Category Archives: Kingdom Culture

-Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer: “Hallowed be Thy Name”

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Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

The “Hallowed” part is something I glossed over quickly for years without understanding that it was really a declaration of worship. I knew it meant that God was ‘holy’ but never gave it much thought. I was always in a hurry to get to the “give us” part.

The actual words in the Greek text are in this order:

“Let it be hallowed- the- name- of thee”

It really is a statement of praise and worship of God. What it literally means is- ‘God let your name be known and consecrated and set apart as holy or sacred.’

In our culture today nothing is considered sacred or holy anymore and the name of God is commonly used in the marketplace and in many homes as an expression of surprise or worse yet in the form of a curse. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are some Muslim countries today where if the name of ‘Allah’ is defamed in any way heads will literally roll.

To put it all in perspective, Jesus taught that the greatest commandment of all is to Love God. Obviously if we truly love God we will treat his name with respect:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” –Matt.22:37-38

Wow! This means that we should be thinking about God and that he needs to be on our minds and actually apart of everything we do daily.

For most of my life I have honored and worshipped God on Sundays and have prayed to him every day at least when I remember too. Also I have made a point of honoring his name and have not used it in ‘vain’. But have I really honored him daily by including him in my daily life? Not always, particularly at work where I have usually forgotten all about him most of the day even though I have always tried to be a ‘good’ Christian.

Obviously a change is way over due.

I believe that we are entering a time when ‘business as usual’ is no longer going to be an option for those who bear the name of Christ. In the dominant Western culture, God has been removed from the schools and the marketplaces, and many of our courts are removing him from the public square entirely. Now it is even a struggle just to keep him in our busy homes.

Nevertheless, I believe that we are called to honor God daily. In fact we literally need too for our own good. If God our Father is in our daily life then it becomes easier to receive his blessings, reject the temptations of the enemy, and receive of the happy abundant life that God intends for us to have. Sure we are still going to have ‘bad’ days, get sick, and experience a tragedy or two but for once we are not going to be alone.

Therefore, we actually need to think about God and His name needs to be set apart and consecrated or ‘hallowed’ in our daily living—if we truly love him.

But how and where?

Where? In our homes, at our jobs and work, on the freeways driving, and at the malls and shopping centers. Everywhere that life carries us we need to honor God and serve him in all that we do.

How? Jesus is really our example and he teaches us how to Love, worship, and honor God every day. More on that later, but we need to learn how to live a ‘red letter’ life and allow the very words of the Son of God to enliven us and inspire us to include His Father –Our Father–in our daily journey.               *Top

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-Victory in ‘Living’ The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father”

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Matt 6:9-13
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.   -KJV

Last Friday night it was raining as I was rushing to be on time for a Marketplace Conference at church. Still half a mile away I impatiently waited for the light to change and then took off for the next. Before I got half a block ahead to the next light, The Lord had downloaded to me a better understanding of the Lord’s Prayer. After that I was no longer in a hurry except to get as much of the new insights down as possible.

In essence the Lord told me: “you have been praying the Lord’s Prayer all of your life…now it’s time to live it!” Within the prayer itself is a summary for victorious ‘Kingdom living’. Funny thing is that none of it is really new and its been there all the time and a lot of this stuff you probably already know.

Anyway I going to put up an outline of some of these thoughts in a series of posts. 

“Our Father…which art in Heaven”

Jesus didn’t say “my” father or “the” father, though most of the time we look upon God as being ‘The’ Almighty God and Father of creation. But Jesus specifically said “our” Father and included his disciples as part of his family—the family of God.

This had to sound strange to folks raised upon the Old Testament scriptures and at a time when Priests didn’t dare enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple without repenting and fasting first and even then without having a rope tied around their ankle so that they could be pulled out in case the Lord God zapped them. In fact it sounded rather heretical to the scribes and Pharisees.

We hear the words ‘our Father’ so much in church that it is way too familiar. Sometimes the real implications of those words do not properly sink in. In Jesus Christ every believer becomes part of the family of God. His Father is now our Father and we are supposed to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Yup, and sometimes we fight just like a family too!

But think about it—the Creator of the universe is our Father. Remember Jesus said that he doesn’t give rocks to his children when they need bread. He really does take care of his creation, the birds, the flowers, and even more so he only wants the best for his children.

In our day the title ‘father’ is so messed up for many of us because of the way we were treated or ignored by our natural parents. Also some of us were orphans and never did really experience a father in our lives while others of us wish that we hadn’t.

Because of our past, many of us have trust issues that make it difficult to receive the Love of Our Father in Heaven. therefore intimacy with God doesn’t come all that easy and we end up putting Him in a box that will only be unwrapped after our death.

Yet when Jesus died on the cross the curtain separating the people from their God in Holy of Holies in the temple was slit in two for all time. In Jesus intimacy becomes possible and the almighty creator touches us and dwells within us with his own Spirit and we become members of his family and the new temple of God.

It is time for the church to get this down—all of the church. I believe that the ‘Fatherhood of God’ and greater intimacy will be part of the Kingdom message of a ‘New Awakening’ coming soon near you. All of creation awaits for the church to understand more fully what it means to be and act like the children of God and cry out—Abba Father! (Romans 8:12-19).            *Top

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-Kingdom Culture: God Promises Peace of Mind and Joy in Your Life

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home
(Image by freestone via Flickr)

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

Everything around you might be chaotic and falling a part but God offers you peace of mind and joy in the midst of it all. One can live in full confidence and faith that everything is going to turn out for the best for you and yours (Rom 8:28) in Christ Jesus.

