Our Father Who Art
edited: Tuesday, August 16, 2005
By James J. Marry
Rated "G" by the Author.
Posted: Thursday, September 12, 2002
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Our trees get shaken from many directions. It helps to take a moment to see where they grow. This prayer evaluation may look very unlike James Marry's other articles and non-fiction works. Reading between the lines might help since James is an avid Christian who loves to share the Word on a Man of the Street basis with any soul that might listen. James is currently being educated in the Cleansing Streams program.
I count my blessings with some intrepidation. In this endeavor I am reminded that pride is a very interesting sin. We pay for it while we are on this earth as well as when we meet our maker and His son at our just rewards. With the hope that I can live up to this underlying theme or flavor, I would like to analyze my thoughts regarding the prayer that Jesus Christ, our chosen savior, has provided for us to praise his father, the Lord God.
In preface, I point out that few people would envision me through my writing or through meeting me as a pious man. I offer my esteem of this prayer clearly in that light. I am a Christian and I have long ago been saved. I grow with Jesus in my heart everyday that I walk on this earth and this expose’ is a part of that growth also. I hope that in its simplicity, a pearl might be produced from sand.
I don’t wish to oppress or injure any one version of the Lord’s prayer in this perspective. It is worthy to note that I have chosen to use the first version that I can remember- the one I learned as a child in Catholic school.
I think that most people have a tendency to forget that this prayer comes from Jesus Christ’s own lips, and I am sure that we are forgiven for this –another weakness of humanity. I believe that the prayer leads with these two words with great portent. Jesus may have wished to strike his followers directly between the eyes. The weight with which these two words would befall men of this time would have been staggering.
The world of the average Jew of this time was not very pleasant, I think. Their nation had been enslaved for generations and even their masters beckoned to the call of a bigger dog. Rome knew very well how to get their minions to heel as well.
Their leadership was spineless and corrupt. Jewish aristocracy owed its existence to the Egypt, Syria and Turkey of today. The Jews were punished regularly and disciplined harshly by people who worshipped depravity near and far. Truly, no other faith in the land of Israel held forth one God, all knowing and all-powerful. Nor could any people claim divine communications with their God on a level close to the dialogue held by Abraham, Moses, nor even Elijah. The religious leaders felt none of the pride that should fall upon the teachers of the one true Lord, though. Vocations were more like occupations than they were like life songs.
Yet the Jewish people continued to maintain a strong-hearted unity. They were persecuted, but they could remain strong in spirit because their God had promised them. He hadn’t promised them riches and he hadn’t promised them power. Their enemies would not readily fall at their feet and the daily grind for survival would not abate. The Jewish God promised something much more to them. God promised the Jews forgiveness and salvation so that they could enter heaven and be by God’s side.
So they waited. They withstood the persecution of Rome. They endured the injuries of Middle East kingdoms. They survived the mockery of many of their priests and rabbi. They knew that a savior would be theirs one day- and then… there was Jesus.
And Jesus spoke loving about the Father, as he spoke loving about the flock. All questions were within reach to their answers through Jesus and all answers came from His Father. Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and all who heard him knew his name. So when the apostles asked him- “Rabbi, how shall we pray to our God?”- Jesus began the prayer with the most eloquent and perfect two words. Our Father.
All who knew His way and saw Him walk knew that only God the Father could have sent His countenance down upon the earth. Certainly the apostles were aware that Jesus was giving them great gifts with every breath they could hear him exhale. Now He was even sharing with them His Father- the one true living God for whom they were offering their lives and their souls. God is OUR FATHER- yours, mine and the Father of Jesus Christ the son.
Who Art in Heaven
I tend to describe my prayers as though they are letters to God. I am sure that I learned this through catechism or at least from the Lord’s Prayer itself. In reading the passage of Jesus’ sermon to his followers, Matthew relates to me that Jesus said we are to address his Father this way. Looking upon the prayer from this perspective, “Our Father” is the first line of the “send to:” such as “Mr. John R. Smith”. That would make “Who Art in Heaven” a more physical line two of this address such as “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue”.
