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The Disciples’ Prayer — a look at Matthew 6:9-13


The Discples’ Prayer (Matt 6:9-13)

Wayno Guerrini

Men’s Meeting:  June 22, 2015

Perhaps one of the most impossible tasks I have ever been asked to do, is to teach on the subject of the Disciples’ Prayer found in Matthew 6:9-13, in one lesson. One lifetime would be insufficient to do justice to this passage. It has been recited for centuries. Today it seems like meaningless babble against the backdrop and the incongruities of our age. This prayer is not a talisman. It is NOT a good luck charm. It is a model prayer.

Throughout this study unless otherwise noted, I will use the New International (NIV) version of the Bible. You may prefer another translation or paraphrase.

As Wiersbe, Warren W. (1989). The Bible Exposition Commentary. Colorado Springs, Co.: David C. Cook Publishing. Said: “It is worth noting that there are no singular Pronouns in this prayer; they are all plural. It begins with “OUR Father.” When we pray, we must remember that we are part of God’s worldwide family of believers.”

To misquote Sister Sledge (“We are Family”) . I got all my [brothers and] sisters with me.” We don’t think of ourselves as family. God designed interdependence into faith. Do you know of any “Lone Ranger Christians?” They probably aren’t walking in faith any more. Interdependence, a yearning to not be alone, is built into the very essence of mankind. What was the first thing that was pronounced as “not good” in the Bible? We don’t have to turn far. Genesis 2:18 provides the answer: “The Lord God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We were built for relationships. The prayer begins: “Our Father in Heaven.”

Hallowed be your name. Hallowed. We might think of Lincoln’s “hallow[ed] ground” from his Gettysburg Address.. Hallow is NOT the first part of Halloween! Hagiastheto in Greek. Holy. Sacred. Set Apart. Revered. God’s name is set apart. It is not something to be taken glibly. It is a name we speak with our lips. James tells us: With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! (James 3:10 The Message). Our mouths communicate what is in the heart. Do you realise that our hands, our very hands, have handled “The Words of Life.” Our hearts, our minds, our thoughts, our actions, our speech, our lives ought to reflect a reverence for God’s holiness. God tells us in Hebrews: without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14b NIV) Our ambition should be to pursue holiness. Not just mumble a prayer we have said a thousand times. We should stand in awe, that we are part of God’s family. We get to speak His name. We get to say: “Abba. Father.” (Mark 14:36)

Your kingdom come: As simple as it is, complex. By saying this, we acknowledge that we are subject to the rule of a King. The Kingdom of God, is NOT a Democracy. There are no Democrats or Republicans. Get over it! We eagerly anticipate the time when God will establish His rule and dominion over the new heaven and a new earth. (Rev 21:1) God makes the rules. Somewhere in Richards, Larry O. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional. Wheaton, Il.: Victor Books, he quotes someone as saying: “A Christian’s eyes gaze deep into eternity. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).  Our focus is not here. Our rewards are not on this rotating ball of boredom. Our focus is not earth bound. It must be shaped by a deep gaze into eternity. God’s kingdom will surely come. The poignant question is: are we prepared? Are we prepared today, to have God’s kingdom enter our lives, transform our hearts, and begin to share His love, mercy and compassion with others? Your kingdom come means we as a church, must by nature, be evangelical. We must extend the invitation God’s living word gives, to ALL.

Your will be done: Did you notice something in this prayer. There is no me-ism in in this model prayer. We are not here to “do our own thing.” We are here to glorify God in all that we do. God’s will. Not mine. God must have the singular priority in our life. There is no room here for self-sufficiency. We are subjects of the King. We take our orders from Him.

On earth as it is in Heaven: as above, so below (Matt 6:10 The Message). We affirm God’s authority over the earth, as His home in Heaven. There should be no difference what we do here on earth, since we are subjects of a King not of this world. As Richards, Larry O. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional. Wheaton, Il.: Victor Books,  aptly put it: “God does not want us to isolate ourselves from the people of this world. He simply wants to inoculate us against its values.” Our goal is Heaven. That is where our hearts, our treasure and where our King resides. Be a reflection of God’s mercy and compassion to other people. We are the only Gospel someone may experience. We MUST stand out amidst the growing apostasy of this world, and be set apart.

