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I’m still befuddled by Jesus’ stunning statement that if we do not humble ourselves and become like children, we can never enter the kingdom of heaven. “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3 ESV). It has helped me a bit to understand that He Himself did that very thing—became like a child. It is not only that our great, magnificent God came as a helpless baby, He also laid aside all powers when He grew into a man that would enable Him to rule over people as a king. It is true that He didn’t disallow Himself all His powers. Clearly, He still possessed the ability to heal, forgive, cast out demons, and exercise authority over nature. However, He did nothing that earthly kings and potentates do when they reign over others. He purposefully chose to deny Himself that power. “Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53 ESV). From heaven’s point of view, our great Creator God became as helpless as a child when He dwelt on the earth.

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This sentence in the Lord’s Prayer is the one that I understand the least: “Lead us not into temptation.” Why is this difficult to understand? James 1:13 tells us that God tempts no one. We should be happy about that. God tempting us would give us the idea that He is tempting us with something evil. Since He is not evil, He can’t do that. One of the meanings of the Greek word that is translated here “temptation”, “peirasmos,” is also translated test or trial. Therefore, it would read, “Lead us not into trial or testing.” Since the Lord doesn’t tempt anyone, I’m going to lean toward this meaning—but I’m not a Greek scholar by any stretch of the imagination. All I do is use the resources that I have.

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I’ve been praying about something lately. It’s about a flaw in me—and there are many—but it seems that the Lord has brought this one in particular to my attention in recent months. It began to center around the last sentence of the Lord’s Prayer, which is, “For Yours in the kingdom, and the power, and the glory.” Actually, it’s the idea behind the last sentence: that the things I have just prayed about and will pray about in my time with Him can only be done by His rulership and power. There is no way that I can accomplish any of the things that I’m praying about. Only He can do them by His sovereign ability.

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Let’s take a quick look at Hebrews 11:32-38. This portion of Scripture is often the focus of our attention because it is included in this wonderful chapter about faith.

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Samson of and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, mighty in war, foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

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In the last post about how we Christians are to commend Church leaders, we asked these questions:

What do we value in the Church?

What is commendable?

What kind of people are we looking for in our pastors and leaders?

Are the criteria we use for making these value judgments biblical?

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This is the final installment in our thoughts about the Lord’s Prayer. I leave this study with a little sadness. I know that I have barely scratched the surface of His prayer. Maybe in a few years I’ll have more to share.

The last part is simply three words: “forever and ever.” Again, like so much of this prayer, we say these words easily, letting them just fall from our lips. Let’s try not to let this happen, by His grace. The preceding words were, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory.” So, what is it that is forever and ever? Well, of course, He is. But in this prayer, Jesus emphasizes that the Father’s kingdom, power and glory are everlasting.

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This is the next installment in what has been an all-too-brief study of the Lord’s Prayer. It concerns the last few words of the last sentence, “For Yours is…the glory…”

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I don’t usually mourn the deaths of popular culture stars. I just simply have no connection with them. However, Whitney Houston’s death was different. I’m certain it’s because she was a Christian. One of my all-time favorite Christian songs is her rendition of “I Love the Lord.” She had a spectacular, beautiful voice. That voice was a gift from God. And it’s that topic—giftedness—that I would like to address. There are natural gifts, and there are spiritual gifts. This brief article will deal only with natural gifts.

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