Thy Kingdom Come

Matthew 6:10a. “Thy kingdom come. . .”

The kingdom Jesus refers to in this prayer has not yet come.  It is a time when the lion and the lamb will lie down together; when all men, all nations, will be at peace with one another; when Jesus shall reign over the whole earth from His throne in Jerusalem.

This kingdom is promised in many scriptures in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament  (Zech. 14; Rev. 11:15; 19:11-20:10; Mt. 25:31-46).  If you want more scripture on this, you can easily Google the topic; or, run a word study in your Bible.  It’s a most interesting and timely topic, considering the political atmosphere of today’s world. We are ripe, ready, waiting. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

So, if the kingdom is already promised, why should be pray for it?

Didn’t you pray for a specific gift at Christmas, even though you were pretty sure it was coming? You wanted it so much that you never stopped asking until you were actually unwrapping it on Christmas Day.  That is the way we should pray for the promised return of Christ.

Do we want His return as much as we wanted that bicycle, football, doll, iPod, computer, or iPhone?  Do we wake up each morning feeling a sense of excitement that His coming draws ever nearer?  Do we pray, “Oh, Lord, please let it be today!”

Or are we so wrapped up in our own day to day lives that His soon coming has no reality for us?

Will we, the believers of the Church Age, be here when Christ returns to set up His kingdom, the Millenium?  I don’t believe so.  I am a pre-tribulation theologian.  I believe that we will be taken up in clouds to be with Him, celebrating the marriage supper of the Lamb in heaven, during the seven years of the Tribulation.  There will be a remnant of Jews who will become believers during the Tribulation, and will proclaim the gospel during that period of time. It is after the Tribulation that Jesus finally returns to earth as a conquering King to establish His throne in Jerusalem.

I don’t have the space or the time to give you all the scriptures that support my belief, but here is a website you can trust if you’d like to study it out more thoroughly:

I’m always a little reluctant to endorse a site.  I have not read every single thing this writer has printed.  As far as I can see, however, his views line up with my understanding of the scripture.  Just keep in mind that the fact that something is on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true!

If you know your eschatology, which is a most fascinating subject, you know that when Christ returns to the earth, all the saints of heaven will come with Him.  We will have a part in the kingdom, and it will be, finally, a time when there is indeed peace on earth.

Hallowed be Thy Name

Matthew 6: 9b. “. . .Hallowed be Thy Name.”

Glory always goes to God. Before we can expect or pray for mercy and grace from Him, we need to openly recognize Who He is, and what is His character. We need to recognize His perfection before we can ask to benefit from it. 

All our requests are to be made with the understanding that in the end, they are to glorify Him. 

We show clearly our adoration of Him by assigning glory to His Name.  Humility on our part is only common sense, when we consider Who He is and What He has done for us.  My friend over at The Mustard Seed Budget said recently that God loved us too much to hold back His Son from paying the penalty for our sin. That’s a powerful and humbling concept. All we can do is adore Him for what He has done.  Holy is His Name!


Good Weekend


On Friday, my daughter and I and three close friends drove to a lovely part of our state to attend a women’s conference at which I was to be the speaker.  We had such a good time on the trip, laughing and enjoying good fellowship.  We went to the home of another dear friend who fed us delicious lasagna.  We were housed in the guest house next to the church, a wonderful old Victorian house that the church is restoring.  I felt like the Queen of Sheba in my perfectly-decorated, clean and comfortable room.

The theme for the conference was Be Strong in the Lord.  What a wonderful topic to dig into.  I spoke three times, using Joshua 1:1-9, Nehemiah 8:10, and Ephesians 6:10-18 as my texts. The women I spoke to were to warm, open, and encouraging.

They fed us a delicious lunch before the final session, and then we were on our way back home. We stopped for supper before we all went our separate ways. The  weather was perfect for the entire drive, and the traffic was surprisingly minimal.  It just couldn’t have been a better weekend.

I love doing this type of thing.  It is a great privilege and a great responsibility to open God’s Word and teach it.  I do so with a lot of prayer and study.  Anyone who handles God’s Word in that way has to be answerable to Him for the the words he uses to teach the Word to others. How easy it is to make oneself the center, rather than the Word. How easy it is to misinterpret, misuse, and mislead.

I am so thankful for godly, biblically sound preachers, pastors, and teachers in my life who have taught me to reverence and respect the Word, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.


