A King and a Kingdom

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Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.]
Matthew 6:9-13

lentThose of us living within the United States may have a more difficult time understanding the concepts of kings and kingdoms than people living in countries ruled by monarchs and royalty. However, these terms were a part of biblical times and were understood by Jesus from both natural and supernatural perspectives. Numerous times in scripture we find references to the kingdom of God. The Jews expected their Messiah to come as a king. On Palm Sunday when Jesus rode into Jerusalem, He was greeted and treated by people as a king. Jesus was a king, but He a wore a crown of thorns rather than a crown of gold. Still today we are assured of the promise in Revelation 19:16 that the time will come when Jesus will be known as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

As we enter into the third week of Lent, I continue to explore and search for the deeper meanings hidden within the words Jesus shared with His disciples when they asked Him how to pray. So, today we will try to gain new understanding about kingdoms and why Jesus chose these words to be part of the Lord’s Prayer.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Matthew 6:10

For me, these words of Jesus can be interpreted from two different perspectives. First, this verse can be considered an extension of the praise declared in verse 9. We can proclaim that God has an established kingdom. The other emphasis is to pray these words as a petition asking for God to bring His kingdom into reality on earth. As either praise or petition, I find power within these words. Let’s explore these words more closely.

Your kingdom come. Your will be done,”
You can’t have a kingdom without a king! I want to substantiate the fact that God is the king Jesus is referring to by quoting Psalm 47:7-8, “For God is the King of all the earth; Sing praises with a skillful psalm. God reigns over the nations, God sits on His holy throne.” It is a fact that we have a spiritual king. A king rules through his authoritative power that results in his will being done. To honor a king, one submits to the king’s will; a king holds the position of being a lord or monarch or leader. This is true in both the natural and supernatural realms. Jesus further explains His words in the last line of Matthew 6:10.

On earth as it is in heaven.
Jesus is asking for God’s kingdom to be established on earth. However, He knows this is not easily done by human beings so He uses God’s kingdom in heaven as an example for what He desires. This kingdom of God is now fulfilled in heaven and one day it will exist on earth. Throughout the gospels, Jesus makes numerous references to the kingdom of God. I like the promise of Matthew 24:14, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Jesus sets the example for submission to God as His King when He prays in Luke 22:42, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.

Earthly kings often let their power dominate their thoughts and actions. They may not feel a need to associate with ordinary people. God as King has an entirely different perspective. He even allowed the veil in the temple to be torn in two when Jesus died upon the cross revealing His availability to all who call upon His name and pray to Him. One of Jesus’ seven last words on the cross is found in John 19:30, “It is finished.” Jesus was saying that now we can have an audience with our King, we can pray to Him, we can talk to Him. We do not need an appointment or have to go through red tape like we would have to do to communicate with an earthly king.

When I pray for God’s kingdom to be established in my life and the lives of those around me, I am allowing God to have priority in my life now and forever. These are not simply words to be uttered to the Lord without careful consideration.

My Reader, may we never forget the statement of Revelation 19:16, “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” The day this scripture is fulfilled will also be the day when the words of the Lord’s Praying asking for “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven” will be fully answered.

Joyfully,
Cheryl

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What Is In a Name?

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Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.

Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.]
Matthew 6:9-13

lentMy Reader, today I want you to take time to think about your name. Do you know the meaning of your name? Does the meaning of your name accurately describe you and your character?

Some of the names I answer to are Cheryl, Mom, Grammy, Aunt Cheryl and Mrs. Ahlquist. The name given to me by my parents is pronounced “chair -l” while most people pronounce it “share-l.” I grew up with my name being pronounced correctly until my husband and I were engaged. He nicknamed me “share-l” because he always had to correct people as to who I was because they either called me Carol or Sheryl. No matter how it is pronounced, I like its meaning. I have a mug with my name on it along with the meaning of “dear one” and the scripture, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” from Jeremiah 31:3. I drink in God’s love every time I take a drink from this mug.

Today I am thinking about the meaning of names given to each of us at birth because I am also thinking about the names of God revealed throughout scripture. My Reader, let us continue our exploration of the significance of the Lord’s Prayer as we begin the second week of Lent.

