The Lord's Prayer, Part 3Forever
Nancy Leigh DeMoss: When you’re a little kid and you try to picture what eternity is, you just can't do it.
Leslie Basham: This is Nancy Leigh DeMoss.
Nancy: You can't get it. In fact, not just when you are a little kid, even when you’re a big person, it’s hard to fathom the meaning of forever, the meaning of eternity.
I can remember when I was a child that my dad told us an illustration. It came out of a book by Hendrik Van Loon where he talked about a rock that was a hundred miles wide and hundred miles high.
He said that once every thousand years, a little bird would come and sharpen his beak on that rock. Van Loon said that when that rock (one hundred miles wide and one hundred miles wide, once every thousand years, the bird is sharpening its beak), had been worn down to the ground, then one day in eternity would have passed.1
Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Monday, November 26.
Nancy’s in a series called, The Lord’s Prayer, Part 3, beginning today’s discussion with that image of the giant rock being worn down by the little bird.
Nancy: I remember hearing that as a little girl and that just expanded my concept of eternity. Now, we know that eternity has nothing to do with time—a thousand years or days. But it was a picture that was helpful to me as a child to just know that in God’s vast eternity, it goes on and on and on and on.
I’m going to talk today about the word forever as we come toward the end of the Lord’s Prayer. “Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever” (Matt. 6:13 NKJV).
As we lift up that benediction, that doxology to the Lord, we’re saying, “Lord, Your kingdom is forever; Your power is forever, and Your glory is forever.”
Now, those things cannot be said of anyone else in the universe.
Men build kingdoms, but they don’t last forever. Men exert power and authority, but it’s delegated power because only God has ultimate power, and no human authority or power lasts forever.
Men receive glory on earth. People laud them and commend them and build monuments to them and maybe write books about them. They receive glory, but all of that is short-lived at best. It’s all temporal. But God is forever. His kingdom, His power, and His glory are forever.
The fact that God is forever means, among other things, that He is unchanging. He is the same forever.
In Psalm 102 we read a contrast between our finiteness and God’s forever-ness, if I could coin that term. It says in Psalm 102, “In the beginning, you laid the foundations of the earth” (v. 25 NIV).
Now, in the beginning, You were there before the beginning! At the beginning You were there. In the beginning . . . God. In the beginning of time You who have been from all of eternity. “You laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment. Like clothing, you will change them” (vv. 25–27).
“God, you were before time. You were there in the beginning. You’ve been here ever since, and long after everything You created is gone, You will still be there. You will never have changed in all of that process, forever past, forever future, You will forever be the same.”
Scripture talks about some things that do not last forever. For example, the Scripture teaches that evildoers are not forever, and if you’re around evil, fallen people in this fallen, broken world as we all are, it helps to remember that.
Sometimes evil people come to power. They’re inspired, motivated at times even by Satan himself. But we need to remember, they are not forever. The Scripture says in Psalm 37, “They will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb” (v. 2).
And then earthly riches and power are not forever. Proverbs 27 tells us, “Riches do not last forever; and does a crown [power] endure to all generations?” (v. 24). And you say, “Well, what about those dynasties? Some of them went hundreds of years, maybe thousands of years.”
But they didn’t go forever. There’s an end to riches. There’s an end to earthly power. They are not forever. Kingdoms rise and fall. At one time, Babylon, Greece, and Rome were vast, mighty kingdoms.
They were splendid. They were magnificent. They were glorious so to speak, from an earthly standpoint, in their day. But if you go to those parts of the world today, what will you see in the places where they once had these magnificent structures? Most of what you’ll see is in ruins.
I had fun the other day just thinking through the Scripture with the help of a concordance, just looking up some of the things about God that are forever, according to the Scripture.
The Scripture says, “The Lord shall endure forever.” What about the Lord endures forever? Well, Psalm tells us that "His name shall endure forever" (Ps. 2:17 KJV). And then we read that "His righteousness endures forever" (Ps. 111:3).
Psalm 117 tells us "the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever" (v. 2). Then we read in the Old and the New Testaments that “the Word of God shall stand forever” (Ps. 4:8; 1 Pet.1:25). It is as true today as when it was written.
There are those even within the church today who would try to change the Word of God and say, “Oh, the culture has changed, so the meaning of God’s Word has changed.”
