When Jesus taught His disciples to pray He told them to say, “Our Father” [Matthew 6:9]. He did not say “Our Creator” or “Our King” although both would be correct. He said, “Our Father” highlighting the special relationship He has with His children.
He is our Father by creation – He made us. “We are His offspring” [Acts 17:28]. He is our Father by election – He chose us to be His children [Ephesians 1:4]. He is Our Father by special grace. The saved are said to be “born of God” [I John 3:9] therefore, they are the children of God, as opposed to the ungodly who are children of the devil [John 8:44].
God as our Father is full of sympathy for His children. “As a Father pitieth His children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him” [Psalm 103:13]. If a child has some infirmity or injury its father will pity it and sympathize with it. So does our heavenly Father show His love and compassion to us in our time of need.
We need fear no evil for God is our Father, Jesus is our Saviour and elder brother [Hebrews 2:11], and the Holy Spirit is our comforter [John 14:16].
As this is the beginning of a pattern prayer we are taught the correct order in intercession – Pray to the Father – through the Son, and – by the Holy Spirit. “He shall give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways” [Psalm 91:11] [From ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ by Thomas Watson].
THE CHRISTIAN AND GARDENING
In the city of Toronto, the average house has at least, a small garden. Travelling the streets, it is obvious that many people tend their gardens well and their lawns are neat, while others neglect and their lawns are a mess.
Some people are avid gardeners, with either a beautiful flower or vegetable garden, while others seem to have no interest in gardening at all. Each to his own. But there are some spiritual lessons to learn from a garden.
Dorothy Frances Gurney penned a hymn that contains these words; “One is nearer to God’s heart in a garden that anywhere else on earth.” Could this be true? At some time in the past the Lord decided to make the earth. We read “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made” [John1: 3].
God then made our first parents, Adam and Eve, and made a home for them, the Garden of Eden. We are told “that the Lord planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there put the man whom He had formed” [Genesis 2:8]. So it is obvious that a garden was the environment God intended for man. But sin put an end to Eden’s bliss and our first parents were driven out.
In the city almost everything we see is made by man – houses, buildings, roads, cars, trucks, electric poles etc. etc. But in a garden almost everything is made by the Lord – flowers, shrubs, vegetables, birds, animals – all of these contain life. No matter how hard man tries he cannot make life. Life comes from the heart of God. Dwelling on the wonder of flora and fauna certainly draws us closer to the great creator.
A beautiful garden brings glory to its owner. May we, as plants in the Lord’s garden, bring glory to His name because the beauty of Christ is upon us. A nice garden needs a lot of work. Some have the idea that Adam and Eve lived a life of luxury with no work to do, but that is incorrect. Adam was placed in Eden “to dress it and to keep it” [Genesis 2:15]. He had work to do for the Lord, and so have we.
THE PLEA OF LOVE
“O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God” [Hosea14:1]
The famous nineteenth-century Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, said that throughout the book of Hosea there is thunder, sometimes a low rumbling, sometimes peal on peal. We would expect the book to close with a fearful declaration of judgment on impenitent Israel but, surprisingly; it is the voice of pleading that we hear in the last chapter.
It is hard for God to watch people that He has loved and favoured to go on in their rebellion and be ruined. And it is hard for God to watch us, whom He has created, going astray to our own shame and loss. To stop Israel (and us) from going further away, God pleads most tenderly, “O Israel, return to the Lord thy God.”
Sometimes we become so taken up with the thought of the impending doom of the ungodly we forget that God is longsuffering and has no pleasure in the death of the wicked. The American evangelist D.L. Moody once allowed a young preacher called Henry Moorhouse to preach for him while he was away. When Moody returned he asked his wife how young Moorhouse was doing. She said the people liked him because he told them that God loved them. Moody was upset and felt that Henry Moorhouse was wrong. But when he heard for himself his attitude changed, and D.L. Moody’s preaching was never the same again. [Rev. Gordon Ferguson]