Hallowed be Your name.
Matthew 6:9

We study only four words today as we concentrate upon the last part of Matthew 6:9.

Hallowed be Your name.
Our modern language more often uses the word holy rather than hallowed. The holiness of God and His name presents us with the concept of prayer being a form of worship. Although prayer can be defined as a conversation with God, we must remember that we are not talking to just another person. I never want to forget the reverence and awesomeness of our holy God! This is a time to praise God!

Hallowed be Your name.
In this phrase, Jesus is referring to God’s name. To understand the holiness of God, let’s carefully consider some of the Old Testament names of God. This will help us to understand the character of God and why His name is to be esteemed above all names.

Elohim
name of God as creator in Genesis 1:1
primary word translated God in the Old Testament
“El” means Mighty or Strong
“him” is the plural ending signifying the Trinity

El Elyon
“The Most High”
designates God as the sovereign ruler of the universe

El Roi
“The God Who Sees”
He is awake, He is aware – His eyes are not shut, God sees

El Shaddai
“The All-sufficient One”
Shaddai means the Pourer or Shedder of blessings temporal and spiritual
Shaddai is the many breasted one – the one who pours forth
He pours Himself out for His creatures and gives them His lifeblood

Jehovah
the most revered name for God
the most frequently used name in the Old Testament
translated in scripture as LORD using all capital letters
describes God as the One who is totally self-sufficient
comes from Hebrew root word “to be, to become”
I AM WHO I AM in Exodus 3:14
“I have always been, I always am, and I always will be”

Jehovah-jireh
“The LORD Will Provide”
“Jireh” literally means “to see”
He has foreseen your need for eternal salvation and sees your day-to-day needs
the word “sees” denotes provision and His provision is complete

Jehovah-raphe
“The LORD Who Heals”
heals sickness of body and soul and spiritual

Jehovah-shalom
“The LORD is Peace”
this peace cannot be found anywhere else than in a right relationship with God

Jehovah-raah
The LORD is M
y Shepherd”
most familiar reference found in Psalm 23:1

Jehovah-tsidkenu
“The LORD Our Righteousness”
a name of hope for those who have given up hope

My Reader, I am not asking you to pray the exact words of The Lord’s Prayer this week, but I am encouraging you to meditate upon the names of God.

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: To Know Him by Name by Kay Arthur has been my source for the names of God I have highlighted and defined.

 

A Lenten Conversation with God

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Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
[For Yours is the kingdom
and the power and the glory forever.
Amen.]
Matthew 6:9-13

lentToday is Ask Wednesday and I am beginning a six-week exploration of the meaning of what has come to be known as “The Lord’s Prayer.” Jesus suggested these words to His disciple when they asked Him how they should pray. However, Jesus did not expect His words to be repeated by rote. His intention was to give His disciples an example of how to communicate with God. In its simplest form, prayer is a conversation with God where we talk to God and then listen for His response. In her book Seven Prayers that Will Change Your Life Forever, Stormie Omartan  says, “Prayer is not just asking for things. More importantly, prayer is talking with God. It’s getting close to and spending time with the One you love. It’s seeking Him first, touching Him, getting to know Him better, being with Him, and waiting in His presence. It’s acknowledging Him as the source of power upon whom you can depend. It is partnering with Him. It is aligning your spirit with His to see that His perfect will is done. It is establishing ourselves and our lives as being connected to God without reducing prayer to a formula,” With the help of the Lord’s Prayer recorded in scripture, I desire to enrich my prayer life to be all that Stormie Omartan describes. I am on an adventure with the words of Jesus as my guide during this Lenten season.

My Reader, throughout the coming weeks, I hope you will join me digging deeply into the meaning of the various phrases of this prayer recorded in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:1-4. Primarily, I will be using the words from the gospel of Matthew. Let’s begin today with the first phrase.

Our Father who is in heaven
Matthew 6:9

For me, this phrase is a personal recognition of the One to whom I am talking or praying. I am not addressing a group of people, but I am acknowledging that I desire a one on One conversation with God. Now, I want to take time to highlight some specific words.

