Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Lord's Prayer and the 10 Commandments

I realized as I was praying The Lord's Prayer one morning that it is really a call to follow the 10 Commandments.  Here is how it came at me:

"Our Father, Who art in Heaven"

1st Commandment -  I am the Lord thy God; thou shalt not have strange gods before Me.

Right from the beginning of this prayer, He tells us who to worship. We have one Father, one God, albeit a Triune God. He is in Heaven, not here on earth in the form of a celebrity or money or fame or fortune.  Whatever your focus is on, that is what you worship. Where is your focus? Another way to put it is What's the one thing that you can't let go of? If it's not God, it's getting the way of your relationship with God.

"Hallowed be thy Name"

2nd Commandment -  Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain.

Most people think this commandment is just about swearing.  There's plenty of that going on in movies, television, and coming out of the mouths of teenagers (which probably means they heard it at home.)  It's more than that, though. It's about respect.

In the times of the Old Testament, if you uttered the name of God aloud, in any context, it was a death sentence. When you say, "Oh, my God!" or "I swear to God!" you are using His name loosely, without reverence. This is a big deal. Repeated use makes His name casual. Since when you say God you are calling on Him, you better have a better reason than you lost the reservations at your favorite restaurant.

If using His name casually should cause us concern, then using it to swear is even worse, and it's a habit we must break.

According to Our Lady, who appeared in 1846 at La Salette, France, she was struggling to hold back Jesus' arm for two reasons.  The first was because of the offenses against His Holy Name.

"If my people will not obey, I shall be compelled to loose my Son's arm. It is so heavy, so pressing, that I can no longer restrain it...The cart drivers cannot swear without bringing in my Son's name.  These (using Jesus'name in vain and not honoring the Sabbath) are the two things that make my Son's arm so burdensome." 

Here are some substations:  Good gad! Oh, my stars! My word! Better still, get clever. Liz Lemon of 30 Rock used to say, "What the what!" Not offensive at all, and kind of funny.

"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven."

So, what is His will?

3rd Commandment -  Thou keep holy the Sabbath day.

Another offense against God--the second half of Our Lady's message at La Salette, from Jesus.

"I have appointed you six days for working. The seventh I have reserved for myself. And no one will give it to me. 

In Egypt, the Pharaoh learned the hard way--through seven plagues--that God was serious about letting His people have the seventh day for worship. Dr. Tim Gray gives an excellent talk about this that makes it crystal clear what we should be doing on Sunday. He mentions that his family turns off the internet access on the Sabbath. I've been doing this as well, and it really helps keep my mind focused on what's important.

4th Commandment - Honor thy father and thy mother.

He gave us our parents. They aren't perfect, but it's His to judge, not ours.

5th Commandment -  Thou shalt not kill.

We don't have the right to take a life that God has given, including that of an unborn child, but it's more than that.

Words in anger can kill the spirit. Ask any child who's been verbally bullied or mocked.

VI  Thou Shalt not commit adultery.

Adultery kills a marriage. Casual sex kills the soul, slowly but surely. It objectifies the people involved, making them mere tools for sexual pleasure. Objectifying people is one of the favorite tactics of the enemy. Look at Communism.

"Give us this day our daily bread"

VII  Thou shalt not steal.

God gives us what we need. When we steal, it is a direct slap in the face to God. That includes stealing time from your employer by searching the internet and posting to Facebook when you should be working.

You can steal the glory that belongs to God by claiming it for yourself.

"And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.

VIII  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbors.

Gossip kills reputations. I can't imagine angels gathered around the celestial water cooler, gossiping about another angel. Yet we gossip and kill people's reputations loudly on Facebook. Why do we do it? Because we feel our opinion is justified. We need to smear this human being or politician (yes, they are separate species) in order to right a wrong. We feel they've given us offense by their words, their position, or their actions. And along the way, we fill in the details with conjecture instead of facts, make assumptions, and assign motives.

And of course there are lies.  The lies we tell about others to make ourselves seem more important. The lies we tell to revenge ourselves.  The lies we tell to get people to believe something that's not true to get their vote, to batter the opponent, to gain financially.

"And lead us not into temptation
But deliver us from evil."

IX  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife.

X Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods.

Quite often, we envy because we have our eyes on someone else's blessings and not our own.  Adam and Eve had almost everything, but they wanted the one thing that wasn't theirs to have, and so they tossed away all that God had given them, and in the process, lost everything.  That's what we do when we covet what doesn't belong to us.

Isn't it amazing how Jesus gave us everything we needed in order to follow Him?  The Lord's Prayer is a simple prayer, one many people know, and it's a path straight to Heaven, if we follow the instructions.

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