Could it be that religion is, indeed, “opium for the masses,” as Marx proclaimed? An “illusion or fulfillment of the oldest, strongest, and most urgent wishes of mankind,” as Freud asserted? A necessary invention of man, as Voltaire countered, to pacify our fears of death? Is Christianity merely a crutch conjured simply to quench our longing for significance and comfort?
Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8
The voices of others hold powerful sway over our sense of significance. When those voices degrade, renounce, or reject, we can become blind to the truth that there is only one Voice that matters.
Satan has stepped up his game in the battle over our children’s hearts.
“The love language of all marriages is self-denial.” Burk Parsons
Jesus did not wait until we were composed and impeccable before he subjected his body and spirit to the anguish of the cross. He did it while we were yet sinners. (Romans 5:8).
True, deep, and authentic faith in Jesus Christ shines glorious light through even the darkest of circumstances to a glory and comfort that will never, ever end. He truly is Joy to the World!
Jesus ends The Lord's Prayer with a plea for protection. The Bible is clear that God does not tempt anyone. James tells us, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” (James 1:13-14).
Jesus wisely establishes God’s goodness, holiness, and our need to reach out to him for provision before he gets to this difficult point in the prayer. Reliance on the Father to give us the courage and humility to forgive others is essential, since only the Holy Spirit can keep us aware of the immense and infinite height, width, and breadth of God’s forgiveness.
Christ has begun his model prayer with establishing the goodness, greatness, and supremacy of God, and our need to seek his perfect will for us. Now he models supplication. We are told in scripture to ask God for our needs and desires. Notice in Jesus’ prayer, he asks for bread for “this day.” Like the manna given to the Israelites in the wilderness, we are given what we need on a day to day basis.
Jesus Christ’s desire for his father’s will was paramount in his earthly life. Eternal yet begotten, Christ was the linchpin in the plan of salvation, and he knew that the good of Creation depended on God’s will, established from heaven, being accomplished on earth. So he taught his hearers to pray for God’s will to be done “on earth as it is in heaven.”
After establishing our relationship to God (Our Father), his whereabouts (in Heaven), and reminding us of our obligation to revere him (Hallowed by your name), Christ presents his first supplication: to bring God’s kingdom to earth.
Christ ends the preface of The Lord's Prayer with establishing the inviolableness of God’s name. God’s name is to be set apart and high above all other names. He is to be revered and viewed utterly sacrosanct. His tender fatherliness does not give us license to relax our reverence toward him.
After Christ addresses God as our Father, thus establishing the intimate and unhindered relationship we enjoy with him as his beloved children, he continues The Lord's Prayer by establishing God’s address...
Andrew Wilson is a young pastor in England who, together with his wife, have two children on the Autism spectrum. In his book, The Life We Never Expected, Andrew and his wife chronicle their experiences with their two beautiful children, as well as what they have been learning about God through them. The book is candid and raw, and beautifully written. The Wilsons are a couple who love the Lord, despite, and even on account of, the path he has placed them on. But it hasn’t been easy. In the book, Andrew admits to becoming distracted during prayer, and that sometimes the anguish and fatigue are so deep that he scarcely knows how or what to pray.
How to explain Israel. Of all the places on the planet earth, God chose this tiny tract of land, smaller than New Jersey, as the backdrop and stage of His story of redemption...
The week before Easter was so painful that I could not even open my Bible. My prayers seemed to be blocked. No praise, no supplication, no communication whatsoever got through. My mind was a jumbled mess of static that simply could not reach out to God. Every time I walked past my Bible on the kitchen table, I felt a moment of compulsion to open it, followed by a sense of futility. I simply could (would) not hear God. The only voice I could hear clearly was my own, convincing me of my justifiable pain and suffering at the hand of my husband. Oh, woe was me.
A friend of mine recently began a sentence with the phrase, “They say that…” I can’t remember what she said they said or even who she said they were, but I do remember that I didn’t agree with whatever she said they said.
We Christians have our sayings. In response to, “How are you?” we have, “Feeling blessed!” Or, “I’m feeling sick today.” “Oh, I’ll be praying for you.” Or, “Got a raise today.” “Amen, praise God!” Or, “I just saw the worst news on the Facebook this morning.” “Wow, hard to understand, but, God has a plan.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. We Christians are sincere people who want to help and serve and encourage. And these phrases are not bad. It’s just that they are used so profusely and so automatically that I worry that the depth of their meaning has been hollowed out...
I knew an elderly woman who was a prolific crocheter. Each day she would sit in her living room, crochet hook flying, afghan materializing from wrists to ankles in a matter of hours. And while this sweet woman crocheted, she thought. She was also a prolific thinker...