Our Father who is in heaven
Jesus does not limit God to being only His father, but refers to Him as our father. When I pray, I can have a personal conversation with my father, but I also need to remember that He has many other children as well. He is “our” father, not just “my” father! I am a member of the family of God! I have many brothers and sisters in Christ with whom I will spend eternity.

Our Father who is in heaven
Father is defined as the male parent of a family. We all need a father! Father is the more formal title used for someone in this position. Dad was always my choice of terms for my biological father. Dada is usually one of the first words a young child will say. Gradually, the child will learn to say Daddy. Abba is the intimate name that Jesus used for Daddy. The description of God as a father originated with Jesus.

Our Father who is in heaven
These words stress that “our father” is not an earthly biological father but rather a heavenly spiritual father. Because of the shortcomings of some biological fathers, it is hard for some people to comprehend God as a loving father. However, each of us as a child of God can fully trust and love and talk with our Heavenly Father. My Reader, take time this week to talk to “Our Father who is in heaven” about whatever is on your mind. He is interested in everything that concerns you.

In conclusion, I want to quote a couple of scriptures that validate the fact that God is our heavenly father and we are His children.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us,
that we should be called children of God!

I John 3:1

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
before you were born I set you apart.
Jeremiah 1:5

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Psalm 139:13

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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ABC…zzz

 

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Last night was one of those nights when I had trouble sleeping. Fortunately, these nights do not happen frequently for me, but I do not like to lose sleep while tossing and turning. Some people say counting sheep will help you sleep. Maybe, but…. I like letters better than numbers. (That may explain why I was an English major in college rather than a math major.) Anyway, let me share with you what I do with letters when I cannot sleep. I alphabetize my blessings, my prayer list, or my descriptive words for the Lord. Let me share some examples.

Examples of my Blessings:
 A Apples, Asparagus, Anything to eat (I’m blessed with abundance!)
B Bibles (Yes, plural – I have several. There are people who would appreciate one!)
C Clothes (It’s cold outside so a cozy coat is comfy – not everyone is as blessed.)
D Dreams and Destiny (I pray my dreams are in align with God’s destiny for me.)

Examples of what I include on my Prayer List:
E Eternal salvation for those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.
F Family and Friends (So many people and so many needs!)
G Gratitude ( I never want to forget to give thanks to God while praying.)
H Health and Healing (Areas where our humanness is always evident.)

Examples of my choice of Descriptive Words for the Lord:
I “I AM” (So all-inclusive!)
J Jesus (The Name above all names!)
K King of kings (A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand. – Prov. 21:1)
L Lamb of God (the One who takes away the sins of the world)

Am I asleep yet or do I need to continue my lists?

 More examples of my Blessings:
M Memories (Those I have already made and those yet to be made in the future.)
N Nieces and Nephews (I only have one of each but I am blessed by them.)
O Opportunities (to be who God wants me to be)
P Patience (Sometimes I am not very good at embracing this blessing!)

More examples of what my Prayer List includes:
Q Quiet times (to hear what the Lord wants me to pray about)
R Release from sins (Forgiveness is a necessity!)
S Silly and Serious things (God is interested in everything!)
T Tomorrow (I must trust the Lord to lead me through tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.)

More examples of my Descriptive Words for the Lord:
U Ultimate God (here is no other god like Him!)
V Victorious One (He overcomes all evil.)
W Wonderful (He is full of wonder!)
X eXtravagant (He is extravagant with His love for me and everyone else!)

I often Yield to some Zealous zzzs before I complete my task of making alphabetical lists! In conclusion, I admit that if you still think it is more fun to count sheep, it is okay because we are all sheep in the pasture of Jesus, our Good Shepherd. By the way, do you know the names of the sheep you are counting? I guess that could be another list I could alphabetize. However, a better choice than enlisting numbers or letters would be for all of us to claim the scripture found in Proverbs 4:24, “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl
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Note: My Reader, I encourage you to make your own lists while you are wide awake rather than waiting for a sleepless night.