Proclaiming a Message of Good News and Hope to our generation!
Praying the Lord’s Prayer
First the Kingdom, episode 34: Praying the Lord’s Prayer
Back in 1963, the day in our local Junior High school began either in the main auditorium or home room with the pledge of allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer. Eventually a recent Supreme Court decision that school sponsored prayer was unconstitutional began to change that tradition. I specifically remember our home room teacher announcing to us that she would continue to pray the Lord’s Prayer, but also that anyone in the room could freely opt out.
Even though prayer was not technically banned from schools, the public perception was that our government had joined the movement of modern times against simple faith in an all-powerful God. As much as the opponents of public prayer in schools have denied this, the results speak for themselves. The fact is, believers can always pray in the USA. The real loss is what the children who did not know Christ might have gained from learning this prayer back then. Today I would add that even some children of of believing families have often lost the rich benefits of knowing and reciting this prayer.
Some time back I attended the funeral of a retired police officer. At the grave site, the pastor recited a passage of scripture and began praying “Our Father, Who art in heaven….” Immediately, and without prompting, everyone there began to join him in the prayer that was well known to his generation. It was a refreshing experience that brought me back to those junior high school days when hundreds of students would recite this prayer together!
One complaint I heard from a Jewish girl was that she did not want to pray a Christian prayer. In fact all the elements of this prayer can be found in the prayers of their own Hebrew scriptures, known to Christians as the Old Testament. I count myself greatly and richly blessed to have been taught from the entire Bible, both the old and new testaments. In the Lord’s Prayer I am reminded how Jesus felt about past generations, the promises that were given unto them, and the hope of the fulfillment that he was bringing.
This model prayer sums up the foundational and crucial elements of the Christian life. It keeps us mindful of the intimate relationship we have with our Heavenly Father, and our goal to glorify Him.
As we pray We become conscious of our part in bringing righteousness, peace and joy – His kingdom to this earth. We understand our constant need for Him, His provisions and His forgiveness, as well as our need to forgive others.
Finally in it we seek for His guidance and protection every day, and acknowledge that everything good, loving and holy comes from His reign over us in power and eternal victory.
Anyone who is at all familiar with the prayers in the Bible should know that God listens to all sorts of prayers. We are in no way limited to praying this one short prayer. At the same time the use of this or any memorized prayer should not be looked down on as ritualistic. what is in our hearts? That seems to be the important thing. When I think of how Jesus Himself gave us this wonderful gift to teach us and encourage us in prayer, how or why would we refuse it?
I invite you to pray along with me today:
Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Citizens of Heaven!
Citizens of Heaven
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (NASU)
If you have ever visited a country other than your native country, you might have felt a little strange or uncomfortable. I live in the US, and our neighboring country Canada, has a similar culture to ours. It is not so strange or different as some other countries. Still, when I visit there, I cannot expect to claim the exact same privileges that a Canadian citizen would claim. The same could be said of Australia, where my wife and I visited in the nineties. Other than their wonderful accents, and the fact that they drive on the opposite side of the road, we felt quite comfortable there.
Another country we have visited is India. Now I can tell you that it is a different world! The culture is very different in some ways. The food is different, the language of course is different, the money is very different. All the things we take for granted every day can become challenges when in another culture. While Canadian money is in dollars close to ours, Indian rupees do not easily translate to US dollars. Back then I would often hesitate when thinking of spending 1,000 Rupees until I did the math. That sum today amounts to only about $14 US dollars!
Some people possess dual citizenship. In one sense, a follower of Christ also possesses dual citizenship, living in two worlds. We live on this earth, and because of our love for Jesus Christ, we serve the inhabitants of this world for whom He gave His life. However our service will be more effective and powerful when we fully understand how our primary citizenship is in Christ, and in His Kingdom! This might not be as easy as it sounds. I was born into this world first as an earth-bound creature. Over time I developed this internal sense that something was not quite right, or complete.
At an early age I began to hear about the Word of God, and the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. This ignited that internal sense with a spark within me that has continued to grow and burn brighter year after year. I live in a material world that was created by God for His glory, but that world has become filled with corruption, sin and death. I am reminded of this fact every day of my life.
