Archive | May 2013

The {Deconstructed} Lord’s Prayer

Many of us have said this prayer countless times. Countless mindless, robotic, monotone times. The powerful and awesome words of the Lord’s Prayer didn’t really hit me until just recently (I haven’t recited it for several years). Frankly, people don’t know what they’re missing.

I do not believe saying the Lord’s Prayer is necessarily wrong, just the way the majority of people say it. Just two verses before the Lord’s Prayer appears, Jesus says this in Matthew 6:7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Then He continues in verse 9a: After this manner therefore pray ye:… and goes on to tell His disciples how they should pray. In Luke 11:2a When the disciples ask how to pray, Jesus says …When ye pray, say,… and says the Lord’s Prayer. I believe it can be said with the right heart attitude, but should be approached with caution.  Likewise many personal prayers can become scripted when said day after day after day with no feeling behind them. There are also many other scripted prayers used in churches today. God is interested in hearing from us, from our hearts. He wants us to come to Him with our real feelings, troubles, praises, failures, successes…He does not want a bunch of words He originally wrote recited back to Him. He wants our relationship, not our memorization skills.

9b Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Our Father which art in heaven. God referring to Himself as “our father” is a very intimate. Other places in the New Testament, God is referred to as “Abba” or “Daddy”. We are the children and God is our Abba, our Daddy, who loves us. Who wants to scoop us up in His lap and just talk with us. This boggles my mind…the God who created the universe, who keeps all the planets in line, who gives power to the sun, who orders seasons….the God who is the righteous judge over the quick and the dead….the perfect holy God…He calls Himself my Father, my Abba.

Hallowed be thy name. The definition of “hallowed” is “honored as holy, made holy, consecrated to a sacred use”. The psalms talk about God’s name in very special ways. Like “praise thy name”, “declare thy name”, “glory of thy name”. Woe to them that just throw His name around. It is sacred, holy, honored, hallowed.

10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. I’d bet that if half the people who say this prayer knew what this would lead to wouldn’t say it. God is perfect, He hates every false way (Psalm 119 verses 104 & 128). That sin you’re involved in that’s just too good to give up, God hates that. Praying this line while living in sin is hypocritical. God’s will is that everyone lives as holy as they can. 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44-45, 19:2, 20:7) The earth is currently under the temporary control of Satan. Ephesians 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:… Also Matthew 4:8-9 and Luke 4:5-6 where Satan is tempting Jesus and offers to give Him all the kingdoms of the world if Christ would bow and worship him. They were/are Satan’s to offer. It will not always be like this, the earth will someday once again become God’s…sadly, many of those who say this very line will not see it. This breaks my heart. Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Sin breaks God’s law, the wages for breaking God’s law is death, only by repenting and receiving Christ’s sacrifice for your sin can you escape it. Saying “Lord, Lord” will not save anyone, saying “Our Father, which art in heaven……” will not save anyone.

11 Give us this day our daily bread. Praying for God to meet our daily needs. Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. God is gracious to us, even when we aren’t seeking His Kingdom and righteousness, He still provides for us. I believe we should be careful what we pray for. God is not a genie in a bottle, I don’t believe we should pray for every want or desire we have. We should be content in what God has given us and know He has blessed us exceedingly above all we could ask or think.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. This is explained further in the verses directly after the Lord’s Prayer. 14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. I think it is our nature to hold onto things, to hold grudges and bitterness towards those who have done us wrong. Who do we think we are? Really? Who reading this has never hurt another, knowingly or unknowingly? We want, and sometimes expect, forgiveness, but when someone else wants/needs it for some reason we think it justified to not give it. We want them to know what it feels like, we want them to know how mad or hurt they’ve made us. So we do things like lash out, silent treatment, treat them badly when we ought to just realize what they did was wrong, just like the millions of things we’ve done wrong, and move on. When we cry out to God to forgive us for something, do we want Him to hold a judge and deny us forgiveness? Others don’t want that either.

13a And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: We are foolish, knowingly going into situations that have great potential of leading us astray and causing us to sin. This can go hand in hand with godly wisdom. James 1:5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Every time a Christians comes to a cross roads, we make a decision to go down the sinful road or not to. In reality though, we all make poor decisions. Romans 7:15b …for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. Exercise the wisdom God has given us, do not enter into tempting situations and make Biblical decisions if we ever find ourselves in such a situation.

13b For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. For thine is the kingdom. Above I was explaining how this world is currently under the power of Satan. While that is true, God is the ultimate ruler of all. Whatever power the devil has is under the control of God, He can take it all away at any moment if He wanted. Who has a kingdom but a king or a lord? How much more the King of kings and Lord of lords? Revelation 17:14b …for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings:… 19:16 And he hath on [his] vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

…and the power… God is all powerful.  Anyone who doubts God’s ability to handle a given problem in their lives doubt’s God’s power (I’m included here, not pointing fingers). We doubt the one who created the earth, who raised several people from the dead…nothing is too hard for God. Jeremiah 32:17 Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, [and] there is nothing too hard for thee: Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

…and the glory… Basking in glory due to God seems to be a big problem with a lot of people. We would be wise to have Peter’s attitude…Acts 10:25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. Peter recognized he was just a man, worthy of no praise. 1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.

