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Pontoon Wisdom

Pontoon Wisdom

When I was little, before Facebook and cell phones, when things seemed to be slower and mean more, my grandpa would take me cat-fishing almost every weekend. We would go out in the early evening before dark, anchor the pontoon, and get our chairs and poles ready. After we had put our poles out, my grandpa would tell me stories — of his childhood, service in the military, and life with my grandma. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was doing more than telling me stories– he was passing down life lessons, giving me wisdom, and forming who I would become as a man.

        Deuteronomy 6:4-9 instructs “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates.”

        My grandpa always pointed back to where God was in the story, how God had blessed him or spared him from something. At the time I was more concerned with his story than his message, but it left something on my heart and mind I can still feel today. There was no technology, no gadgets, just a fishing pole and lantern. But in those nights my grandpa wove a tale that has impacted a lot of aspects of my life. He was never one to be overbearing about his faith, but he also didn’t hide who he was or what he believed. At home or in public, he had a word for God and a heart to share his faith.

Disconnect

        So often we have our phones, tablets, or TV’s front and center in our lives. Netflix has talked to our kids more than we have. YouTube is now more of a companion than actual friends are. And we are risking life and limb to post that perfect selfie on any number of social media sites. Recently with a group of friends, I started —  like my grandfather — telling stories of when I was younger and when my wife and I got together. My daughter, who normally watches YouTube like it’s life, soaked all those stories in and started recounting them to her friends and family. It struck me how the simple act of sharing a story with her impacted her so deeply she had to tell others.

        I wonder what it would look like in our lives if we took more time to tell stories, to relive memories, and to show our kids what life was like before them. What if, instead of Facebook, you just gave them face-to-face talks? Could you start substituting Youtube for just you? Don’t take more selfies with your kids; rather, give more of yourself to them.

Reconnect

At Trinity we are all about connecting people with Jesus. That includes connecting families to Jesus and each other. It doesn’t matter if we are talking about friends, family, spouses or self — the first step to anything healthy is having God in the center.

So let’s all take a step back, unplug and unwind for a little while. Reconnect with family and friends; not over social media —  but over burgers on the grill or campfires in the backyard. Show your kids that friends and family are best in person, or show your spouse you really care– not by liking their status on Facebook, but by loving the status of their heart. Enjoy a cool breeze, laughter and lightning bugs, and maybe even some pontoon wisdom.

 

Ryan Schmitt

“Avid fisher…Father…Husband…Musician…Actor…Follower of Jesus!”

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This Hope

This Hope

I had been standing behind her in the check-out line at the gas station for five or six minutes as she painstakingly made her selections. She tapped her pointed finger against the plastic display case, indicating on item after another.

I’d witnessed similar demonstrations of agonizing indecision — typically with young children when they are presented with the delicious dilemma of selecting a favorite candy at the movies or a donut at the bakery.

But she wasn’t a child. She was an older lady with a worn canvas bag slung over her shoulder. The front of the bag was covered with pins and buttons — photos of family, perhaps her grandchildren.

And she wasn’t selecting candy or a treat; she was purchasing lottery tickets.

She had two ten dollar bills clutched in her hand, and she seemed intent on spending at least half that amount on the tickets. Nearing the ten dollar mark, she worried aloud about the fact that she really wanted to buy another Gold Rush Doubler scratch off, but it was two dollars; adding that ticket to her purchase would push her total beyond the ten dollars she apparently had intended to spend.

As she muttered a bit under her breath, my heart lurched in my own chest.

The price of her hope hung in the balance.

Shifting her weight from foot to foot, she finally sighed loudly, shoved both crumpled bills across the counter, and exhaled, “Ah heck. Here’s hoping!”

The cashier carefully stacked and counted the lottery tickets and slid them across the dirty counter back towards the lady, who quickly snatched them up.

As she turned to leave, tickets clutched to her chest and cheeks flushed, our eyes briefly met.

And my heart ached.

The Claw Machine

It’s nearly the same feeling I had when my kids were very young and they would beg to take a chance on my least favorite invention of all time: the dreaded claw machine.

It’s always so enticing: a giant glass case filled with fluffy stuffed animals and trinkets. Treasures just waiting to be acquired. And that claw — so big, so strong — what couldn’t that claw grab onto?

The situation looks promising. It oozes hope.