This morning I broke the 10,000 count in my stats.  That means my blog has had 10,000 views in just a little over a year.  I’m delighted!  Some bloggers manage to snag that many views in a very short period of time  because their content appeals to a much wider audience.  I knew it would take me while to get there, and I’m so glad it finally happened 🙂

Childhood Sexual Abuse: Generational Incest

Every week, as I prepare for these posts, I pray daily for guidance. I ask the Lord where I’m to go next, and He always shows me. Sometimes I go willingly. Today is not one of those days.  This time, I’m kicking and screaming because I DON’T want to study this; I don’t want to know any more than I already do; I don’t want to deal with it.

You will notice there are no illustrations this week.  No way in the world was I going to go looking for that.

But I have to write about it.  I know this is where He’s leading me this week. There are too many reasons to list here. It is enough to say that I have no doubt in my mind or my heart that I’m supposed to write about generational incest this week.  All I can do is pray that someone out there needs to read this; that doing so will help someone begin the painful process of healing and recovery; that the chain of incest will be broken by even one single person who says, “No more! It ends here!”

Incest is the practice of have sexual relations within one’s own family, with people that are related by blood  or by marriage.  It’s an ugly word.  We try to avoid it; we don’t think we know anyone that practices such evil, or who has been touched by it.

That’s one of the reasons it continues to exist.  It’s the elephant in the bedroom.  No one talks about it.  It stinks, and it takes up all the space. Doesn’t matter. It’s invisible, because most of the time we just simply don’t know what to do about it, so we do nothing. The suffering continues; the warped ideas about sex and sexuality continue; the evil continues.

When the Bible talks about the sins of the fathers being visited upon the third and fourth generation, it is not speaking of judgment or retribution for those sins.  It is speaking of the tendency for that sin to show up in succeeding generations (Exodus 34:7; Deuteronomy 24:16). Each generation holds the power to stop the chain, if only they will.

The Bible is very clear about incest. Don’t. Here’s a good place for you to start looking if you have any doubts about this:

Why does one generation that has been corrupted by incest then go on to corrupt the next generation?

Did you see the word corrupt?

Why does someone who has been bullied often turn around to bully someone else? Why does someone who has been verbally and emotionally abused for years turn around and find someone else to verbally and emotionally abuse?

We are sinners. It’s in our nature.  We may not be able to get revenge on the person who hurt us, but we can make someone else hurt the way we did, and so we do.  There’s no logic to it. For most of us, it’s a thoughtless behavior done in anger and hurt. One victim begets another.

Incest abuse survivors are so hurt, so full of distrust, and have such a warped view of themselves that it takes intensive and often long-term therapy to begin to identify the lies they believe, and that result in harmful behaviors like cutting, alcohol and drug abuse, and promiscuity.  The abuser lied to the victim, and used his lies to control the victim. When the victim hears these lies over and over from someone who is an authority in her life, she easily begins to believe them.

Here are three things to think about:

  1. The abuser uses lies to control his victim(s).The victims take the lies as truths… and  they build core beliefs about themselves and their world based on these lies and manipulations.
  2. The victim’s thoughts,  transformed by the abuse, are often warped out of context from the normal healthy world. Usually, these lies and deceptions  are carried forward into adulthood and affect relationships, sexuality, self-confidence, and quality of life.
  3. Thoughts that are unaltered by the abuse,  that are naturally occurring but haven’t been affected by the abuse, also develop into truths and can be carried into adulthood. These thought often affect authority figures in the lives of incest survivors; they also color the way a victim thinks of God and all things religious.  Often, the abuser has used the Bible to convince the victim to submit to the abuse.

It takes time and a knowledgeable, competent therapist who is experienced in this field to unbraid all the tangled thinking and emotions that result from incestuous abuse. I can’t begin to tell you how deeply this behavior changes people, and how lasting is the damage.

Early in my career as a counselor, I worked with a family in which the oldest boy, a fairly young teen, had been caught molesting his next younger sister.  There were many children, I don’t remember exactly, but at least nine or ten. As I worked with the oldest boy, I learned he had been introduced to porn at age 11 by his grandfather. Later, we learned that the grandfather had molested his own son, and the behavior was instilled in several uncles and cousins. It was a family-wide epidemic.  Before this family left my practice, four of the boys were in either Juvenile Detention or foster homes where there were no girls; the parents were in the process of divorce, and one of the uncles finally had the courage to press charges against the grandfather, whom I had never met.

I’m just about certain he had been molested as well, in his childhood, by his father, or uncle, or grandfather.

I’m pleading with you now. If you suspect, or know that such a thing exists in your own family or in the family of someone you know. please confront it; tell someone who can help you; get OUT of there as fast as you can.  Go to the police; go to Children and Youth Protective Services or whatever your state calls that agency; do something so that this evil of incest is stopped before it infects another generation.


A Facebook Forward

I said my final goodbye before heaven to my mom last July. This one got the tears flowing just a bit.

