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The Model Prayer – Pt 3/6

The Teaching of Jesus on Prayer – Part 3 of 6
Expanded and Adapted From The HOPE Study Guide

 

If you wanted to learn how to pray, who would you choose for a teacher? In Matthew 6:9-13, you can   find a model prayer given to you by Jesus Himself. It was not given simply to recite, but to teach you how to pray. It has been called “the true pattern for all prayer.” Each verse in this prayer identifies an important aspect of prayer. This is part 2 of 6 in our study of the model prayer. Our focus here is verse 11.

Give us the day our daily bread.” – Matthew 6:11

When you give your life to God, you are no longer your own. You belong to Him, and your well-being is His responsibility. He is your Father, and He promises to provide what you need to live the life He has called you to live. Consider the following verses – Matthew 6:25-33, Psalm 37:25Philippians 4:19. It has been said that God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s provision. That statement is most often applied to ministries, but it is equally applicable to people.

A plural prayer – Notice that this prayer instructs us to pray in the plural; “us” and “our”, not “me” and “my.”  As a child of your heavenly Father, you are a member of the Body of Christ. Your identity is only fully understood and experienced in relationship to His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-31). If God has given you two loaves of bread, and you only need one, then He has given you your brother’s loaf. Your mission as a member of the Body of Christ is to allow your Father to show you who is to receive that second loaf.  In this, the Body will be built up, and the character of our Father will be made known.

A daily prayer – Why the “daily” part? For one thing, depending on God for your daily needs keeps your relationship with Him current and fresh. It also helps you to see a clear relationship between your need and His provision. Keep in mind that the ultimate purpose of prayer is not to get things or to get things done. It is to glorify God by knowing Him and making Him known. When you pray specifically for a specific need and that prayer is answered in a specific way, then God becomes more real to you and to those around you who know what He has done. He receives glory, and you grow in your understanding of His character, His nature, and His ways.

A page from the life of George Mueller (1805-1898) – Prayer was the vital component of George Mueller’s nineteenth-century ministry to England’s orphans. As founder of several orphanages, he handled more than $8 million, although his own worldly possessions were valued at about $800 at his death. The following is just one example among many of Mueller’s dependency on God through prayer.

“The children are dressed and ready for school. But there is no food for them to eat,” the housemother of the orphanage informed George Mueller. George asked her to take the 300 children into the dining room and have them sit at the tables. He thanked God for the food and waited. George knew God would provide food for the children as he always did. Within minutes, a baker knocked on the door. “Mr. Mueller,” he said, “last night I could not sleep. Somehow I knew that you would need bread this morning. I got up and baked three batches for you. I will bring it in.”

Soon, there was another knock at the door. It was the milkman. His cart had broken down in front of the orphanage. The milk would spoil by the time the wheel was fixed. He asked George if he could use some free milk. George smiled as the milkman brought in ten large cans of milk. It was just enough for the 300 thirsty children.*

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication (petition) with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6, emphasis added).

* http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/church-history-for-kids/george-mueller-orphanages-built-by-prayer-11634869.html

 


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The Resurrection – Fact or Fiction?

Proof of the resurrection.
Lesson 56 from The HOPE Study Guide

INTRODUCTION

…as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave. And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it. And his appearance was like lightning, and his garment as white as snow; and the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men. And the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said.”

– Matthew 28:1–6

On the morning of the third day after Jesus had been crucified, a group of women went to visit the tomb. They were not the first. Earlier that morning, an angel of God descended from heaven. The soldiers guarding the tomb were struck with fear, and the angel moved the stone that sealed the entrance. The tomb was empty! Just as He promised, Jesus had risen from the dead!

…Over the next forty days, Jesus physically appeared to many people. With some He walked and talked. With others He shared a meal. In one instance, He appeared before more than five hundred people.

– The HOPE, Chapter 11

OBSERVE & CONSIDER

How important is the historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus? The Apostle Paul wrote that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead, then our faith is worthless! (1 Corinthians 15:17). In upcoming lessons we gain a deeper appreciation of Paul’s powerful statement as we consider the significance of the resurrection. But let’s start by examining the overwhelming evidence that the resurrection of Jesus actually occurred, and that it was not just a fabrication or a myth as some skeptics claim.