And that hope often gains strength as your child enters the coins, shifts the lever this way and that, presses the button to drop the claw. All eyes riveted to the silver claw, it squeezes around a stuffed animal and lifts, and slides . . . slides . . . slides. . .  carefully toward home.

Yet, inevitably, just before reaching its destination, the claw weakens, the stuffed animal slips and finally plops back into the pile of similarly just-missed prizes.

When my kids would ask to try to claw, I would always refuse, telling them that those machines were broken or rigged and would never, ever, reward their hope in them.

But my husband, maybe a bit more optimistic than I am, a bit more of a risk-taker, and not so overly dramatic and serious about life, would sometimes intervene and allow them to take a chance at it. In these instances, I would hold my breath and actively (though secretly) wish against their success.

And most of the time, I was happy to be proven soundly right. See kids? Lesson learned!

But once, when my son was four or five years old, my worst fear was realized, and the worst of all possible outcomes occurred:

The claw machine actually rewarded his hope with a toy.

From that point on, not only did he ask to try every claw machine he saw; he also had a seed of hope planted deep in his little heart, the belief that the claw machine could reward him. After all, it did so “that one time.

But, if you have ever encountered a claw machine yourself, or any arcade game, really — you know that this was false hope. Though he was successful once, he has never been successful at beating the claw machine again.

I’d like to smugly enjoy the satisfaction of being right about this . . . but I can’t.

Because mostly what I feel when I see the claw machine is the pain of misplaced hope, the ache of broken promises.

False Hope

I realize I’m blowing this silly childhood game way out of proportion, but the part of my brain that tries to make sense of the world grabs ahold of moments like this one and constructs a belief like this:

Our world teases and breaks us, every one, with empty promises and false hope.

And this feeling came rushing back in upon me as I watched the older lady walk out of the gas station. Scratching her lotto cards as she walked across the street and down the sidewalk, her shoulders slumping a bit lower with each defeated step.

We so often clutch desperately to false hope.  We so often pay dearly with our currency, our energy, our self-worth, to purchase hope in the form of promises that will never be fulfilled.

“Here’s hoping my luck will change.”

“Here’s hoping my family will be restored.”

“Here’s hoping he’ll finally love me.”

“Here’s hoping this will prove I’m good enough.”

This kind of hope, like tossing pennies in a well, is the cruelest hope of all. We can picture a need met or anticipate a desire reached — it’s right in our line of sight, right there ready to be grasped.

But it is just as likely to flit away or dissolve altogether as it is to rest in our hands.

Nothing in this world can give us true hope.

It’s all lotto tickets and claw machines.

It’s all false advertising and empty promises.

We may even realize that our false hopes are counterfeit, but we cling to them because somehow we believe they are all we have.

Everything — every possession, every circumstance, every relationship — is a propped up replica of true Hope. Like a cardboard cut-out of a person, these things look like hope. They look like they have the power to save us. And every once in a great while, just like the tricky claw machine and like games of chance — every once in a while, our possessions, circumstances, and relationships appear to make our lives better and seem to make us secure.

But it doesn’t take very long on this earth to learn that our self-made versions of hope will not sustain us. Our possessions will rot or be destroyed, our circumstances will bring us difficulties or leave us without recourse, our relationships will tangle into knots or fall inexplicably apart.

However —

Jesus. Changes. Everything.

Coming to see that no possession, circumstance, or relationship can promise lasting hope may leave us feeling lost and desolate. But the Bible tells us over and over that we DO have hope — and His name is Jesus.

1 Peter 1:3 declares, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Paul speaks of hope in Romans 15:13 when he says “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

And again, in Titus 1:1-2, Paul identifies himself as a “servant of God and apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith in God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began.”

The book of Proverbs assures us that we can have lasting hope: “Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 24:14.

Scripture is deliberate in distinguishing the Hope offered by Jesus from the false “hope” offered by the world. Hebrews 6:19 says  “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.”

The writer of Hebrews expressly characterizes the hope offered by Jesus as an anchor. An anchor is heavy and its purpose is to plant and remain unmoved. An anchor will not be dragged away from its designated position. It will not drift or be destroyed.

Anchors are also often placed away from the ship, securing a position and ensuring that the vessel moves in the right direction. Jesus not only secures us as an anchor would, but the hope we have in Jesus “enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain.” Behind the curtain of our mortal life, in the spiritual realm, Jesus saves a place for us.

In referring to our hope in Jesus, scripture is exquisitely particular:

I have THIS hope.