I know that reverence is subjective to every individual differently. I see this is true with God and prayer especially. I admit that “speaking in tongues” and “wailing” are not terms that exist in my own personal comfort zone, but that for many Christians these terms are very much a part of their prayer repertoire. All Americans may not exhibit awe and amazement should they receive a letter addressed from the President of the United States, but I would think that any Christian would fall to their knees should they receive a letter that they knew was from the Father of Jesus Christ our savior. I grant that such an occurrence, though unlikely, would be a confirmation that would recreate reality for any human being.
Jesus relates to us that His Father, who he shares with us as Our Father, is in heaven. The prophets have all told us of this place and kings have promised its beauty. Jesus does not miss the importance of the place to mere mortals. In his reminder to us that God, his Father is in heaven, a few things emblazon my consciousness. First, where else would we want Jesus’ Father to be but in heaven. Many descriptions speak of heaven as a place where all souls will encompass the throne. Angels will surround Our Father and the greatest prophets will be at His side and His feet. Jesus will be there with His arms open to greet us. My reward for living in the best image of Jesus and following His teachings is the promise that I will be where God resides.
Forever will be a long time and to be in any place less than Heaven could be painfully less than a reward for our trial on Earth. There are those who have settled in their faith that there is a Purgatory- a place where souls would wait to be allowed to enter Heaven’s gate. I must contend that such a waiting period- regardless of duration- would be endless in cruelty. Hell would be unquestionable in its’ punishment, once Heaven is not attained. The logic of these statements seems unquestionable, yet we still doubt the power of this realization with our sin. Another sign of the human animal’s lack of control rears its ugly head, I’m afraid.
Yet, also in all of the clarity that Jesus gives us in the Lord’s Prayer, the clearest apportionment allots that “Our Father, who art in Heaven” awaits us there. God, our Father is waiting for us to come to His domain- his home- with a smile and embrace that Jesus, His Son has invited us to prepare for.
Hallowed Be Thy Name
Ahh, yes. Hallowed be the name of God the provider. He who created the Earth and Heavens and all things near and far is to be praised. Let each of us resolve that there is no other entity or being that deserves our praise more. Jesus, the Son of God, tells us to praise the Father. Let God know that we are aware that all things good and proper do come only from the Lord. Let God hear that we are endlessly grateful for his blessings and attentions as small or as grand as they each might seem. Jesus tells His Father that His name is to be revered and held above reproach. God’s name is “hallowed”.
Many turns of the centuries have diluted this very simple idea from the immense meaning that I think we could all stand reminding of. Our churches have even unintentionally confused the issue for some of us, I think. Who is holy?
I think that even the mildest Christian must say that Jesus is holy. A stronger individual might also insist that the Virgin Mary needs to be included. After all, the Bible tells us that an angel addressed her in this manner. Prophets, apostles and disciples could also be included upon a list of persons we consider holy. Certainly, a Catholic would argue that a saint also meets the criterior for this qualification. Could any of them be holy had they not been chosen by God?
Of course not. So, of most hallowed, of course would be the Lord, God, Our Father.
And as His Son, Jesus tells us “Praise Him in all of His Glory, for He is the most high and hallowed Creator”. And in this prayer, such praise is where it belongs- right at the beginning.
THY KINGDOM COME
In earnest, it would be difficult to say that this means anything less than the obvious. “Thy kingdom come” surely refers to the end of days when earth’s existence and man’s mortal coil are no more. This time is a reward to Christians that many can hardly wait for. In fact, a large portion of believers insist that the last times are being lived in now.
Jesus warns us in his prayer for us to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that heaven will be here one day. He lets us know that the Lord’s home is on the way. Christ wants us to live our days as though each one could be the very last- like we will awake at the throne when we close our eyes. Jesus has also clearly told the apostles that they should not expect the apocalypse since there will be many false signs as well.