(There was a picture here that I couldn’t figure out how to transfer. Sorry.)

Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport as the daughter’s departure had been announced. Standing near the security gate, they hugged and the mother said: “I wish you enough.”The daughter replied, “Mom, our life together has been more than enough. Your love is all I ever needed. I wish you enough, too, Mom.” They kissed and the daughter left.The mother walked over to the window where I sat. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.I tried not to intrude on her privacy but she welcomed me in by asking, “Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?” “Yes, I have,” I replied. “Forgive me for asking but why is this a forever good-bye?”

“I am old and she lives so far away. I have challenges ahead and the reality is the next trip back will be for my funeral,” she said.

When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, “I wish you enough.” May I ask what that means?”

She began to smile. “That’s a wish that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.” She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail and she smiled even more.

“When we said ‘I wish you enough’ we were wanting the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them”. Then turning toward me, she shared the following, reciting it from memory,

“I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.

I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.”

She then began to cry and walked away.

They say it takes a minute to find a special person. An hour to appreciate them. A day to love them. And an entire life to forget them…
Suspended Coffees

In Heaven

“Our Father, which art in heaven.”  He is not only IN heaven: He is greater than heaven, higher than the heavens, above all the heavens.  He not only inhabits heaven, but is everywhere else as well. Heaven and earth cannot contain Him; He is the Creator of the universe, the stars and galaxies, the immense expanse of space.  Heaven is His throne (Ps. 103:19), and it is there that we must direct our prayer to Him.  We do so in recognition of Who He is.  

A couple of weeks ago, I heard a young man preach from Psalm 113.  He pointed out that God is high above all nations, and above the heavens.  There is nothing or no one higher than He. He is above His creation, He is above the arrogance of man, He is above the power of Satan. 

And yet. . . .He humbles Himself to look at things that are in heaven, and in the earth. He raises the poor from the dust, and lifts the needy out of the garbage heap to set them with princes. He takes care of the barren woman and makes her the joyful mother of children!

He is above the heavens.  Why, then, are we consumed with worry?  Why do we not understand that it is His world, His universe, His heaven; that His power is greater than anything or anyone, and the ultimate victory is His? 

Sometimes, working with a fearful, anxious client, I will play the “what’s the worst thing that could happen” game. 

“What’s the worst thing that could happen if the thing you’re worried about comes to pass?”

“Well, I could get really sick.  I might have to go to the hospital.”

“And what’s the worst thing that could happen if you go to the hospital?”

“Well, they may not be able to cure me, and I could die!”

“Are you a born-again believer?”

“Oh, yes!”

“What’s the worst thing that will happen when you die?”

“Uh, well, I, uh–would go to, um, heaven. . . . .”

See?  God’s got this. He’s got it.  Really. 

Our Father

Matthew 6: 9-13. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our FATHER, which art in heaven, Hallowed by Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 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.”

This beautiful, simple yet incredibly deep prayer is the pattern Jesus gave His disciples to help them to know how to address the Father.  He said, “After this manner,”  which means “following this pattern,” or “similar to what I’m about to say.”  There is nothing wrong with reciting this beautiful prayer.  The harm is when people believe that there is some mystical power attached to it, and that all we need to do is mouth the words and our prayers will be answered.

When we do that, it can become vain repetition, meaningless, nothing more than rote “prayer,” which is no prayer at all.

Today I want to start excavating the depths of this pattern prayer that Jesus taught.  There is so much in it that it will probably take several posts to work our way through it.

The first two words alone are rich, exciting, and challenging. “Our Father”!  The first thing that comes to mind, of course is relationship. We are privileged to address the God of Heaven in this intimate way only if we are indeed His children.  What does that mean?

To be a child of God is to believe Who He is; it is to agree with Him that we are sinful and in need of a Savior; it is to confess our sin to Him, seek His forgiveness, and accept Him as the only One Who can provide salvation.  That salvation comes through His Son, Jesus Christ, through Whom the final atonement was made on the cross.   A child of God is blood-bought, redeemed, put back into right standing; is joint-heir with Jesus to all that heaven holds; reconciled to a holy, sinless, pure beyond our understanding, loving, righteous, and gracious God Who could not look on His own Son as He bore the sin of the whole world in His own body on the tree. We are raised to eternity in heaven with Him through the resurrection of Jesus; we have the sure hope of eternity because He lives!

All that is implied and embodied in the first two words of this prayer.

I thought you might like to listen to the music. I’m not promoting Bocelli, or the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.  I don’t know if they know the Lord.  But as I listened to this, I couldn’t help but think that if human voices, perhaps some who don’t truly know God, can sing this beautifully, then what will it be like in heaven!

