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Posts Tagged ‘Lord’s Prayer’

Who He is. Who we are not.

August 4, 2011 Leave a comment

****

A man went on a nature
walk. A bear began to chase him, so he climbed a tree.

As he was climbing he
slipped down into the bear’s arms.

He prayed “Lord let
this be a Christian bear.”

The bear said “Lord
thank you for this food.”

****

The last message that we’ll focus on is
on a part of Jesus’ model prayer that many of us have memorized.
However, if you read a translation other than the KJV, you’ll find
that its not there.  Our focus is on Matthew 6:13B.  It’s often
referred to as a doxology.  Simply put, most scholars agree that this
ending verse was not spoken by Jesus as He ended this prayer of
example.

I could go into all the details, but
for the sake of keeping this a short article, I’ll just say the
following things.  The earliest (oldest) and most trusted documents
used to translate our present day Bible do not contain this part of
verse 13.  However, some old documents and texts…not as old but
still trusted as reliable…do contain it.  Therefore, most of our
Bible translations don’t contain it, but some have placed it in this
part of Matthew with a footnote saying something like “not
contained in earliest texts.”

Ok…what’s this mean for us?  Do we
forget about it or dig in?  I vote for the dig in.  You may remember
that when we first began this study on this prayer, I wrote about our
approach to God…and how a proper approach is explained by Jesus in
the first words of this prayer.  Jesus’ words give us a humble
approach, lifting up God’s holy name while signifying who His is and
what we are not.  He is holy and in heaven.  We are in need of
forgiveness and creatures needing forgiveness.

This doxology, as many call verse 13,
was probably an ending to prayer…any prayer, that Jews commonly
recited before saying the Amen.  That’s all.  Jesus, being a Jew
himself, had probably recited this doxology or something similar many
times as He prayed in the Temple.  One article I read stated that
Jesus probably didn’t say it hear because it was basically understood
among the Jewish people He was talking to.

So if this is the case, should we throw
it out?  I don’t think so.  This phrase is simply a reminder of what
is at the beginning of this model prayer.  It is also a phrase
similar to passages found in other parts of the Bible such as 1
Chronicles 29:11.

When we say it as we recite the prayer,
we are ending our prayer much like many Hebrews/Jewish people end any
prayer they are praying.  Good thing?  Here’s how I see it.  As Jesus
taugh us a proper approach to the Creator of all things, we here have
a proper ending.  We simply close the prayer restating who He is and
what is His and in doing so, our position in all things.  The Kingdom
is His.  All the power is His.  And all glory should be given to Him.
Why not say this as a closing reminder for us?

The final word is the common ‘Amen.’
Have you ever wondered where that came from?  Why do we always say
“amen” at the end of our prayers?  Well, it simply is a Hebrew
word that means ‘so be it.’  It isn’t just a period at the end of the
last sentence you speak.  It is a word of affirmation.  In this
prayer, it means…my paraphrase of course…All is yours Lord, and I
agree with that truth.

Friends, this is just another reminder
of who we talk to when we pray.  It’s another reminder of our
nature…sinful.  It is a reminder of what we’re a part of and our
purpose.  We are a part of the Kingdom and we we to give all the
glory to Him.

Repeated Questions for reflection:

  • How do you approach God in your
    prayers?
  • Do your words match your
    heart/soul language?  Meaning…is your heart as humble as the words
    you repeat from Jesus’ model?
  • If you don’t feel it yet, act it
    out as though you do…most times the feelings follow.

PS – If you’re familiar with the
Narnia movies, I’m reminded of the small Narnian who Lucy helps save
from drowning in one of the movies.  At first, all he knows of Aslan
the Lion (the character symbolizing God in the story) is from
stories.  As he gets to know the 4 kings and queens of Narnia,
representing us in many ways, he begins to understand that they have
seen and been with Aslan…but not yet trusting…still he likes them
and has given his duty to them.  By the end of the movie, he believes
and even comes face to face with the Creator and is bowing humbly as
he finally realizes the truth.  Act as though this is true, even
though you don’t feel it yet, and slowly God does reveal.  Now this
doesn’t mean that simply reciting this prayer is going to get you
closer to God.  What I mean is that God will know whether you are
truly searching for Him and reward you adequately and in His time.

love, serve, spread the Word,

ed

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Lead Us Not Into Temptation 2


*********

A fly was buzzing along one morning when he saw a lawn mower someone had left out in their front yard. He flew over and sat on the handle, watching the children going down the sidewalk on their way to school.

