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Summary: A FATHER'S DAY MESSAGE ABOUT PUTTING OUR TRUST IN OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN. PART OF A SERIES ON THE LORD'S PRAYER.

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OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN

MATTHEW 6:5-15

I WANT TO BEGIN BY WISHING ALL THE FATHER’S PRESENT A VERY HAPPY FATHER’S DAY. I HOPE THAT FOR THOSE OF US WHO’S FATHERS ARE NO LONGER WITH US, THAT THIS WILL BE A SPECIAL TIME OF FOND MEMORIES, AND THE SHARING OF PLEASANT STORIES.

MY FATHER DIED IN 1986 AND WAS IN HIS 81ST YEAR. I HAD OVER 30 YEARS WITH HIM AND I’M GRATEFUL FOR THE MANY PLESANT MEMORIES THAT I HAVE.

I ALSO UNDERSTAND THAT WE LIVE IN A MUCH DIFFERENT WORLD THAN THE ONE I GREW UP IN. PLEASANT MEMORIES OF PARENTS IN GENERAL, LET ALONE FATHERS MAY BE IN VERY SHORT SUPPLY. THE DEMISE OF THE NUCLEAR FAMILY HAS LEFT MANY YOUNG PEOPLE GROWING UP AS INDIVIDUALS, MUCH SOONER THAN THEY SHOULD HAVE TO.

TODAY I WANT TO START ON A SERIES BASED ON THE LORD’S PRAYER. WHERE BETTER TO START ON FATHER’S DAY THAN WITH JESUS’ WORDS “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN”

NOW THE CHALLENGE FOR US IS THAT WE DEFINE OUR TERMS BY OUR OWN EXPERIENCE, AND OUR EXPERIENCE OF TODAY CAN BE MUCH DIFFERENT FROM THAT OF JESUS’ TIME. AS AN EXAMPLE, IF YOU THINK OF THE WORD “GAY” NOW, IT ACTUALLY HAS A FAR DIFFERENT MEANING THAN IT DID THIRTY YEARS AGO. YOU MAY ACTUALLY BE THINKING IN OPPOSITE TERMS. WHEN YOUR MEMORY OF YOUR FATHR MAKES YOU ANGRY, OR BRINGS TEARS TO YOUR EYES, IT MAY BE REALLY DIFFICULT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT A GOD WHO IS CALLED FATHER.

WHETHER OR NOT YOU HAD A GOOD EXPERIENCE WITH YOUR EARTHLY FATHER, I WANT TO ASSURE YOU THAT THE RELATIONSHIP YOU CAN HAVE WITH YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER, ALTHOUGH AT TIMES CAN BE CHALLENGING, WILL ALWAYS BE POSITIVE IN NATURE.

CONTEXT:

JESUS IS INSTRUCTING HIS DISCIPLES ON HOW THEY SHOULD PRAY. THEY ARE AWARE OF THE “PROFESSIONAL PRAYERS” OF THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS, WHO PRAYED WITH GREAT ELEQUENCE BUT NOT EFFECTIVENESS.

HE INSTRUCTED THEM TO PRAY IN PRIVATE FOR PETITIONS AND NOT TO MAKE A SHOW OF THEIR PRAYER LIVES. IT DOESN’T MATTER THE LOFTY WORDS YOU USE IN PRAYER AS GOD LOOKS AT THE HEART. IS A LITTLE CHILD’S PRAYER LESS EFFECTIVE THAN AN

ADULTS?

BETTER NOT TELL THE LITTLE BOY WHO WANTED A BROTHER. WHEN HE APPROACHED HIS DAD ABOUT IT, THE DAD ALREADY KNEW THAT HIS WIFE WAS EXPECTING, BUT TOLD THE LITTLE BOY TO PRAY ABOUT IT. THE BOY PRAYED AND PRAYED AND PRAYED, UNTIL HE FINALLY GOT TIRED AND QUIT PRAYING. IT WASN’T LONG AFTER THAT THE LITTLE BOY’S MOTHER GAVE BIRTH TO TWIN BOYS. THE LITTLE BOY APPROACHED HIS FATHER AND CONFIDENTLY TOLD HIM, “GOOD THING I STOPPED PRAYING WHEN I DID, HUH.”

FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS THE JEWS MAINTAINED THAT GOD’S NAME WAS TOO HOLY TO USE, AND THAT HE WAS SOME DISTANT DEITY WHO COULD NOT RELATE TO US, AND WE CERTAINLY COULD NOT RELATE TO HIM. CAN YOU IMAGINE THEIR SURPRISE WHEN THE FIRST THING JESUS TEACHES THEM ABOUT PRAYER IS TO REFER TO GOD AS “FATHER.”

THE ENTIRETY OF THE LORD’S PRAYER IS DEPENDANT ON THIS REALIZATION, AND HOW WE VIEW THE REST OF THE PRAYER IS DEPENDANT ON HOW WE UNDERSTAND JESUS USE OF “OUR FATHER”. CONSIDER WITH ME SOME IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT “OUR HEAVENLY FATHER”

POINT ONE: HE HAS THE BEST HEAD:

BY THIS I MEAN THAT GOD IS ALL-KNOWING. JESUS TELLS US IN V. 6 THAT GOD SEES WHAT WE DO IN SECRET. CONSIDER WHAT JESUS SAYS IN V. 8.

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