Not some other hope.
Not just any hope.
Not an empty hope.

I have THIS hope.

The hope of Jesus entering into my sin, breaking my chains, and setting me free.

The hope of Jesus changing me and making me brand new.

The hope of His grace permeating my life,

cleansing and rebuilding it from the inside out.

The hope of eternal life in His presence.

The hope of sharing in His unending goodness & glory.

Hope beyond any hope we can imagine, and Hope more sure than any certainty we have ever known.

Find His Hope

Friend, please don’t settle for flimsy, counterfeit hope.

Jesus purchased something so much better for us when He died on the cross for our sins. At such a high price, he didn’t purchase for us a shoddy hope, a sometimes or once-in-awhile or most-of-the-time hope. We do not have to go through life with a “here’s hoping” attitude, tossing our pennies into a well, crossing our fingers or holding our breath. We do not have to purchase false hope for ourselves through life’s games of chance.

Rather, our Hope has already been secured and at a high price:

The blood of Jesus purchased for us this one, particular HOPE —

the hope of salvation and sanctification,

the hope that he would save us and change us and make us like Him.

Don’t lose a moment getting your hands on that kind of hope.

My Prayer

This is my prayer:  Dear God, please help me to open my hands and release all my counterfeit hopes. Please break me free from the bonds of any belief I have in false promises made to me by this world. Make the radical and certain hope of Jesus Christ more and more clear to me. Please open my heart and help me to grab ahold of the truth of salvation and the work of sanctification available to me through the blood of Jesus. Thank you for Jesus; thank you for true and lasting hope.

Amen.

 

*Check out Tenth Avenue North’s song “I Have This Hope” and lead singer Mike Donehey’s video journal about the song’s origins and meaning.

 

 

Briana McDonough
“I’m a wife, mommy, teacher, writer, reader, and child of God.”

 

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The Bridge

The Bridge

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time” (1 Tim 2:5-6).

We find freedom in Jesus. There’s nothing better in life than being freed from our sins. That moment when the burdens are lifted from your shoulders! Grace received! Priceless! The only way to experience that freedom is to cast our sins on Jesus.

“Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantor of a better covenant.  Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:20-25).

Did you know that the word for “priest” in Latin is pontifex which means “bridge builder”? Jesus is the bridge builder from humans to God. If we want to get to God, we must cross over the bridge Jesus has built. There’s no other bridge over the troubled waters of trespasses and sin that separate us from God. We can only get safely to the other side by grace through faith in Jesus. But this bridge is a strong and mighty bridge.

“Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens. Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself. For the law appoints as high priests men in all their weakness; but the oath, which came after the law, appointed the Son, who has been made perfect forever” (Hebrews 7:26-28).

Jesus offered up himself as the sacrifice for once and for all. God’s grace through Jesus is the bridge builder that makes it possible for each and every one of us to be united with God and bask in His loving presence. Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Jesus is the key to eternal life.

The bridge of grace is ready. We just need to be willing to use it. If you have a need for forgiveness, an urge to commune with God and bask in his grace, don’t waste another minute. Let the other people wait if they insist. But you, don’t delay. Cross the bridge. God’s grace is waiting.

 

Rob Cochrane

Rob Cochrane received his B.S in Biblical Counseling from Crossroads Bible College in Indianapolis.  He is a member of the Association of Biblical Counselors.

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Actions Speak Louder Than Words…Lessons For Fathers

Actions Speak Louder Than Words…Lessons For Fathers

As we celebrate Father’s Day, we often think about the wisdom our fathers have passed on to us. My own dad has shared this life lesson with me many times through the years, but fittingly, he hasn’t always shared it in words. He has led by example.

      I know what my dad believes because of how he acts:

      My dad believes it’s important to be punctual. He doesn’t always speak the words, but when he consistently leaves the house fifteen minutes earlier than he said he would, we are reminded that he truly believes “Early is on time and on time is late.”

      My dad believes gossip is wrong and hurtful. He doesn’t lecture or scold on this issue; he just turns and walks away if talk turns to gossip.

      My dad plays to win. In games and in life, he invests himself in ways that matter. He’s not just hanging around to pass the time; rather, he wants to spend his time on things that make a difference in this world.

Invest In What Matters

American pastor and writer A.W. Tozer claimed, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In other words, what we believe about God matters. Our beliefs matter because they fuel our actions. Our words may say one thing, but it is our actions that reveal what we truly believe.

