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The Scriptorium

Give, Forgive, Keep

Upward and onward in prayer. Luke 11.3, 4

Luke 11 (3)

Pray Psalm 147.1-3.
Praise the LORD!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
For it is pleasant, and praise is beautiful.
The LORD builds up Jerusalem;
He gathers together the outcasts of Israel.
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Sing Psalm 147.1-3.
(St. Ann: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
Praise God, for it is good to sing loud praises to the Lord!
With joy our songs of praise we bring to God and to His Word.

The Lord builds up His Church and He His people gathers in.
The broken hearts He tenderly repairs and heals their sin.

Read Luke 11.1-4; meditate on verses 3, 4.

1. What should we seek from the Lord?

2. What is required of us as part of that seeking?

Let’s remember that the general overall thrust of prayer is upward and onward – upward, to praise and honor and glorify God in whatever we pray; and onward to further His Kingdom and will on earth as in heaven.

So when we ask the Lord for our “daily bread” – the gracious provision of all our material needs – we do so that we might praise and thank Him the more and use every good gift He provides to further His rule of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. If we fail to give thanks for God’s daily bread, we short-circuit that aspect of our prayers, for the grace God grants us in His every good and perfect gift to make us more thankful and worshipful (2 Cor. 4.15). And if we do not use those gifts to further His Kingdom, then we will consume them upon ourselves and make them into idols.

Likewise, when we seek forgiveness of sins, it is that we might exalt the Lord for His goodness and love and, in so doing, be better equipped to forgive those who have sinned against us. The burden of sin lifted and the grace of God at work for restoration, the glory of God will be manifest, and His rule will advance in and through us.

And of course the purpose of the evil one is to deny praise to God and to thwart the progress of His Kingdom. The devil leads us into temptation, as we saw in Luke 4; God sustains and keeps us when temptation arises, that we might grow through temptation into more of the likeness of Christ, rather than fall through it into sin and disobedience.

Whatever God gives, whenever He forgives, and as often as He keeps us, it is that He might be praised and His rule might advance in and through us.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Give us day by day our daily bread.”
“Forgive our sins.”
“We forgive others.”
“Keep us from evil.”

To give is to freely transfer the possession of something to someone, and to cause or allow someone or something to have something. As God graciously and daily sustains us.

To forgive is to cancel a debt. An additional definition is to cease to feel resentment toward someone else.

Since God does not feel resentment, our forgiveness of others shouldn’t have anything to do with our feelings either; but rather everything to do with appreciation to God for the complete forgiveness He bestows upon us (Rom. 5.8). We, too, must cancel the debt of the perpetrators in our own lives. Feelings aside. It is a business transaction between us and God which has very little to do with the people who hurt and abuse us.

God cancels our huge debts. We cancel, likewise, the debt of others. All those extraneous feelings will simply wear us out and are clearly not a godly characteristic.

“Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities…” (Ps. 103.2, 3). Forgiven.
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1.9). Forgiven.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Eph. 4.32). We must forgive.

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3.13). We must forgive.

In the midst of these intense dealings with God about His forgiveness of us and our required forgiveness of others, His pervasive grace and mercy permeate the whole: He keeps and sustains us to do His work.
“The eyes of all look expectantly to You, and You give them their food in due season.
You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
The LORD is righteous in all His ways, gracious in all His works.
The LORD is near to all who all upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth” (Ps. 145.15-18).

Give. Forgive. And “keep…in perfect peace, [those] whose mind is stayed on You,

because [they] trust in You” (Ps. 26.3). And they also do what You require (Ps. 119.166).

For reflection
1. Why is it so important to give thanks to God for all our “daily bread”? What are we saying to Him if we don’t?

2. If we don’t forgive others who sin against us, should we expect God to forgive us? Explain.

3. When temptation confronts you, how can you find a way of escape into the safe keeping of the Lord?

In many places in Scripture we are commanded to cast all our cares on God, and he promises most liberally on his part that we shall want for nothing. Therefore in the exact rule for prayer, it was necessary that a request concerning the innumerable necessities of this present life should also be commanded. Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560), An Ecclesiasticall Exposition upon Saint Mathewe 6.8

Pray Psalm 147.6-13.
Thank and praise the Lord for all His daily blessings. Make a point to thank and praise Him throughout the day as He brings His blessings to mind.

Sing Psalm 147.6-13.
(St. Ann: Our God, Our Help in Ages Past)
The humble God exalts above; the wicked He casts down.
Sing thanks to this great God of love; let songs of praise abound.

He brings refreshing rain to earth and feeds the beasts so dear.
He puts in man’s strength naught of worth, but loves those who God fear.

O praise your God, Jerusalem, O Zion, praise the Lord!
He strengthens those who trust in Him with blessings from His Word.

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

You can learn more about grace, what it is and how it operates in and through us, by ordering a free copy of our book, Grace for Your Time of Need (click here).

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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