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The Lord’s Prayer, Part 10

We now come to our final request in the Lord’s Prayer, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” At first glance, the phrase, “Lead us not into temptation,” seems a bit strange or out of place. The reason for this is that God would never tempt us (James 1:13). Some have a distorted view of God and think that He’s waiting to trip us up or expose us to sin’s lures. But that is not God’s way with us. He may test us through hardship, but he does not tempt us with sin.

In the Lord’s Prayer we are asking Him for strength to resist temptation. The New Living Translation renders it, “And don’t let us yield to temptation.” Another way to put it might be, “Lord, please lead me out of and away from the things that tempt me!” Jesus warned His disciples on the night He was betrayed, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) As we’ve seen elsewhere in this prayer, we are dependent on our heavenly Father and in this case, we’re dependent on His strength to resist temptation. [Read more →]

November 21, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 10

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

“Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matthew 6:12) By debts, Jesus is not referring to financial indebtedness, but our sins. The New Living Translation renders this verse, “And forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.” Just prior to modeling this prayer, Jesus reminded His listeners, “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:8) If God knows what we need before we ask Him, then why ask? We ask God because it’s fitting to do so.

As we read or pray this prayer, it would be easy for us to see our “daily bread” or the “forgiveness of our debts” as the focal things, but they aren’t. The focal thing in this prayer is God and our relationship with Him. When we express our need to Him for bread and for forgiveness, we interact with Him in a way that cultivates our relationship with Him and acknowledges who He is. God is not merely the “bread-Giver” or “Forgiver,” He is our Father. “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11) [Read more →]

November 16, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 9

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 8

In the next stanza of the Lord’s Prayer, we find a shift in focus. “Give us today our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) Up to this point, the Lord’s Prayer has centered on praising and affirming God’s nature, character and kingship in our lives. Based on our relationship to Him, we also look to Him to meet our needs—“our daily bread.”

Asking God to provide for us is not an abdication of our responsibility to work hard for ours and others’ needs. Rather this request simply acknowledges that everything we have and enjoy is a gift from God. We look to Him as our loving, sovereign benefactor. The psalmist expressed to God: “You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home, and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor. You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth—wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.” (Psalm 104:13-15 NLT) [Read more →]

November 10, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 8

The Lord’s Prayer, Part 4

So far, we’ve considered the context for the Lord’s Prayer in both Matthew’s and Luke’s accounts. We see from Matthew’s Gospel most clearly that Jesus’ intention for this prayer is that it serve as a model for prayer. Jesus said, “Pray like this….” Let’s take a closer look then, at each component of this model prayer.

Our Father in heaven….” We begin by addressing God as “our Father.” He is the Father of us all from the viewpoint that He created us. We are His. (See Acts 17:24-31.) More specifically, God has called us into relationship with Him through Jesus Christ. Through Christ we become His children; His sons and daughters (2 Corinthians 6:18). So we rightly and reverently address God as our Father. We look to Him for everything: love, protection, provision, and deep relationship. [Read more →]

October 17, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer, Part 4

The Lord’s Prayer

In Matthew 6 and Luke 11, we find the “Lord’s Prayer.” These appear to be two separate instances in which Jesus provided a model for prayer, which has come to be called “the Lord’s Prayer.” In the Matthew account, Jesus was teaching a large crowd along with his disciples. This occurrence belongs to what we call the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke’s account, Jesus had spent some time praying. When he finished, his disciples asked him to teach them to pray also. Let’s take a closer look at the context and content of the Lord’s Prayer.

The text of the two prayers is nearly identical. The fact that they are not exactly the same demonstrates that these are two separate incidents, and that Jesus’ intention for this model has more to do with the spirit of prayer than with the repetition of static words. [Read more →]

October 3, 2011   Comments Off on The Lord’s Prayer

Fragile vs. Durable Relationships

Recently, I found myself crying out to God after a team meeting, “Lord, why are our relationships so fragile?!” This particular team had experienced seasons of strong, healthy interaction. Yet, in one session the team relationships seemed to crumble. It’s as though we suddenly, inexplicably found ourselves on the verge of losing all we had worked for till now. This brought me to my plea before God, “Why are relationships so fragile?”