Give us today our daily bread: As the song from Godspell says: “Day by day Oh Dear Lord. Three things I pray. To see thee more clearly . Love thee more dearly Follow thee more nearly Day by day.” Proverbs says it best: “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord? Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonour the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:7-9 NIV). Necessities NOT luxuries. Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,” (Hebrews 13:5 NASB). Sure, I’d like a new car. But you know, my 20 year old Buick works fine. I am content, with what I have. Contentment and delay of gratification, are 2 of the hardest things to learn, not only as a child, but as an adult.

Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. (2 Cor 416 NASB). Our walk is daily. It is not sitting in a pew one hour a week, and listening to the Pastor preach. We are to walk with God, every day. Our dependence is on God alone for our daily needs. God give us day by day, what we need. Nourish not only our bodies, but our souls and our spirit, that we may be quick to act at your command.

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.’
Forgiveness. It almost implies a work. It doesn’t. It means, that we are to forgive those who sin against us, the very same way that God, has already forgiven us. There is some bad theology going around that says: Forgiven means Forgotten. NOT! (ibid Richards, Larry.) As Chuck Swindoll says: “Forgiveness means God chooses NOT to hold our past against us.” We must do the same. Matt 5:24 (NASB) says: “leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.” For further study: Matthew 18. 1 John 1:9 tells us confidently: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)”

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matt 6:13 NIV): God does not tempt anyone. 1 Cor 10:13 is very clear: No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (NIV) This petition is that we that we would not go down the path of temptation. How do we do this? Proverbs 3:5-6 is the answer: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (NASB)

I have a friend who struggles with pornography. He said: “I just find myself going into the store to look. I can’t help it. I am weak.” He is right. But sometimes the solution is as simple as finding a new way home so he avoids going near the store. That means extra time and effort on our part. Another important aspect of avoiding temptation, is accountability. Small groups provide a safe environment, so that we can obtain the support, help and prayer that we need.

Right now you are asking, what is accountability? Why, then, criticise your brother’s actions, why try to make him look small? We shall all be judged one day, not by each other’s standards or even our own, but by the standard of Christ. It is written: ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God’. It is to God alone that we have to answer for our actions. (Romans 14:10-12 JB Phillips)

I like this from Chuck Swindoll on accountability:

What do we mean by accountability? In the simplest terms, it is answering the hard questions. Accountability includes opening one’s life to a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants who speak the truth—who have the right to examine, to question, to appraise, and to give counsel.

People who are accountable usually have four qualities:

Vulnerability—capable of being wounded, shown to be wrong, even admitting it before being confronted.

–a willingness to learn, being quick to hear and respond to reproof, being open to counsel.

—accessible, touchable, able to be interrupted.

Honesty—committed to the truth regardless of how much it hurts, a willingness to admit the truth no matter how difficult or humiliating the admission may be. Hating all that is phony or false.

That’s a tough list! As I look back over those four qualities, I am more than ever aware of why accountability is resisted by the majority. Those with fragile egos can’t handle it. And prima donna types won’t tolerate it. They have a greater desire to look good and make a stunning impression than anything else. I mean, “the very idea of someone probing into my life!”

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not suggesting for a moment that accountability gives the general public carte blanche access to any and all areas of one’s private life. If you will glance back a few lines you will notice I referred to “a few carefully selected, trusted, loyal confidants.” They are the ones who have earned the right to come alongside and, when it seems appropriate and necessary, ask the hard questions, to serve in an advisory capacity, bringing perspective and wisdom where such may be lacking.

In our society, where privacy is a reward of promotion and a life of virtual secrecy is the prerogative of most leaders, a lack of accountability is considered the norm. This is true despite the fact that unaccountability is both unwise and unbiblical, not to mention downright perilous!

Today we need others to hold us accountable. Sometimes an objective opinion will reveal a blind spot. Sometimes we may simply need a sounding board to help keep us on target. Just remember—not one of us is an island. We need one another.

For Yours is the kingdom and the power the the glory forever. Amen. (NASB)

John H. Sammis in 1887 said it best:

Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.

But we never can prove the delights of His love
until all on the alter we lay;
For the favour he shows, for the joy he bestows,
Are for them who trust and obey.

