Month: July, 2017

Thy Kingdom Come

 

Revelation 21:1-8

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me…

“Thy Kingdom Come.” What does this mean? Luther says that, ”though the kingdom of God comes even without prayer, we pray that it will also come to us.” At first glance, this is a somewhat confusing definition….. ”Though the kingdom of God comes even without prayer, we pray that it will also come to us.”

More clarity comes in Luther’s further explanation. He says that, “God’s kingdom comes when our Heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His Holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity.” Taken in its entirety, we learn that God’s kingdom comes by way of His Holy Spirit to whomever He chooses. We pray that He chooses us for this very special gift.

I think of a typical scene where a couple goes to a fancy French restaurant. The name of the restaurant is French, the menu is written in French, you’d almost think you were in France. The woman looks at the menu and orders in fluent French. The man, knowing not a word in French says, “I’ll have one of those,” as he points to something that looks like it might be a French word for, good eats. Much to the dismay of the man, the item he has ordered is both alien and disgustingly familiar to what he is trying to keep out of his garden.

In this prayer, we pray for God’s Holy Spirit to come to us. Looks and sounds like something we should pray for. Unfortunately, much like the man in the restaurant, many people who pray this prayer really don’t know what they are asking for.

What are we really praying for when we say, “Thy kingdom come?” What are we committing to when we add such a request? Where will the indwelling of the Holy Spirit take us?

“Though the kingdom of God comes even without prayer, we pray that it will also come to us.” In other Words, “Lord, we know Your Spirit is at work in the world to save sinners, we also pray Your work will be done within us. We pray our lives would be led by your Spirit. We pray your kingdom comes to rule over us.”

Make no mistake, this request carries with it a great responsibility. By invoking, through prayer, the request for the Holy Spirit to work in and through us, we are committing ourselves to making a kingdom difference in our lives and in the lives of our neighbors. We are committing our very lives to God’s service. To some this is a blessed opportunity. To others, it is an alien thing because they really don’t know what they’re asking for.

Do you really want the kingdom of God to come? Are you prepared for what that may mean in your life? Do you really know what you’re asking for?

Really, in this request we’re asking for two things in a rather radical way. First we’re asking for radical change within us and we are also asking for radical change in the society around us by way of the Holy Spirit’s work through us. God’s kingdom includes all of creation. Psalm 103:19 reminds us that, “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His kingdom rules over all.” His kingdom is already here, we pray that we can make a godly difference within that kingdom in our hearts and in the hearts of others by the power of the Holy Spirit’s work in us.

It’s very easy to glance over this request. To many these are just words we say because their part of the prayer. From this day on, let’s think before we speak. Is this really what we want in our lives. Can we handle the responsibility implied within its words?

The kingdom of God goes against the things of the world. To gain freedom we must be a servant. To obtain great wealth, we must be willing to give all we have. It is those who do what is right, even though it may cost them, who obtain the greatest reward. God’s kingdom is a radical change from the things of the world. In this prayer, we are asking that this kind of change can be made in us.

In the world, the ones who accumulate the most are the ones who are blessed. In this world, the one who takes advantage of the weakness of others obtains the greatest reward.

God’s kingdom will have nothing to do with the ways of the world. Are you prepared to be different?

In the kingdom of God, if someone strikes you on the right cheek, you offer him the left as well. In God’s kingdom if someone asks for your coat, you also give him your shirt. In God’s kingdom, the son who wished his father was dead was the one who was given pardon when he returned. In His kingdom, it is the outcast who is seen as greatest because of his compassion. In God’s kingdom it is the beggar, the blind, the alienated who receive the greatest blessings. In God’s kingdom, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. And all this by the work of the Holy Spirit given to whom He chooses. Are you prepared for what you’re asking for?

(Slide) In Mark 1:15, Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” The kingdom of God is enhanced through true repentance and belief. (Slide) Romans 14:17, “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” The evidence for the kingdom is shown in the Spirits guidance as he leads us onto paths of righteousness where peace and joy prevail.  Colossians 1:13-14, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” In God’s kingdom, the light of Christ delivers and redeems us in true and lasting forgiveness.

God’s kingdom promises us an everlasting reward. Are you prepared to sacrifice what you must? Are you willing to do what it takes?

