PART 3 – OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN (26/2/20)
“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…”
Films or books often retell the story of someone, often a ‘baddie’, trying to take over the world. I love the story of The Lord of the Rings where you have the evil Sauron seeking take power over the world whilst a band of ‘goodies’ seek, and finally succeed, in thwarting his plans, restoring freedom to their world. The Bible teaches that there is the devil who, like the archetypal tyrant, desires power and desires to ‘steal, kill and destroy’. But, over all things, God is both the creator and absolute ruler – the good king who will ultimately defeat him and restore all things.
God rules the world and your life.
’Our Father in heaven…’ doesn’t mean that God is distant in heaven; it speaks of God’s rule over all things. Grant Osbourne writes,
‘“Father in heaven” means that Almighty God, the omnipotent One, who dwells in heavenly splendour and power, cares deeply for our needs.'
Jesus, later in this chapter in which we find the Lord’s Prayer, uses this phrase, “heavenly Father’ when He writes,
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” (John 6:26-27)
Please read Romans 8:28. How much of your life is God involved in, and toward what end?
Are there any challenging circumstances or relationships in which you are finding it difficult to trust God? Take time to pray and state your trust in Jesus over these things.
“Father, you are over all things. From the heavens to the sparrow, thank you, that there is nothing too big or too small for you to care about. Help me to walk in the peace that faith brings. Help me also to see breakthrough as I pray to you whose power is unlimited. Amen”
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – WHO IS THE KING? (FOR THE WEEK OF 24/2/20)
Have you ever been lost and how did get ‘un-lost’?
Introduction - please read in your group
Maps are extremely useful but we must have the correct map and learn how to use it. A Christian receives a new map; the bible now directs their lives. For a map to be useful, it has to be scaled down, which means that much detail is removed. The Lord’s Prayer is a scaled-down ‘map’ to prayer and who God is; each phrase is a signpost to a wider path - we are to take each phrase and expand on it as the Spirit leads us. This opening phrase of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us that when we pray, it is helpful to begin by recalling who our King is. Focussing on Him will stir our hearts in worship, remind us of His love toward us, and His power to do the things that we ask for in prayer. Prayer should always begin with an ‘up’ focus - as we declare to our own souls ‘this is your King’.
Please read Matthew 6:9-13.
What have you been inspired by this week through the devotions?
How does knowing the King as Father change one's approach to life?
How does one become a child of God? (John 1:12-13)
‘Heavenly Father’ is a phrase that speaks of God’s power over all things; How does such a vision help us in prayer and worship?
God is revealed, principally, in the bible. Most clearly, we get a vision of the Father in Christ His Son (which is also in His word). What have you read in the bible recently that inspired your vision of God?
Pray - In groups of 3-4
In groups of 3-4 (Try to get into the same groups each week if possible)
Is there anything that you want prayer for out of this week’s study?
Is there anything that you want prayer for more generally?
How connected to God do you feel at the moment and how could you go deeper this week? (let's follow up on this when we next meet together).