Last Days…

April 2017
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“Our Father”

The Lord has blessed us with another beautiful day here in Las Cruces! The clouds are
passing through, and over the weeks, the temperatures are slowly climbing. The “ground
hog” in me says, “Winter is over”. It’s great to wake up and sense that Springtime is on
the way! Isn’t it nice the way God gives us a “sense of hope” for what is to come.
Praise the Lord this special day!

In fact – it’s a privilege to wake up in this country where the flag of freedom flies high.
What a beautiful and glorious day it is — where freedom resides! Have you ever stopped
to consider how our country got that way? Here is a little quiz for you to ponder: Do
these quotes look familiar?

“It is impossible to righty govern a nation without God and the Bible.”

“It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his
will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favors.”
These words were spoken by our 1st President – George Washington. In fact, as I write this, today is his
birthday!

Like many of our “founding fathers”, George Washington knew that in order for our
country to survive and prosper, its people needed to consider God in all that was done in
order to build this great nation called America. Praise the Lord for the wisdom of men
such as George Washington.

As it is often said, “Freedom isn’t free”. Sometimes it is necessary to fight to keep our
freedom. This morning, take some time to give thanks to our men and women in uniform
for their sacrifice in helping to keep our nation free. Give thanks to our Lord for the
“father of our nation”, George Washington – that he had the strength and courage, vision
and Godly wisdom to help lead our country toward what it is today.

There is another kind of Father we need to thank – our Heavenly Father. How is it that
we give thanks to our Heavenly Father? The first thing that probably comes to your mind
is that we talk to God in prayer. But how should we pray? This is not a new question.
Listen to what happened in Luke 11. (somewhat different in Matthew 6)

“Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that
one of His disciples said to Him, ’Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his
disciples.’ So He said to them, ‘When you pray, say:

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come,Thy will be done.  On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ “
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen!
(This last part of the prayer is the “doxology” – simply, a praise to God, included by most
Christians faiths. It is not present in either Luke or Matthew.)

We know this as “The Lord’s Prayer”, and it’s a good prayer to memorize. I find myself
expressing this prayer multiple times each day as part of my desire to “talk with God”–
making known to the one true God the petitions of my heart. If this prayer expresses
what is in your heart as well, let it be part of your daily prayers too.

The Scripture continues in Luke, and Jesus encourages his disciples in verse 9, “So I say
to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be
opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who
knocks it will be opened.” As Jesus taught his disciples, so He teaches us.

Have you noticed that many times when we memorize Scripture, we are able to “say it by
wrote”, but sometimes we lose sight of its meaning, as applicable to our prayers and
what we are actually expressing to God. In that regard, let’s take a closer look at The
Lord’s Prayer above, which Jesus is encouraging us to pray.

“Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.”  We have all had earthly fathers,
but isn’t it great that we also have a Father in Heaven! A Father that accepts us as we
are, and assures us of His love. This implies a relationship – a personal relationship with
God. Not just God, but God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – the triune nature of
God.

The name “Father” also tells us that we are His children. 1 John 3:1. “Behold what
manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.”
The term “Heaven” expresses the eternal presence of God, and tells us something of His
majesty and presence, and His all-mighty power – our one true God!

The term “Hallowed” here expresses God’s Holiness. That is… We proclaim God to be
Holy, and we are to keep His name Holy. See if you can find a verse in the Bible where
it says, “Holy, holy, holy – is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of His glory.”
“Your kingdom come. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven.” This speaks
of our “hope” and our faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By expressing this, we humbly
place God in the center of our life, and ask that “His will” be done in and through our
lives. This expresses our desire to be obedient to God – not just when we get to Heaven,
but on earth here as well. God’s loving desire is for us to know Him, to obey commands,
and gain knowledge of His Truths. 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in
the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge
of the truth.” We submit ourselves in obedience, asking God to help us be holy, as He is
Holy. By this, we are asking God to restore us. Lamentations 5:21, “Turn us back to
You, O Lord, and we will be restored.”