No, God’s Word does not change with the whims of culture, not even Christian culture. “The Word of God shall stand forever.”
Psalm 104 tells us that "the glory of the Lord shall endure forever" (v. 31 KJV). "The counsel of the Lord stands forever" (Ps. 33:11), or as one translation says, “The plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart throughout all generations” (NIV).
The plans of the Lord—God has established in eternity past a plan for your life, a counsel, a purpose for your life, and your goal in life is just one step at a time to just seek it out, to follow it, to obey it, to submit yourself to it.
God’s plan for your life is established. It stands forever. And then, I love this one. It’s repeated many times in Scripture: “His steadfast love endures forever” (Ps. 106:1; 107:7). It’s the Hebrew word hesed. It’s that word that speaks of the covenant love of God, the covenant-keeping faithfulness of God toward His people, the steadfast love of God, the ongoing faithful mercies of God.
They endure forever. They endure past our sins, past our failures, past our failings, past our falling. The steadfast love of the Lord endures forever. His mercies never come to and end. They’re forever.
And then many, many verses in Scripture tell us that the Lord reigns forever. We’ve looked at the Lord’s Prayer at the concept of the kingdom of God. “Yours is the kingdom, but Yours is the kingdom not just now, but forever.” We’ve said so much about His kingdom in this series. I hope you’re coming to love it and to trust it that the Lord reigns forever.
The Lord is king forever and ever. Psalm 66, “He rules by his might forever” (v. 7). Psalm 45, “Your throne, O Lord, is forever and ever” (v. 6). Do you get the point? God reigns forever.
So the fact that the Lord is forever—His kingdom, His name, His righteousness, His faithfulness, His Word, His glory, His counsel, His steadfast love, His rule and reign are forever—what does that mean for us?
For one thing, it means that He will outlast every problem you have, every pain that you are bearing, every situation that is stressing and straining you that you are carrying on your heart.
It seems like it’s forever, but it’s not. The devil wants you to believe that those things are forever because then you’ll give up hope. You think it will never be any different than this.
But remember that God is forever. His kingdom, His rule, His reign, His power, and His glory, they are forever. God and His glory will outlast whatever is ailing you today.
His kingdom is forever. That means it will outlast all earthly kingdoms. It will outlast your reign, your rule, your control. You can try and hold on.
I was talking with a woman yesterday who was saying, “It’s so hard for me to release this area of my life to the Lord.” You know what? Your arms are not long enough to box with God. Let it go.
His kingdom will outlast your control. You can keep your hands on. You can try and control, but God will win. His kingdom is forever.
Every manmade kingdom, no matter how powerful, will one day crumble and will be no more. Kingdoms come, kingdoms go; no earthly kingdom is forever, including yours.
His power is forever. It will outlast all human power. And your power—it’s not forever. His power will outlast yours, so when you run out of strength, as we all do, and as we do so often, remember there is no limit to His power.
When we have exhausted our endurance, our strength, our power, His has only just begun to be expressed to us and through us. So cry out to Him and say, “Lord, Your power is forever. I’m flailing. I’m failing. I don’t know that I can keep hanging on, but God, Your power is forever.” Praise Him for that and trust Him.
His glory is forever. “Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” And His glory will outlast all the glory of man, including yours.
"All flesh is like grass," Peter tells us, "and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers and the flower falls" (1 Pet. 1:24). We see that theme through all of the Scripture. Man is so finite, so limited.
Man thinks he is so strong and so pompous of what he thinks is his glory. Then the grass withers and the grass falls. That’s the glory of man. It’s short-lived.
Psalms 49, “Be not afraid when a man becomes rich, when the glory of his house increases. For when he dies he will carry nothing away; his glory will not go down after him” (vv. 16-17).
You can’t take it with you—all those things you amassed, all those things you collected—they’re going to end up in a garage sale somewhere. They’re going to end up broken or stolen or damaged or wearing out.
They don’t last forever. Even if they last for your lifetime, you’re going to be parted from them. Their glory does not last forever.
As I was thinking about this passage late last night, the Lord brought to mind a story of the acts of God, the glory of God displayed in contrast to man’s glory in the nation of Romania, where I’ve had the privilege of visiting.