    Tozer’s statement echoes scripture. Proverbs 4:23 says “Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.” (The Message).  Another translation of this verse says “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (New International Version).

    So, what beliefs do my own actions reveal? If I’m being honest, I’m afraid my actions often reveal my tendency to be anxious, my desire to control everything around me, and my confusion about exactly who I am.

When I  fear the future, my actions reveal that I believe that I must solve all my own problems, that no one is watching over me to offer provision or protection.  When I panic when suffering comes, my actions reveal that I believe my life is supposed to be perfect and easy, that someone has left their post and is not taking care of me as they should.    

When I hurry  as if the whole day will collapse without my efforts to sustain it, my actions reveal a belief that I am on my own to make this thing work.  When I strive to control others and situations, my actions reveal that I believe I am in charge of the world, that my way is the best way, that other people need me to watch out for them.

When I seek the praise of others, my actions reveal that I believe my worth comes from what other people think about me.  When I compare myself to others, my actions reveal a belief that I have been short changed, that I am missing out on something, that I’m not getting what I “deserve.”  When I feel discouraged and disappointed in who I am — in my physical features, in my personality, in my weaknesses and flaws — my actions reveal that I believe I somehow deserve to be more than human, that I should not have to deal with the messes I make, that I should not have to endure the inconvenience of having human needs and moods.

When I focus on my needs, desires, and flaws, my actions reveal that I believe in myself and my own efforts; these actions do not reveal a belief that I was created by a Creator.      

    But, scripture tells us that we are, in fact, created by a Creator, and that this Creator invites us to be not only his creation, but also His children.

    Galatians 3:26 says “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” And this truth is emphasized further in Galatians 4:7, “Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Isn’t this good news? We were created by a God who loves us so much that He desires to call us His own children. He wants us to call him our Father!

    I might say I believe in God and His love for me, but sometimes my actions make me wonder.  I either believe God loves me and has good intentions toward me, or I don’t believe it. And that makes all the difference.   

If I believe I am a child of God, this belief changes everything.

From Fear to Peace

Instead of fearing the future,  I can trust God and have peace. 1 Peter 5:7 instructs us to “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.” We are assured that He will not overlook our needs. Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”

Instead of panicking at the first sign of suffering, I can have hope and expect God’s best for me. “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12).

Even those things that come into our lives and look like disasters can be used by God to our benefit. Instead of despairing when things go wrong, I can lean on the reassurance of Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Learning to Trust

    Instead of hurrying, I can wait and rest. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord,” (Psalm 27:14)   In Isaiah 26:3 we find this promise: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.”  Rather than stressing over my to-do list and scurrying around trying to make everything happen according to my own plan, I can heed the words of Proverbs 16:3, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.”

    Instead of striving to control others and insisting on my own way, I can “Trust in the Lord with all [my] heart, and lean not on [my] own understanding; In all [my] ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct [my] paths” (Proverbs 3:5-7). It’s a lot of pressure to believe that everything depends on me; scripture reminds me that I can relax my grip and trust that He knows what He’s doing.

True Identity

    Instead of seeking the praise of others, I can delight in His approval of me, clinging to the truth that “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me? The Lord is on my side as my helper; I shall look in triumph on those who hate me. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man” (Psalm 118:6-8).

  1.     Instead of comparing myself to others, I can believe God’s promises to bless me: “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)  In the book of Psalms, David describes God’s care for us as a shepherd caring for his sheep. He says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters” (Psalm 23:1-2). I lack nothing. Comparing myself to others is a bad habit that grows out of a belief that God is holding out on me and not giving me something that I need,  but David’s imagery here reminds me that this simply isn’t true. And instead of feeling discouraged by my weaknesses and flaws, I can lean into the promise of Romans 5:20: “Where sin abounds, grace abounds much more.”

Instead of focusing on my needs, desires, and flaws,

I can fix my eyes on my Father’s strengths and His goodness and His faithfulness.      

Ways to strengthen your belief that God is your Father:

  1. Read the Word.
    • Notice and remember God’s love for you and daily accept His invitation to live as His child.
  2. Watch your words.
    • Are you putting yourself down? Are you complaining about yourself or about your circumstances in life? Use your words to remind yourself of your true identity in Him.
  3. Treat others well.
    • Remember that each person you encounter has, like you, been created by a Creator and has been invited by grace into a relationship with their Father.
  4. Pay attention to your thoughts.
    • Watch your attitudes and actions to see how deeply your identity as God’s child has taken root in your heart. When you hit a tough time and need the reminder, go back to step 1 and get into the Word.

