I Am Certain of This

Well, when the first four blogs I read in a morning are saying the same thing it makes me sit up and take notice. What is the Spirit saying to me? Maybe He is saying something to us all (?) 

… for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:8‭-‬9 (Blogged twice by Beholding Him Ministries) https://beholdinghimministries.org/  

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. Matthew 5 11-12 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom.8.35-39 (Blogged by Eagle Sight) https://eaglesight.blog/2022/10/01/persecution/ 

And then this from Henri Nouwen: 

“We are fearful people. We are afraid of conflict, war, an uncertain future, illness, and, most of all, death. This fear takes away our freedom and gives our society the power to manipulate us with threats and promises. When we can reach beyond our fears to the One who loves us with a love that was there before we were born and will be there after we die, then oppression, persecution, and even death will be unable to take our freedom. Once we have come to the deep inner knowledge—a knowledge more of the heart than of the mind—that we are born out of love and will die into love, that every part of our being is deeply rooted in love, and that this love is our true Father and Mother, then all forms of evil, illness, and death lose their final power over us and become painful but hopeful reminders of our true divine childhood. The apostle Paul expressed this experience of the complete freedom of the children of God when he wrote, ‘I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, will be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:38–39).” — Henri J.M. Nouwen https://henrinouwen.org/meditation/  

Photo by Sheila Bair

Our Father Revealed in The Word

This is an addendum to the series on the Lord’s Prayer that we have been camping out in. I think it is very revealing and encouraging to see all in one place what the Word says about Our Father. I think I have found all the places where “Our Father” appears. Let me know if not.

Our Father is our Redeemer (Isaiah 63:16) 

Our Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48) 

Our Father sees and hears what is done and prayed in secret (Matthew 6:4-6, 18) 

Our Father knows what we need before we ask (Matthew 6:8) 

Our Father is in heaven (Matthew 6:9) 

Our Father will forgive our sins when we forgive (Matthew 6:14, Mark 11:25) 

Our Father sees us as valuable (Matthew 6:26) 

Our Father knows all our needs (Matthew 6:32, Luke 12:30) 

Our Father gives us good things (Matthew 7:11) 

Our Father is pleased to reveal the hidden things to His children (Matthew 11:25-26, 16:17, Luke 10:21) 

Our Father is Lord of heaven and earth (Matthew 11:25, Luke 10:21) 

Our Father was revealed to us by Jesus (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22) 

Our Father alone knows the day and hour of Jesus’ return (Matthew 24:36, Mark 13:32, Acts 1:7) 

Our Father can do anything. All things are possible with Him (Mark 14:36) 

Our Father is merciful (Luke 6:36) 

Our Father gives the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him (Luke 11:13) 

Our Father delights to give us the Kingdom (Luke 12:32, 22:29) 

Our Father loves the Son and has given Him all things (John 3:35, 5:20, 10:17, 15:9, 16:15) 

Our Father seeks true worshipers (John 4:23) 

Our Father is always working (John 5:17) 

Our Father raises the dead (John 5:21) 

Our Father judges no one, but has given judgement to the Son (John 5:22) 

Our Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself (John 5:26) 

Our Father sent Jesus and commanded Him what to say (John 5:36-37, 6:57, 8:16, 18, 12:49-50, 20:21) 

Our Father has placed His seal of approval on Jesus (John 6:27) 

Our Father gives us Jesus, the True Bread from heaven (John 6:32-33) 

Our Father has given us to Jesus and we will not be rejected (John 6:37) 

Our Father draws us to Jesus, we cannot come on our own (John 6:44) 

Our Father glorifies Jesus (John 8:54) 

Our Father knows the Son and the Son knows Our Father (John 10:15) 

Our Father is greater than all and no one can snatch us out of His hand (John 10:29) 

Our Father and Jesus are One (John 10:30) 

Our Father set apart Jesus as his very own and sent Him into the world (John 10:36) 

Our Father is in the Son and the Son is in Our Father (John 10:38, 14:10) 

Our Father will honor those who follow and serve Jesus (John 12:26) 

Our Father has put all things under Jesus’ power (John 13:3) 

Our Father is glorified in Jesus (John 14:13) 

Our Father loves those who love and obey Jesus, and Our Father and Jesus will come to them and make their home with them (John 14:23) 

Our Father sends the Holy Spirit (John 14:26, Ephesians 1:17) 

Our Father is greater than Jesus (John 14:28) 

Our Father is the Gardener (John 15:1) 

Our Father is glorified when we bear fruit (John 15:8) 

Our Father loves us (John 16:27) 

