Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Song of The Bow


Memorial Day, which many of us will observe tomorrow, is the time we set aside to commemorate those who died while in military service to the United States of America. It is an important holiday to those of us who have lost family members, friends and comrades in arms. Beginning in 1775 with the American Revolution until today, our proud nation has championed causes of freedom and justice in every generation, offering our bravest and our best in defense of our chosen causes.

To give you an idea of the numbers of our brave men and women from the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard, who have lost their lives while serving in defense of our freedoms, allow me to show you these figures:

US Casualties of War 1775 – Present

(A total of 65 declared wars, conflicts, and deployments)

(Source: Wikipedia online )

Wounded 1,529,230

Killed In Action 1,343,812

Missing In Action 38,159

Wars ranked by combat deaths (top ten ranked)






World War II




American Civil War




World War I




Vietnam War




Korean War




American Revolutionary War




War on Terror




War of 1812




Mexican–American War




Northwest Indian War



Wars ranked by total US military deaths combat & other





Deaths per Day↓


American Civil War





World War II





World War I





Vietnam War





Korean War





American Rev. War





War of 1812





Mexican–American War





War on Terror

2001– present




Philippine–American War




Average US Military Deaths per Day 1775 to present:

1775 – Present 236 Years 86,199 Days

Total US Military Deaths Since 1775 1,343,812 Deaths

Average Deaths per Day 1775 - Present 15.6 Deaths per Day

Since 1775 until today, the United States of America has averaged deploying its military forces to fight at least one new war or armed conflict every three and one half years. The need to process war has always been and will always be present in every generation and without the brave men and women of our nation who stand willing and ready to defend our freedoms, the United States of America, along with the values we so dearly hold and the benefits we so greatly enjoy would long ago have ceased to exist.

War has been a big part of our nation’s history and will no doubt continue to be for as long as time remains. Those who imagine a utopian society where war and famine, sickness and disease, poverty and stupidity no longer exist are fooling themselves.

Greed, lust, envy, hatred, wickedness and other base carnal appetites of man existed long before there was a United States of America and in fact since the beginning of mankind on planet earth, men have been involved in war … war as a result of something man did not start and a war which man cannot end.

For the most part, war is always between good and evil – the good guys and the bad buys … you know the stories, you’ve seen the movies, you’ve read your history. In every age there are evil men, destitute of common good and bent on destruction of one sort or another. However, these men are but puppets on the world’s stage, playing the parts they are given by the forces of evil which hate good and hate righteousness and hate God.

It might surprise us to realize that although the United States of America has lost an average of 15 people per day, every day, since we first decided to break free from the tyranny and injustice of those who claimed control of our destiny, there is a far greater war which has been fought for far longer and claimed far more lives each day than any one nation has ever lost.

The war I speak of and the losses we should all remember is the war this world wages against the Christian and the Kingdom of God. According to the Alliance Defense Fund’s reports, 165,000 Christians are martyred each year worldwide for nothing more than their acceptance of Jesus as Messiah and their refusal to deny His Lordship over their lives. 165,000 per year equals 30 people per day – twice as many people killed per day for their faith in Jesus than were lost over that time in our nation’s wars.

And to note: This war against the Christian and the Gospel of Jesus has been going on for more than 2000 years, and its casualties aren’t limited to men and women, but even children are tortured, beheaded, burnt and cut asunder by the evilly inspired puppets of satan and this world system. As well, those who have lost their lives for Christ sake are often killed by the very people they are helping to free from the horrors of this world.

We live in a world gone mad … and we can ill afford to forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms and those who died trying to set others eternally free from the terror which awaits souls without Christ in the afterlife.

How should we remember those who have honorably fallen in defense of their faith and their king? Turn with me to 2 Samuel 1.

Approximately one thousand years before Christ, the nation of Israel had its first king, King Saul. Saul was a good looking, capable man whom God chose to lead His children.

Through the process of time King Saul chose a man to be the Supreme Commander of all of the armies of Israel – you know this man as David – but many during those initial years knew him as Captain. David served in Saul’s military for several years reaching great acclaim and leading his armies to victory after victory against every enemy of the kingdom.

Captain David greatly loved his Commander in Chief, King Saul, and loyally protected him with his very life. The interaction between King Saul and Captain David is a wonderful account with teaches principles of truth throughout the book of First Samuel. If you are familiar with the story, records reveal that King Saul and Captain David came to a parting of the ways however, David never forgot his place and never lost his loyalty to God’s chosen leader of the nation.