 

Your Father God will meet you there and

remind you that you are His child.

 

 

Briana McDonough
“I’m a wife, mommy, teacher, writer, reader, and child of God.”

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How Then Shall We Pray?

How Then Shall We Pray?

Because life seems complicated, it’s easy to assume our relationship with God–the creator of the universe — would be complicated, too.

But the beauty of the gospel is its simplicity.

The gospels teach us to “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7)

The disciples’ relationship with Jesus illustrates this lesson beautifully.

After witnessing the power Jesus found through praying to His father, they made a very childlike request — teach us how to do that, too!

The gospels of Matthew and Luke depict Jesus’ patient response to His seeking friends. Rather than lecturing them on theology or burying them in details, Jesus taught them this simple prayer:

Our Father, who art in heaven,

Hallowed be Thy name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins, as we forgive our those who sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever.

Amen.

In fact, it’s so simple that it’s estimated to take a person, on average, just  21 seconds to pray it.

21 Seconds to Change Your World…

Awhile back I read a little book called 21 Seconds to Change Your World. I was encouraged to realize the power in this seemingly simple prayer.

It’s so simple that we teach it to very young children. I was five or six when I learned the Lord’s Prayer, huddled with a friend under a blanket, flashlight illuminating the words, laughing and giggling as we memorized this prayer together to meet a challenge given to us by a Sunday school teacher.

Yet Jesus himself prayed this very prayer.

After reading the book, I took Rutland up on his challenge to pray the Lord’s Prayer at least twice a day.

And here’s what I learned.  

The Lord’s Prayer is simple. So simple I can drop my mind into it as soon as I wake up in the morning — before I can make sense of any other thought of my own. Yet it is so full — it’s new every time I pray it.

Here is How You Should Pray…

“Our Father, who art in heaven . . .”

First, we remind ourselves of the nature of our relationship to God — He is our Father.

“Hallowed be Thy name.”

Next, we are reminded that He is holy — even just the sound of His name has power.


“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done On earth as it is in heaven.”

Here, we invite our Father to come into our world, into our lives.

Some translations ask “Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven,” implying an invitation for God to come into our world.  Because we ourselves are made of “earth,” many argue that this request not only asks God to have His will in our world or on our planet, but also to bring His will about in our earthly bodies and in our very selves. In this way, I’m asking Him to change me, to guide my actions; I’m asking my Father to accomplish His purpose in and through me.

Meet Our Needs…

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

This request asks for God’s provision which often extends beyond our physical needs. When I ask for my “daily bread,” sometimes I am asking for resources to meet the needs of my family, but most often the “daily bread” I find myself asking for is strength for the day, knowledge and insight to solve problems, the ability to manage life’s demands.

And don’t miss this: daily bread implies that He will give us what we need for now, but that He expects us to return tomorrow to ask again. Jesus doesn’t pray the way I might:  “give us enough bread to store up for the future . . .” He wants us to depend on Him and keep returning to Him as our source for all we need.

And by asking for daily bread,” and not a “daily feast” the phrase also reminds me that I am asking my Father to meet my NEEDS, not to do things my way and fulfill all my wants.

I’ve noticed that the majority of my prayers are of the “daily bread” variety. My prayers are often rushed and tossed up desperately toward God in moments of need, with little recognition of who He is as my Father or a sincere invitation for Him to probe my life with His Holy Spirit and bring His kingdom to life in me. But the prayer Jesus taught us to pray devotes only one short sentence to this request, illuminating the importance of the many other ways we can relate to our heavenly Father.

Next, Jesus prayed,

Forgiveness…Offered…Received…

“Forgive our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

I’m reminded that my Father cares about the state of my relationships. I will be forgiven in the same way that I forgive others.

Here I am asking God to keep the channel of grace and mercy open in my life — so that I can offer grace and forgiveness as abundantly and readily to others as my Father offers it to me. I can bring specific relationships to Him and ask for Him to show me how to forgive like Him and then also give me the ability to do it. I can confess my own sins and ask for His forgiveness.

By keeping these two things together in my mind — my willingness to forgive others and my absolute dependence upon His forgiveness for me — He is daily reminding me that this is how the free flow of grace works in our lives: I am not forgiven for myself only; I am forgiven so that I may also extend forgiveness and mercy in all my interactions with others.