The knowledge that I am more than a material being has created a hunger for heavenly, spiritual things. I am not only talking about the future bliss that all believers know is real. I am talking about a present reality! This heavenly reality is where we all belong, and it includes the abundant life that Jesus came to bring! How often we overlook this fact: the mission of Jesus was to bring heaven to us! Everything he taught was to turn our way of thinking around towards this heavenly reality!
When I surrendered my heart and life to Christ my old life died and was buried with Him in baptism, in order that I can rise with Him from the grave as a new person! I have been translated from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of the Son of God! (Romans 6:4, Colossians 1:13)
The central message of Jesus was for us to “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is near!” Certainly we all have sins for which we must repent, but we could legitimately take repentance even further. The original Greek word in the scripture means “to think differently.” The source of our sin is in our attitudes and patterns of thinking about ourselves and God. Paul the apostle once stated that repentance goes further than sorrow for sin, which is good. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, or a change of mind. (1 Corinthians 7:10)
The bible has much to say about our minds and habits of thinking. Unfortunately, many of us do n
Our Father in Heaven!
Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth, As It Is In Heaven!
Worthy Is The Lamb!
Here is a song written by my friend Thomas Shou. We hope you enjoy it! Here is his testimony:
“Enjoy my first Christian rock song GOD gave me literally in my dreams during this pandemic honeymoon with Jesus! One of my many pandemic song babies!! Thank bro Dan Beaty for his timely partnership”
More info is available on his Bandcamp page below:
Worthy Is The Lamb!
The Church Has Left The Building!
From early in the year 2020 the world has faced an unprecedented challenge in the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. Large gatherings and even smaller gatherings of 10 people or more were cancelled in an attempt to slow down the spread of this mysterious illness that could potentially claim the lives of millions. Congregations around the world quickly realized the threat and sought new ways to stay in fellowship and to encourage one another outside of the normal gathering places we have called “churches” for centuries.
The word “church” has come down in the English language from early translations of the original Greek New Testament. Nowhere in the Bible itself does the word refer to a physical building. The Greek word in the New Testament is “Ekklesia,” which in the First Century was often used in reference to a meeting of people gathered to discuss community affairs. In the book of Acts, it is even used once to describe the gathering of an angry mob of unbelievers! (Acts 16:39-41)
In Christian writings the focus was always on the gathering of God’s people, and also on a sense of the community of believers when they were not together physically. Ekklesia literally means “the called out.” The early Christians understood that they had been “called out” of the darkness of sin in this world and into the “marvelous Light” of Christ and His Good News! (1 Peter 2:9) What ever translation you use, and what ever English word we use for Ekklesia, one only has to read the Bible to find out its meaning. In the Bible the church is described in metaphors like the Body of Christ of which each believer is a member. Together we represent Christ in this world!
In another place we are depicted as individual stones that make up a house that God Himself inhabits. The old temple in Jerusalem is gone, but Spirit-filled believers in Christ together make up a new Temple for the worship of God! Another lovely metaphor depicts God’s people as the Bride of Christ, which He purchased with His own blood to be His own precious companion! As you can see, God has an exalted position for those who love and worship Him! He lives not only among His people but in them as well! They are being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ, who is the image of the invisible God!
Over the centuries, we have become accustomed to calling the buildings we gather in churches. When people say they are “going to church,” what they really mean is that they are going to a gathering of believers which takes place in a building. Instead of calling it a church building it is easier to just call it the church. Even when instructed about the true nature of the Christian church, it is hard to break the habit of calling the building the church. That is unfortunate. Sometimes the area of the building where the worship takes place is even called the Sanctuary, as if it is some holy place where worship can only happen.
If one good thing comes out of this crisis, I hope and pray that we can once and for all put behind us the concept that God lives in a physical building. Even in the old testament, King Solomon of Israel, who had just dedicated the marvelous temple to the Lord in Jerusalem made this declaration:
“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! (1 Kings 8:27) NASU
It is convenient that there are many nice and even beautiful buildings available for us to meet in, which also are a great benefit to those who could never afford such comforts on their own. At the same time, we can become too dependent on the atmosphere we create for worship. It is easy to forget that our God is everywhere as well. The Early Church knew this as they met from house to house, sharing in the fundamental and bedrock reality of the Christian Faith, the Love of God!
Now that w
Rise Up O Man of God!