God the Father personally offers to give you His peace and joy—a peace that the world outside of Jesus does not understand or comprehend. It is available to you for the asking, no matter what your circumstances.

You may be engulfed in a nasty divorce and see no daylight at the end of the tunnel. You may have lost a child and you are even blaming God for it. That good job that you had for years is gone and you can’t seem to find another. You may be behind in all of your bills and the family car was just repossessed. It doesn’t matter—God promises you peace and joy in your life regardless.

You say Michael that is just crazy—there is no way that I can have any peace while I am going through this or that.

That is the point of course, God the Father offers all Christians a peace that doesn’t make sense in the ways and understanding of this world.

Here’s how it works. Every Christian has the Holy Spirit actually living inside them even though most of the time we ignore that presence. How incredible it that?  The creator of the universe actually has placed a part of himself inside of each one of us. It is that Spirit which can transform our lives and bring us peace and joy, faith and confidence, in the midst of sorrow and chaos.

It all begins when we choose to worship and praise God no matter what—in bad times and good. The Holy Spirit will flood our lives with peace and joy if we choose to take everything to him in prayer and then praise and thank him for everything regardless.

I once read a book that demonstrated this principal in the life of a prisoner who was transformed by the power of God and later became a minister that touched the lives of millions: Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers. I highly recommend the book.

Point is, all of our lives can be transformed for the better by praising God and receiving His peace that can only come to us by His Spirit which is given to us through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

If you’re reading this and not sure whether you have His Holy Spirit within you, sort of always believed in Jesus but never fully committed your life to Christ, now is the time. Pray to God right now…God I want your Holy Spirit in my life, I fully commit myself to your Son Jesus, please help me with my unbelief and help me to change my life. I want to receive your joy and peace in my life through your Son Jesus and by Your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus name, Amen.

*NOTE: This is the final article in the Phillipians 4:4-7 series. Here’s links to the other 4 articles:

1.  Kingdom Culture: Peace in the Midst of Chaos

2.  Kingdom Culture: Be Reasonable and Considerate

3.  Kingdom Culture: The Lord is Always with Us

4.  Kingdom Culture: Do Not Worry, Be Thankful and Pray Instead

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Kingdom Culture: Do Not Worry, Be Thankful and Pray Instead

The Anointing of the Holy Spirit
Image by Loci Lenar via Flickr

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

Do not be anxious about anything? This comes in the form of a command and surely is relevant for us today in the middle of a major economic crisis and a culture that seems to be leaving us behind. In effect Paul says here—Don’t worry pray instead and be thankful. This is the way of the Kingdom and the path of faith which leads us in an entirely different direction than the dominant culture.

We know that Paul actually lived out this command praising God after being beaten and thrown in prison, ministering to those around him regardless of the circumstances, even writing this scripture and others while he was in custody.

Remember, we have a God who wants only the best for us and we have a Lord who understands what we are going through, and we have a Holy Spirit which is with us in the midst of all of our troubles inspiring us to seek the best—we are not alone, praise God and be thankful!

The passage also remind me of what Jesus said in Matt. 6:25-34 plus the Greek word for anxious is the same in this passage also:

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” …

…“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”…

“O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, …For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

The basic message in both of these passages is the same—live according to faith and not like the dominant culture. Praise God, seek His Kingdom, pray continually, remember to be thankful and  it will be well with you and yours for all eternity including the few years lived on this earth and in these chaotic times.

Believe me I know how difficult this may seem sometimes and I certainly am guilty of letting bad circumstances get to me and bring me down for a while. But with God everything is possible and when we let His Spirit to be more a part of our daily lives than it is increasingly fulfilled in us as we actually gain the mind of Christ and peace floods into our daily lives in spite of ourselves.            *Top

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Kingdom Culture: Be Reasonable and Considerate

Jesus in Dallas

(Picture by adonis hunter / ahptical via Flickr)

Phil 4:4-7

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  -ESV

In the ongoing culture around us the motto is- “looking out for number one”. In many ways Christians have been no different than anyone else. Put me in a car going down the freeway and most of the time it’s ‘do to others before they do to me’ –not exactly the Golden Rule that Jesus had in mind.

Even in churches, some of the meanest people I have ever had the misfortune of coming across have been supposed Christians sitting in the pews. Over the years when teaching classes I have occasionally been pulled into battles over minutia that didn’t amount to anything more important than a slight disagreement over eschatology followed by a severe tongue lashing. Anyone that has been posting on the internet for a while can attest to how ungracious fellow Christians can be sometimes.

It really is time for Christians to be different. For too long we have been pulled along with the culture—but this culture is no longer Christian and the prevailing values no longer reflect an underlining effort to do good. Actually increasingly what is ‘good’ according to the scriptures is now increasingly being called bad and what is evil is now starting to be considered good. In my lifetime I have lived long enough to see everything turned on its ear.

It is time for Christian to reflect a ‘Kingdom Culture’ which is increasingly at odds and different than the dominant culture around us in America and the Western world.

We may pray every day—”Let your Kingdom come let your will be done”—it is time for the Kingdom to become a reality in our everyday living. We should stand out as gentle, reasonable, and considerate folks letting our lights shine as beacons into the increasing darkness.

This doesn’t happen over night but only as we allow the Holy Spirit to come in and dwell with us as we do our daily tasks—going down the toll road, shopping in the store, and reaching out in kindness and civility to those working around us. As a beacon of light that will draw people to you and the Lord which should be reflected in our lives. Let the Holy Spirit’s light break through.           *Top

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