This prayer is NOT about me. It is about the Kingdom. It is wilfully submitting to the Lordship of Christ in our live. Perhaps you have not trust Christ as saviour. He will come into your life, if you open the door to your heart. “Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I’ll come right in and sit down to supper with you. (Rev 3:20 The Message)


Mediation on the Lord’s Prayer

Lord, I cannot say “Our”…
if my religion has no room for other people and their needs.

Lord, I cannot say “Father”…
If I fail to resemble You in the way I live my daily life.

Lord, I cannot say “Who art in Heaven”…
If my attention is focused only on earthly things.

Lord, I cannot say “Hallowed by the name”…
if I who am called by your name am not holy.

Lord, I cannot say “Thy Kingdom come”…
if I fail to acknowledge your sovereignty in my life.

Lord, I cannot say, “On earth as it is in Heaven”…
unless I am truly ready to serve You here and now.

Lord, I cannot say “give use this day our daily bread”…
without doing an honest day’s work, and without considering the needs of those less fortunate.

Lord, I cannot say “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”…
If I harbour a grudge against my brother or sister.

Lord, I cannot say “Lead us not into temptation”…
If I deliberately choose to remain in a situation where I am likely to be tempted.

Lord, I cannot say “Deliver us from evil”…
If I am not prepared to take a stand against injustice in my society.

Lord, I cannot say “Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory”…
If I do not submit to Christ as King, if I fail to trust You to act in my life, or if in pride, I see my own glory.

Lord, I cannot say “Amen”…
unless I can honestly say, “Come what may this is my prayer.”

Adapted from “Lamplighter,” Speedway Christian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana
Richards, Larry O. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional. Wheaton, Il.: Victor Books, page 648.

Christian Perspective on Bruce Jenner’s sex reassignment


My Response to “Why I Think Caitlyn Jenner is a Hero”

Jenner’s issues are much deeper than gender dysphoria.

He believes the lie, like many with a world milieu.

Self Worth = my performance + other people’s opinions

Problem is, both vary.

I believed the lie for many years. I spent years reshaping my self-esteem, based upon God’s love for me by sending his Son to pay for your sin and my sin. Any sin, short of rejecting the message of the Holy Spirit (you can not separate the Word of God, from the Spirit of God), can be forgiven. Murder? Forgiven. Adultery? Forgiven. Sex re-assignment? Forgiven.

The bigger issue is God’s omniscience (knows everything) and omnipotence (controls everything). Jenner openly declares: “I am master of my soul and body, not you, God.” That my friend, is idolatry. One doesn’t glorify or declare idolatry as acceptable. That is apostasy. None of us are immune.

We are offered 2 choices: condemn or condone? Neither is correct. We offer charity. to whomever God brings into our life.

As we become closer to Christ through prayer in the inner chamber, we begin to see God’s glory. Andrew Murray’s “The Prayer Life” was transformational. (About a 4 hour read.) I was convicted of my prayerlessness between the 2nd and 3rd paragraph.

Choose to be close to God. Make no apologies.

My dear friends, don’t let public opinion influence how you live out our glorious, Christ-originated faith. (James 2:1 The Message)


The Purpose of Prayer

The editor of our monthly newsletter has asked me to write articles on prayer. Here is the first installment. I am limited to 300 words. This is tough!


Many Christians see prayer as a chore. It is ritualised. We say words that have no meaning. They seem to go no further then the ceiling. Our minds are stuck. We cry out to God when it’s convenient, or we’re desperate.

Our prayer life does not have to be this way. Prayer is talking to God. What do we talk about? It was hot. I had a hard day. I need money. I’m lonely. All of these. Isaiah reminds us: “Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short That it cannot save; Nor is His ear so dull That it cannot hear.” (Isaiah 59:1 NASB)

Let’s get back to the purpose of prayer. There are 2 things to learn. The purpose of prayer is talking and communicating with God. As we begin to be transparent in our prayer life, we discover the same thing about prayer that author C.S. Lewis tell us: “Prayer changes ME!”

How has prayer changed your life? When you pray for someone, a friend perhaps, do you just say: “Lord, please bless so and so.” Prayer requires us to invest a little time in the life of another. Can you pray for someone without using the word bless? You can if you take a moment as our Pastor demonstrates to us in asking: “How can I pray for you today?”