Our Father was with Jesus to the end and did not leave Him alone (John 16:32) 

Our Father is holy (John 17:11) 

Our Father is righteous (John 17:25) 

Our Father gave Jesus the cup to drink (John 18:11) 

Our Father is “Abba, Father,” to whom we cry by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:6) 

Our Father is the one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live (1 Corinthians 8:6) 

Our Father is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3, 11:31, Ephesians 1:3, 1 Peter 1:3) 

Our Father is the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3) 

Our Father is the glorious Father (Ephesians 1:17) 

Our Father is the God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:6) 

Our Father loves us and by his grace gives us eternal encouragement and good hope (2 Thessalonians 2:16) 

Our Father treats us as His children (Hebrews 12:7) 

Our Father has lavished great love on us, that we should be called children of God (1 John 3:1) 

Our Father sent the Son to be Savior of the world (1 John 4:14) 

Our Father willed that Jesus give himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age (Galatians 1:4) 

Our Father gives grace and peace (Romans 1:7, 1 Corinthians 1:3, 2 Corinthians 1:2, Ephesians 1:2, Philippians 1:2, Colossians 1:3, Philemon 1:3) 

Our Father loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16) 

Our Father gives grace, mercy, and peace (1 Timothy 1:2) 

Our Father in his great mercy has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3) 

But you are our Father, though Abraham does not know us or Israel acknowledge us; you, LORD, are our Father, our Redeemer from of old is your name. Isaiah 63:16 

Image, Baby’s hand, by Fruity Monkey on flickr https://flic.kr/p/99tqDR

Our Father – Where We Grow Up

Our Father, I know from long experience that I do not do well in the candy aisle.

OK, here I am at the campfire still. I’m getting stinging smoke in my eyes now, and some mosquito bites. But let’s keep looking at the Lord’s Prayer from the point of view of a child.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13). I read a commentary on this verse that I thought was definitely a child’s point of view of the Lord’s Prayer. It compared God not leading us into temptation to a mother avoiding the candy aisle when shopping with her children. “Praying, ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ is like praying, ‘God, don’t take me down the candy aisle today.’ It’s recognizing that we naturally grasp for unprofitable things and that God’s wisdom can avert the unpleasantness of our bellyaching.” 

You know, there are myriad examples of ways we keep children from temptation. There is a whole industry devoted to it – baby gates, toilet seat locks, cupboard and drawer latches. Even with all of that, we sometimes have to chase them down as they run, giggling, toward a busy street. For a toddler, that is temptation – doing something forbidden (actually, for grownups too!). And so, we have to put blocks in their way to keep them safe.  Maybe sometimes when we find blocks in our way it is God answering our prayer to lead us not into temptation. 

God always has a purpose. Remember the commentary from the first blog on this subject: “Through ongoing sanctification, the believer more and more resembles their heavenly Father – i.e. each time they receive faith from Him and obey it, which results in their unique glorification.”2 Through ongoing sanctification, through obedience and yielding we become like Him.  

The word above translated “temptation” also means testing. Ellicott’s Commentary3 notes that “[t]he Greek word includes the two thoughts which are represented in English by ‘trials,’ i.e., sufferings which test or try, and ‘temptations,’ allurements on the side of pleasure which tend to lead us into evil.”  

This is where the child learns that some things are “nos.” This is where she learns to yield to the will of the Father. Learning to choose obedience. To not play in the toilet water. To begin to grow up. 

Receiving a place in the family of God, receiving daily spiritual and physical sustenance, receiving forgiveness: this is like being the little baby child, drinking the spiritual milk. But forgiving others, sharing what we have been given, yielding daily to God’s will for our lives, obeying His commands to love even our enemies, passing the test – the enduring, the waiting, the sanctification part, the becoming like Jesus part – that is where we grow up. 

Perhaps Jesus is saying to me in this part of the prayer: You are a little child of God. He is your loving, strong Father. Pray like a child who knows her weakness and vulnerability. 

“But those who are conscious of their weakness cannot shake off the thought that they might fail in the conflict, and the cry of that conscious weakness is therefore, ‘Lead us not into such trials,’ even as our Lord prayed, ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass away from me’ (Matthew 26:39). And the answer to the prayer may come either directly in actual exemption from the trial, or in ‘the way to escape’ (1Corinthians 10:13), or in strength to bear it.”3 

Our Father, I know from long experience that in myself I am weak. I do not do well in the candy aisle. I do not endure trials patiently. And after very bad days I even sometimes find myself playing in the toilet water again. Oh Father, lead me not into temptation, but deliver me! 