Occasionally, when I’ve cried out to God in desperation like that, I’ve sense His immediate, clear response. This was also such an occasion. I perceived God saying, “I don’t want your relationships to be fragile!” His response jarred me, because I’ve often thought of the health of relationships as fragile in terms of how volitile or easily they disintigrate. I had always assumed that frailty was simply the nature of our earthly relationships.  All that evening and into the next morning I mulled over the characteristics of fragile relationships and contrasted them with the characteristics of durable relationships. My brainstorming over these characteristic yielded the list below. I trust that God will use this contrast in your heart and life. May all your relationships become durable ones!

 

 

©2011 Rob Fischer

June 2, 2011   1 Comment

Seek God’s Glory out of Your Great Need!

God delights in turning misfortune to good fortune, calamite into blessing and great need into abundance! In 1 Samuel 1 we read the account of a woman named Hannah. Although she and her husband had been married for many years, she remained childless. Her inability to bear a child was a source of “great anguish and grief” to her. Not only did she personally long to hold and nurture her own child, but her rival cruelly mocked and taunted her because she couldn’t bear children.

One year, while Hannah and her husband were worshiping at Shiloh, Hannah prayed a desperate prayer to God again begging him to give her a son. It’s striking that she specifically asked for a son. Furthermore, she promised that she would devote this son to the Lord and His service all his life. Meanwhile, Eli the priest saw her praying and told her, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him.” (1 Samuel 1:17) [Read more →]

March 21, 2011   1 Comment

Get Rob’s Book: Enthralled with God!

Enthralled with God

God created us for relationship with him, but what does that look like? How do we interact with God? What does he expect from us? We are to love God, but what is this about enjoying him? Two-way communication is a hallmark of any relationship, so how does communication function in our relationship with God? How does God speak to us? How do we recognize his voice? What do we do with what he tells us? Rob seeks to answer all these questions and more through the Scriptures and lots of examples from his own life, so that you too may be enthralled with God!

Enthralled with God–Cultivating a Joy-Filled Relationship with Him is available on Amazon.com! You will find the book in both soft-cover and e-version.

Below is the brief introduction from this book that I’m sure you’ll want to read. [Read more →]

March 4, 2011   Comments Off on Get Rob’s Book: Enthralled with God!

Getting the Most out of Hardship – 7

Yet another benefit of hardship, suffering and trials is that they offer us the opportunity, like nothing else, to demonstrate the all-sufficiency of Christ in our lives. The apostle Paul was uniquely chosen by God to represent to others the all-sufficiency of Christ in the midst of suffering. In fact, when Paul came to know Jesus, the Lord said of him, “I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” (Acts 9:16)

After many years of serving Christ and taking the Gospel to those who had not yet heard the good news of Christ, Paul recounts some of his sufferings, persecutions and trials in 2 Corinthians 11. He had been flogged, beaten and imprisoned numerous times. He had been ship-wrecked three times and once had spent a day-and-a-half in the open sea. He’d been in danger from bandits, from his own countrymen and from the Gentiles. He had often worked hard to support himself and others, often gone without sleep, food, shelter and even clothes. Besides all this he often felt overwhelmed by his concern for the welfare of the churches he and his co-workers had established. (2 Corinthians 11:23-28) [Read more →]

February 24, 2011   Comments Off on Getting the Most out of Hardship – 7

Getting the Most out of Hardship – 6

A sixth benefit from hardship and suffering is that they center our focus on the eternal.

In Hebrews, the writer reminds his readers of the severe persecution and trials they experienced after coming to Christ. He urges, “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions.” (Hebrews 10:32-34 NIV) [Read more →]

February 19, 2011   Comments Off on Getting the Most out of Hardship – 6