Our focus in prayer is NOT me. It should be on advancing the Kingdom. “Thy will be done.” Not ours. What is your agenda in prayer? Is is to get your needs met, or do we say: “Lord I’m available to you today. Please use me, and grant me your grace and your wisdom, so I can be a reflection of your mercy and compassion to others.”

A Christian Perspective on Homosexuality

Originally published, October 24, 2011

I do NOT represent any ecumenical or organised church’s position. These are my own personal beliefs, and no one else’s. They are what I feel. You are free to disagree. I have been a Christian for over 40 years now, and I hope that this paper both teaches, and edifies. These are my own principles and guidelines.

As Christians, we do not have the luxury of picking scriptures we think are good while ignoring others with which we do not agree. I affirm, that I believe the Bible is the living and true testament of God, given as a love letter, to his followers. It is the FINAL authority. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us “ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. So that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NIV)”

Let’s start with a definition. What is homosexuality? Homosexuality is the sexual attraction of 2 individuals of the same sex, for the purposes of sex and/or romance. In and of it self, it seems innocuous, and is very prevalent in our society today, especially with the repeal of Don’t ask, Don’t tell.

It is true that hospitality in middle eastern countries is important. Some have told me the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was a lack of hospitality. Why is it then, sodomy is NOT a word which means a lack of hospitality?

What does the Bible have to say about homosexuality? The old testament (the holiness code from Leviticus chapters 18 and 20) scriptures are clear on the subject. In addition the New Testament also weighs in:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.

27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:26 NIV)

Other New Testament references are in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, and 1 Timothy 1:8-10.

Consider for a moment:

“Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly beloved children and live a life of love just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or course joking, which are out of place but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure: no immoral impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words. for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them.” — Ephesians 5:1-7 (NIV)

In the passage from Ephesians above homosexuality was equated with idolatry. Homosexuality worships the creation, ahead of the Creator. It puts the creature before the Creator in priorities. As I have listened over the years, a person’s identity becomes sexualized, before it can be submitted to God. Homosexuality misses the mark, because it puts something ahead of God in our priorities.

Some people view HIV/Aids as proof that God hates homosexuals. This could NOT be further from the truth. God hates sin (disobedience) and out of his loving kindness towards us says: Don’t do this.

Even Pope Francis has jumped on the bandwagon saying: “If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”

Is the Pope infallible? Again what does scripture say:

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (2 Tim 4:3)

Jesus’ teaching in Mark 10:6 is very clear:

6 “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female.’7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Jesus’ remarks are un-mistakable. Marriage is between one man and one woman. It was this way at the beginning of creation.

We are faced with many dilemmas in our modern society. We are confronted everywhere with sexuality and sexism, and me-ism! Should we shun these people? Do we avoid them? What should be our response to a society that tells us this is the right way to go?

Do we condemn, or condone? That seems to be the choices the church offers us today. Neither is correct. We offer charity. I have offered my hand in friendship to many who our on society’s fringes. Homeless, Alcoholics, Addicted, Gay, HIV/AIDS, the outcasts, the rejected, the forgotten elements in our society.

Through me, and my life, I have a place in the ministry to others. Not by people seeing my mouth flapping. By people seeing my life working. We are the only testament someone will read. How important is it to have Christ’s compassion indwell us, so that we can minister to those in need? My mouth will not convince anyone of God’s love. My life, will.

How is your life working these days? Does it send a warm inviting tone to people, or are they blasted away through our judgemental attitude and prejudices? Make it a priority in your life to be amongst those who bless people, (Romans 12:14) and don’t curse them.

Gay people are invited to listen, and to learn. But they should not be put in any leadership, teaching, or worship related functions in the church. Communion MUST be off the table, because of an unregenerate heart.

James 3:1 tells us: Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

Teaching is a privilege. I am divorced. The restrictions placed on me, was that if I wanted to continue to teach, I could never re-marry. For the sake of Christ and the love of the saints, I continue this way, because no sin is without consequence. This is the price I paid for divorce. Dr. Charles Stanley has the same restriction.

Let our lives extend an invitation to all the world.

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” (Matt 5:14-15 NIV)

For further consideration: 40 Questions for Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags


Addendum June 1, 2015

I have seen this posted several times on Facebook.