“We beg for forgiveness, protection, and deliverance just as a young child asks for help and safety as she prepares to fall asleep at night.” — Jeremy Linneman, The Lord’s Prayer is Meant to Be Lived4 

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1 Peter 2:2-3 

Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:13-14 

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 (ESV)  

Our Father … 

1Lead Us Not into Temptation, but Deliver Us from Evil | The Lord’s Prayer Petition 5 By Stephanie Soderstrom and Terry DeYoung https://www.faithward.org/how-to-pray-like-jesus-the-lords-prayer-petition-5/  

2HELPS Word Studies by Discovery Bible 

3Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers 

4Blogged by Dr. Peter Cockrell https://pjcockrell.wordpress.com/2022/08/07/the-lords-prayer-is-meant-to-be-lived/  

Photo of candy aisle by Tiia Monto https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Candy_in_store_2.jpg  

A Kind of Death

Yeshua 

wants me to 

love the brOTHER 

Loving the brOTHER hurts 

it is a kind of death 

Something is dying to truly love 

the bitter things and the fearful 

jealousy 

envy 

resentment 

entitlement 

unforgiveness 

greed 

fear 

bigotry 

prejudice 

suspicion 

arrogance and disdain 

the self-seeking things and the defensive 

For love  

self lies down surrendered 

naked and vulnerable 

In love 

love executes self 

joyfully  

leaves self  

hanging there 

exposed and 

bleeding out  

Only then the brOTHER can be loved 

only then the brOTHER can be 

my brother 

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:12

Image shared under Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0, Stations of the Cross, William Mitchell – Jesus is nailed to the cross

Our Father – The Gentle Transition

This part of the prayer clearly leads us back to the very first word of the prayer. It leads us back to the “Our.”

I am still camping out in the “Lord’s Prayer” this week, focusing on the amazing fact that I am a child of Our Father. In the first post I saw myself as a child imitating the Father, with the wonderful potential of resembling Him. And then, in the second post, I acknowledged that I am completely dependent on His care. Today, as I sit around the campfire, I think I’m getting into some harder parts, and I think Our Father is taking away the milk bottle and putting some solid food on the grill (Hebrews 5:13-14).  

And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors (Matthew 6:12). I am going to look at the child in this part of the prayer from a grandmother’s point of view for a moment. If you’ve ever cared for active toddlers – especially if the toddlers are your beloved grandchildren – you know what I mean when I say that they arrive at your house already forgiven for any naughty things, or just kid things, they will do that day. Your heart has already handed over to them clean floors to be dirtied, clean clothes to be spit up on, furniture to sticky hands and muddy feet, trinkets to be knocked over and broken.

God Our Father is like that. Revelation 13:8 proclaims Jesus “the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world,” or “the Lamb who was slaughtered before the world was made (NLT).” Before we were ever received into His house He had forgiven us.  

But this part of the prayer doesn’t only teach us that we will be/have been forgiven. This part of the prayer introduces an outward responsibility, an “other” focus – as we also have forgiven our debtors. And it is here as I look at the Lord’s Prayer, that I become aware of a gentle transition happening in the lives of the little children. Jesus is leading them/us into “growing up.” Give us this day our daily bread may hint at being thankful, as we are teaching our grandchildren to say “thank you” when we hand them food and drink that they ask for. It may even hint a little bit about sharing. But this part of the prayer clearly leads us back to the very first word of the prayer. It leads us back to the “Our.”    

The Name, the Kingdom, the will, which is to be done on earth as it is in heaven, belong to God. The Father, the daily bread, the debts – and the debtors – are ours. That He is Our Father means we are part of a family which brings acceptance, identity, security, purpose. That He gives daily bread means we are completely dependent, yet have all that we need and something to share. That we have debts and debtors means that we have been forgiven and accepted into the family, and that we have the opportunity, and the command, to mimic Our Father in forgiving and loving and bringing others in.   

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32  

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ … Ephesians 4:15 

the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

Still at the campfire …

Image, free download from Pixnio by Bicanski 

Don’t Stop Looking

Blessings are hard to find sometimes. If you assume they are few and far between, you will not see them even when they are right under your feet.

We just got back from a camping vacation. I chose to bring as a beach-read Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat, a great true story of the rowing crew who won the 1936 gold medal in the Berlin Olympics. In it, there is the story of how Joe Rantz, one of the rowers, used to find and present four-leaf clovers to his fiancée. She was amazed at how he could just squat down, and, after searching for a while, always find one. His reply struck me. “The only time you don’t find a four-leaf clover,” he liked to say, “is when you stop looking for one.” 

