Our Father…

In the days to come, we will be taking a closer look at the prayer which Jesus taught his disciples to pray. It is known as the Lord’s Prayer. This title is both right and incorrect. It is right, in that this is the prayer which the Lord taught his disciples to pray. But it isn’t the Lord’s prayer in the sense that this is a prayer that Jesus could have prayed. We will get to that later as we study about God forgiving our debts.

For today, I want us to focus on the first word, “Our.”

Why “Our” Father? Why not “My” Father?

So much of American Christianity is expressed as my faith, my beliefs, my God, my Savior. I think this is a fantastic corrective against our individualized understanding of faith.

Our. Not my.

Perhaps Jesus wants us to know we are most fully who God intends for us to be when we are in God’s family, God’s community called the church. Perhaps it’s because it’s impossible for anyone to be a follower of Jesus Christ without also belonging to his body, the church of Jesus Christ.

The simple truth is that we miss out on what it means to be a follower of Jesus when we are in isolation. There is no such thing as a Christ-follower in isolation. The moment we become a follower of Christ, we become sons and daughters in God’s family. This family is called the church.

The New Testament word for church, ekklesia, literally means the assembly of the called out ones. The very word itself refers to a multitude of people. The word church excludes any idea of an isolated Christian. If we are a Christian, we are a member of Christ’s family and Christ’s church. If we are a Christian, we are one in relationship with others.

Here’s what this means: No matter what you are going through today…

  • You are never alone because you are a part of God’s family
  • You are never alone because God is always with us as our Father

Our.

I like it. Thank you God!

God’s Promises and Our Role

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised” (Hebrews 6:15).

There is not a promise God does not fulfill.

Today, we will be looking at the relationship between God’s promise and its fulfilment.

In verses 13-14, we are given the context of our verse: “When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.'”

We know from Genesis, even after God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many descendants, it would be over a decade before its fulfillment.

What did Abraham do in the waiting years? What is entailed in waiting?

In order for Abraham to be the father of many descendants, there is something that Abraham had to do in order for this promise to be realized. God’s promise doesn’t just happen. Abraham had to live out what God promised. If Abraham did not live out God’s promise, God’s promise could not have ever happened. There has only been, and there would only be one virgin birth.

The waiting person is not passive. The waiting person is not just sitting there waiting for the fulfillment of God’s promise. Even though the promise was not a reality, Abraham had to continue living out his part in fulfilling God’s promise.

God desires to use the Little Church and Lakewoodgrace to fulfill his desire to grow God’s kingdom. Until that promise is realized, what’s required of us to live out our part in making God’s kingdom promise a reality?

“And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.”

In this waiting season, our job is to live as if God’s kingdom promise is a reality. And one day, we too will live into God’s promise realized.

Even during this season of online worship, God has been growing his church. We grew by 10% in 2020.

Great job, Little Church and Lakewoodgrace! Keep at it. Keep living as if God’s kingdom promise is a reality and together we will see God’s promise realized.

The Horn of Salvation

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:2).

The LORD is:

  • My rock
  • My fortress
  • My deliverer
  • My refuge
  • My shield
  • My horn of my salvation
  • My stronghold

What does “the horn of my salvation” mean?

To help us understand this Old Testament phrase, it is helpful to look at the usage of “horn” in Old Testament sacrifices.

In Exodus 27:2, we are told, “Make a horn at each of the four corners, so that the horns and the altar are of one piece, and overlay the altar with bronze.”

The horns were placed on the four corners of the altar to represent God’s strength to save. The brass overlay was required so that the horn could withstand the fire of the burnt sacrifices while supporting the altar.

When the psalmist says that God is the horn of salvation, the psalmist tells us that God is the one who is able to support the sacrifice that atones for our sin, and that God is the one who is able to withstand the fires that makes the sacrifice of Jesus effective.

God is our rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, the horn of our salvation, and our stronghold. God is all that!!!

Here’s what this means for us at a practical level. God being our rock, fortress, deliverer, refuge, shield, horn, and stronghold does not mean Christ-followers are shielded from the trials and tribulations of life. Instead, it means that the trials and tribulations cannot steal from Christ-followers the joy and the peace of all that God offers us in his Son, Jesus Christ.

Suffering, pain, trials, and tribulations do not cancel out God’s salvation, peace, and joy. The beauty of the salvation, peace, and joy that God offers us through Jesus means that no amount of suffering can cancel out joy.

That’s the reason why we can face death, disease, loss, and storms of this life and still have peace. The devastation and the loss is still there. It still stings. But it cannot steal joy and peace.

That is good news!