In the Old Testament, Micah wrote of such a perfect society.  He wrote: “(God) shall judge between many peoples, and shall decide disputes for strong nations far away; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore; 

but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree, and no one shall make them afraid, for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken.” (

This is always what God’s kingdom on earth was intended to be, a place free of war and disease. A world where the lamb was secure in the lions presence. A world where sin did not tarnish and where unrighteousness did not rule. But we decided we wanted a different fate. We wanted to know evil. So now, the kingdom is harder to reach. It is not that God’s kingdom is not present, but it now takes the guidance of the Holy Spirit to see in all its glory for all who are willing to let Him take the lead.

In all reality, we all want the kingdom of God to prevail. We want the benefits it offers, but to many are unwilling to sacrifice their worldly lives for it. We want peace, as long as it doesn’t cost us our anger and want of revenge. We want joy as long as it doesn’t cost us our selfish desires.

We want the kingdom but we don’t want to sacrifice the worldly things we value because they have become our salvation.

Yet there is so much benefit found in living as a citizen of the kingdom of God. God offers us things the world could never give. He offers true and godly love which is beyond human understanding for its greatness. He offers joy in such measure that no one would ever want of anything more. He offers the kind of peace that can only be achieved by the absence of turmoil. He offers patience as He waits for your final submission. He offers kindness that is free from ego and pride. He invites you to live in His goodness which is free from any hint of wickedness. He offers you faithfulness for the journey, gentleness in the struggle and self-control in all temptation. And all by way of His Holy Spirit who works within us to guide us to the truth.

But we need to be willing. We need to be willing to let go of our hate and anger. We need to be ready to be free from fear and anxiety instead of using it as some sort of crutch. We must be prepared to find value in godly things over worldly things. Because the kingdom of God is within us to guide us to greater things than these. But first we must let go of the false gods we have treasured for so long. Are you willing?

It is not an easy thing to do. We have become so dependent on our worldliness that to give it up seems wrong somehow.

It’s so hard to let go of these things, but our every effort should go towards doing just that. Are you able? The Holy Spirit says you are. Can you trust Him?

Remember, it is the poor who are blessed in the kingdom. It is the humble who achieve greatness. It is the wounded, the sick, the addict, the hurting and the beaten who realize the greatest reward. It is the meek who inherit the earth, not the strong and powerful. The first step is to recognize that you fit into each one of these categories. Are you ready for this prayer?

It is your enemy whom you must love. Are you ready for this prayer?

It is your neighbor you must think of before yourself. Are you ready for this prayer?

The kingdom of God comes at His command to those He chooses to give it to and we shall be part of it if only by His grace because of the faith we share. Ready or not, it is a prayer we must prepare for that might change all the rules of comfort you’ve ever made for yourself. Are you ready for this prayer?

These radical words, if given in prayer sincerely and honestly, might change everything about you. Are you ready for this prayer?

Be prepared for a radical change because of the Spirit who works within you for the betterment of the kingdom of God on earth.

Be prepared for a revolutionary change in everything you have lived for when God answers that prayer. Are you ready for this prayer? Amen.

Bible Study: Thy Kingdom Come

 

John 18:33-37 / Revelation 21:1-8

There are two words for “new” in Greek: kainos (new in kind, taking the place of what existed previously) and neos (‘brand new’, not having long been). Can you guess the word to describe “new heaven and new earth” given the content of vs 1? In what way(s) might this sharpen our understanding of heaven?  Isaiah 65:17-25, 66:22; 2 Peter 3:11-13

Sea is a Jewish metaphor for what is frightful and terrible. How does this help us to explain verse 1?

How is the word “bride” used in this context? Try to describe what John is saying.

Verse 2 mentions that a new Jerusalem will be “coming down.” Does that mean that in the last days heaven will come down to us rather than us going up into heaven? Also see verses 3 & 4

Is Jerusalem a city or a people? 11:2; 20:9; 21:7-10, 13-14, 24, 26

The climactic announcement of Revelation is in 21:3 “Behold the dwelling place of God…” – how does this fulfill the covenantal pattern and promise of salvation history?

