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02 January, 2014

The CELESTIAL Spirit of the Lord's Prayer - Part 4

Based on what I shared with you for my new year's resolution in 2014, I will include a one line prayer in each post for the month of January.
I pray that God would take away anything that causes my heart and yours to wander away from Him. Whether it is materialism, laziness, lack of dedication to Him, seeking other's approval and praise, spiritual pride, seeking honour and living the kind of life that is full of pretenses......  

THE LORD’S PRAYER, Its Spirit and its Teaching.By Octavius Winslow, 1866

"Thus heaven is gathering, one by one, in its capacious breast,
All that is pure and permanent, the beautiful and blest;
The family is scattered yet, though of one home and heart,
Part militant, in earthly gloom, in heavenly glory part.
But who can speak the rapture when the circle is complete,
And all the children, sundered now, before their Father meet?
One fold, one Shepherd, one employ, one everlasting home,
'Lo, I come quickly.' Even so, amen, Lord Jesus, come!"
This view of the celestial spirit of the Lord's Prayer is suggestive of many PRACTICAL LESSONS. We are instructed in the first place to look up in prayer. The proper attitude of the mind in approaching God is a heaven-bent attitude. The whole soul should be in the ascent. When we draw near to our heavenly Father we must remember that, He is in heaven. Earth with its cares and ties, its sins and sorrows, must be left below. For the time being we professedly have exchanged, in our mental and spiritual flight, the terrestrial for the celestial--the communion of the saints who are on earth, for the higher communion of our Father who is in heaven. How consonant with this the experience of the psalmist! "My voice shall you hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto you, and will look UP."

Alas! how little is there in our experience of this looking up to God in trial, in trouble, in sin. We look down, we look to the right hand and to the left, and there is none to help, none to deliver, and we despond and despair. It is just because our eyes are earthward and not heavenward, man-ward and not Godwards. What a tendency, also, is there to look within ourselves, and not from ourselves, through Jesus, up to our Father who is in heaven! We look at the darkness, at the vileness, at the barrenness, at the deadness of our hearts--absorbed in the profound contemplation of our own poverty, vileness, and unworthiness--rather than up to the loving, gracious, forgiving, paternal heart of God.

But our whole Christian course must be a looking up. The more we look to God, and the less to our own selves and to man, the holier and the happier shall we be. The memorable intercessory prayer of our Great High Priest when on earth is thus introduced, "And Jesus lifted UP his eyes unto heaven, and said, Father." Such, also, has been the attitude of the Lord's people in all ages. "My eyes," says David, "are ever toward the Lord." Thus, also, prayed Jehoshaphat, "O our God, will you not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that comes against us; neither know we what to do--but our eyes are upon you." Then again the psalmist, "Unto You lift I UP mine eyes, O You that dwell in the heavens. Behold, as the eyes of servants look into the hand of their masters, and as the eye of a maiden into the hand of her mistress, so our eyes wait upon the Lord our God until that he have mercy upon us."

Look up, then, tried believer! Look up, then, tempted saint! Look up, then, suffering child! Your help comes from where your trouble came--from above. Affliction springs not out of the ground, but is a Heaven-sent discipline; and from hence comes the divine strength that will sustain, and the grace that will sanctify, and the love that will soothe. Oh, look up! Look up to Jesus, your Elder Brother, now appearing in the presence of God for you. Look up to the sun shining behind the clouds, to the rock towering above the billows; to Jesus, the Author, the Sustainer, the Finisher, and who, holding out the diadem, waits to be the Crowner, of your faith.

Another lesson we are taught by the celestial spirit of the Lord's Prayer is, to seek heavenly blessings. Our Father is in heaven. Nothing but heavenly blessings should satisfy our desires. Earth's choicest, are poor; its sweetest, unsatisfying; its loveliest, fading; its fondest, passing away. If born again, God has given you a spiritual nature, which will be content only with spiritual things. The nutriment which nourishes the divine nature must be divine; the good which satisfies the heavenly nature must be heavenly. Our Father is in heaven, where our heart's treasure is, and from heaven our dearest blessings flow. "If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God." Oh, let us be earnest after heavenly blessings! Deeply do we need them! The needs of the soul are infinitely greater, and more important than those of the body. Yet, how we pamper and gratify the body, and how we starve and neglect the soul. How eager our pursuit of the earthly!--how languid our desires for the heavenly!--as though the body, so soon to return to its original dust, were of greater moment than the soul, which never ceases to exist.