Some of you may remember that Nicolae Ceausescu was the dictator of communist Romania from 1965 until 1989. He was probably Eastern Europe’s most cruel Communist dictator during the 70s and 80s.
I mean, he was a madman. He spent extravagantly on himself. He built himself an obscenely opulent palace. I’ve actually stood outside that palace. It is massive.
I was reading about it last night, and one writer said, “The style of the architecture is "Hollywood Babylonia,” and that is so fitting for what it is. It was meant to be— Ceausescu meant it to be—the center of Communism, which he thought was going to take over the world.
The building took, this palace that he built to be his palace, took 700 architects directing 22,000 laborers, working in three shifts every day for five years, the last five years of Ceausescu’s life to construct his 1100 rooms, some of which have thirty foot high ceilings.
It is huge. I mean, you cannot imagine this building. It is just huge. This building is very, very elaborate, and many of the natural resources in Romania were not allowed to be exported by Ceausescu.
He put restrictions on that because he wanted them all to be used in his palace. In the meantime, in the midst of all this opulence, the Romanian people were living in abject poverty.
They were starving. They couldn’t get bread or meat. I was in Romania the first time before the fall of Communism. I saw what it was for people to have to stand in lines for long periods of time to get gasoline or to get bread or meat.
And yet, Ceausescu lived like a king. He was glorious. He spent nearly thirty years building his kingdom, but that kingdom turned out to be nothing more than an elaborate sandcastle.
In December of 1989, when the palace was still only 85% completed, God sent a tidal wave, and that castle in the sand came crashing down.
Now, Ceausescu had persecuted Christians severely throughout his regime, and among other things, throughout the whole nation, from the time children were little, tiny children in preschool through the post-graduate university level, everyone had been taught, indoctrinated, drilled into them, “There is no God. God does not exist. God does not exist.” A whole generation of Romanians grew up being taught this.
All through their lives, “God does not exist.” You wonder why if God doesn’t exist why you have to go to such lengths and energy to prove it. But that was what the people were taught.
Then in December of 1989, the tide began to turn. Under Ceausescu’s reign and rule, the government was getting ready to evict an evangelical pastor. They had treated pastors horribly throughout this era.
Many had gone to prison, had been tortured for their faith. This is where you read Richard Wurmbrand’s material, Tortured for Christ. He was one of the pastors who was in a Romanian prison for, I think, fourteen years during Ceausescu's rule.
But they were getting ready to evict a Romanian pastor in the town of Timisoara. The evangelicals, God’s people—there had been a movement of revival taking place in that country, kind of under the radar screen for a number of years since the early 70s. The people began to protest, something they’d not been able to do since Ceausescu had been in power.
On December 16, the people in Timisoara took to the streets. Now remember, Ceausescu had said for all these years, “God does not exist. God does not exist.” Well, the people took to the streets, and they began to cry out “Existe Dumnezeu! Existe Dumnezeu!”
“God exists! God exists!” Others joined in, thousands came in and joined, and they began to lift up this cry that had not been heard in Romania for years and years, “God exists! God exists! There is a God! There is a God!”
Nine days later, the whole thing culminated with the trial and execution of Ceausescu and his wife. Ironically, on Christmas day, December 25, 1989—some of us watched and heard the amazing stories of how God moved in that country—on Christmas day, the day we celebrate the birth of the One of whom an angel announced prior to His birth, “He will be great. He will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to Him the throne of his father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
The Lord sits enthroned as king forever. "O Lord, Yours is the kingdom forever. Yours is the power forever, and Yours is the glory forever, amen."
Nancy: The most powerful ruler on earth only exists for a moment compared to the rule of the King of kings who will reign forever. We’ve been exploring the concept of “forever” as part of thid closing series on The Lord’s Prayer.
After studying that passage, I was asking the Lord to help me invest in eternity—in things that will truly last. I think as we come to the end of the year it’s an appropriate time to look back and reflect. Time to ask, “Have I been investing my life in the kingdom of God?”
As a ministry, Revive Our Hearts is looking back at some of the things God has done in the lives of women this year. I know those stories really encourage me when I hear them. We want to share some of those stories with you in the weeks ahead, starting with a woman named Emily. We’re so thankful for what God’s done in Emily's life this year.