Through years and series of events King Saul and his son, Jonathan, went to battle against the Philistines at Mount Gilboa, which sits beside the city of Jezreel, alongside the Valley of Jezreel. As the battle raged, both King Saul and Jonathan were slain by the hands of their enemies.

Even though many saw this as an opportunity for David to finally be vindicated and take the throne, David saw it differently. In 2 Samuel 1, we find one of the first memorial days remembered anywhere – it is a memorial to King Saul and his son, Jonathan, who stood their ground, fought for what they believed in, and gave their life as a willing sacrifice to the cause. Let’s read this memorial – it is called: “The Song of the Bow”.

2 Samuel 1

17 ¶ Then David lamented with this lamentation over Saul and over Jonathan his son,

18 and he told them to teach the children of Judah the Song of the Bow; indeed it is written in the Book of Jasher:

19 "The beauty of Israel is slain on your high places! How the mighty have fallen!

20 Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim it not in the streets of Ashkelon — Lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, Lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.

21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let there be no dew nor rain upon you, Nor fields of offerings. For the shield of the mighty is cast away there! The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.

22 From the blood of the slain, From the fat of the mighty, The bow of Jonathan did not turn back, And the sword of Saul did not return empty.

23 "Saul and Jonathan were beloved and pleasant in their lives, And in their death they were not divided; They were swifter than eagles, They were stronger than lions.

24 "O daughters of Israel, weep over Saul, Who clothed you in scarlet, with luxury; Who put ornaments of gold on your apparel.

25 "How the mighty have fallen in the midst of the battle! Jonathan was slain in your high places.

26 I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; You have been very pleasant to me; Your love to me was wonderful, Surpassing the love of women.

27 "How the mighty have fallen, And the weapons of war perished!"

2 Samuel 2

1 ¶ It happened after this that David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?" And the LORD said to him, "Go up." David said, "Where shall I go up?" And He said, "To Hebron."

2 So David went up there, and his two wives also, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the widow of Nabal the Carmelite.

3 And David brought up the men who were with him, every man with his household. So they dwelt in the cities of Hebron.

4 Then the men of Judah came, and there they anointed David king over the house of Judah. And they told David, saying, "The men of Jabesh Gilead were the ones who buried Saul."

5 So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, "You are blessed of the LORD, for you have shown this kindness to your lord, to Saul, and have buried him.

6 "And now may the LORD show kindness and truth to you. I also will repay you this kindness, because you have done this thing.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Teach Us To Pray


Luke 11:1 ¶ Now it came to pass, as He was praying in a certain place, when He ceased, that one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."

When we say “prayer”, we often roll several various and different utterances into one consideration and define it as prayer. However, prayer is a very distinct art which can be both taught and learned.

The voice we raise up to heaven is not always the voice of prayer. We have three defined voices with which we are told to lift our considerations heavenward.

The Voice of Prayer

The Voice of Confession

The Voice of Command

The Voice of Prayer is broken down into three basic categories depending on its intended purpose.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving

The Prayer of Petition

The Prayer of Intercession

Prayer is always directed to God and is never sent heavenward in tones of command for God resists the proud but gives grace to those who are of a humble heart.

In the book of Luke, chapter 11, Jesus and His disciples were last known to be staying in Judea, in the town of Bethany at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, which stood on the Mount of Olives just outside the city of Jerusalem.

Evidently this was at some point in time after Jesus had spent His third Passover in Jerusalem with His disciples. That morning the disciples accompanied Him to His chosen place of prayer and remained close enough to observe Him. After Jesus finished praying one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray …”

Continuing in:

Luke 11:2 So He said to them, "When you pray, say: …”

I find it interesting that Jesus was perfectly ready to immediately respond to this sincere request. Jesus not only knew how to pray but He also knew how to teach others to pray. In fact, perhaps a year earlier, on a hillside overlooking the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, now known as the Mount of Beatitudes, Jesus preached the “Sermon on the Mount” to a multitude of listeners.

Included in this sermon were clear instructions on how to pray. Now, many months later Jesus repeats this portion of His sermon directly to His disciples as instructions or directions for them to follow in prayer. Look with me as we read from that original sermon in:

Matthew 6

9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.

10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.

13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

If you will allow me this morning, I want to pass on these instructions in hopes that they will “Teach Us To Pray”.

First of all let me say that this prayer is often called “The Lord’s Prayer” by many and it has almost accepted that title by continued use. However, the correct ascription for this passage is better known as: “The Model Prayer” – for in these scriptures Jesus, rather than praying at this point Himself, rather gave us instructions, or a model, of how we ought to pray ourselves.