What will it be like to have God “dwell” among us? 7:15; Leviticus 26:11-12

What is God’s dwelling with His people a fulfillment of? Exodus 29:45; Leviticus 26:11-12; Jeremiah 31:33; Ezekiel 37:26-28; 43:7-9; Zechariah 2:10-11; 8:8

J.R.R. Tolkien paraphrased verse 4 as “the day in which everything sad will come untrue.” What does this suggest about the nature of our memories in heaven?

Why are there tears in heaven? Do these tears have anything to do with the various judgments? 7:17; Isaiah 25:8, 35:10, 51:11, 65:19

What does verse 5 harken back to? Isaiah 43:16-19

What are the “former things” that “have passed away?”

What does the phrase “Behold, I am making all things new” mean in verse 5? What is this referring to?

What does God mean when He describes Himself as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end?

Water from a spring is refreshing and satisfying. Scripture often employs such imagery in depicting the desire for God. Where can we find this? Psalm 36:9; 42:1; 63:1; Isaiah 49:10, 55:1-5; Jeremiah 2:13; John 4:14

How are the eight evil characteristics of verse 8 especially true of tribulation earth dwellers?

How can we anticipate and work today for the new heaven and the new earth in both urban and rural settings?

(Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

“Hallowed Be Thy Name”

Matthew 5:13-16

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father…

Please pray with me….

Every week I am blessed to hold Sunday services at one of two elder care centers. On every Sunday except the first and last Sundays, we hold services at Birchwood. Here its mostly just senior apartments. The residents pretty much take care of themselves but most need a little assistance from day to day. We also preach at Silverado on every first and last Sunday. Silverado is an Alzheimer’s and Dementia home. Here the need for care is much greater.

At Silverado, many of the residents don’t remember us from week to week. Most need assistance finding the right pages and a majority of them can’t even read. Most are so bad that we don’t even have to give them an outline of the service or a songbook because it would do them no good.

You’d wonder if many there even know that there is a worship service going on….until you say the Lord’s prayer. Even the ones who are so far gone that they couldn’t hope to find the right page to be on, are reciting the Lord’s prayer. They might not know their spouses name, or the city they were born in, but somehow these words have stuck with them. I’ve heard from other pastors who tell me of similar experiences.

Maybe it’s because they have found so much comfort from it in their lifetimes. Maybe it’s the ritual, but for some reason these words live on in their shattered memories.

Today we continue on with our series on Luther’s small catechism and we come to what is really the first petition in the Lord’s Prayer, Hallowed be Thy Name. Luther tells us that this petition means to remind us that “God’s name is certainly holy in itself, but we pray in this petition that it may be kept holy among us also.”

The word “hallowed” means “holy.” At first glance it seems like a difficult task to keep holy the name of God when so much ungodliness surrounds us. With all the temptations to sin that we face and the constant barrage of anti-Christian rhetoric we hear, even from people we associate with, how does one hope to keep the name of God holy?

Luther says that “God’s name is kept holy when the Word of God is taught in its truth and purity, and we, as the children of God, also lead holy lives according to it. Anyone who teaches or lives contrary to God’s Word profanes the name of God among us.”

To hallow means to sanctify, to be sound, fit or whole, to make special, to be perfect as Christ was perfect, to be free from defilement, uncontaminated. In all honesty, it means sticking out in a crowd because of your convictions.

It means always doing the godly thing even if it puts you in an uncomfortable situation. It means sticking up for your faith even knowing that the worldly among you will shout you down. It means helping your neighbor before yourself.

We hallow God’s name by focusing our efforts every moment to match His character. We keep God’s name holy, not because it makes us look better or because it gains us points towards heaven. We keep God’s name holy because it belongs to the one who defines holiness. Through faith it’s just a natural thing to do and our faith can be checked by how holy we hold the name of God in our lives.

This petition could be translated, “May Your name be held holy.” In other words, “May you be revered and respected because of who You are. May Your character and reputation be honored in all we do and say and be kept untarnished by our actions. May nothing demean who you are or the name You carry.” As Christians, our chief concern should be to hold high the name of God and our deepest passion should be that God would cause His name to be honored among us.

