Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

Lead Us Not Into Temptation, But Deliver Us From Evil

By the time we get to the end of the Lord’s Prayer, we begin to realize how needy we are.

Feed us our daily bread, forgive us our wrongs, lead us not into the temptations of the evil one. And if we have prayed the first part of the prayer seriously – that God’s name would be hallowed in the way we live, and that God’s kingdom would come through us, and that God’s will would be done among us—then we have signed up for a battle with evil. We have become part of the struggle of Jesus against the principalities and powers of this dark world. We really do need God to keep us from walking blindly into temptation and to deliver us from the powers that are dead set on destroying us.

Let’s look together at Revelation 17—19, the epitome of the description of evil. It’s as if John is leading us through an art gallery, which has three paintings that graphically depict the situation of the people of God as they face the evil one.

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Forgive Us, As We Forgive

Forgive Us, As We Forgive

We become profoundly human when we are willing to confess that we were wrong, that we have sinned, and that we need forgiveness.

Forgive us our
debts/trespasses/sins
as we forgive our
debtors/trespassers/sinners.”

What is being said here? Sometimes scripture is the best commentary on scripture. Jesus tells a remarkable parable in Matthew 18:21-35.

Peter is asking Jesus how many times he has to forgive one of the brothers for sinning against him. He even suggests the answer: seven times. Since seven is the perfect, whole, complete number, this ought to be enough. Jesus should congratulate him on being so magnanimously forgiving. The Pharisees drew the line at three, then ka-pow! Jesus raised the ante. Not seven times, but seventy times seven or seventy-seven times—not sure which, but both are a lot more than seven. But the real answer to Peter’s question is not in the number, but in the parable that follows. It goes like this.

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Our Daily Bread

Our Daily Bread

“Give us this day our daily bread.”

With this simple phrase a massive transition happens in the Lord’s Prayer. In these words we move from an omnipotent God to frail humans, which bothers some of us. We’d rather think more highly of ourselves. Words like “frail” and “needy” and “hungry” and “please” don’t sit too well when we are trying to prop up our little self-sovereign kingdoms.

But to be human is to be needy. To pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” is to be deeply in touch with our essence, to declare that we are needy humans before our creator.

Bread is a powerful Biblical image for human neediness. The scriptures are full of bread stories, but one of the most revealing is in Exodus 16.

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Your Kingdom Come

Your Kingdom Come

Words can get us in trouble.

Depending on where they are spoken, who is speaking them, who they are spoken to, and the consequences involved, words can radically change our life.

Go on an airplane and say, “I have a bomb.” Your life will be different.  Stand in front of an altar with the one you love and say, “For better for worse, for richer or poorer, I do.” Raise your right hand in a court of law and say, “I solemnly swear to tell the truth.” Words can rearrange your life.

But I believe the most life-altering, radical, dangerous, consequential words we can say are recorded in the prayer that Jesus taught us to pray – “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Now I know we can say these words without meaning them, and not much happens, except we get more used to praying things we don’t really mean.

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Hallowed Be Your Name

Hallowed Be Your Name

It costs one million dollars to use the name, Krispy Kreme. They are the best doughnuts this side of heaven. I’m convinced that angels own the recipe and their melt-in-your-mouth creation is simply divine. My friend, Dan, checked into the franchise price and discovered if you want to sell doughnuts and you want to call them Krispy Kreme, the price tag is $1 million.

But compared to Disney, Krispy Kreme is pocket change. Last time I checked, Disney’s name is worth $15 million. You get the rights to the name with all the legal requirements attached. There are places you can and can’t use the name. Things you can and can’t do with it. If you pilfer, slander, or misuse the name, you will meet the well-heeled lawyers whose job it is to protect the use of the Disney name.

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