For my own sake, I read this phrase and remember that there are two ways for me to reach God in person. One is the quickening that will take the faithful from the earth before the final hour. Another handshake can take place should I die a normal death before the rapture comes. Either way, I will need to walk with Jesus for admission to heaven to be assured. And if Jesus wishes me to do so in the name of the finality of existence, as we know it, I would think that the message could be louder if not clearer.
Now, I know that many Christians with more theological background than I will claim that I must be prepared for the rapture. My only response to this has to be “Can I not live correctly enough without expectation of rapture to still receive this reward?” I believe that Jesus tells me that I can. And I have always hoped for the kingdom of God to be my reward for my faith and my obedience regardless of the rapture or with it.
It might be of value to say that Paul was of the belief for many years that he would be raptured. He thought that the end of times were written in the signs of his time also. I use this as an example of my own justification for not allowing myself to use this possibility as a motivator. To me, it seems too much like a reward and punishment or carrot and stick type of tool. I love Jesus and I follow his lead because I love him and I believe in the Father and the Holy Spirit and when that is not enough, I need prayer and Bible study more than fear of endless persecution.
THY WILL BE DONE
God is omnipresent and omniscient. He is everywhere and He knows all things. This ability crosses all barriers and that includes time. The Lord knows what you are going to do with every choice that he puts before you. So, what else could be said that would remind us of this except “Thy will be done.”
Knowing the truth of this statement seems to say that no matter what we do in this world, God decides what will happen. So… one might assume that the words infer that we hold no control of the outcome of any of our choices. I have to think that Jesus was very sharp regarding this area. Did Jesus not ask for his Father to reconsider his fate in the Garden of Gethsemane? We know that he did. So he must have known that God the Father could change the path of his destiny. Obviously, if God could change his path, then he could change any mere mortal fate. Even Moses convinced God not to kill all of the Jews. What good would prayer do us if God did not listen and answer them?
This merely says to me that God’s will is responsive to humanity. When I pray, God listens. Sometimes, and I think often, God’s answer to my plea is silence. I know that I have often felt his smile at the end of a path that I might not have followed if He had answered my prayer the way I requested of Him. He is all knowing and He is timeless. His wisdom can not be questioned, though in my humanity I will question his judgement regularly. My own wisdom might be weighed more accurately in my ability to see that God’s plan might require the demise of my personal wishes. Remember the response of Job to the game of Satan and our God. Faith, in spite of dilemma and suffering, was the man’s questioning response. His reward well outweighed his healed wounds when all was truly tolled in heaven.
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
It is a challenge for us as Christians to respond with less than complete awe at the words that the Son has given us. If we look at these seven words as though it is the completion of an idea- or more so, as the finish to a stanza of a song- the concept magnifies the sacrament of the entire musical aria. Beginning “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The chorus tells a very important feature of the story of God the Father to all of the earth’s people- should they listen.
Jesus tells us that the time of heaven and the endless power of the Father are evident “on earth as it is in heaven”. He tells us that with an open eye, any man or woman can see the work of the Supreme Being with virtually no difficulty. Of course, this argument lends itself to critical review by those who have chosen to believe there is no God. How is it that something a Christian considers obvious, an atheist denies with no effort? I think that we must evaluate this further.
Many people are familiar with the works of C.S. Lewis. His radio program in the 40s brought the debate of Christianity to the masses with great response. His book- Mere Christianity- was created from three speeches he promoted on this very program. C.S. Lewis was a devout atheist until he realized that he was denying a God that truly existed.
To Lewis, before his awakening, he continually would shoot holes in the fact of the Bible. He was convinced that the book was a product of folklore close to that of Babe and Paul Bunyan. Then he became a Christian and with his extreme intelligence, he chose to promote his Lord and Jesus Christ to the world with great success.
Lewis implied that the hardest part of being an intelligent atheist fell into two areas. One; the large number of times that a story would have to be discounted with denial. In other words, Noah’s voyage had been scrutinized fiercely since Moses first etched the words for his tribes. You would think scholars are enjoying the act of picking the words apart. For those who rely on their faith that the story is a true one by the weight of the features of the tale at least. Christians tend to think that proofs abound of the story’s validity. For those who choose not to begin from the point of certification of the story, the fragments of historical facts must each be individually denied to unstructure the lattice that upholds the biblical excerpt.