One little boy tripped on a crack and fell, spilling his lunch on the sidewalk. He picked himself up, put his lunch back in the bag and went on. But he missed a piece of bologna. The fly had not eaten that morning and he sure was hungry. So he flew down and started eating the bologna. In fact he ate so much that he could not fly, so he waddled across the sidewalk, across the lawn, up the wheel of the lawn mower, up the handle, and sat there resting and watching the children.

There was still some bologna laying there on the sidewalk. He was really stuffed, but that bologna sure did look good.

Finally temptation got the best of him and he jumped off the handle of the lawn mower to fly over to the bologna.

But alas he was too full to fly and fell straight to the ground… splat!  The moral of this story is simple… don’t fly off the handle when you are full of bologna.

*********

The Bible says this in Matthew 4, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.”  The Father led His Son to be tempted.  The only thing I can gather from this is that Jesus knows temptation.  The other thing I know about this is that there is purpose in being led into temptation.  And again, we have a subject before us that will probably teach some hard truths.  Are you ready?  Let’s go.

The first question that comes to anyone’s mind when reading this short phrase in Jesus’ model prayer is this, “Why would God tempt us to sin?”  Guess what?  Wrong question.  God cannot tempt us to sin.  He can’t do that because it’s not in His nature to be anywhere near sin.  It also goes against the fact that His own Son died to forgive sin.  Let’s just look at what the verse says and go with it.  It says that Jesus asks “us” to ask the Father to “lead us not into temptation.”  That’s it.

Jesus knew what it was to go through temptation.  I think this is simply a prayer for mercy.  If we are to grow stronger as Christians, God is going to guide us into situations where we will have choices & temptations to either do His will or not…Jesus knows how hard this is.  We will also be set up by Satan to fall along the way as we following God’s will “on Earth as it would be in Heaven.”  We are going to be tempted.  To live a life without temptation would mean that we are perfect and that’s not so.

This is a midpoint of a full verse with a “but” in the middle.  So next week we will add even more to this prayer.  Read ahead and make some guesses as to what this whole verse really means for you and for the church…Jesus’ body on the planet.

1 Corinthians 10:13 TNIV says this,

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to us all. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 

Jesus, as our Creator (John 1:1-3), knows our weaknesses.  We were created to be with Him and the Father.  Sin keeps us away.  We sin after being tempted.  It simply makes sense that Jesus would want us to pray this way…to be far from temptation.  The next part of this verse, next week’s focus, makes this point even more clear.

Do you personally address God and ask for Him to keep temptation away from you?  I’m guessing that if we all did this, we would be more attentive to the temptations around us.  I think we would get better at seeing Satan working around us to keep us from God and from doing His will.  I also think the world would see this group of people called the church making wise choices.  The world would see a people who understand what “freedom” really means.  I have a feeling they would see God through all of us more clearly.  Remember, it’s not about us…it’s about people seeing God through us.  Pray hard.

Questions for growth:

  • Have you ever thought through what your weaknesses are and prayed for God to keep those temptations away?
  • Have you prayed for God to give you great big eyes for the temptations that are around you?  In my experience, when you focus on something…it becomes bigger for you…easier to notice.

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

PS – I do not claim to have all the answers.  I’m simply reading the verse and lining it up with other Scripture.  I trust that there is nothing that is contradictory in Scripture…so I simply keep moving forward trusting that there is a message of truth here…even if we need to dig, and even is it is hard to swallow.  We’re in this together.  We’re the church.  We move forward together knowing that the gates of Hell will not win us over.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation 1 – Video


John Maxwell on Forgiveness

July 14, 2011 1 comment

Please go to http://johnmaxwellteam.com for more information on how to sign up for John Maxwell’s daily thoughts.

Daily Needs – Daily Bread


Our Daily Bread

Matthew 6:11

A salesman from KFC walked up to the Pope and offers him a million dollars if he would change “The Lord’s Prayer” from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken.” The Pope refused his offer.