This petition harkens back to the second commandment, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God.”  Exodus 20:7 commands us saying, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” 

This is both a promise and a warning. It should be a great honor for us to carry the name Christian and that respect should be obvious to see. To hallow God’s name is to recognize its holiness, respect its power, bring reverence to its revelation and profess its unique position in our lives as we proclaim God to be hallowed in boldness and conviction despite the backlash we might receive for doing so.

In our Gospel lesson it talks of saltiness and light. I picked this passage because it really has everything to do with Keeping God’s name sanctified.

Jesus calls us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. To be effective salt cannot lose its saltiness and light cannot be hidden. In the context of God’s holy name, we cannot lose our boldness nor our obvious nature when proclaiming it. Our light regarding His mighty name should shine before others in our words and deeds so that God may receive from us the glory His name warrants.

And to keep His name holy means to preach and teach His Words in all purity and truth. This is something I try very hard to do here at Redeemer. Jeremiah 23:28 says, “Let him who has My Word speak My Word faithfully.” If this isn’t being done by me or anyone else in this church, it is your holy duty to correct it. We profane His holy name when we interpret Scripture to match our desires or make excuse for our sin.

This has become epidemic in our society. To qualify our same-sex marriage we say God is a God of love without understanding that He is also Just. To defend our addiction, we proclaim that God forgives without remembering that our bodies are His temple. We interpret Scripture to match our own doctrine and ignore the whole truth and purity of the Words within.

We are called, in Ephesians 4, to walk in a manner worthy of His calling. If we do so, we honor His name. If we mold His calling to match our own, we misuse His name and the Word that proclaims it. When anyone teaches contrary to God’s word in either lesson or action, God’s name is profaned.  Romans 2:23-24 makes it clear saying, “You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For it is written ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you.’”

Jewish worshippers regarded the name of God so much that they dared not even say it. In fact, every time the scribes would write the name of God, they were required to do it with a new quill. It was considered improper to say His name aloud. Finally, they took the name Adonai, which means “The Lord God” and Yahweh, which means “I AM” and combined them to make the name Jehovah, a man-made word, so that they could speak His name without offending the holiness of it.

I fear much of that holiness has been lost among us. By our words and actions, we prove to show that His name is just like any other name, no matter what you call Him. No longer does it invoke the fear of respect or the holiness of His character.

In our culture we have reduced worship to the level of entertainment. We hope that people “enjoy” church or that they can “feel” something from the experience. Was the sermon entertaining? Did the music rock your world?

Although we can grow from these experiences, our purpose first and foremost is to honor the name of God in and by our presence. Jesus rebuked the moneychangers because they misused God’s holy temple and in same effect God’s holy name by bringing unholiness upon it by their actions. Jesus said, “This is a house of prayer and you’ve turned it into a place of commerce.”

Our worship shouldn’t be about performance because the only applause that matters comes from God. We hallow God’s name when we hallow our worship of Him. One reason we pray the prayer our Lord Himself taught us is because we live in a fallen world which defiles and disgraces the name of God. Blasphemy is commonplace, even among some pastors and denominations. More and more we change doctrine to match the world against the very advice from Christ Himself.

Yet we can be instruments of change by keeping God’s name holy in all we say and do. We can choose to be different than the world around us. It won’t be easy and challenges are sure to meet us but with each step towards holiness our determination is strengthened.

We have a God who deserves every grain of respect we can give Him. Over and over again, He has proven His holiness through His creation and through His actions. Christ did not bow down to worldly temptation when He had a chance to save Himself. He did not cave in to the Pharisees teachings when they clearly misused God’s name. He did not wallow in self-pity when the actions He took in His father’s name brought Him trials. He respected His father’s name even unto His own tortuous death on a cross. A death that was required to save us, despite our own misuse of His holy name.

He did this because, even after all our failure, He still believes in us. In truth, he is depending on us, to bring His name back to the glorious and holy position it deserves. Though we have given Him little reason to trust us, He still loves us with a God sized love that says, “Well done my good and faithful servant,” every time we win even the smallest victory in His name.

The people of Redeemer are challenged to defend this family name gained through Christ. It is a righteous challenge and one we should grasp onto with every fiber of our being. It is a challenge in many ways because it goes against the will of the worldly.

