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Transformation Garden - January 30, 2019

Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:

“Don’t assume you know it all.  Run to God!  Run from evil!”

Proverbs 3:7
The Message.

EXPLORATION

“But deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6: 13
K.J.V.

“Evil” - Morally wrong. Causing injury, ruin or pain.

What do I think of when I hear the word, “evil”?

“Everyday the choice between good and evil is presented to us in simple ways.”

W. E. Sangster

INSPIRATION

“But whenever thou forgettest God, forthwith thou beginnest to devise wickedness and to commit iniquity.”

Cyril of Jerusalem

When I was growing up, the responsible adults in my life seemed to be constantly giving me pieces of advice, over and over again.  Here are a few of the instructions and admonitions I heard repeatedly:

            My Mom:        “Don’t touch the stove, it might be hot.”

                                    “Don’t play with matches, you might get burned.”

                                    “Look both ways before you cross the street.”

                                    “Don’t wear lots of makeup.”

                                    “Don’t talk with food in your mouth.”

            My Dad:          “Don’t drive too fast.”

                                    “A gun is a weapon of destruction. Never ever point a gun at

                                    yourself or anybody else. Period!”

                                    “Don’t ever take any pills or drugs someone offers you.”

                                    “Don’t talk to strangers.”

                                    “Never get in a car with someone you don’t know. And

                                    if they grab you, scream and run in the opposite direction.”

As you can readily see, the advice I got from my parents was well-meaning and frankly showed a lot of wise concern on their part.  I can tell you, many of these phrases I remember today because my parents repeated them over and over again.  When I heard these instructions as a kid, I’d go, “Yeah, yeah, you’ve told me that before.  I know.  I didn’t forget.”  But that didn’t stop my parents from continuing to remind me that some things were better not done.  What I concluded was repetitive parental bossy behavior was actually loving parental protective guidance.

It shouldn’t surprise you to find that God uses the same technique in protecting us from hurt and harm in our lives.  And yet, I know I’ve sometimes looked at God’s instructions as legalistic rules rather than a loving protective barrier meant to save me from untold pain.

As I looked at the phrase “Deliver us from evil” which is what we are studying today, I asked myself three questions:

            Question 1: What is evil?

            Question 2: Why do I need to be delivered from evil?

            Question 3: How can I be delivered from evil?

I’d like to share the answers I’ve found as I studied this portion of the Lord’s Prayer.

Question 1: What is evil?

Here are a few Biblical answers to this question.  The Apostle Paul in his letter to the young Timothy wrote, “The love of money is the root of all evil, which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6: 10, K.J.V.) The Prophet Isaiah called the people in his time evil doers because they, “had forsaken the Lord” (Isaiah 1: 4). I see a pattern developing.  Just like my parents repeated something over and over again, so God tells us in Isaiah that evil is “forsaking Him” and in Timothy we learn evil is anything be it money, greed, selfishness or even busyness – that causes us to “err from our faith” in whom?  In God!  Are you getting the bigger picture? I finally realized that what I thought was evil like murdering someone, or being unfaithful to your spouse or cheating and stealing – while it is evil behavior, these actions are the “fruit” of evil.  The root of evil is something much bigger and more insidious.  Evil is losing touch with God.  It’s me – Dorothy – thinking I can be good on my own.  It’s me losing my grasp on God.  It’s me, letting anything in my life separate me from God be it money, pleasure, or a person.  Gregory of Nyssa wrote, “Alienation from God, who is Life, is evil.”  But then he went on to give the cure for evil.  “The cure, then, of this infirmity is, again to be made friends with God, and so to be in life once more.”  The cure for me to stop doing evil isn’t to try to fix my behavior by myself, it is to daily attach myself to God and pray, “deliver me from evil.”

Question 2: Why do I need to be delivered from evil?           

Several years ago, a wonderful book was written by Bruce Wilkinson entitled, The Prayer of Jabez. The little volume is based on a prayer found in 1 Chronicle 4: 10.  This is another case of something being repeated in Scripture by God, just like good parents repeating good advice! In the New Testament Lord’s Prayer, we are taught to ask our Heavenly Father to “deliver us from evil.”  In the Old Testament, “Prayer of Jabez” we are told why we need to be delivered from evil, “and that thou wouldest keep me from evil, that it may not grieve me” (1 Chronicles 4:10). The word grieve in Hebrew can also mean, “hurt.”  I have read several translations of this verse. One says, “so that I don’t ‘hurt’ myself.”  Another, which I love says, “Keep me from evil so I do not cause pain.”  I think this is right on target.  Here’s how we can translate the verse now. “Keep me from evil – separating myself from You, dear God, so I don’t break Your heart, so I don’t hurt myself, and so I don’t cause others pain.” As Joseph Desmahis so perceptively noted, “We cannot do evil to others without doing it to ourselves.”  And I would add, without causing pain to our Heavenly Father, as well.

Question 3: How can I be delivered from evil?

The apostle John gives us this wonderful promise from the lips of Jesus: “Be of good cheer, I have overcome.”  As Sister Bernadine of Siena wrote, “The Name of Jesus is a standard in battle, that is, in the fight against evil.”

If you feel that you have to fight evil in your life, then I invite you to begin to pray the Lord’s Prayer and ask your Heavenly Father: “Deliver me from evil.”  Thankfully, it is a prayer that for you and me has already been answered.  In the words of John W. Wenham, “At the heart of (our) story stands the cross of Christ where evil did its worst and met its match.”   

“Keep us safe from ourselves and from the evil one.”

Matthew 6: 13
The Message
 N.I.V.           

AFFIRMATION

Lord’s Prayer

O God, we believe You are here.

We adore and love You with our

whole heart and soul because You

are most worthy of all our love.

We desire to love You as the Blessed do

in Heaven.

We adore all the designs of Your divine

Providence, resigning ourselves entirely to Your Will.

We also love our neighbor for Your sake

as we love ourselves.

We sincerely forgive all who have injured

us, and ask pardon of all whom we

have injured.

Dear Jesus, help us to spread Your

fragrance everywhere we go.

Mother Teresa

Your friend,

Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus

Dorothy@TransformationGarden.com

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