I’d like to respond. Slavery is a presumption in the Bible.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey–whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? (Romans 6:16 NIV)


Were you a slave when you were called? Don’t let it trouble you—although if you can gain your freedom, do so. 22 For the one who was a slave when called to faith in the Lord is the Lord’s freed person; similarly, the one who was free when called is Christ’s slave. 23 You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of human beings. 24 Brothers and sisters, each person, as responsible to God, should remain in the situation they were in when God called them. (1 Cor 7:21-24 NIV)

Suicide is Painless — A Christian Perspective

I. Introduction

Suicide is Painless

through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…

The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.

The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…

A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
‘is it to be or not to be’
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’
and you can do the same thing
if you please.

‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
© Columbia/CBS Johnny Mandel (music) / Mike Altman (lyrics)

Each of us knows someone who has committed suicide or attempted suicide. It is no longer a passing fancy. 30,000 people every year. (2001 data from One person commits suicide or attempts suicide every minute. People choose to end their life early, because of seemingly insufferable physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial or spiritual pain. None of us are immune to the beckoning call to short circuit life’s miseries. Perhaps most recent in the minds, is the suicide of actor Robin Williams. We are not here to debate the efficacy of this final curtain call. We are here to remind Christians of their intrinsic heritage and worth.

II. Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?

Some Christian’s believe that suicide is the unpardonable sin mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew:

 “The man who is not on my side is against me, and the man who does not gather with me is really scattering. That is why I tell you that men may be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. A man may say a word against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come!” (Matt 12:30-32 J. B. Phillips)

Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. 28 Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28 The Message)


Simply, there is NO sin, including suicide that Jesus didn’t die for (past, present or future) that you can name. Taking God’s name in anger? Forgiven. Murder? Forgiven. Prostitution? Forgiven. Suicide? Forgiven. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is rejecting the “Wooing of the Spirit” as Dr. Charles Stanley so aptly puts it. If a person wilfully rejects the message of the Holy Spirit, this is the unpardonable sin. In the end, God grants the individual his desire to be eternally separated from him. “God’s choice is to let man decide their own eternal destiny, because the invitation is given to all.” (Richards, L. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Il. Victor Publications)

Doesn’t the Bible say you shouldn’t kill? There’s a commandment about that. No, the commandment from Exodus says: “You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13 NIV) Soldiers kill the enemy. Murder is the WILLFULL pre-meditation of taking the life of another.

Further proof, is left as an exercise for the reader to perform.

III. Eternal consequences of Suicide (lose rewards)

Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad – for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way. (Matt 5:12 J. B. Phillips)

Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.. (James 1:12 The Message)

You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.

I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Message)

The Christian that commits suicide forfeits any rewards God would have bestowed upon them, because they did NOT finish the race. The eternal consequences are unfathomable. Remember our rewards are in Heaven, for the life we lived as the ambassador of Christ.

What about Jesus’ life. Jesus said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV) Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father. But what would have been the eternal consequences if Jesus had said: “My life is meaningless. I am going no where. This suffering has no purpose. I’ll take the easy way out and commit suicide.” Stop! Let that sink in for a moment.

What would have been the eternal consequences of suicide? if Jesus had committed suicide, to avoid Cavalry’s cross?

  • Mankind would still be lost.
  • Mankind would still be in sin.
  • Old covenant sacrifices – sin NOT atoned (paid for); it would only be covered.
  • No Holy Spirit to guide us.
  • No mediator between God and Man.
  • No eternal life. (John 3:16)

Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God. (Heb 9:15 The Message)

IV. What gives our life value? (Relationship with the Creator of the Universe)

“Relatively few of us experience the blend of contentment and godly intensity that God desires for each person. From the outset, we find ourselves on the prowl, searching to satisfy some inner, unexplained yearning. Our hunger causes us to search for people who will love us. Our desire for acceptance pressures us to perform for the praise of others. We strive for success, driving our minds and bodies harder and farther, hoping that because of our sweat and sacrifice, others will appreciate us more.

But the man or woman who lives only for the love and attention of others is never satisfied — at least not for long. Despite our efforts, we will never find lasting, fulfilling peace if we have to continually prove ourselves to others. Our desire to be loved and accepted is a symptom of a deeper need — the need that often governs our behaviour and is the primary source of our emotional pain. Often unrecognised, this is our need for self-worth.” (Mc Gee, R. (1992). The Search for Significance Devotional, Houston, Tx. Rapha Publications, page 16)

  • “God doesn’t really care about me.
  • I am an unlovable, worthless person. Nobody will ever love me.
  • I’ll never be able to change.
  • I’ve been a failure all my life. I guess I’ll always be a failure.” (op cit. Page 14)

What about suffering? This may be one of the most important values of suffering.  If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return?  If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God?  If life on earth were without trials or persecution, how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease?