Great is our need of heavenly blessings. We need more love to God, more conformity to Christ, more of the anointing of the Spirit; a fuller assurance of our conversion, and a higher enjoyment of a present salvation. We need more personal, heart-religion; more spiritual life; a walking in closer fellowship with the unseen and the eternal; and a more filial and confidential converse with God. Since, then, our Father is in heaven, prepared to send down from above every good and perfect gift; and since Christ, our Elder Brother, is at His right hand, prepared to endorse every petition, and to urge every request, let us look up through the blood of Christ, and importune God for that grace, and strength, and help, which will promote our heavenliness, and fit us all the more perfectly for heaven itself.

What, my reader, is the real state of your soul? What is your hope for the future? Which the destiny that awaits you--heaven or hell? In the one or the other you must spend your eternity. Nothing will be admitted into heaven but the heavenly, the holy, the pure. None enter its holy gate but those who have washed in the Lamb's blood, and are robed in the vestment of His righteousness. None enter there but those who love God, and have union with Christ, and are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Oh, decide the question now! Heaven and Hell begin upon earth. So real is their commencement, so unmistakable their evidence, every individual may arrive at a moral certainty as to which of the two he is speeding his way.
Think of the joys of heaven, of the sorrows of hell! Think of the eternal glory, of the endless woe! Happy with Christ and the saints forever, or forever the companion and the associate of demons and the damned! Throw down the weapons of your enmity against God, repent and believe in Jesus, and henceforth you will become a child of the heavenly parent; your conversation in heaven; shedding around you the reflected purity and luster of that world of holiness and glory in which the Father dwells, and into which, before long, will be gathered and assembled, in domesticated union and eternal fellowship, the one family of God.

Children of the kingdom! repose, amid the weariness of your pilgrimage, upon the slopes of glory! Soon heaven will be reached--soon its golden spires, and cloudless dome, and towering turrets will burst upon your view--soon the portal will appear, and the pearl gate will open upon its golden hinges to admit you to an innumerable company of angels, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator, and to God the Judge of all. Your path through death's lonely valley will be all light, shining with increasing effulgence unto the perfect day. It was a strangely-beautiful remark of a child, when asked how his little sister, who had lately died, went up to heaven, replied, "She put her foot upon the sun, and went up." Thus will ascend to glory every child of the light. Perhaps the spirit, in its celestial flight, will make the sun in the natural skies a stepping-stone, from which it will spring into higher regions of glory. But, beyond all doubt, it will stand upon, and be clothed with, the divine "Sun of Righteousness," borne upon whose wings, and radiant with whose luster, it will float away into the world of light and song, of bliss and immortality--and so shall it be forever with the Lord!

"What is a scene of glory? I would say,
A Christian standing on the verge of heaven,
One foot on earth, another on the sun,
Standing sublime on Pisgah's lofty mount,
Spreading his wings, and ready for his flight;
Leaving earth's dim and shadowy things behind,
Catching already on his heaven-bound soul
The beams of that bright land to which he goes.
Done with the world, its sorrows, and its cares,
Its empty joys, and vain delusive hopes.
Done with the world, its sufferings, and its sins,
Its follies, and its frailties, and its fears.
Done with the world, and entering upon heaven,
With all its bright realities unseen
By mortal eye, full opening to the gaze
Of faith, so soon to be matured in sight.

"The sight of Jesus bursting on the eye,
The songs of angels floating on his ear;
The palm of victory, the spotless robe,
The crown of glory, and the golden harp,
Unfolding to the eyes, that close on earth
To open on the glorious things of heaven.
Around him waving the celestial wings
Of the angelic band, that waits to bear
His parting spirit to its heavenly home.
This is a scene of glory, in whose light
The brightest scenes of earth grow dim and fade;
The beams of this world's glory cease to shine,
E'en as the morning sun puts out the stars."

 The Filial Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Brotherly Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Celestial Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Reverential Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Submissive Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Dependent Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Penitential Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Forgiving Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Watchful Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Devotional Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer
The Adoring Spirit of the Lord’s Prayer