Lord’s Prayer & forgiveness

Everyday, we get the chance to practice forgiveness in both quantity (lots of “small things”) & quantity (some really hefty, weighty & serious interactions).  Here’s the black & white truth:  all relationships remain shallow without forgiveness.  The deeper the relationship, often times, the greater the need for forgiveness.  Forgiveness, for me, is most important because I want my relationship with God  to be deep, genuine & transformational.  I find that when I’m bent out of shape with someone, it affects my walk w God.  Consequently, if I’m going to nurture, guard & be part of growing my walk with Him, I need to continually practice forgiving, even if the person doesn’t apologize for their actions or is unaware of how they hurt you.  Forgiveness isn’t based on what the other person does or doesn’t do – it comes from your heart & most of all from receiving forgiveness from your heavenly Father so you can let it flow through you. 

Something helpful I’ve found in the forgiveness adventure is to forgive quickly – the longer I wait the harder it becomes to forgive.  What helps you to be forgiving???

daily bread

Ever find yourself asking God for more time, or more money, or more energy, or more wisdom, or more abilities, . . . . . ?  At some point in all of our lives, I think we’ve all asked God for at least one of these things. 

In my Lord’s Prayer experiment, I’ve found these kinds of requests interesting in light of Jesus’ instructions to ask our Father for “daily bread” – sustenance, essentials necessary for this day, etc.  Here’s some of my thinking:  if Jesus teaches us to make this request in praying to our Father, then because of God’s character of goodness & provider, He supplies our needs.  To me, this means that He gives us what we need for each day, when we bring this request to Him. 

As such, I’ve concluded that my heavenly Father does give me what I need for each day:  enough time, enough provision, enough money, enough patience, enough talent . . . . In Ps 84:11 it says,”For the LORD God is a sun and shield; The LORD will give grace and glory; No good thing  will He withhold From those who walk uprightly.  NKJV

So given this understanding, when I ask our heavenly Father to give me my daily bread, I can trust Him to give me exactly what I need for this day. 

Do you ever have trouble trusting our heavenly Father to provide what you need?  What helps you trust Him?

Lord’s Prayer – Our Father

The word, “father” evokes lots of feelings, emotions, thoughts & responses.  Unfortunately, because we’re finite & don’t have unlimited understanding, we take our experiences & project them onto other things & relationships – be that good or bad.  This can be a problem when you consider that when Jesus teaches us how to pray, He tells us to address God as our Father.  Notice that Jesus did not say to address the 1st person of the Trinity as: boss / employer, best friend, roommate, master, slave driver, etc.  Jesus tells us to address the person we pray to as our Father in heaven.

Furthermore, I believe that there are a few reasons why our relationship with our heavenly Father can get dysfunctional based on the parable of the prodigal’s son.  Consider that both sons didn’t have a very healthy relationship with their father.  The prodigal’s relationship with his father lacked intimacy because the son was selfish.  The older son’s relationship with his father was dysfunctional because he didn’t even see his father as his dad – consider how he describes his interaction with his dad in Luke 15:29;  this doesn’t sound alot like a father / son relationship. 

So when you address your heavenly Father, is there some dysfunction you could possibly be projecting onto your relationship with Him?  What might this be & could God be wanting to help you make some healthy adjustments so that your interaction with Him is more authentic?  Feel free to leave comments / thoughts.  🙂

spiritual conversations #2 – disappointments, mistakes & hurts

Everyone has been disappointed or let down by someone in their life.  Everyone has had misunderstandings from small miscommunications to giant problems.  Everyone has been hurt at some point by somebody else’s intentional malice.  Truthfully, we all have plenty of opportunities to get hurt – or the better way to consider these opportunities is to think of them as practice in forgiveness.  Yesterday, I blogged about the need to have spiritual conversations – if you haven’t read it, its a good read and the comments are great!  Anyways, its been my experience that generally, forgiveness is required to have spiritual conversations.  The better my practice of forgiveness, it seems like my spiritual conversations have more depth & happen more frequently.  I’m considering that this could be in direct correlation to my forgiveness of others as linked to receiving forgiveness from God.  Matt 6:14-15 says that God forgives me in proportion to how I forgive others.  My point in all of this is that forgiveness is a big deal to God – probably because He gives so much of it to us.  So in the grand scheme of life, God is asking us to forgive others for disappointing us, making mistakes & hurting us.  Read the comments below to get some great insights & suggestions related to forgiveness & feel free to leave your thoughts as well.  🙂

deliver me and the origins of evil

Rescue me, with your loving charms . . . . can’t you see that I’m lonely!  Ok, singing & blogging don’t go together very well & you’re wondering what on earth is going on?!?!

devilI was being a little cheeky with the last part of the Lord’s Prayer – deliver us from the evil one.  At the end of everything Jesus teaches us to pray, in the Lord’s Prayer, He says that we should ask our Father to deliver us from the evil one.  This petition comes after we establish God’s position in our life as our Father, Hallowed One, King, Master, Provider, Forgiver & Leader.  God is also our deliverer & He does and will deliver us from the evil one – the Devil.  I think the Devil’s fundamental job description is found in John 10:10 – the theif comes to steal, kill & destroy.  Thankfully, Jesus tells us that not only is our Father able to deliver us from the Devil’s efforts, but that we should actively make this request to our heavenly Father.