As Peter said, suffering does have value.  It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.” (Richards, L. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Il. Victor Publications, pages 1108-1109)

I am reminded of the true story of my friend Ian. It was the first time I had ever visited Tucson, back in 1996. The last night I was with Ian, I said, “Ian, I want to ask you a very hard question.  It is hard for me to even ask this question.  You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”

“I’ve seen you suffering with this affliction, and there is nothing I or medical science can do to alleviate your condition.  You WILL die. Ian, what has stopped you from putting a gun to your head, and ending it all?  The words just spilled out of my mouth.  I gasped.  I thought,  “Oh my God, what did I just say to him?”

Without hesitation, Ian said, “Because I know that God will heal me. Either in this life, or the next.”  Ian received the ultimate healing a few weeks later.  He understood the value of his relationship with God, EVEN through a time of great adversity. He never gave up. He refused to take the easy way out, even though his body was racked with pain.

Suicide is:

  • The belief that God is NOT omniscient (knows everything).
  • God is NOT omnipotent (in control of everything).
  • God is NOT omnipresent (God is everywhere).

If a person talks about suicide: take it seriously. If they joke about suicide: take it seriously. Eternity is in the balance.

Many suicidal people I have talked to, feel that they have no value; no self-worth or self esteem. They believe the lie: self-worth = my performance + other people’s opinion.

God is able to offer succour to anyone who trusts in Him. God does NOT bring us to Disneyland in the midst of a trial. God provides just enough shade, a broom tree, so that we can rest and go one more step.

Our performance and others’ opinions will always fluctuate. We need to anchor our beliefs in something far deeper than man’s opinion. Because Jesus didn’t short-circuit God’s will, and died on the cross for you and for me, this is what happens the moment we become a Christian:

  • All your sins are forgiven: past, present, and future. (Col 2:13-14).
  • You become a child of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:15)
  • You receive eternal life (John 5:24).
  • You are delivered from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kind of Christ. (Col 1:13)
  • Christ comes to dwell with you (Col 1:26; Rev 3:20).
  • You become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
  • You enter into a love relationship with God (1 John 4:9-11)
  • You are accepted by God (Col 1:19-22)

(op cit, page 187)

This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. (1 John 4:9-11 The Message)

Let’s personalise scripture. Let’s change John 3:16 to this:

 “This is how much God loved [ME]: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that [I should NOT] be destroyed; by believing in him, [I] can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling [ME] how bad [I] was. He came to help, to put [ME] right again. [IF I TRUST] in him [I WILL BE] acquitted; [BUT IF I] refuse to trust him[, I WILL CONTINUE BEING] under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of [MY] failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when [I AM] introduced to him.” (John 3:16-20 The Message)

We have a choice. We can build our self-esteem on our performance and other’s opinions, or begin to reshape our self esteem, based upon Christ’s atoning (payment in full) sacrifice to buy you and me back from “the wages of our sin.” (Rom 6:23)

What does the Bible say about Suicide:

But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:28 New Living Translation)

“Suicide does not end the chance of life getting worse. It eliminates the possibility of it ever getting better.” – anonymous


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255

Depression FAQ

Precious Gifts

We hear the word “precious” bantered around like it is something ordinary. We might hear: “Oh doesn’t so-and-so look precious?” The word seems pedestrian. We hear it everywhere.

I like this definition of precious: (from

(something) highly esteemed for some spiritual, non material, or moral quality:

It is uncommon. It is exceedingly rare.

This past week, I realised I had two very distinct precious gifts.

A person who is part of my extended family was ill. He came home from the hospital, to die. We didn’t know when, but was certain that we had a few days. He came home on a Friday. Despite all, we had a great evening, enjoying each others company. The next day, Saturday, we also enjoyed a wonderful (awe filled) day. He wanted sausage. I went home to prepare the peppers and onions that would accompany the meal. He didn’t eat a lot, but as I jokingly said, he always ate with gusto. He savoured every morsel. It was time to rest. He was having difficultly moving, so his wife called me to help him back to bed. A few hours later, he had passed. No lingering illness. No suffering. He was gone.

