was up in LA with Steve were checking out his new facility. I go to a Starbucks. I'm waiting for him to come over across the street and some of what my wallet and you know that that's a major production and so we immediately I called my credit card company and I found out like three minutes after I lost sight of it. Charges were being made on my car which I had to sit down with her, that all men you can steal that money just what when I lay up treasures in heaven can steal going to feel little rust will get mold on the they don't whereabouts they actually are waiting for you know you can't take it with you like a full with a suitcase full of goal, but you can send it on ahead. How do I send it on ahead.
Every sacrifice they made for the king. Every gift I invest every prayer that I pray every time I share the gospel. Everything that I do for the glory of God result in treasures in heaven, so number one God loves a cheerful giver number two. It's a blessing to give the blessing given a lot of believers have not discovered this blessing in their life, yet Paul is speaking in second Corinthians about the believers there love to give any said in second Corinthians, a fork, they bend us again and again for the gracious privilege of sharing in the gift for the Christians in Jerusalem.
They were begging to give you we give to now that was great but now we want another project goes in the ongoing help people. That's the spirit. Number three as we get to God. God will get even more to us again as we give to God. God will give even more to what verse eight God is able to make it up to you by giving you everything you need and more so that you will not only have enough for your own needs but plenty left over to give joyfully to others. Every farmer knows if you sold see you're going to get a little crop, the greater the amount of the crop is in seed form, the greater the amount that will cure in the form of rain later. Will some people say no I'm going to get very little. The least possible okay that your choice get a lot given little whatever he wanted to talk to you. God says you know what I really like generosity. How many of you know a cheapskate reason. You know what you think it how many of you are married to a cheapskate vision. How many of you are a cheapskate to pride yourself and that the government should carry dear Sir, I hold onto that stuff. Okay you know what cheapskates are a drag.
It's a good thing to be careful and it's a good thing to be a good steward, but a cheapskate that I want to give anything, even when they ought to be getting like when you bought dinner with.
We all know these people.
They somehow have paralysis of the hand when it comes to reaching for the wallet.
When the check comes I know people literally the check of their God where they go they come back 40, Nocera was in the bathroom. All of the checking really. I really wanted to get did you will see about that next time something else that they just there distracted when the child was going on. Look over there what what is that all you pick up the check. Thank you so my then you know people that are living. Let me help you and you even happen to know that some of these people don't have a lot of disposable income yet they're known for your generosity. I found out when the peopling of the most give the lease those inabilities give the most for some of the most anything. I got it by keeping it may be true, keep it cheapskate or then again you can be generous and you know what God says I'll bless you not doesn't mean that it is you give God is required to give to you and all this crazy stuff. The prosperity teachers give us, but it does mean that God says I'll take care of you and there are many promises in the Bible that clearly states that if we will faithfully give to the work of the kingdom of God.
You will always have more than enough resources for yourself. We know that Proverbs 39 to 10 honor the Lord from you're welcome from the first of your produce and your barns will be full but plenty of them. Your battle overflow with new wife is a day I can afford to give.
Listen I can afford not to give you know. It all belongs to the Lord to get back to get more one person will say will you know if I have more I would give but $1 million I would give more to the Lord that's unnecessarily true because of the person that is a million is a GABA to know by 10 million.
Then I would give to the Lord. It's all fine when it's theoretical or the story of a preacher who asked the farmer and his congregation farmer if you $200. Would you give 100 over to the Lord. He said yes I would preacher preacher said if you are to counsel would you give one of them to the Lord for mercy as I would preacher if I had two cows. I give one to the Lord preacher said if you had two kids would you want to know the Lord farmer said you know that's not fair because I do love to fit it. It's like it's great when it's theoretical by others. I would do that so what about which you have nowhere. I don't know it's not much will it something because I can hold you responsible for what you don't have, you will hold you responsible for what you do have and what you do with it. Why is this important because one day.
Guess what organ to leave every thing no matter how much you've accumulated. How true is Proverbs 23 five it says cast but a glance at Rich's, they are gone but it's like they sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle is not true with my money go all there's been a change in the stock market all that pain folded all that investment went south or sometimes you just spent more than you thought you would spend.
Jesus is not saying that wealth might be lost. He is saying. Wealth will always be lost. Either it leaves us while we live or we leave it when we die. There are no exceptions.
That which was so valuable and are nothing can have Ivan played Monopoly in a long time but it's fun to win a monopoly is meant and you know I don't think I ever won monopoly. Come to think of it, but I like to play and you know you you get those hotels on boardwalk and Park Place. I'm not talking the purple property. Some talk of the you know and maybe you put some minor how you play monopoly, but you maybe put you pay taxes and so forth to put the money in the middle and if you get free parking to get the money, so maybe you're almost bankrupt and the land of reporting to get the money and you're in the game again and the game is over.
They have all the money later thousands of dollars in hotels made out of plastic $500 bills that are already. I can't even get a burger at McDonald's with one of those things that's life.
Oh, it's so great on this side then we get to the other side we have nothing left. You leave all of John Rockefeller, one of the wealthiest men who ever lived, died, so NASA's accountant how much did Mr. Rockefeller leave the accountant that he loved all of its that's right you leave all of it is what it comes down to leave this earth all the stuff that so important to us is going to go bye-bye can be given to someone else, maybe not even the person you want to get it but it's good to be left behind and then you can stand before God. So listen, every moment of your life. Make it count for the kingdom. Every time you share the gospel.
As I said earlier, every dollar you invest in spiritual things every prayer.
You pray everything you do in service for God will result in treasure in heaven. You won't regret it here. And you definitely will not regret it. There again, as Jesus said in closing a person is a fool. The store perfectly well not have a rich relationship with God summed it all up and he said real life is not measured by how much we'll real life is measured by what we do with what God has given us. I mean everything.
I mean money I mean your gifts I mean your time. I mean everything you me us. We belong to God. We are not our own. We been bought with a price. So let's glorify God that the marching orders from the pages of the Bible.
Let's break father now. Help us to do that.
This is very easy to say it's not so easy to do. We can be like that farmer who like to talk about this in theory, but we don't like it so much. In practice, Lord help us to not be hearers of the word only, but doers and thus we will be like the wisemen to build his house on the rock is the man for it's the woman who hears these things of yours and does the with the full hears these sayings does not do them. They go in one ear and out the other help us to know Lord, how the supplies in our own life that we will be faithful stewards over the things you've given to us, we commit ourselves to you. Now we commit all that we have to, you know, we commit our lives to you now in Jesus name we pray. A