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The Lord Prays

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Two Truths and a Lie - the lie has to be close enough to the truth that it is believable
Intercession and Glory - remember hearing that He will turn your sorrow into joy? When the trials of life cause us to complain, wallow, ‘woe is me’, those trials never result in joy. BUT, when we live through difficult times with the intent of giving God the glory, He is able to transform the sorrow into joy.
When we remove our masks and allow each other to love who we really are, the sorrows of life result in joy. Taking off my mask doesn’t give me license to bellyache. I simply refuse to hide behind pretense.
Jesus moves His focus to intercession. A set of requests given to the Father. He prays for the security, sanctity and unity of those around Him. And for us.
So on to Jesus’ prayer:
John 17:1–26 ESV
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
So many truths in this chapter. All truth, but the nuggets…
Those disciples who put their trust in Jesus were able to believe (follow) because He invested in them. He drew them to Himself. He taught them. Walked with them. Shared life with them.
Jesus had called them away from a way of life, but more importantly, TO a way of life.
Sometimes we push a list of don’ts that seems to call people away from a way of life, but stop short of demonstrating the list of do’s that make up the way of life they are called to. So our efforts to assimilate people into the Kingdom fall short. They always do!
The disciples (and other’s) response to Jesus was because God was drawing them. The fullness of God was embodied in Jesus, so when He said ‘follow me’ it was God giving the invitation.
When we, as believers, offer Jesus to someone (when was the last time? Jonathan, Janice), the invitation must be from the overflow of grace poured into our lives. We must be full of the Holy Spirit. So Truth #1 is the Spirit of God draws men to salvation. Which means, ‘You need Jesus’ is not an effective strategy.
We were able to put our trust in Jesus, to believe and follow, because There is so much good in us. Because He figured we would be such a valuable addition to the Kingdom. Because, let’s be honest, ALL THIS wouldn’t happen without us.
NO! Because those who followed Jesus invested in another’s life. If there is to be anyone in our community who will put their trust in Jesus, who will believe and follow Him, it will be because WE INVEST IN THE LIVES OF OTHERS. So Truth #2 is God uses His children to accomplish Truth #1.
Let’s define that very generic term, invest. First, let’s remove the financial connotation from it. Granted when we give to Lottie Moon or Annie Armstrong offerings, we are financially investing in the gospel given to people we dont know. But the bulk of our investing, when it comes to the gospel, is in relationships.
But maybe we can better understand it if we keep the idea of finances. You (or your employer) pay into a retirement fund all your working life. When you retire you begin to put that fund to work for you. Paying bills. Funding travel. Enjoying the fruit of your labor. You still have reasonable physical ability, steady income you don’t punch a clock for, and time. You have invested and expect to get something in return. Some will spend money on this, some on that, but the investor chooses how to use the investment.
God has been investing in me for just shy of 40 years. What has been His ROI from the redeeming work invested in me? We’re gonna park that one.
The American Dream has been convoluted. I think it started out as an idea something to the effect of ‘hard work can mean a better life’. It seems to have shifted to ‘get all I can while I can’. That attitude fosters a very selfish lifestyle. It causes people to spend a lifetime concerned about nothing more that their plans and goals. Proverbs reminds us that man makes plans in his heart but the Lord establishes his steps, It is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”
That brings us to the lie: The Lie is all I have is mine. My money is mine. My time is mine. My resources are mine. God says He gave you that money to invest in the Kingdom. In the lives of others. He gave you that time to invest in the lives of others. He gave you those resources to use to share the love and grace and salvation God offers people.
I’d like us to take inventory:
Look at your finances. Maybe you have 20 cents. Two dimes. I’d like you to genuinely ask God what to do with those two dimes. Let Him show you. He’s faithful. I have friend who looked at their finances and saw a little bit of monthly income that they could spend on the kingdom. They felt led to take out a life insurance policy and name an orphanage as the beneficiary. Didn’t cost them a whole lot, but will be a great blessing to the children’s home at their passing. You could, in one fell swoop, pay for the next building project at this church.
Look at your time. When we no longer have to punch a clock, we may have a surplus of time. If boredom pushed you back into the workforce, we need to talk. With that surplus of time, what in the Kingdom can be accomplished simply because you offered your time to God?
Look at your resources. You have amassed quite a stable of implements that fit on a tractor. Or a stocked pond that is perfect to sit next to that fellow God is wanting you to invest in. Or the knowledge that is required to navigate the Medicare gap. People need that kind of resource.
So take inventory. On paper. Talk to your spouse or kids or dog about it. Write down what you have that God might be able to use. Then offer the whole list to Him.
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