Eternity Matters: UNDERSTANDING WHAT YOU SPEAK FROM YOUR LIPS

By Norma Shull Smith

I have really struggled with what to write about for the December edition of Eternity Matters. It should be an easy column, as the season of Christmas is upon us, but the more I thought about what to write, the more I was led in another direction.
I realize many take the title of Christian seriously, but I just can’t get past the importance of what we pray when we recite the Lord’s Prayer from memory. A beautiful prayer that acts as a guide, yet when we speak it, I can’t help but wonder if we are listening to the depth of what Christ was teaching us through this prayer. With it being the month of December and closing out another year, I can’t think of a better topic than the famous prayer used in church services, at funerals and at times in weddings.
It begins with, Our Father Who Art In Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name: WOW, its first sentence takes us into the very presence of God, who is Holy and to be respected. Yet, because it is memorized, we rush right past this honor for that is how we have been taught to do. What would happen if we paused there and basked in the greatness of God?
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven: God’s desire is for us to live our lives here on earth, just as if we were in heaven. He desires for us to attain righteousness, for man was made in His image.
Give us this day, our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Let me stop right here, for we need to truly LISTEN to this plea. Here we are asking God to give us our daily nourishment and in the same breath asking Him to offer HIS forgiveness to us when we sin against Him. What is the key to getting God’s forgiveness? STOP, STOP, STOP! Before we go to our Holy God who has all power in Heaven and on Earth to forgive, shouldn’t we first go to that one who has wronged us and do some forgiving of our own? Do you have a loved one who has wronged you, a neighbor, a co-worker, or even someone in church? If we hold grudges and don’t let that wrong go, how dare we ask God to forgive us when we sin against God? Think about it. The freeing up of God’s forgiveness comes when our hearts are humbled enough to overlook that neighbors wrong, that incidence that happened yesterday, or decades ago. LET IT GO PEOPLE, is it worth your own eternity to hold bitterness in your own heart against someone you don’t like?
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. God is not the tempter, so we plead with Him not to allow us to cave under the temptations put before us that will cause us to fall. How many of us pray that prayer or have asked others to pray over a weakness we have and next thing we know, we subject our very own being to the temptation we asked God to lead us away from.
For thine is the Kingdom, the Power and the Glory Forever. Amen When God gave us the Lord’s Prayer, He began it with Praise calling Him Hallowed (Holy) and He ended it with Praise, because it is a reminder to us that HE is the Kingdom, He is the Power and He is the Glory forevermore.
Yes, it is December and the Christmas Season is in full swing. I can’t think of a better gift to offer up to God, than our living out this prayer as we speak it. It is not only a gift that would please God and get His attention, but it is truly an eternal gift to oneself, for when we Honor, Praise and Glorify God, when we forgive others, when we use God-given will power to stand against the tempter, we have just received the best gift possible. Refer to Matthew 6: 9-13 and Matthew 18:15-17.

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