Really? I was skeptical. I don’t believe in luck or magic, but finding four-leaf clovers has been a challenge to me since I was a kid. Kind of like winning at Solitaire. Even so, I can count the number I have found on one hand. So, I decided to put his assertion to the test. There happened to be quite a few clovers right around our camper (which I had already searched in passing).  

I squatted down and started really looking, passing my hands through them. And there, almost immediately, I found one! A four-leaf clover – I couldn’t believe it! I ran to show my husband who was shutting down the camper to leave. But then I thought, maybe that was just a coincidence. I squatted down again, and there was another one! “The only time you don’t find a four-leaf clover is when you stop looking for one.” 

You know, finding four-leaf clovers is a lot like looking for blessings. My life has been hard lately. It has been easy to overlook the many blessings around me. Maybe God is saying to me, don’t stop looking until you find one. Maybe your life has been stinky, hard, and seemingly hopeless. Or maybe, it has just been filled with same-old, hum-drum, three-leaf-clover days. The blessings are hard to find sometimes. But I realized something: if you assume they are few and far between, you will not see them even when they are right under your feet. But if you assume they are there – expect them – and don’t stop looking until you find one, you will begin to see them all around. 

Before we left the campground I walked down to the stinky, gross, but unavoidable outhouse one more time. On the way, I heard a toddler singing at the top of his lungs. I couldn’t understand a word he was singing, but the joy translated perfectly and made me smile. 

Another four-leaf clover. 

Our Father – Total Dependence

The Father wants me to acknowledge my total dependence on Him. Even more, He wants me to realize the implications of this.

Last week I started looking at the “Lord’s Prayer” from the point of view of a child. I’m still camping out there and I’m seeing things I have never understood before. It’s so easy to just repeat it with everybody else at church without paying attention. But that’s the good thing about camping. It gets you out of your usual environment and helps you to “be still and know.” 

Your Kingdom come, your will be done (Matthew 6:10). What does the Kingdom of God coming to earth have to do with children? It turns out – everything! Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).  This kingdom is the Kingdom of a Father, and a Kingdom of His little children who believe and obey His word, children who do His will and resemble their Father. You know how little children watch every move and mimic everything they see their parents doing? Of such as these consist the Kingdom. Father, let your Kingdom of little children come! 

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:1-2 (ESV) 

Give us this day our daily bread (Matthew 6:11). Jeremy Linneman has written about this part of the prayer. 

“There’s no way to honestly live the Lord’s Prayer without seeing that we’re hungry, needy children at the feet of a good and loving Father. Yet the Lord’s Prayer only makes sense within the context of childlike faith and dependence. We acknowledge it’s God’s kingdom we live in, not ours. We ask humbly for daily provision, knowing we can’t ensure our own survival and flourishing apart from him.” 1  

The Father wants me to acknowledge my total dependence on Him. Even more, He wants me to realize the implications of this, consciously, from the beginning of the day and all the day through. This would really change my days if I did this. It would take away all my trust in my own abilities and successes (and any performance burden). It might also pry my clutching, possessive hands off what has been freely given. All that I have comes from the hand of the loving Father. He wants me to mimic His overflowing generosity. He wants me to have confidence in Him, to know that He is worthy of my trust in His love. No matter what happens. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11 

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35 

Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8 

I will still be sitting by the campfire next Thursday if you want to join me. 

1Blogged by Dr. Peter Cockrell https://pjcockrell.wordpress.com/2022/08/07/the-lords-prayer-is-meant-to-be-lived/   

Image, mmm, num, num by Naomi https://flic.kr/p/4cdp1q 

To This You Were Called

Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9 

Did you see that? You were called to this! That jumped out at me as I read the verse this time. Repaying or returning blessing is not one – though maybe the best – of many possible reactions. Returning blessing is not a suggestion or a nice bumper-sticker inspiration. Rather, to bless is why we were called in the first place. In this day of the celebration of karma pay-back, does this kind of thinking even compute anymore? Yet, to this you were called

Do not repay (pay back, pay off, discharge as a debt, pay wages, what is due, requite, give back, recompense)  

evil with evil (inner malice, what is worthless, depraved, injurious, bad, evil, harmful, ill, foul, rotten, poisoned)  

or insult with insult (abuse, railing, reviling, reproach).  

On the contrary (but, now),  

repay evil with blessing (speak well of, praise, confer what is beneficial, thank or invoke a benediction upon),  

because to this you were called (selected, roused, summoned, called by name)  

so that you may inherit a blessing (benefit).  