Bottom line – evil exists in the world & its origin is with the Devil.  Our job is to resist him, run to our heavenly Father & ask Him to deliver us from the Devil’s efforts in our life.  Pretty straight forward.

I pray that God would help you to recognize the Devil & his efforts in your life so that whatever he may try with you, would be thoroughly disabled & confused by your heavenly Father, as you pray for His deliverence.

lead us not into temptation

Temptation can be such an enchanting topic – we relish the allure of chocolate, ice cream, exercise endorphins, someone uber-cute of the opposite sex, a cool pair of jeans or shoes that are WAY out of the budget, an addiction we’re trying to break, . . . . .  choose your pleasure.  And Jesus teaches us that when we pray, we should ask our heavenly Father to lead us not  into temptation.

compassIn an earlier blog, I asked why Jesus would teach us to make this request considering that He, was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  Furthermore, there’s lots of New Testament verses that tell us that tests & temptations (generally the same word in the Greek) are good for us with the strength & character they build.  So given these thoughts, why does Jesus teach us to make this request of our Heavenly Father? 

Here’s my sense on this conundrum (nice word, eh?):  I think we miss the main point of what Jesus is saying when we get hung up on the temptation topic.  I think Jesus’ main point was that by teaching us to pray that God leads us, He implies that we will follow God & that He will direct our lives.  To me, Jesus’ primary objective for this request is for us ask God for His direction & guidance in our lives.  

Fundamentally, each of us need for our heavenly Father to lead us each day.  After acknowledging this need, then let us add that we’d prefer to avoid temptation – but if God should direct our paths in any given day past temptation, then let me encourage you to look to Him for the exit ramp from the temptation (1 Cor 10:13).  But let us daily request our Father’s direction – we desperately need it.

how to be debt free

In the Lord’s Prayer, one of the requests Jesus teaches us to make to our Father is to “forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”.  Last week, I got heaps of amazing insights on what everyone thought Jesus meant by this request – see “debt consolidation”.  So this week, I’d like to go to the next step.

What are some tips you could share that have helped you to forgive & be debt free?

I’ll start w an idea & then please, please add your wisdom w a comment to help others & me.

a forgiveness tip:  do it FAST.  I’ve found it easier to forgive quickly than wait & do it later.  Usually by then, whatever has hurt me begins to fester & grow.

Your turn:

thoughts on God’s love

In my “Lord’s Prayer experiment” (see the 1st post on the Lord’s Prayer), this great adventure has shown me some interesting things about God & my connection with Him.  In my last post, I talked about God as our Father & about our perceptions of who God is in our lives. 

This morning God, my Father, has been talking with me about the basis of His relationship with me – He loves me, as His child.  Everything He does originates from His motivation of love for me, His motivation of love for you.  Possibly the worst trick you could fall for, is not believing that He loves you, taking His love for granted or ignoring His love for you. 

Because of God’s love for us:

  • He provides what we need for each day. 
  • He forgives us & enables us to forgive (the premise of any relationship that has depth)
  • He directs my daily path
  • He protects me

All because He loves you.  All because He loves me.  I pray that your Father’s love for you would never become common, mundane or taken for granted.

What’s the big deal about the Lord’s Prayer?

If you have some church background, chances are that you’ve at least heard the Lord’s Prayer, if you haven’t memorized it at some point.  Its a classic Christian basic.  Unfortunately, its easy to turn it into mere movements of the mouth & whip out the droned rote words without much heart connection.  I think this is a travesty & the reason I think this is because of my experiences with the Lord’s Prayer over the last few months.

Consequently, over the next couple of Wed nights, Pastor Frieda & I will be sharing about the Lord’s Prayer, its meaning & relevance in our 21st century living.  Tonight I talked about what it means to see & acknowledge God as our Father.  If you want to download the message, click the link:  Our Father

Otherwise, what are some things that help you relate to God as your Father?  Check back tomorrow for more insights on God as our Heavenly Father! 🙂

Lord’s Prayer musings

Well, I’m very much enjoying this experiment & I’m big on experiments (I used to have like 3 or 4 old chemistry sets when I was growing up & I’d mix them all together just to see what would happen – fun times!!!).  Anyways, these are some things so far that have come from the Lord’s Prayer adventure:

  • better focus – gives my mind something constructive to ruminate on during the day rather than the random clutter & general nonsense that can be useless & even harmful
  • greater respect & reverence for God = hallowed be Your Name
  • greater intimacy & understanding that God is my Father with all the elements that connect with fatherhood
  • greater submission & surrender to His authority & will (respectively) – bend to my King & bind myself to His will more than my desires
  • more emphasis on God & less on me

So, if you haven’t tried the Lord’s Prayer experiment, read the blog below & give it a shot.  If you’re doing the experiment – how’s it going & what’s been happening? 🙂