The Bible says:

“Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful servants.” (Psalm 116:15 NIV)

While I was saddened at the loss of a dear friend, I realised that God had given me a great honour. I was privileged to help prepare the last meal he would eat on this earth. While I wasn’t there physically when he passed, I knew that he was safely in the arms of our beloved Saviour.

Exactly a week later, I was visiting a friend who is severely autistic. I have high functioning Autism. I share a kindred bond with other Autistics, that Neuro-Typicals (our name for people who are NOT on the Autism Spectrum) would not understand. One of the other residents there, a non-verbal Autistic, had been seated in the living room. He enjoys playing with toys, and I asked the staff if it would be okay if I gave Michael a toy. They said it would be fine. As I carefully placed the toy in his lap, he took my hand in his. He looked at me, then carefully took my hand, and kissed it. People with Autism are usually poor at non-verbal communication. This simple act communicated volumes. God had again bestowed, a precious gift.

“The closer we are to the Lord, the more likely He is to commit precious things and precious people to our care. Let’s love him deeply, that we might be privileged to serve our Lord as John served Christ.”

Richards, L., (1990). The 365 Day Daily Devotional, pg 810, Wheaton , Illinois: Victor Publications

Depression and Christianity: A look at 1 Kings 19

depression by shawn lindsey

depression by shawn lindsey

Depression and religion seem an unlikely pair. If we look closely, we find one of God’s prophet’s doing battle with this malady.

Depression is NOT a passing blue mood or a downturn in emotions. Its grip can affect those who seem least likely to battle this silent disease. How many of us suspected Robin Williams would succumb to depression and suicide? No one, is immune. Not even a prophet of God.

Let’s back up for a moment and set the scene. In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah called down fire from Heaven to consume the sacrifice offered to Baal (an idol.) Instead of riding the high of success, we see in the next chapter, Elijah was fleeing for his life. 1 Kings 19:3 says:  Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.(niv)

while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. (1 Kings 19:4-5 niv)

Depression gripped God’s prophet. On the heels of a success, we often find ourselves in the depths of despair. Elijah prayed that he might die. The bush that Elijah lay under was a broom tree. As we learned from past studies, that’s just enough shade to get out of the blast heat for a moment. A pause to take one more breath. One more step.

Let’s look at God’s response: All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. (1 Kings 19:6 niv) Would you notice something? God did NOT scold Elijah for being depressed and wanting to die. Instead God provided an angel that said to him: Get up and eat. Depression interrupts daily lives. We lose strength and interest in the events of the day. Our busy lives demand constant attention. The first principle we learn: we need to pause and replenish our strength with food, water, and rest.

It was not until Elijah was refreshed with food and rest, that God finally gave him his marching orders: MOVE OUT! But what did he do? He hid in a cave. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too. (1 Kings 19:10b niv)

Does God yell at Elijah for being fearful once again? NO! Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:13b) The second principle: Don’t assume everything is okay. Gently ask, “How can I pray for you?” It takes an investment in time in the life of another, to pray intelligently for someone WITHOUT using the word: bless! How much time are you investing in others lives to help them meet their goals, ambitions and dreams? James 5:16 tells us the prayers of a righteous man are powerful AND effective.

Like Elijah, we can feel like ‘we are the only one left.” Isolation breeds loneliness; Loneliness breeds despair. The vicious cycle repeats over and over again. We believe the old formula:

self-worth = my performance + other people’s opinions

Never realizing our self-worth is based fully upon the value Jesus Christ gave to our lives through His death upon the cross at Calvary. Our focus is outward; not inward.

Depression has many faces. It is NOT the result of sin. It is hidden from view. Sequestered from sharing. God’s prophet was depressed and wanted to die. Reach out to those around you. Become entangled with their dreams. Carry them in prayer during times of adversity and despair. Mountaintops become meaningless without the valleys.