1 Peter 3:9 

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28 

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14 

But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1 Peter 2:20-23 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1 (ESV) 

Photo by Jack Bair

Our Father

I am going to camp out in “Our Father” for a couple of weeks. And I will share what I find with you in case you need to camp out there too.  

I was trying to pray and I felt so inadequate, so un-able. I asked God to teach me how to pray right. I could feel His smile as He said, “I already have.” Oh yeah, I thought. I started to pray the Lord’s Prayer but I couldn’t get past “Our Father.” I broke down crying at that. Our Father. 

Maybe it is because I just lost my dad in May of this year and am feeling bereft. Maybe it’s because I am going through a tough time in my life and I long for a father’s comfort and care. Maybe it is the Spirit wanting me to dig deeper. But I am going to camp out in “Our Father” for a couple of weeks. I am going to look at it from the point of view of a child. His child. And I will share what I find with you in case you need to camp out there too.  

First of all, Jesus called God Our Father (Matthew 6:9). Jesus taught us to pray a prayer which has become known as the Lord’s Prayer, and He started it by addressing God as “Our Father.” The word for father is patḗr in the Greek:  

“the one who imparts life and is committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the potential for likeness … He imparts life, from physical birth to the gift of eternal life through the second birth (regeneration, being born again). Through ongoing sanctification, the believer more and more resembles their heavenly Father – i.e. each time they receive faith from Him and obey it, which results in their unique glorification … [patḗr is] one in ‘intimate connection and relationship.’” 1 

There is so much here to meditate on. He imparts life to us and is committed to us. Stop and think about that for a minute! He passes on the potential for likeness that grows each time we receive faith from Him and obey Him. We, His children, can resemble our heavenly Father. He is in intimate connection and relationship with us. Hallelujah! 

Next, Jesus addressed Our Father who is in heaven (Matthew 6:9). That may make it sound like God is far away, but, for me, it is comforting to think of Him being over me, standing over me, over everything, in charge, in control, yet leaning down to hear my feeble voice. I can imagine standing with my back to Him, leaning back against Him, feeling His strength. When I look up to Him, as a child looks up to her father, His face is near. There is no distance, only glory. He is in heaven but in intimate connection and relationship with me.  

Third, Jesus said that Our Father’s name was to be hallowed. Hallowed be your name (Matthew 6:9). We honor the Name, ha-Shem, of the Father. We recognize and affirm that His name is Holy, His name is the essence of the Father imparted to us. Jesus made the name known to us. “O righteous Father … I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26). Psalm 75:1 says that His Name is near. And Proverbs 18:10 says, The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.  

God told Moses that His name was YHWH and to tell the Israelites that I AM THAT I AM had sent him. I think that this means that His name is more about who He is than a title. And the name Our Father in particular reveals his character and nature. 

“What is that name of God which the revealing Son declares? Not the mere syllables by which we call Him, but the manifested character of the Father. That one name, in the narrower sense of the word, carries the whole revelation that Jesus Christ has to make; for it speaks of tenderness, of kindred, of paternal care, of the transmission of a nature, of the embrace of a divine love. And it delivers men from all their creeping dreads, from all their dark peradventures, from all their stinging fears, from all the paralysing uncertainties which, like clouds, always misty and often thunder-bearing, have shut out the sight of the divine face. If this Christ, in His weakness and humanity, with pity welling from His eyes, and making music of His voice, with the swift help streaming from His fingers-tips to every pain and weariness, and the gracious righteousness that drew little children and did not repel publicans and harlots, is our best image of God, then love is the centre of divinity, and all the rest that we call God is but circumference and fringe of that central brightness.” — Alexander MacLaren2 

Creeping dreads, stinging fears, paralyzing uncertainties surround me every day. I always have wondered how a name could be near, how one could run into a name. But I can say with the psalmist that His name is near and is a strong tower, because when he says that he means that God, in His tender love, is near, that Our Father God is the strong tower.  He is right here near me. I can run into my Father’s strong arms and feel safe.  

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him. Psalm 103:13 

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 1 John 4:16-17 

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 

Until next time rest in the embrace of His divine love. 

1HELPS Word Studies by Discovery Bible 

2MacLaren Expositions of Holy Scripture 

Image by Andrés Nieto Porras https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nuevas_aficiones_%287984692236%29.jpg

Ever-Present (Psalm 46)

God is my refuge, my strength 

He is my ever-present help in trouble 

He is the Ever-Present one 

I am the holy place where He dwells 

where the Most High dwells 

God is within me, I will not fall 

God will help me 

The Lord Almighty is with me 

Ever-Present 

here 

with  

me 

On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20 

Photo by Jack Bair

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