Now, as a writer of fiction I have to admit that this is the normal argumentative structure for any scientific debate. Realistically, I remember a philosophy instructor teaching that you could argue intelligently that the sky is not blue. Isn’t the argument’s structure a strong proof of the truth as well? Essentially, Lewis and I agree on this point that sometimes the truth is easier to believe simply because it is the truth. I think God planned it that way.
The second thing for Lewis that made atheism a difficult concept to hold on to for an intelligent person was based on time. The bible was written by a great many authors. It was written by shepherds, kings, doctors, accountants, thieves, murderers and saints. The book was also compiled over five thousand years of events, though even thinly viewed you could argue that it took two thousand or so to actually create.
Any Christian will tell you that of the two books- the Old Testament and the New Testament- two very specific tasks were taken on. The Old Testament tells us of the path of mankind towards the day God would send a savior, and the New Testament illustrates all of the promise that God has provided in answering that thirst. To accomplish this, the New Testament, a story of the life of Jesus Christ and his followers, answers hundreds of prophecies laid down in the Old Testament as far back as Genesis. The apostles might have missed them, but biblical scholars today dance around them with glee.
Why? Because of time. The prophecies were so vastly separated by cultures and kingdoms and days and hours, yet they still all came to pass just as they were promised in the days of Abraham, Moses, David and Joseph. And we are still catching up with some today. The mathematical possibility of this taking place at random over such a long stretch by “accident” is less likely than the possibility of a man finding a one point diamond laying on a beach in Idaho by “accident”. Lewis knew this and it was a major factor of his conversion to Christianity on the basis of his own intelligence.
So, essentially a Christian could base his faith upon fact as well as by belief. The first step is to admit that God is real. This admission allows great freedom to all Christians since Jesus tells us repeatedly in the Gospels of his primary mission on earth. Jesus came to save mankind and open the doors of Heaven for man’s eternal soul. Prophets foretold His coming as they tell us He is coming again. The saved Christian looks forward to praising his or her God at the foot of Heaven’s throne. Is this act not a continuation of the Christian faith in Heaven as it was on earth?
Jesus poses this answer to us very sharply and clearly. God the Father’s kingdom “IS” On Earth as it is In Heaven.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
As a child, I have to admit that this phrase was never comfortable in the framework of my mind. I mean that as a child in the 60s I couldn’t identify very well with hunger. It was never a burden on my family or myself. In my older years I experienced the condition entirely from a perspective of pride. I was poor and too proud to ask for help from my family or friends. In Roman occupied Palestine, the common Jew would have thought me very silly.
In most of the reading that I have done regarding Pontius Pilate he comes off as a fairly righteous governor for Rome. In spite of that, we should remember that Rome took more than half of the earnings or product of most of the Jewish families of the day. I think we can all recognize that as a major factor insuring the discomfort of any family unit. The thought of the next meal was always on the common man’s mind for the sake of Rome. Additionally, any good person was expected to offer sacrifice to God in the Old Testament way as spelled out through Moses. Times were very tight.
Nothing gets by God though, and neither therefore His Son. Jesus made many references to this plight of the people. The loaves and the fishes, the wine at Cana, and “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” clearly illustrate that God knew of what His people spoke in regards to hunger and poverty. To say that Jesus had experienced the condition of the people He had come to save would be a cruel understatement.
Jesus may very well have been saying to the people exactly that in this phrase. “I have experienced your pain” and more importantly “I can give you sustenance”. Three thousand years the people had waited for the arrival of the Son of God. He arrived, He suffered, He saved mankind from hell and He absolved our weakness in forgiveness of sin. Jesus Christ gave the attendees at his sermon even a touch more. He allowed them to sit and listen on a rolling hill to words that each of them could use for their lives. He freed them from following doctrines that were set to announce that He would arrive. And then He fed them. Jesus gave them exactly what they needed most.
AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES
Why did Jesus die such a brutal and horrible death for us? The bible tells us from cover to cover that Jesus died to forgive man of his sins. I remember in catechism that Jesus died to forgive man for original sin. This very Catholic understanding lends us to a better reading of the Old Testament and certainly of Genesis.
Moses tells us that God gave Adam and Eve only one true test of their devotion to their Creator. The reward for passing that test was that they would live forever in Eden. I’m sure that there are no arguments that Eden was a great place to be. But God’s one sore spot or enemy- Satan- couldn’t stand to watch humanity being treated with more grace than the angels and certainly than he. So he enhanced man’s weak spot and worked on temptation until Adam and Eve jumped from grace in a fashion quite similar to Lucifer’s own fall. Pride is the most deadly of the seven sins given us by Francis of Assissi.
So, from man’s beginning, God began to prepare for the coming of a savior to allow man to enter the gates of heaven once again. Eden was ended and man had a whole new deal of working the earth and bearing children through pain until God’s plan began to kick in. Death was the end of life for most humans. There was no light at the end of the tunnel for the spirit to move on to.
This was the reason for Jesus to come to earth as the third part of God’s trinity. Jesus also laid down some instructions for us to get to heaven. One of these instructions was to avoid sin. The Jewish Sadducees had personalized the Old Testament indiscreetly and the pride and greed the priests exhibited disturbed many laws. Moses had fathered the Jewish people in faith and taught them the praise God desired. Many rabbis had taken their own choice parts and interpreted them in their own ways for numerous reasons. A large part of the change Jesus represents returns Christians to the basics- Love Thy Neighbor and keep to the commandments.
Jesus says that acting upon these beliefs should help guide our paths to heaven.
Jesus says that the door to heaven will require us to believe one thing above all. That Jesus is the one true Son of God who died for our sins. Truly, to be a Christian, we must do this.
But Jesus knew the weakness of man. And in knowing the weakness, He knew that the forgiveness that He left for us in his brutal death could not go unsullied for very long. We would sin again inevitably. So Jesus tells us in this, his prayer to the Father, yes, we can be forgiven for our trespasses.
AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US
I have recently begun to study my faith further with an organization begun by Jack Heyford in California. Jack is pastor to one of the largest non-denominational churches in the United States. His program is known as Cleansing Streams and is designed to bring Christians into a greater understanding of their faith through a rich study of the bible. The first portion of this twenty-week program is called Alignment and is designed to prepare Christians so that they can expand their vision of Christ in their lives.
The second week of the classes, we were taught that as Christians we must learn to forgive others. Obviously, this will make us happier and possibly more productive individuals. We won’t be wasting our time and confusing our energies with resentments and therefore should communicate better with our brethren. And since all men are our brethren, this means we forgive all men. My own problem of dealing with the sin of pride nearly prevents me from saying that I have learned to promote this talent within myself. Grant that I have had many wrongs done to me in my life that I have decided to forgive in my path on earth. But I think that Jesus may also be giving us some additional instruction with this phrase.
I know that the Lord’s prayer offers us a route to the continued forgiveness of our God. We just went by that part of this sentence. I also relate to the parts of Jesus’ prayer to his Father that invite us to the kingdom of heaven. I think it is very telltale that in the line that offers us forgiveness, Jesus tells us to forgive as well.
Often in scripture and common in sermon we are told that when we die and go to heaven there will be a reckoning. This assumes that we are not drafted up in the rapture. On this weighing of souls, I have heard that Jesus will be our defense attorney and Satan will be our prosecutor. Chapter three of Zechariah illustrates this relationship very clearly. Without a belief that Jesus is our savior, we could go defenseless. Satan would list our sins, and Jesus will stand for Christians to say, “I have died for his sins. Wipe them away.” I hope in this belief that Jesus could do so without refrain.
But, is it not a possibility that Jesus could hold back his fervor for our defense as Christians? There are so many of us that believe him so differently in spite of the fact that we all have the same instructions. Many Christians believe that if you don’t follow Jesus in a way similar to the way that they believe that you are probably not saved. There are those who insist on “tongues” or “absolution before death” to be accepted as Christian enough to be saved for heaven. I would not offer my limited expertise to show these ideas (or others) to be right or wrong. But I might insist that Jesus said for us to Love Our Neighbor and to forgive those who trespass against us as we wish to be forgiven. If we don’t live up to this dictum, are we not committing great sins?