Vain Repetition

Matthew 6:7-8. “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them; for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.”


Jesus, the Teacher.  Wouldn’t you love to have been there, sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing all these new ideas that rocked the world of the scribes, Pharisees, and other religious leaders of the day?

Now, they’re being told that “vain repetition” in prayer is ineffective!

The word vain is from the Greek matane, and it indicates an attempt at manipulation that doesn’t succeed; emptiness, folly.  So it would seem that Jesus is saying that repeating words over and over  will not “work” in gaining God’s attention; it is a useless practice, because God does not need to be reminded, with our much speaking, of what we need.  Also, those vain repetitions become meaningless because the heart is not in the words. The repetition is often just a means to an end, and is not a true reflection of the heart of the one who prays.

Does that mean we should not pray repeatedly for something?  No! Indeed, in I Thessalonians 5:17 we are told to pray without ceasing. The meaning there is to continually be in a state or frame of mind to pray; and often, that praying will be directed toward a single need or desire of the heart.

On the other hand, vain repetition is empty, formality-fulfilling words being repeated over and over in an effort to reach the ears of, it would seem, an indifferent God.  Picture your toddler pulling on your skirt or  your hand and saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy” until you really want to run for cover.  That is vain repetition.  The child really doesn’t need anything; he simply can’t stand it if you’re not focused on him.  That’s not prayer, it’s manipulation.

See the difference?

To sum up these last four verses, Jesus reminds His disciples that the Father already knows what they need. He does not need to hear it a specified number of times. What He does need, I believe, is to know that the one who prays has followed Psalm 37:4: “Delight thyself also in the Lord, and He will give thee the desires of thine heart.”

When You Pray

Matthew 6: 5-6. “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men.  Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou has shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.”

My pastor used to take a knee beside the pulpit to lead the congregation in the Sunday morning opening prayer. The memory of seeing him do that still has the power to bring tears to my eyes.  Why?  Because it was humble; done humbly, to approach a sovereign God Who sees the hearts of those who pray. To my knowledge, no one ever accused him of praying as the hypocrites pray, so that they may be seen and revered by all men.

Maybe it’s difficult for us to imagine anyone standing on a street corner praying loudly. That’s not really done in our culture, except by someone who maybe isn’t operating with a full deck.  In Israel, a nation to whom God was  more than just a word, but was a daily reality in every moment of their lives, to pray publicly was not so unusual.

Remember that what Jesus is doing here is teaching his disciples to take their behavior as heirs to the kingdom one step beyond what was normal and typical. In the matter of prayer, that meant to retire into a private chamber instead of praying publicly; to be quiet and circumspect rather than to make a show of one’s spirituality.

Jesus said that public prayer done with great show and ostentation was hypocritical–operating under a mask.  Even done in the synagogue, where one might expect to find people praying publicly, there was a certain kind of prayer that was done more to gain kudos for the one who prayed than to honor God. Jesus says again, as in the previous passage, that these men have their reward–to be seen, to be given praise for their praying. When you consider the rewards of another kind of prayer, that’s really not much.

Instead of praying for appearance’s sake, we are to enter into our “closet.”  The Greek word is tameion, which is a room for privacy or retirement; a secret chamber.  This command is not an injunction against corporate prayer; it is simply a reminder that we are not to make a show of our faith in order to gain the praise of men.  When we have a deep burden or need in our hearts, we are to retire to a place where we won’t be disturbed; a place where we can be alone with God and seek His Presence in our hour of need. Private prayer, says Jesus, will be rewarded openly by God, Who sees into the hearts of those who pray.

There is another benefit of private prayer.  It will most certainly test your sincerity in praying without ceasing.  I find, for myself, that prayer is truly a discipline.  My mind wanders.  I am tempted to think of other things, tasks that need to be accomplished for the day, plans that need to be made, people I’ll be seeing in my office during the day. Public prayer is easy; one simply uses high-sounding words that impress the ear.  But private prayer, alone with God, is that which requires us to be honest. Sometimes there just aren’t words, and it is then that God hears our “groanings which cannot be uttered” (Romans 8:26). Sometimes it takes time, for me, at least, to reach a point in prayer in which the tears flow, the voice can no longer speak, and the words simply aren’t enough.

This is the prayer that God, Who sees us in secret, rewards openly with answers that often surprise us.  It’s hard work to pray like that, but the rewards are beyond our ability to understand.  It doesn’t surprise me that the term “prayer warrior” is often ascribed to an elderly person who can no longer minister in the same way as he did when he was younger. Now, his energy and focus is centered on prayer.  Secret, unassuming, and rewarded by God.