If we were to read these few short verses we could easily conclude that the prayer Jesus is teaching His disciples and us is mostly about us and God. Follow along with me and let’s discover some of the perspectives of prayer.

According to the model prayer, when we pray we should begin with:

“Our Father in heaven”

This is nothing less than a recognition and verbal acknowledgement of the divine relationship we each one have directly and personally with God. We pray from a divine:

1. Position

Position is everything. Remember – “It’s not what you know but who you know that counts!” Who you know is important and without a personal relationship with God you are on shaky ground especially when it comes to prayer. The prayers of the wicked are an abomination to God … Again – Position is everything.

Next Jesus directs us to:

2. Praise

“Hallowed be Your name”

There is something very interesting and very consistent about God. He will not be number two on anyone’s list. There is only one God; Him only shall you serve, and all praise is due His name! When we come before God in prayer, before we make our petitions known to Him concerning what we want, we need to give Him what He wants … and … God wants to be praised.

Our most effective prayers will be made when we enter His courts with praise.

The third thing we note about this model prayer is the importance of:

3. Priority

Not our priority, but God’s priority. Notice:

“Your kingdom come; Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven”

God’s Kingdom before ours

God’s Will before ours

Heaven before earth – His Throne before our throne

In other words, we don’t bring our petitions, our desires, or our plans to God without consideration that He has petitions, desires and plans which supersede ours. It’s a “Not my will but thine be done” approach.

This is the classic tenet of “Submission before petition” both in our hearts and on our minds. We should agree with God before we know the answer.

Once we have recognized Who He Is, given due praise to His name and priority to His plans, then we should remember that he wants to hear our petition. And, which petition best describes the earthly needs of man better than:

“Give us this day our daily bread”

4. Provision

Surely God knows what you need even before you ask. However, the scriptures also tell us that we have not because we ask not and that we should ask and receive that our joy might be full. God wants to hear what we want. There is:

· No holiness in poverty

· No Godlikeness in defeat

· No redemption in sickness and

· No righteousness in self righteousness

God wants us to be blessed and to be a blessing to others. He wants us to be like Him and He is neither poor nor afraid.

Our fifth perspective in prayer is the recognition of our:

5. Pardon

“Forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors”

There is no reason to go deeply into our need for forgiveness. We have been mercifully pardoned and are reminded over and again through the scriptures, as Jesus reminds those on the Mount of Beatitudes shortly, that if they do not forgive others their trespasses, it will only hold them bound to pay for their own. In order to receive mercy, we must also give mercy as we petition God to forgive our indebtedness to Him.

6. Protection

“Do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one”

We ought to always be mindful that the devil, “D-Evil”, is a master tempter who knows the hearts of the carnal man and from whom we need divine protection. Those who are led by the Spirit, they are the sons of God and if you be led by the Spirit you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who gives to all men liberally … but let him ask in faith! Our daily prayer should every day include our need for divine deliverance from the ills and evils of this world and its designs for mankind. Guard your heart and mind with all diligence for the devil, as a roaring lion, walks about seeking whom he may devour … pray that God keeps us, leads us and delivers us away from all temptation.

And lastly, number seven, is recognition of God’s awesome, unmatched and eternal:

7. Power

“Yours is the kingdom, the power and the glory forever. Amen”

That settles it – and settles it forever!

I want to encourage you to hear the words of Jesus as He teaches you the art and the power of prayer. And, I want to challenge you use this model prayer each morning for the next seven days beginning in the morning when you first wake up.

I am going to ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to pray each morning and to help you use these seven points of perspective as a guide to developing a more effective habit of prayer. Surely you can afford the extra 3, 5, 10 or 15 minutes it will take you to talk with God each day.

If you will agree with me right now and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you to pray each morning, all that will be needed to put you on the right track is your simple obedience. When it comes to your mind, stop right there and use this model prayer, the Lord’s prayer if you will, as your prayer guide.

1. Acknowledge your relationship with God and position yourself for His favor.

2. Praise His Holy Name!

3. Get your mind set on the importance of His priority for your life and day.

4. Ask God to meet your daily needs.

5. Thank God for His forgiveness and forgive others where they have trespassed against you.

6. Petition God to protect, deliver, guide and guard your life from temptation and evil.

7. And let Him know that He is awesome, unmatched and eternal and that it all belongs to Him.

Won’t you stand and let’s pray …