Greetings from the “flu” zone. We’ve spent the last 3 weeks fighting the flu—the real full-blown stuff. Zane got it first and kindly shared with me and I’ve been down for 2 weeks. I hope last weeks letter wasn’t too far out as I wrote it with what felt like half a brain, but really felt that I needed to write it. I hope God was able to speak through it to your hearts. We are much better, no fever and achy-breaky pains, just this hang on cough that won’t go away. I pray that you are well and have avoided this gruesome affliction.
As I have spent the last few weeks in a much slower pace (almost a crawl…haha), it has brought to my mind many of the blessings that we so often forget to thank God for. We have been looking at the prayers of the scripture and I thought we’d bring this series to a close with the most wonderful prayer of Jesus in John 17—the Lord’s prayer. The prayer that He prayed for the twelve apostles but also for us. Since it is such a long passage we’ll just list some of the things that Jesus prayed for us, as well as the things He reveals about Himself in this passage. I recommend that you read John 17 and then go back over this letter and let God speak to our hearts.
In verses 1-5 Jesus reveals to us His commitment to accomplish His Father’s will and that He was ready to face the cross, knowing that is why He came—to purchase our salvation. Oh, if we could only learn to keep our eyes on Jesus and let God do His work through us. John 4:34 tells us “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Jesus reminds us that He was about God’s work not just HIS own. How easy it is to get on our track instead of God’s. God is always at work around us and we must learn to recognize His hand and the voice of His Spirit leading us, and then dig in and do His work!! I have been reminded in these days of aching and not doing much, that God is always at work in our lives. I have been so grateful that we serve a God who, as 1 John 4:19 reminds us, “We love him, because He first loved us.” What a God who loves us– “For when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6—that’s me. Without strength, one of the “ungodly” for which He died.
As I have been down and “without strength” I have been so grateful that we serve the God who is always at work, even when I am too weak to do anything obvious. God’s work is so often in our hearts and minds as we press on in this difficult life. As Paul tells us in Phil 3:14 “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Sometimes it’s just good to “smell the roses”—in this case the “Rose of Sharon”. To just know that HE is at work even when I can’t work much except to rest in Him and call on Him to carry me. As 1 Peter 5:7 says “Casting all your care upon Him, for He careth for you.” Let’s just praise the God of the universe—the sovereign God who never slumbers or sleeps….Ps 121:2-3 “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.3 He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.” My God is always with me. (see Heb 13:5)
As we continue in verses 6-8, we see that Jesus has shared the Father with those that were given to Him. Are we sharing what we know about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit with those around us? Sometimes it is hard to share God’s word and truth with those around us. It seems that the closer others are to us the more difficult it is to share God’s truth with them. Especially when they are not particularly receptive. In fact sometimes the ones we love most don’t want to hear that God is GOD! Yet we must share the love of God without neglecting the fact that “SIN” is the issue. Romans 3:23 & 6:23 are ever a reminder of God’s view of sin, that “all have sinned” and HE has provided the only escape. We must call those around us to repentance and faith in Jesus—the flip sides of the same coin, so to speak. And in John 1:12-13 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Salvation is a supernatural work of God and God alone. Oh, that we can live with such devotion to Jesus, that others will desire to know our Lord and Savior Jesus. He is the only way. He wanted us to know Him and He desired for us to share what we receive with the world.
As we look at verses 9-19 he prays: calling us His own, that we would have HIS joy fulfilled in us, that He has given us HIS word and because of that word, the world will hate us (as it hated HIM), that God would keep us from evil, because we are of HIM and not of the world, that we will be sanctified (set apart for service), that we are sent into the world (as He was sent to us), and that His sanctification would be imparted to us. As we see in 1 Peter 1:15-17 “ But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:” As our Lord is holy—we are to be holy, and to live lives of integrity and holiness—by HIS power. What a wonder that our Lord cared so much as to pray these wonderful things for us.
As we conclude, we see the heart and desire of our Lord in verses 20 and following, we see the things Jesus asked for all who would ever believe on Him,– that we would be one with Him, that the world would know Jesus and His love, that His love would be in us and that the world would see HIM in us. His request for us should be our goal— to know HIM and reveal HIM to the world. To be one with Jesus and walk worthy of His calling upon us. May He bless and grow you this week and always. Press on with Him, for Him and to His glory!!