Lead Us, Deliver Us

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If you’ve been waiting to read what I’ll say about “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” so have I. It’s easy to get mired in the theology of the request, and I did. I referenced my notes from when I spoke on the Lord’s Prayer, but finally decided to simply talk about how I pray this for myself and others and leave the studying for your personal pursuit.

This may be the easiest and most passionate appeal we pray from the Lord’s Prayer—who doesn’t want to avoid temptation? It’s also a humble acknowledgement that, even when it’s the obvious choice, we need help to escape. In the previous verse we prayed for forgiveness. Now we pray that we won’t be in the position to again fall.

When Jesus told us to pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” He knew whereof He spoke. Two chapters earlier we’re told, “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil” (4:1, italics added). He knew the pain involved in resisting temptation.

“Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:18). Jesus knows, He helps, and sees the perfect purpose.

God tests us to build us up. Satan tempts us to tear us down. When the tests come, Satan will appear on the scene and tempt us to despair, bitterness, fear, anger, self-pity, unforgiveness.  Lord, “deliver us from the evil one.”

How better can we pray for the situation we’ve been bringing to God as we walk through the Lord’s Prayer? It is probable that the burden we carry stems from a yielding to temptation.

Father, please don’t lead my loved one into temptation, but deliver her (him) from the evil one. Open a way of escape. You are the Faithful One, ever-present to help in the time of trouble. Help this one who is dearer to you than she is to me and open her eyes to see your deliverance.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

 

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THE Lord is my Shepherd…

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I don’t have a Lord as my shepherd; I have the Lord as my shepherd. How unfathomable that the one and only, all-powerful God of the universe takes notice of me and desires to shepherd me! Other shepherds vie for leadership—common sense, feelings, fears, insecurity, the need for acceptance or accomplishment, resentment, the status quo—but the Good Shepherd invited me to follow Him. And, since He’s offering, I’m taking Him up on it. I choose Him, the Lord, to be my shepherd.

*Image compliments of espressoenglish.net

A Word for 2016

When I first picked a word for the year several years ago, I thought it was a sensible idea. I was tired of falling short on resolutions and thought a one-word focus would be inspirational. Practical. I didn’t know it was a “thing” — an idea that many were adhering to. I’ve been inspired by the one-words of others and wondered how far into the year their word has remained prominent. Mine seems to get lost mid-year. This year I’m tattooing it (on my brain) because I feel it’s a matter of survival. My word is (drum roll, please)… Higher. I see this as essential in three areas.

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I anticipate challenges in 2016 and I must look higher — higher than circumstances, fears, obligations, moods and melancholy tendencies. Help hovers above my challenges and I’ll only find it when I lift my eyes.

I lift up my eyes to the hills — where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip — he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you — the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm — he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. (Psalm 121)

I also want to live higher — higher ideals, standards, time investments. It’s one thing to relax and another to be sucked in by idle habits. So I made a reading list, lined up project possibilities, and deleted Candy Crush. I want to input stimulating, challenging, life-enhancing, higher ideals and ideas. I intend to cooperate with the purposes of God because I am

…confident of this, that he who began a good work in [me] will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 1:6)

I choose to respond to the higher longing in my heart. I want to hear the higher calling, take the high road, live on higher ground. I believe that is my destiny as God’s child and He will delight in bringing me there.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. (Habakkuk 3:19)

Feel free to check on me throughout the year and ask if my eyes, life and heart are on the high road. I invite you to take the journey with me.