Deliver Us…

“And lead us not into temptation

But deliver us from evil.”

The first part of this request has often seemed strange to me. It seemed to imply that we need to ask God not to lead us straight into temptation — as if He would.

But the Message translation says here:

Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.”

This translation makes great sense to me. I often feel a need to be protected from my own tendency to choose actions that end up hurting myself and those around me.

Maybe the most important part of this request is the fact that we are asking God to lead us.

This request shows that I am prepared to follow, that I am ready to follow His guidance and do what He teaches.

Praying this phrase, I am declaring that following God is the way to avoid temptation. His leading will actually take me another way altogether — freeing me from my tendency to walk toward temptation and leading me a different way.  

“But deliver me from evil.”

Again, The Message translation is helpful: “Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.

This is a prayer that recognizes that the injuries I sustain in spiritual battle are not always my doing. Sometimes the trouble is simply the result of the presence of evil in the world. This request acknowledges the nature of the spiritual struggle taking place within me.

Early in the prayer, I asked God to come in to my world and to come intimately into my very life. In this request, I’m asking God to completely break my chains, to bring me out of the clutches of evil and bring me into the safety of following Him.

It All Belongs To You…

“For thine is the kingdom . . .”

Thefor here explains why we are making these requests of Him.

Everything is His — it all belongs to Him  — and because it all belongs to Him, He is in charge of it. He is my authority, so it is to Him I bring my requests.


“ . . . and the power . . .”

I am asking all these things BECAUSE I believe that my Father has the ability to make these things so. I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t believe He could answer. He has the power to grant these requests and meet these needs.


“ . . . and the glory forever.”

Here I am recognizing that I understand WHY He will meet these needs — to bring glory and honor back to Himself.  In my gratitude, I can point back to Him, showing HIm and myself and the watching world that I recognize the reality that I am free because of my Father, and I am fully dependent on Him. I am rescued by Him and saved for His purposes.

Yes…Jesus…

“Amen.”

The Message translation says “Yes. Yes. Yes.” By lining up my heart with this prayer — this model prayer that Jesus is teaching — I am saying “yes” to all that God is and all that He gives me. I am in full agreement with His plans for me and inviting Him to make those plans reality.

He listens to hear us offer that “yes” — He wants us to line up our desires with His desires. Remember, Jesus himself prayed this way. These are things the Father certainly already desired to do in and through the life of Jesus.  But just as He does with us, God wanted Jesus to align his heart with the Father’s plan.

Then He brings His power into our lives and makes it happen as He has designed it to happen from the beginning.

Through this prayer, Jesus found the strength and provision He needed to accomplish — not only through His spirit, but also in and through His physical body — the greatest mission and highest purpose that could ever exist — the salvation of every person created by God.

The Simplicity of Prayer…

Jesus gave us this simple prayer — not because He thought we were too “simple” ourselves to understand more, but knowing that God’s plan, His intentions and willingness to come into my life and make it His kingdom, is a beautifully straightforward plan.

But Jesus also teaches us this prayer because it works. It aligns with the ways God wants to work in our lives.

Jesus is a good teacher; He is showing us how to pray most effectively. These are the prayers our Father stands ready to answer. This is the way His kingdom works and the way He brings it to life in us.

When and  if I start praying in other ways (“give us bread for a month, help me rise above others in power, make things go my way, let me flirt with temptation by stay safe from harm”), I will not receive the answers I am hoping for.  Those prayers seem to say “here, God, I have this all figured out. Just do things my way, please.” Those prayers proclaim “For MINE is the kingdom, power, and glory,” pushing me out front, leaving me alone and vulnerable rather than standing in my rightful place as a child of God, my Father.

I am thankful for this simple prayer — the promise that when we pray this way, God is ready and waiting to answer us.

I challenge you to make this prayer a part of your conversation with God each day. Ask Him to open your mind and imagination to each part. And enjoy the exciting knowledge that this is a prayer that is never a waste of your time.

This is a prayer that Jesus himself prayed in order to fulfill the most important, most meaningful, and most difficult of tasks –obtaining our salvation and securing our eternity with Him.  

If it was good for Jesus to pray this way, then I believe it is also good for me.

 

 

Briana McDonough
“I’m a wife, mommy, teacher, writer, reader, and child of God.”

 

 

 

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