Two weeks later, the man offered the pope 10 million dollars to change it from “give us this day our daily bread” to “give us this day our daily chicken” and again the Pope refused the man’s generous offer. Another week later, the man offered the Pope 20 million dollars and finally the Pope accepted. The following day, the Pope said to all his officials, “I have some good news and some bad news. ‘The good news is, that we have just received a check for 20 million dollars. The bad news is, we lost the Wonder Bread account!”’

Ok…this is a tough one.  “Give us this day our daily bread” is verse 11 of Jesus’ model prayer.  If you’ve noticed, Jesus starts out his prayer using the words “us” and “our.”  He continues in verse 11 in the same manner.  It’s true that he was talking to a crowd.  But I wonder if He is also addressing the Kingdom, His church.  If this is true, then this is a prayer for the each member of the group to use “daily.”  He wants us to be on the same page moving together with the same goals and values….His Father’s goals and His Father’s values.

With that said, we need to figure out what this “bread” means.  The more I want to say that it is a spiritual request…the more I lean towards it meaning our daily ‘needs.’  Yes, I just said it.  I’ve been talking with a couple co-workers about how hard this lesson is to swallow being a born and bread “American Dream” type of person.  I also just came back from Haiti where I met and ministered to people who, when they prayed this prayer, knew exactly what it meant.  They lived in a maybe 10×10 wooden box built for them after being displace from their 15×15 cement/dirt floor home.

The question is, what do we truly need?  If Christ’s church shows the world that we need anything more than Christ, don’t we do a disservice to His message?  So let’s look at what we know from Scripture first.  Jesus said in John 6, in an extensive way, that He is the bread of life.  He told Satan during his 40 day fast that the Word of God was His bread to live on.  When telling 72 of His followers to go out on their first missionary mission trip, He said not to take anything except the clothes they were wearing.  They would be taken care of…workers deserve fair wages…God would provide (Luke 10).  In Matthew 6, beginning with verse 24, Jesus says that we can’t serve two masters…then the big word “therefore” comes into play as He says, don’t worry about your food, clothes or anything else that you think you need.  Why?  Because the Father knows what you need, and if you focus on Kingdom work, then He will supply your needs.

That’s what we know. Were the 72 taken care of?  Yes.  Did Jesus make it through His fast? Yes.  Are the birds of the air watched over by their creator?  Yes.  Can God clothe us like the lilies of the fields?  Yes.  Should we have any worry about these things?  No.  Reason?  Because when we truly rely on God for our needs, then people will see Him…and want to have Him…and be with Him for eternity.  Our wanting to supply our own felt needs points back to us.  Our relying on God for our daily bread always points back to Him.  One of those tip toes really close to sin…unintentional or not.  The other walks “humbly with our God” as the Lord points out through the prophet Micah in his book, chapter 6 verse 8.

Ok….what do we do with this?  I’m struggling with this one.  As a reasonable person, I can see how huge this could be to pointing people to see God.  But boy is it hard to let go of “self sufficiency!”  Let’s look for a modern day example of this really happening…not just a fairy tale sermon illustration.

George Mueller is a man we can look to for such an example.  He built and ran an orphanage for many, many, years.  He said, in an interview at age 91, “No man can ever say I asked him for a penny.”  When he needed something for the sometimes 2000 orphans under his care….he gathered his staff together and prayed.  God would send food, money, supplies and workers when needed…sometimes immediately before the prayer was finished.  This man truly relied only on what God felt He and his orphans needed.  Who is glorified in this example?  Mr. Mueller?  Well, his is a life to be patterned after.  But we know who supplied every need….no human.  Through humans, yes….but because of any human?  No.

So, can we live like in this manner?  It has been shown that we can.  Now…the question simply remains…will we choose to do so?…Individually and as a group of people who claim Christ their King and God their Father who supplies all things?

I’m not sure what to add here.  I’m sufficiently guilty right now and need to process where I’m at with this one little life changing verse.  I do know this.  I like to take care of things by myself…and therein lies the problem.  When we take care of things ourselves, we are lifted up.  When we fully and completely rely on God…only He can receive credit and fame.