The third and final principle: God often reveals himself in the resolutely insignificant. An encouraging word from a friend. A smile from a stranger at the store. The back-and-forth banter with the grocery clerk. A shared meal. We expect God to move in big ways — but often he chooses random acts of kindness to remind us of His presence. One of the greatest promises we fail to claim is Hebrews 13:8. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (niv)

Let’s grow deeper in our relationship with God and others. This is NOT a contest to see who can rack up the most likes on their Facebook page. It is a battle for the hearts, minds and souls of your neighbour.

Change a mind about mental illness:

and you can change a life.


National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) (800) 950-6264 (toll free)

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (800) 273-8255 (toll free)

Veteran’s Crisis Line (800) 273-8255 (toll free) PRESS 1

Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness

This is a quote from the Jerry S. Cook book by the same name. I was surprised that I could not find it anywhere on the internet.

“Brother, I want you to know that I’m committed to you. You’ll never knowingly suffer at my hands. I”ll never say or do anything, knowingly, to hurt your. I’ll always in every circumstance seek to help your you and support you. If you’re down and I can lift you up, I’ll do that. Anything I have that your need, I’ll share with you, and if need be, I’ll give it to you. No matter what I find out about you and no matter what happens in the future, either good or bad, my commitment to your will never change. And there’s nothing your can do about it. You don’t have to respond. I love you, and that’s what that means.”

Jerry S. Cook Love, Acceptance, & Forgiveness, (Ventura CA: Regal Books, 1979) p. 13

Pastor’s Pen — Psalm 22

DHBC Newsletter April 2014

Pastor’s Pen~

When my thoughts turn to Resurrection Sunday, my mind often thinks of Psalm 22. You may remember the text. David pens his emotions and these same words are repeated by Jesus as he is hanging from the cross. These words were written in the Psalms hundreds of years before Jesus was even born. The Words are filled with intensity. These verses reveal the pain and agony of what they both faced- David as he struggles with his enemies and Jesus as he hangs on the cross, about to die for the sin(s) of humanity.

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning? Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our fathers trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried and were rescued; in you they trusted and were not put to shame. Psalm 22:1-5

Do you relate to those verses and have you had those feelings of perceived abandonment? Did the feelings that David expressed resonate with you? Being forsaken by friends, family and God is a weighty issue. Notice that David comes around, as he usually does, and acknowledges the holiness of God. R.C. Sproul states; “That before anyone can know God – they must know that God is holy.” He is holy and we are not! Do you recognize the holiness of God daily? The groaning and crying of David was a real feeling when he hadn’t yet received an answer from God. But was it real? At that point, David returns his thoughts back to God’s holiness in the following verses that he wrote, which are so familiar to all of us- Trust and Deliverance. Both of these words should bring us comfort as we look toward Resurrection Sunday on April 20th. When we trust Christ we are delivered from God. We are saved from His wrath. He no longer see our sins, instead He sees the finished work of Christ, who has taken our place.

Touching lives and building meaningful relationships must be important on Resurrection Sunday and every day of our lives here on earth.

Dan Gutierrez
pastor for preaching

Restorative Justice instead of Punitive Justice

Following is a letter I am sending to the Pima County Juvenile Court, to ask that the theft case involving a minor, be adjudicated by a Community Justice Board.

Tucson, Az 85746
February 17, 2014

Superior Court of the State of Arizona
Pima County Juvenile Court Center
2225 E. Ajo Way
Tucson, Az 85713-6295

RE: Pima County Sheriff Department LEA # XXXXXX145, G, C.A. SWID XXXX730

To whom it may concern:

Enclosed, please find my affidavit of loss.

I would like to see this case adjudicated by the Pima County Community Justice Board. Restorative justice, rather then punitive justice. Yes, restitution needs to be performed. I would like to see C.A. restored as a full, contributing member of society. I believe that a community justice board would best serve C.A. and the community.

I would like the following conditions to be placed as part of C.A.’ probation:

1. C.A. would be required to to obtain a diploma or G.E.D. certificate within 1 year. I would be willing along with the court’s assistance, to help him achieve that goal.

2. C.A. would be required to meet once per week during the probationary period, at Drexel Heights Baptist Church, with either Pastor Dan , Paul, or myself for a minimum of 90 minutes/week. The church is located less then 1 mile from his home.

3. Restitution be fully paid to me in the amount of $116.75 within 1 year.

I ask the court to consider these terms, when dealing with C.A.

The goal is to restore C.A. as a full contributing member of society.