“Give us day by day our daily bread.” When we say this, we express our deep trust in
God – that He will meet our daily needs in life – regardless the personal situations we
encounter in life. In Matthew 6:25-34, God teaches us not to worry about what tomorrow
brings — for He knows what we need. In verses 30-34 it says, “Therefore, do not worry,
saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What what we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the
pagans seek after all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of
all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all thee
things will be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
worry about itself. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.”

“And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”   Here
we are asking God to reconcile our sins, and we also commit to forgive others. This is
not a tic-for-tac request of God, but our true desire to give, as we have received. We
confess before God that we are sinners and in need of forgiveness, and we express to God
our willingness to forgive others. Romans 3:23, “For we all have sinned and fall short of
the glory of God.” Here we are asking for God’s grace and mercy – His forgiveness that
we may be cleansed. In effect, we place our faith in Him – that He may to do this for us.
1 John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous – he forgives our sins and
purifies us from all unrighteousness.”

“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” Here we are
asking God to give us strength to battle the evil one – Satan. We know that Satan fills
our lives with his lies and deception – tempting us at every turn in life. We are asking
God to help us rise above temptation, that we may be obedient to His Commandments
and His Word. We are asking that our free will not fall into temptation, and our desires
will be that of obedience to God – that He will provide a way out of temptation and never
gives us more than we can handle. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13, “God is faithful, who will not
permit you to be tempted more than what you are able, but with the temptation he will
also make a way of escape, so you are able to bear it.”

This does not mean we will not have hardships in our life – we must understand that
bearing under hardships is part of life. However, in all we go through in life, it’s
important to have a healthy “fear of the Lord”. Psalm 108:8-12, “The Lord is merciful
and gracious; Slow to anger and abounding in loving kindness. He will not always
contend with us; nor will he keep his anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to
our sins; Nor has he repaid us according to our perversities. For like the height of the
heavens over the earth, His loving kindness prevails over those who fear him. As far as
the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

While we are in the body, we pray to God that He will deliver us from evil. God will
indeed deliver us from evil someday. Be confident of your deliverance through your
faith in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8, “Therefore being confident at all times, and
knowing that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord – for we walk
by faith not by sight – we are, then, of good courage, and we prefer rather to depart from
the body and be at home with the Lord.”

The very evils we ask to be delivered from are those we encounter in this world.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
This is the doxology of the prayer – essentially giving praise to our almighty, omniscient
God. We confirm this by saying Amen.

We say “Amen” after a lot of our prayers. We can use this in the context of our heart,
expressing: Agreement; Endorsement of Praise; Truthfulness of Scripture; Faithfulness
of God; and that which was Spoken by Christ.

Perhaps it’s fitting to show the lyrics written by Thomas Ken, 1674 – the beautiful hymn
Doxology. Do you know the tune? If so – take a minute and sing it now – it will fill
your heart throughout the day!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him, all creatures here below;
Praise Him above, ye Heavenly Host;
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

Didn’t that feel good!

As I think about the blessings that flow in our lives, and that which God has given to our
great nation, I would like to share with you a “wide-field” astro-image of an object called
“The North American Nebula”, shown here.

Can you see the outline of North America? This object is technically called ngc7000 and
is located in northern part of the night sky in the constellation of Cygnus – about 1,600
light years from our Earth.

The Bible says that God is Light; 1 John 1:5, “This is the message we have heard from
him and declared to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

As you reflect on the image above, and the unique shape of the beautiful nebula, consider
our Heavenly Father, and the magnificent Light that He fills our lives with each and
every day. Consider our essential belief that there is but one Father.

“There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and
through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4: 4-6 NKJV

How should we pray to our Heavenly Father? Take the words of Jesus to heart, and find comfort in praying
“The Lord’s Prayer” – embracing with sincerity all its meaning — expressed deeply from
within your heart. May God richly bless you this day.

Have a great week folks!

Your Brother in Christ,
Mike Sherick

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