Volumes have been written on this subject, but for the purpose of our study, we will consider four areas of evidence:

  • The Empty Tomb – Jesus had said publicly that He would rise from the dead. Knowing this, the Hebrew religious leaders feared that someone might try to steal His body and then start a resurrection rumor. So they convinced the governor to post soldiers at the grave site and to place an official seal on the tomb (Matthew 27:62-66). The governor’s soldiers were highly motivated to guard the tomb, for they knew that if they failed to obey orders the punishment could be death. Breaking a government seal was also punishable by death – and yet the tomb was empty!
  • The Eye Witnesses – The Bible records numerous encounters that various people (including His inner circle of disciples who knew Him better than most) had with the resurrected Jesus (Matthew 28:9-10,Matthew 16:20; Mark 16:12-18; Luke 24:13-43; John 20:14-18, John 26:29; John 21:15-23). On one occasion Jesus appeared to a group of 500 people at once (1 Corinthians 15:6).
  • The Response of the Disciples – Even in light of the empty tomb and eyewitnesses, some argue that the account of Jesus’ resurrection was a carefully designed conspiracy. But that argument loses its strength when you consider the passionately committed lives of His disciples after the resurrection. Many of those who followed Jesus, including all but one of His twelve disciples, were martyred for their steadfast belief in Him. More than any others, these men would have known if the resurrection was a hoax. Yet they were boiled in oil, sawed in half, crucified upside down, thrown to lions and speared to death. Some men are willing to die for what they believe is true, but only a madman or a fool would die for what he knew was a lie.
  • The Testimony of Experts – In a court of law, experts are often called upon to evaluate evidence. Throughout time countless scholars have weighed in on the evidence for the resurrection and concluded it to be a fact of history. As stated above, volumes have been written on this subject. As an example, consider the following quote from Thomas Arnold, Royal Professor of Modern History at Oxford and author of the book, History of Rome: “I have been used for many years to study the histories of other times, and to examine and weigh the evidence of those who have written about them, and I know of no one fact in the history of mankind which is proved by better and fuller evidence of every sort, to the understanding of a fair inquirer, than the great sign which God hath given us that Christ died and rose again from the dead.”

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The Uniqueness of The Bible – Part 2

It takes faith to believe the Bible is not a work of God.
Lesson 4 from The HOPE Study Guide

Observe & Consider

In Lesson 3, we considered the Bible’s diversity and harmony and its textual reliability – two attributes that make it unique among all the books in the world. Today we will consider two more things that truly separate the Bible from any other book and give it credibility as the most reliable reference point that one could have in the journey of life.

The Bible is unique in its historical accuracy.

Historical accuracy is yet another factor to consider in determining the reliability of an ancient text. In other words, “Do archeological findings substantiate what is recorded in the text?” In the case of the Bible, the answer is clear

  • “…it may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And, by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.”

– Dr. Nelson Glueck (Rivers in the Desert, p. 31)

  • “…archaeology has confirmed countless passages which have been rejected by critics as unhistorical or contradictory to known facts…Yet archaeological discoveries have shown that these critical charges…are wrong and that the Bible is trustworthy in the very statements which have been set aside as untrustworthy…We do not know of any cases where the Bible has been proved wrong.”

– Dr. Joseph P. Free (Archaeology and Bible History, pp. 1, 2, 134)

The Bible is unique in its prophetic record.

Before considering the Bible’s prophetic record, it is important to understand what distinguishes the prophets of the Bible from other so–called prophets. According to the book of Deuteronomy in the Bible, the test of a true prophet of God was 100% accuracy. If one who called himself a prophet did not pass this test, the penalty was death.1 Now that is motivation to represent God accurately!

It is amazing to discover that there are more than 1,800 prophecies in the Bible.2 Many of these prophecies were fulfilled in the lifetime of the prophet who gave them. Still more have been fulfilled since the writing of the Bible. Many prophecies are yet to be fulfilled. To this day, no Biblical prophecy has ever been proven false! Continue reading


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The Uniqueness of The Bible – Part 1

Lesson 3
The most unique and the most published book in history.

OBSERVE AND CONSIDER

The Bible is the most quoted, most translated, most published book in human history, completely unique in its creation, content, and accuracy.1 And while the uniqueness of the Bible does not irrefutably prove that it is the revelation of God, when one truly considers the nature of this book, it takes more faith to believe that it was simply written and compiled by humans than to believe that it is a work of God. Let’s think about this.

The Bible is unique in its diversity and harmony.

Written over a span of 40 generations and about 1,600 years, by more than 40 authors from varying walks of life, on three continents (Asia, Africa and Europe) and in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek), the Bible is unlike any other book in the world. It includes history, poetry, prophecy, law, parables and preaching, and covers a broad range of subject matter (including hundreds of controversial topics) from the nature of God to the origin of man.2

Considering the diversity of its writers and subject matter, one might expect at least some conflict or inconsistency in the content and themes presented in the Bible, and yet…

  • The Bible is one complete epic story centered around one extraordinary character.
  • The Bible addresses numerous topics and themes throughout the text with incredible harmony and resolution. (For instance, the paradise lost of the first book of the Bible becomes the paradise regained of the last book of the Bible. The access to the Tree of Life, which was closed in the first book of the Bible, is opened forevermore in the last book of the Bible.)

Like the instruments in a symphony, each writer of the Bible is quite different from the others. When you hear an orchestra playing with flawless harmony, you naturally assume that it is being directed by an accomplished conductor. Why should we think any differently in regard to the Bible, which is far more complex in content and scope than any symphonic score? Continue reading