Christians are forgiven is a fact. Remember that it is a fact we earn everyday by living through Christ as well. Praise Jesus that He has allowed us to continue to be forgiven as God has never prevented us from sinning. I am sure that there are sins that God will tell Jesus in our defense will not be overlooked. I would consider murder and child abuse among those offenses. I am not willing to believe that God would not forgive me if I didn’t mean to sin. These are my own crosses that I choose to bear. But, should I judge another’s sins? I think that Jesus tells me very clearly to forgive those who trespass against me. Let God judge the sinner. If we can’t learn to forgive the sinner then we should expect Jesus to hesitate when we hope He will ask God to forgive us in His name.
AND DELIVER US FROM EVIL
There are a few basic facts that may help illustrate this phrase. One is that evil surrounds us in this world. I would not be correct to say that Satan has his hand in every bit of it. It could be said that humanity tends to give the fallen angel too much power in believing the devil has too much energy involved in all of the evil that befalls mankind. Several of my Christian acquaintances have told me “Satan is a punk” and given his fall from glory, I tend to agree with these comrades. The tale from childhood that introduced me to Satan conforms well to this viewpoint.
Lucifer was a strong and mighty angel who was privileged to be close to God. In fact, the Lord gave to his favored angel responsibility and purview regarding a special talent that God enjoyed greatly. Lucifer was in charge of music. Any note, any song and any percussion were tied to his angelic chores first and foremost. God was very pleased with Lucifer’s management of the special talent, and Lucifer thrived upon the Great One’s adulation for his efforts. He worked harder and the music became even better. Imagine the music of God before the dawn of man. Beautiful beyond recognition, I would think.
Many of the angels thanked him for his grace and he felt even more special. They told him that he was surely the greatest angel in all of heaven. Lucifer believed them and went about creating a piece of music that would rival all of his previous creations. When it was complete, he revealed it to all of the angels at a concert before their God.
As the music played, angel after angel began to slip into a trance. God was alarmed. Lucifer had created a machination that convicted the only action that God could never allow. The angels forgot their purpose. They fell deeply into the music’s passion and stopped living to serve God. God ordered Lucifer to stop the music.
In response, the angels who had been led into their trances cried out. “No!!! Don’t stop. The music is too beautiful to stop.” Lucifer, in his vanity allowed the music to continue. With a wave of God’s hand, all of Lucifer’s music in heaven was ended. The fallen angels revolted with Lucifer as their leader. Michael led the successful angels of faith. God cast all of the rebels into a vast pit and named it hell. Lucifer would spend eternity there with no company but the hypnotized monsters that God had changed his followers into. An especially fearsome ugliness was granted to Lucifer himself and he was called Devil, leader of the demons, from that point forward.
The Devil found a way to escape the clutches of Hell though. When God created Eden and Adam and Eve were manifest, he saw a seam. God had created flora and fauna in great abundance for the parents to be of mankind. Satan slipped low and quietly into the fold as a serpent. God knew this. I think that God was offering the Devil a possible route to his forgiveness with the seam that allowed the Devil to enter Eden. Lucifer could not control his jealousy of God’s newly chosen race. Satan failed God again and offered his only weapon to God’s created family in the one rule God instructed the couple to never break. Lucifer did this with an argument that had tempted his own soul to challenge our Lord, and had created the home called hell that he was forced to live in. He led man to believe that Adam and Eve were better than God was and why shouldn’t they taste the nectar since He served them. Lucifer fed man’s vanity to get him to sin.
Remember that point one is that there is evil in the world. Satan could be said to be the proof for the evil in the world. This can only mean one thing then. Point two should be that God knows that there is evil in the world. He has provided that evil exists. Is Jesus asking for His Father to destroy evil? No. Of course He isn’t. He is teaching us to ask his Father to deliver us from evil and from the beginning God has provided us with maps and paths to evade evil. We were weak when we chose to follow the Devil’s instructions.