Questions for thought:

  • What do you really need?  List here……
  • What things do we strive for that aren’t necessary, and sometimes place glory on us?
  • How do we change this?  Why would we even attempt to change this?
  • In the end, who get’s all the glory for our life?…all the glory…all

Love-Serve-Spread the Word,

ed

Approaching God


Approaching God

***

An elderly gentleman passed his granddaughter’s room one night and overheard her repeating the alphabet in an oddly reverent way. What on earth are you up to?” he asked.
“I’m saying my prayers,” explained the little girl.
“But I can’t think of exactly the right words tonight, so I’m just saying all the letters. God will put them together for me, because He knows what I’m thinking.”

***

Who is God?  Jesus, when was talking to the disciples…and curious onlookers…He started right off with our approach.  Let’s define the word approach.  The dictionary says this, “…to come near or nearer to.”  That makes sense.  Jesus starts this section of His Sermon on the Mount with the assumption that the listeners already pray to God…want to get closer to Him…believe in Him.  He starts with, “And when you pray…” (Matthew 6).  Do you think it’s safe to say that Jesus instinctively knows that we want to get close or near to God?  I think so.  So he starts this model prayer with that in mind…our approach.

This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name…’

I divide chapter 6 verse 9 into 3 parts.  First things first.  He invites us to call His father by the same way He does.  Simply “Father.”  This is personal.  We know from Scripture that Jesus really is from Mary and God the Father, but He says we can call His own Father the same way.  I think this fact is easily glossed over.   Many of us have memorized this verse to the point that we don’t think about it.  We talk about the trilogy without thinking what the phrase “God the Father” really means.  We hear or say, “…in the name of the Father…the Son…and the Holy Spirit” during baptisms and don’t think twice that we’re actually saying that word…Father.  He is our Dad.  Jesus could easily say something different.  But He invites us to be his brother and sister when He invites us to call God our dad as well.

Second.  God is as close as a prayer…but for now, its not as close as He would like it to be.  It’s not “Our Father on Earth”…it is “in Heaven.”  There is a separation.  The separation had a cause.  The cause was and is sin.  Our Father is in a perfect place.  We are not.  God has a home that Jesus has already talked about throughout this message beginning in chapter 5.  From here on till His death and Resurrection, Jesus’ followers will hear so much more about Heaven.  It’s where our Dad is, and it’s where He wants us to be someday.  Ironically, the One speaking these words will become the way for us to get to the place where the phrase “Our Father in Heaven…” will change to “Our Father before us.”

Third.  God is our Father, but He is holy and His deserves to be feared.  Now, many of you will look at the word ‘fear’ and hear something that I’m not sure is Biblical.  Jesus does not want us to cower before our Father.  Jesus wants us to respect who He is.  In the Old Testament, God tells Moses His name.  It is simply ‘I Am.’  The Hebrews thought this name so Holy they didn’t even speak it.  They had seen God’s punishments against Pharaoh.  They had seen His fire and smoke on the mountain.  They daily saw the tower of fire and smoke when they camped around the tabernacle.  They knew…felt…and visibly saw the separation.  They knew God was holy and deserved respect.  Our approach to God, our Father, should be humble…knowing that we are creation and not creator, that we are sinful and He is perfect, that He is powerful and we are weak, and that He is judge and we need pardoned.  His name deserves honor, praise, dignity and respect.

Think about it.  Jesus, who was previously with the Father before His birth on this planet, is telling us the best and most wise and perfect way to come before God.  We should take note.  This approach that Christ gives us it not just in ‘form,’ it is for us to understand in our heart and mind.  Jesus wants us to know who God the Father really is.  This prayer defines God, us, and our basic need.

 

Questions for Growth:

  • How do you approach your Creator?  Humbly?  Sporadically?  Like Santa Clause?  Like one who holds your future?
  • After possibly seeing this verse in a new or expanded way, how do you plan to approach God?  Me…personally…I’m going to start with this model.  I can add to it, but if this is how Jesus said to do it, I think I’m starting with His plan.
  • Are there times when you pray that you feel closer to God?  What are you doing then that helps you?  What is your heart’s stance?
  • How will you approach the One you’re praying to next?
  • When will you start a different approach if you feel it’s necessary?  Tonight?

 

Love, Serve, Spread the Word,

edbarnes

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