On the outside, Emily looked like she was a model, young woman of God. She was homeschooled and involved in church while growing up. But as a student in Bible college, it began to be clear that her heart was far from the Lord.
Emily: The first semester was great. The second semester I started feeling like I was almost choked.
I came home and got a summer job, and I met a guy, and it kind of spiraled out of there. He was charming and everything that I had never experienced.
We started partying and smoking pot at the beginning. Within five months of meeting him, I ended up pregnant. I was really at a low place, but I did not let that turn me back to the Lord.
My daughter was born and after she was three months old, I got severe post-partum depression. I ended up twice in the psych ward; the police brought me. The first time I cut my arm open. The second time I took a bottle of Ibuprofen.
After I got out of the pysch ward, Chad and I got our own place; we got married. We started using drugs a lot more heavily. So very quickly it got out of control, like a horrible monster. It just became the number one thing in our lives.
I felt very jaded, and I felt like the Christian community didn't really know what was going on. I didn't know where to turn.
In September of 2011, the police showed up at our door and arrested him. He's been gone for a year now. He is in prison. That has been the most difficult and the best thing that has ever happened to us as a couple and as a family.
Nancy: Emily was at her lowest point. And when she needed it the most, the Lord brought Revive Our Hearts into Emily’s life. He used this ministry to show Emily what it means to have a genuine relationship with Christ.
This is Emily’s friend Elisabeth.
Elisabeth: Emily had mentioned on her Facebook page that she was looking for sermons or something online that she could listen to and be encouraged.
Emily: I was really seeking for encouragement and inspiration.
Elisabeth: I had been really encouraged through Revive Our Hearts. So I thought I'll just post it on there. She probably won't even notice it. I said, "Hey, you should check out this website."
Emily: A few people responded, and Elisabeth said Revive Our Hearts. And for some reason, it just caught my eye. So I went online and just searched it, and here comes the website up on the Internet. I clicked on one of the radio programs, and I felt like instantly my heart was changed by listening to this. I felt calmer. I felt like this was truth; that I was hearing pure truth.
Elisabeth: I was really surprised because it was only a few days later that she wrote a whole blog post about how encouraged she had been with the Revive Our Hearts ministry and how God had really used it in her life.
Emily: I feel like I'm surrounded by and listening to on the radio women whose hearts are so close to Lord. And that's what I aspire to be, a strong woman of the Word.
Nancy: To hear a little bit more of Emily’s story, visit Revive Our Hearts.com. I hope you’ll watch this video and be reminded of the awesome power of God. He can take women in desperate situations and lead them to experience freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ.
There are so many women just like Emily. They’re caught in destructive patterns and don’t think there’s any way out. Will you be part of their story?
Here’s what I mean. When you support Revive Our Hearts with your prayer and with your financial support, you help make it possible for us to speak to women like Emily.
This spring, Emily was able to find help thanks to listeners like you who supported Revive Our Hearts. And a good part of that support was given at the end of last year. Typically, about 40% of all our donations for the year arrive in December.
When you support the ministry here at the end of this year, you’re helping us be there for other women throughout the year ahead who are reaching out in desperate situations.
Some friends of this ministry are excited about what God’s doing through Revive Our Hearts and they want to be part of the story. They’re encouraging you to do the same thing. These friends are doubling the gift of every listener, up to a matching challenge amount of $450,000.
We are facing some serious needs as a ministry, and we're evaluating how we can best tighten budgets. But we don't want to have to scale back on ministry to women like Emily.
Your gift right now will make a difference in the kind of ministry we can plan on in 2013. So if this ministry has been a blessing to your life, would you ask the Lord what He might want you to invest back into it that would help help us meet this challenge amount, and even go far beyond that amount? The challenge ends December 31, so we need to hear from you over the next few weeks.
To be part of stories like Emily’s, give us a call at 1-800-569-5959, and let us know that you'd like to be a part of this matching challenge. If you prefer to make your donation online, you can do that by visiting us at ReviveOurHearts.com.
Is it okay to re-word the Lord’s Prayer so that a child can understand it better? A woman asked me that while listening to our current series, The Lord’s Prayer. We’ll discuss it tomorrow. Please be back, for Revive Our Hearts.
Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.
1Hendrik Van Loon. The Story of Mankind.Offers available only during the broadcast of the radio series.