Our God will never stop trusting in you to do the righteous thing. He will never expect less from you then what He has already called you to be. Now we need to place our trust in Him and in His holy name in return. Great is our God! May our shouts of praise never cease and our may our actions always proclaim his glory. May our thoughts be deserving of His joy and our behavior match His characters in all things. Hallowed be His name! Amen.

 

 

 

Bible Study: Hallowed Be Thy Name

 

Matthew 5:13-16

What does Jesus mean by calling us the “salt of the earth?” (take note that salt can be a preservative, an antiseptic, a fire catalyst, a seasoning and a fertilizer)

How can someone “salt” lose its saltiness?

What does Scripture tell us about salt? Leviticus 2:13; Numbers 18:19; 2 Chronicles 13:1-12

What did it represent with regard to God and His actions toward His people? What did it represent concerning the throne of David?

How does the metaphor of a believer being the salt of the earth relate to or flow from the Beatitudes?

What does it mean when Jesus calls us the “light of the world?” Isaiah 42:5-7

Explain the 2 images used in 5:14b-15. What ideas does Jesus intend us to understand by His use of these word pictures?

How do you reconcile the teaching that Jesus is the light of the world and believers are also the light of the world? Can both be true, and if they are (of course they are; the Bible says both!), how are they both true? (Christ) John 8:12; 2 Corinthians 4:6, 9:12-13; Ephesians 5:8-9; Philippians 2:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9-12 (Believers) Isaiah 60:1-3; Luke 1:76-79; Ephesians 5:14; Revelation 21:23-24

What are some ways that people routinely put your light under a basket?

What are the “good works” that others around us will see, and from where do they come?

How do the recent changes in the religious, political, social, and moral fabrics of our society present believers with an even greater chance to let our light shine in the coming years?

What temptations will we need to overcome in order to embrace this wonderful opportunity?

What, specifically, does this section of Scripture have to do with keeping God’s name holy?

How can our influence glorify God’s name in this way? Matthew 24:9-14; Romans 10:18; Colossians 1:3-6, 21-23, 2:20-23

How can we influence the world in this way without being influenced by it? Matthew 6:19-24; 32; Luke 12:13-21; I John 2:15-17

Why is salt and light essential to life? Why is it essential to the life of the Church?

Why would some Christians believe we are to hide from the world and ignore it?

As salt is needed and put to use, so are you and your church are needed and need to be put to use! So in what ways can you and your church be put to use?

Note:  Bible study materials are gathered from various resources, i.e. Bible.org)

Our Father Who Art In Heaven

 

The Lord’s Prayer Series:  “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”  Matthew 6:9-13

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our father…

Please pray with me…

As Christians, many of us tend to take God’s gifts for granted. Most people have a roof over their heads, enough to eat and healthy families but we attribute that to working hard and being smart. When we have more than we need we boast at our great accomplishments but we too often fail to place God’s provision for us in the equation. It’s when we don’t have a home, or enough to eat, or are plagued with sickness when we connect all things to God. It’s then we wonder why he hasn’t been better to us.

Well, prayer is another one of those great gifts of God we don’t take advantage of nearly enough even though it’s one of the most common experiences to mankind, at least in the United States. 98% of all Americans believe in a higher power, though only half of them worship on a regular basis and that could be just Christmas and Easter. Still, almost 2/3 of Americans say that prayer is a part of their lives.

Yet prayers for too many are nothing more than religious obligations that they must force themselves to obey. Still others see prayer as a superstitious ritual they perform to increase their luck or help them face a challenging situation. Many others pray regularly but their prayers are far from the powerful prayers of faith they should be.

Today we start our journey through Luther’s Small Catechism and we first go to his teaching on the Lord’s Prayer. Appropriate because prayer is what we should be starting everything with.

Luther defines prayer as “speaking to God in words and thoughts.” With this definition he sites Psalm 19:14  which says, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, My Rock and my Redeemer.”  Luther would even go further saying that every action and thought we undertake be given prayerful consideration.

In our study of the Lord’s prayer we start with its first petition, “Our Father who art in heaven.” So, what does this petition mean you ask? Well, Luther tells us, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.”

Today its more popular to call God our friend then it is to call Him our Father. The people who see God this way, I believe, are trying to relate with Him more as an equal. Yet God is so much more than this.

