HOLDING GOD’S HAND .DOCX Trusting God Enough to Hold His Hand Through My Life’ s Daily Struggles
Prayer could be compared to holding God’s Hand. We are children, and God is our Father. The picture of being like small, weak, and needy children, reaching up to grasp the strong hand of our Heaven Father: is how Jesus presents the disciples with the need for prayer in their lives. PRAYER IS REACHING UP TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN In prayer we hold God’s Hand with one of our hands, and point to our struggles, one-by-one with our other hand. Prayer frames our lives with the changeless character of God. Prayer is not so much talking to God as it is talking with God. Prayer is the only means God left us to make sense of life, that is why it is the only choice we are to make ceaselessly. Prayer is when we connect the truths we know about God, with the realities we face in life. To start understanding this vital truth more clearly, go back with me to the birthplace of praying ceaselessly: it flows from Christ’s command that we pray “in this manner”. Today we are going to do an interactive study of what God’s character and attributes mean, and how we can reach out and actually hold onto God’s Hand as we walk through life facing each of our daily struggles: Even those struggles that will last for the rest of our lives. That manner, commanded by Christ is what we commonly know as the Lord’s Prayer. In the model prayer pattern that Jesus taught His disciples we find seven areas that need attention each time we pray: our focus, surrender, our connection, our cleansing, and so on. Our connection to God as our Father, flows from our new birth, when we were connected to God. The more we understand God, the stronger and more useful our side of the connection becomes. UNDERSTANDING OUR HEAVENLY FATHER Jesus invited His disciples to get to know God as their Father. He then taught them the central truths about God the Father’s character: He is All-Powerfully watching over creation, and also them. He is Always-Lovingly, caring for them. 2 He is All-Knowingly shaping their lives with His wisdom. He is Always-Present Everywhere, watching them. Then Jesus paused and asked them to reach up to their Father in prayer, expressing their truest and deepest needs to Him. Jesus was asking them, and by Scripture each of us also, to begin to Trust God Enough to Hold His Hand Through all of my Life’s Daily Struggles. That is how the Lord’s Prayer opens, addressed to our perfect God, our Perfect Father. GOD HAS ATTRIBUTES When you think of God think of a circle, within that circle are God’s attributes, or character, or His Name that we are to hallow. Each attributes is perfectly balanced and equally true of God, there is no conflict or canceling out of one attribute by another. God is absolutely, perfectly in Unity with Himself as displayed by His attributes. Watch this to understand God. GOD’S ATTRIBUTES ARE NOT ADDITIONS TO HIS BEING GOD IS NOT MADE UP OF A COLLECTION OF ATTRIBUTES GOD IS ONE GOD IN THREE PERSON WITH MANY ATTRIBUTES, PERFECTLY UNITED God is Love, God is Sovereign, God is Holy, and God is Almighty. He is each of those and all of those; and not more of one that any other. Perfectly balanced in every way is all of God. 3 So what are the attributes we see in Christ’s description of the One to Whom we pray? Look again at the Sermon on the Mount and remember our Father that we pray to. THE ATTRIBUTES OF OUR FATHER OUR ALL-POWERFUL FATHER ON THE THRONE OF HEAVEN: RULES THE UNIVERSE HE CREATED (MT. 5:16,34,45; 6:26) Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 5:34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 5:45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 6:26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Omnipotence: All-Powerful. Our All-Powerful Father is Sovereign Creator, Life Giver & Sustainer: He Controls all things, Holds all things together, Keeps us from perishing, Allows nothing to separate us from Him. Jesus asks us to Trust Him as our Father. He created every star, named each star, and keeps all the stars (Isaiah 40:26; Ps. 147;4) Psalm 147:4 (NKJV) He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Isaiah 40:26 (NKJV) Lift up your eyes on high, And see who has created these things, Who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, By the greatness of His might And the strength of His power; Not one is missing. He says nothing is too hard for Him (Lk. 1:37) Luke 1:37 (NKJV) For with God nothing will be impossible.” He will never let us perish or be plucked away from His Hand (Jn. 10:28-30) John 10:28-30 (NKJV) And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. 30 I and My Father are one.” He allows nothing to separate us from Him (Rom. 8) Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV) For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. He holds all things together (Col. 1:16-17) Colossians 1:16-17 (NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. He is able to keep us from falling (Jude 24-25) Jude 1:24-25 (NKJV) Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen 4 OUR ALWAYS-LOVING FATHER ON THE THRONE OF HEAVEN: UNDERSTANDS, FEELS OUR NEEDS, AND GIVES. (MT. 6:1,8,14,15,32; 7:11,21) Matthew 6:1 (NKJV) Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 6:8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. 