Moses was given the Ten Commandments and the first books of the Bible to lead the chosen people closer to God. Worship, praise and prayer are guided there as well as God’s own history with man. The Lord tells his favorite sons and daughters to prepare for salvation because man needs to be saved after the fall. Our Master waits until his Jews are under the thumb of the worst of all enslavers and bring us his Son for forgiveness of sin. Jesus teaches us the way to heaven directly and then suffers a death worse than any we can imagine to save us.
I think that it is remarkable that God loves us so much as to deliver us from evil so well. He does this in spite of our imperfections and fallibilities. And thirdly, He gives us all of this because He loves us. We only need the wisdom to take the gift of deliverance that God offers. This same wisdom will make it easy to avoid Satan’s feeble temptations. The Bible offers us many ways to avoid the fall and our joined praise and worship can extinguish Satan’s candle completely.
It is crucial to our Christianity that we seek our Lord together. God requires this so that He can deliver us from evil. We are each led to God in one of three states. We exist primarily in body, soul or spirit. It takes us no effort for us to live our lives in body. We sin freely and ignore God with no respect to the consequence of our actions by living life through body alone.
With soul, we should learn that God wants better things from us and for us. Soul allows man to transcend the sin of the body through mind, emotion and will. We choose to follow God by deciding to avoid sin.
In spirit, we strive to exist with God’s plan and desire for us to succeed. Each of us can find this small area of our being. We exist there at our best and closest to God when we come together in worship and praise. We are living in the spirit when we are in our chosen church. It is difficult for us to see the spirit without the benefit of organized praise and worship. So why would a Christian ever avoid church?
I have rarely been a victim of this simple temptation of the “punk” I know as Satan. I wake up on a beautiful Sunday morning after a late football game or a family event. As my eyes open, I see the alarm clock and I think: “Why shouldn’t I skip a week of church?” Knowing the word of God, I immediately rebuke this charge from Lucifer though. He attacks my faith when I am at my weakest point, because that is all the Devil has. He is a punk and I defeat him when I choose to walk beside my savior, Jesus Christ. And how could I know that?
How could I not know that? How could you not know that? Because it is so easy to fall back to sleep and enjoy the folds of comforter and pillow. Yes, I see that clearly. But I also see that I need to use my soul to quiet my spirit. I justify my choice to avoid church. Justify? Why would I justify the action if it were not basically a wrong decision? I wouldn’t.
I know that my soul needs fortification and strength to grow closer in spirit to my God. I feel guilt when I let go of any opportunity that I need to grow in spirit for Jesus Christ. I justify my guilt when I choose a path that falls outside of that strong and basic desire. Jesus saves the best for last in his prayer. He makes us remember that we need to participate in our own salvation with the words Deliver Us from Evil. Strength is achieved through joining our pastors, ministers, clergy and faithful to defeat the simple and the difficult temptations of Satan.
I am only a layman in the works of the Lord. I offer my prayer to God and the journeymen and experts to evaluate. But, I do so in that order. The Bible was written by God’s hand through many authors. I could not say that this same inspiration came to me in my writing, but I pray that it has. God is good and I am only a pebble in the foundation of His kingdom. Please let my addition be a strong one for His faithful. Please let these words touch one heart and bring one soul- one step closer- to the spirit. Praise God in all of His greatness and offer me the wisdom to follow His Son, Jesus Christ, one step closer to Heaven. For it is in His name that I pray my Lord. Amen.
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|Reviewed by Valerie Boggess
|James, I visited your website today. It it beautiful. I too love the Lord with my whole heart, soul, and mind. That's what comes to mind when I read your excerpts. I too talk to God. He is as real as the air that we breathe, He whispers in my ear...Valerie M. Boggess|
|Reviewed by John Kolesnick
|I am proud to call you my son! You have revealed, to me, something. I can take no credit for.Your devotion, and love of god. Bless you. Dad|