When we invoke the title of Father upon Him, Luther says it tells us that God loves us as a Father loves His children and that He wants to have a proper level of communication with us much like that, that is shared between many earthly fathers and their children.

1 John 3:1, See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.

In our earthly lives, we all have different fathers, some better or worse than others. We love our earthly fathers but none of them are perfect. Yet in heaven we all share one Father who is perfect and righteous in every way. Galatians 3 tells us that in Christ Jesus we all have been made sons and daughters of the most high through the faith we share. With that come all the rights of inheritance children receive.

And, because of this great gift, we can truly call each other brother and sister. In that vein, we should treat each other as a holy family, confessing our sins together and praying for one another. God considers it a righteous thing to be there for one another, to defend each other, care for each other and support one another. Together we share one Father but have as a portion of our inheritance billions of brothers and sisters. Imagine the blessed reunion we will all be part of one day.

This petition also points us to where out blessed Father may be found. Heaven is His home and, one day, will be ours as well. Luther says these words assure us that our heavenly Father, as Lord over all, has the power due one who can claim to be almighty. Chief among them the power to grant our prayers and petitions according to His almighty will.

Psalm 124:8 reminds us that, “Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” When we pray, it is not to some shadow who may or may not be listening. When we pray, we are praying to the perfect father who listens intently to every request and every repentance. And, as any good father would do, He grants us those things which will help us along the narrow path to heaven and even says no, as any father does sometimes, when it’s not in our best interest to grant those requests. But, unlike any earthly father, our heavenly Father always know the right thing to do in every situation.

Imagine if you will the creator of all things in heaven and earth, the architect of the stars and the initiator of life still loving insignificant people like you and me so much that He takes the time to answer every prayer. It’s a gift beyond our comprehension, but one we anxiously depend on.

Because, with our heavenly Father nothing is impossible. His power and might can never be equaled. Because of this, we have the great pleasure of knowing that all things will go according to His plan and nothing will be misused, misspoken or mistaken. With this in mind, he simply asks us to trust Him and His plans for us. He wants us to take comfort in knowing that nothing passes without His perfect attention.

Yet, as with any good Father, He is not going to force you into anything. Yes, he will guide, but He allows us the opportunity to learn as we go. Sometimes these lessons are hard and He grieves with us. Sometimes the lessons bring joy and he rejoices as we do. But He will never serve as our tyrant or dictator. He will never force us into obeying Him or loving Him. A loving Father simply wouldn’t do that. Yet His attention is never drawn from us as he tirelessly guides us to the truth. His love for us is never lessened even during those times we take Him and His gifts for granted.

By calling us His children He is inviting us into a family relationship. Our invitation at His family table remains open even during those times of rebellion we all participate in from time to time. The emphasis is on the close family bonds all families should enjoy.

With God as our Father, we’re able to approach Him with all the boldness and certainty possible. Our confidence in prayer should be limitless because we pray to a Father without limitation. Our boldness in prayer can be great because he knows our requests before we even ask.

Above all our God is of such high estate that it would be pretentious for us to believe that we could either add to or subtract from His holiness.  Psalm 19 declare this so vividly saying, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words, whose voice is not heard. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

 In them he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber, and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens, and its circuit to the end of them, and there is nothing hidden from its heat. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they then gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.”

 So how is your relationship with your heavenly Father? Do you depend on Him? Is He your buddy or is He your God? As you begin the Lord’s prayer from now on, keep it mind to whom it is you are praying. It is our Father who is in heaven.

Focus your prayer toward Him and not on yourself. Prepare yourself by invoking His powerful name as you begin remembering that the focus of every prayer should be to glorify God.

Secondly, enter into the presence of God as boldly as a young child jumps into their parent’s arms. Immerse yourself in God’s love and direction because he cares for you and for all that you share with Him.

Understand that God’s intentions for you are great and that He always wants what is best for you. His love for you has no bounds. So deep is this love, in fact, that He would sacrifice His own Son on your behalf.

Make every prayer The Lord’s prayer. Depend on Him to lead you to the places he has chosen for you. All it takes is faith and trust on your part. His love for you is already complete.

Thank you Father for your grace and help us to come to you as your children so dearly loved. Amen