Verse 13 is one continuous verse, I broke it up to address the different parts of it, but really it is meant to flow together and with good reason. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is thee kingdom, and the power, and the glory… If we think we can keep ourselves from sin or get ourselves into heaven by our own power, we deceive ourselves. Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. When we die and are judged, there will not be a big scale with all the good we’ve done on one side and all the bad we’ve done on the other side. We will not be staring at it, sweating, hoping the good side drops lower than the bad side. If we are judged by our deeds, all will be found guilty because we have all broken God’s law. Our only hope is redemption in Jesus Christ, if we accept His gift of Salvation and forgiveness of sins. If we admit we are a sinner, believe Christ died for us, confess our sins to Him and repent of our ways.

…for ever. Our minds naturally think in certain terms, time is a natural constraint on how we view things. Everything has a time and everything comes to an end. God is not limited by our concept of time. He forever was and forever will be. Amazing Grace lyrics…”When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Bright shining as the sun, We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise Than when we’d first begun.” 10,000 years from now, we will still have forever to sing God’s praises (or not…). Sometimes my pastor will say ” forever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever, and then we’ll just be getting started!” Forever is a very long “time”.

…Amen. According to 1828 Noah Webster’s Dictionary, the word “amen” means to confirm, establish, trust, verify, give confidence. Truth, firmness, firm, stable. It is saying “let this prayer be firm, be established, be truth”. This goes back to vain repetitious prayer, if you do not believe a part or any of what this prayer actually says, do not say it. God would much rather hear from you, your own words, than a prayer He wrote Himself. If you’re struggling with forgiving someone, for example, pray to God about that particular issue. If you are having a hard time with a particular sin, take it to God. If you don’t believe you will go to heaven (remember, not based on good works), get right with Him now!

Prayer-Converstaions_With_God-Evan_Courtney

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God is sexist – being unclean after childbirth

During the end of my pregnancy with my second child, I decided in my own heart I would be “unclean” after her birth.  Not exactly like the Israeli women did and not as strict, but I was going to try it out. Mostly I just decided to rest a lot and not go anywhere (except doctor appointments). Since I was having a girl, it would last about two months. (This is in Leviticus 12, if you’d like to follow along.)

Growing up, I thought God was sexist towards women. Unclean during her period? Unclean after childbirth? Women have to stay in the home? Women have to submit to their husbands? What? I stayed away from the Old Testament. Some of those are other topics, but I can see several benefits of being unclean after childbirth.

1) Allowing your body to heal. This is pretty obvious. Childbirth isn’t an easy task, it does a lot to a woman’s body. Doctors recommend new mothers to take it easy and abstaining from intercourse for 6 weeks after childbirth. Doctors don’t “force” us to do these things, God did because He loves us. You know like how when a mother puts her crying toddler down for a nap because he’ll be up late that night and she knows what’s best for him. It’s kind of like that. God loves women and wants us to heal properly. I overdid it with both my children, even during my “unclean” process. You know what happened? I became very sore and it set my healing time back. God knows women too well, constantly wanting to do something–clean the house, lift up older children, make dinner. He knows our hard-working nature, so He commands us to take it easy.

2) Bonding. While your husband, mother, mother-in-law, close friends, etc. do a majority of the housework and cooking…what else is there to do but play with your new baby? Instead of setting baby down or handing him/her off to someone else to do everyday things, let the someone else do the everyday things while you enjoy your child. Mama will be more likely to see their firsts, mama will spend time studying their face, mama will play with their teeny toes and fingers. I can’t see how this could end badly.

3) Nursing. Breastfeeding is hard. Oh it’s wonderful and bonding and all those nice things, but it is difficult. Especially in the beginning when both mom and baby are trying to figure it out. Letting other people do things for you so you can put more focus and time into nursing definitely helps. While infant bottles date back a very long time ago, nursing was really the only option for a baby’s survival.

4) Health of baby. Allows their immune system build up a little bit by keeping them away from germy people.

5) Sleeping. Ah, a parent’s best friend! During this time, I slept a lot. Well, a lot for having a newborn anyways! My father-in-law came over a few days in the afternoon, he played with my son while I nursed and slept. This really helped keep my energy level up for my toddler son!

6) Sanitation. This one doesn’t really apply much anymore since we have things like pads, running water, anti-bacterial soap, etc. But imagine a time without our modern feminine conveniences. *Warning, this may gross you out!* Imagine: blood, discharge, clots, placenta, going to the bathroom…just your basic afterbirth, but with limited resources. Cloth pads that were hand washed, no sinks, no pump hand soap dispensers, no modern-day toilets, no showers. Now imagine having to do things like clean up the house and make your family dinner. Yuck! This just spells out bacterial infections for the mama and illness for the family. Baby girls can also have a psudeo-menstral cycle. I was told this several times in the hospital, but I already knew from my time looking at Leviticus 12 several years ago. It’s important to also keep baby girl clean while this happens.

My two months probably weren’t exactly like the Biblical command, I did light housework & cooking and it only lasting closer to 7 weeks. However, looking back on the experience, I think it definitely helped with things like PPD and stress levels. Something I learned from this time, to give God the benefit of the doubt. When a command may seem sexist or unfair, look deeper, there is likely a good reason for the good of the people He loves.

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