6:32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 7:11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Love: Always-Loving. Our Always-Loving Father, Gives, Feels, Responds, and will never harm us. Jesus asks us to Trust Him as our Father He withholds no good things (Ps. 84:11) Psalm 84:11 (NKJV) For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord will give grace and glory; No good thing will He withhold From those who walk uprightly. He loves everything about us and always will (Jer 31:3) Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV) The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you. He works all of life together for good (Rom. 8:28) Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. He created us for good works (Eph. 2:10) Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. OUR ALWAYS-PRESENT FATHER ON THE THRONE OF HEAVEN: GOES WITH US THROUGH LIFE. (MT. 6:6,18) Matthew 6:6 (NKJV) But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Omnipresence: Always-Present. Our Always-Present Father Completely Stands With Us Everywhere: He has witnessed every event in our life and in our family tree all the way back, He knows each person in our life; and all those who influenced them. He has stood beside us through every thing that has ever happened to us. Jesus asks us to Trust Him as our Father. He has gone to everything with us every day of your life (Ps. 139:1-10; Mt. 28:20); Psalm 139:1-10 (NKJV) O Lord, You have searched me and known me. 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up; You understand my thought afar off. 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on 5 my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 5 You have hedged me behind and before, And laid Your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; It is high, I cannot attain it. 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. 9 If I take the wings of the morning, And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me, And Your right hand shall hold me. Matthew 28:20b (NKJV) and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. He knows our friends, parents, grandparents, and great-great-greatgreats…all the way back (Ps. 139:3b); Psalm 139:3b (NKJV) You are acquainted with all my ways. He witnessed our birth, our parent’s marriage, and everything ever spoken, thought, or felt (Ps. 139:16). Psalm 139:16 (NKJV) Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. OUR ALL-KNOWING FATHER ON THE THRONE OF HEAVEN: SEES & KNOWS EVERYTHING (MT. 6:4,9,18). Matthew 6:4 (NKJV) that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. 6:9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 6:18 so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. Omniscience: All-Knowing. Our All-Knowing Father Designed Us, Knows Everything About Us & Always Chooses the Best goals and the best means to those goals. Jesus asks us to Trust Him as our Father. He knows every fear, every anxious thought, and everything I think and feel (Psalm 139:3-4, 23) Psalm 139:3-4, 23 (NKJV) You comprehend my path and my lying down, And are acquainted with all my ways. 4 For there is not a word on my tongue, But behold, O Lord, You know it altogether. 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; He personally designed our hair, face, bones, organs, skills, limitations, family, social standing, musical, academic or athletic abilities (Ps. 139:13-16). Psalm 139:13-16 (NKJV) For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them. He plans for us a Future and a Hope (Jer. 29:11) Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 6 He orchestrated our parents, your home, your school, job, and family and has done so with a singular emphasis on working everything for good (Rom. 8:28) Romans 8:28 (NKJV) And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. PRAYER IS REACHING UP TO OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN Our All-Powerful Father & Creator that made, named, and holds the stars: wants you and me to hold His Hand. Our All-Loving Father & Savior who gives, feels, and responds to us: wants you and me to hold His Hand. Our Always-Present Father & Friend who has walked us through every day from our conception, and our ancestors through every generation: wants you and me to hold His Hand. Our All-Knowing Father & Guide who designed us to the last DNA strand, who made us for a singular purpose and will only choose what is best for us: wants you and me to hold His Hand. So as we stand with your eyes closed but your heart as open as you can make it to the One you address these words to: Matthew 6:9-13 (NKJV) In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On 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 do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.