Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.3

"I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me; for they truly are yours. All who have believed in me are yours; and they do honor me. I am returning to you in heaven; but those that believe in me remain behind.

Father, keep them 
by the power of your name;
that they all may be one, 
as we are one."


we only know half of the whole (partially that, as in a mirror) of what we were made for...
until we are made complete in Him.

If not for the portion we do know, little would we be able to hope for the missing part.

"Two at least are needed for Oneness, and the greater the number of individuals  the greater, the lovelier, the richer, the diviner is the possible unity." --MacDonald
If our deepest longing for Eternal Life isn't focused on Oneness with our Creator, we do not yet know the Mission of the Master.

Can there be Oneness without

  • agreement
  • repentance
  • confession
  • love of truth and the will of God
  • hunger for righteousness
  • desire for harmony
  • yearning for wholeness
  • exposure of and casting away all that is unlovely or unworthy in us
  • atonement
  • reconciliation
  • blessing
  • hearts set on service
  • purity

Father, may each day move us closer to Oneness with you as we put these things into practice now!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.2

"I have revealed you to those that you gave me out of the world.
They were yours,and you gave them to me,
and they have accepted your eternal words.
Now they too know that everything you have given me comes from you.
I have faithfully delivered to them the words that you gave me;
they have believed them,
and know in their hearts that I have come from God,
sent by you on their behalf." 


A recap of my revelation:

  • Death took my dad at the age of 31, I was 7. My mom, sister, brother and I started attending church for the first time in our family history. I responded to the invitation to Eternal Life at Vacation Bible School...pretty much every year.
He revealed his Fatherhood. 
  •  At the age of 11 I came under conviction of sin while at a church camp; but didn't kneel down to confess until I went home alone in my bedroom and gave my heart to Him.
He revealed His redemption. 
  •  At the age of 12 I had a car/bicycle accident that strengthened my conviction that God, my Father, was carefully watching over me and had plans for my welfare.
He revealed His protection.

  • Some of my fondest memories are working at Spring Hill Camp under the mentor-ship of Enoch Olsen where I learned biblical principles of discipleship as well as the unconditional love and dedicated mission of the body of Christ.
He revealed His wisdom.
  • While attending college at Trinity in Illinois, I was involved in evangelistic outreaches that started me attempting to overcome my natural inclination to fear and self-will.
He revealed His leadership.
  • I met my future wife while attending a Wednesday Night Youth Group meeting where I took it upon myself to correct the leader over some doctrinal trifle. Neither one was impressed much...but (she still married me), after our wedding we moved to East Lansing where we initially fellowshipped with believers in a traditional church. We valued their friendship, but desired deeper revelation.
He revealed how to hunger for His righteousness.
  • That hunger was intensified when we met followers of Jesus, in what became known as MSU Bible Study, because the greatest revelation comes through obedience. Through their lives they connected the Word of God with the power to overcome the ordinary struggles of life.
He revealed the Power of His Word.
  • We dedicated ourselves to being obedient followers of Jesus: we learned to follow His example wherever we saw the Truth in it
  • a quiver full of babies, eight sons in all!
  • attempting to raise them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord
  • managing my family
  • being excellent in whatever we put our hands to
  • reaching the world with the gospel of Christ
  • serving others when the opportunity presented itself; including the desire to pastor
He revealed His Life in me!

  • During a worship service at Teen Mania's summer camp, I was down on my knees unashamedly worshiping God amongst several hundred teenagers when a little girl, barely a teen herself, came up to me and touched me on the shoulder and said, "God wants you to know He loves you..." she turned and disappeared into the crowd and I never saw her again. It was a peculiar message, in word, not profound, but in Spirit it was a sacred pronouncement.
He revealed His care for me.
  • My son Jesse pointed me to the writings of George MacDonald.
He revealed the Truth that is faith in Jesus.

Let MacDonald explain why Jesus' revelation of the Father was not merely information about God but the uniqueness of our individual lives to Him:

"Not only then has each man his individual relation to God, but each man has his peculiar relation to God. He is to God a peculiar being, made after his own fashion, and that of no one else; for when he is perfected he shall receive the new name which no one else can understand. 
Hence he can worship God as no man else can worship him,— can understand God as no man else can understand him.
This or that man may understand God more, may understand God better than he, but no other man can understand God as he understands him.
God give me grace to be humble before thee, my brother, that I drag not my simulacrum [impression, likeness] of thee before the judgment-seat of the unjust judge, but look up to thyself for what revelation of God thou and no one else canst give.
As the fir-tree lifts up itself with a far different need from the need of the palm-tree, so does each man stand before God, and lift up a different humanity to the common Father.

And for each God has a different response. With every man he has a secret—the secret of the new name. In every man there is a loneliness, an inner chamber of peculiar life into which God only can enter. I say not it is the innermost chamber—but a chamber into which no brother, nay, no sister can come.

From this it follows that there is a chamber also...a chamber in God himself, into which none can enter but the one, the individual, the peculiar man, out of which chamber that man has to bring revelation and strength for his brethren.

This is that for which He was made: to reveal the secret things of the Father."
(from The New Name, Unspoken Sermons I)

O may we continue to marvel at Thy grace and love for us in knowing you Jesus Lord of Life!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples.1

"This is life eternal: that all might know the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have glorified you on earth by completing the work that you entrusted to me. Now, Father, reveal my glory as I stand in your presence, the glory I have known with you since before the world began."


"This is what the LORD says: "Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, [nor the NSA boast of their data,] but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight," declares the LORD." --Jeremiah

Mankind's love affair with all things technological is being exposed for what it really is: a deep seated belief in our ability to control our own destiny....apart from God.  Far from a public outcry at Big Government snooping on our private affairs, a collective yawn sweeps across the land of the (rapidly deteriorating) "free" and home of the shamefully-indifferent-fading-memory-of-bravery.

It is a truth that what we worship in the object of our devotion is what we worship in ourselves.  What we extol in ourselves is not, typically, the Divine attributes of kindness, justice, and righteousness, but rather power and status.  How else to account for our fascination with the pomp and circumstance of Hollywood or Washington DC, the Super Bowl or Olympic champions, Wall Street or Bourbon Street, Silicon Valley or The Pentagon.

As the government collects more data on US citizens, presumably to keep us safe, we can only conjecture on what they could do with it.  The details of the IRS' decision to target certain political groups sends a chilling message of what people in power are capable of in the name of safety and "fairness".

In Buried Treasures, Rabbi Lapin makes a powerful point that goodness cannot be separated from God:  
"...the English word 'good' derives directly from the source of all good, which is God.   ...There is a compelling linguistic argument that originally humans understood that God and Kindness were not two separate ideas.  There is also a logical argument to be made that all attempts to define goodness or kindness without a framework of reference [in God] are doomed.  They were not even two separate words.
For as long as they were understood as a sort of merged reality, each dependent on the other for meaning, mankind was better off.  However, once a culture commences to define kindness with a political frame of reference instead of a religious one, it runs the danger of stepping on to the slippery slope that ultimately converts kindness to cruelty and tyranny."   
We know that the Perfect revelation of God cannot be separated from Jesus.  Let us press on to  completing the work He has entrusted to us: knowing Him! Let a fearless faith and commitment be strengthened in our knowing Eternal Life!  Be glorified in our knowing You Father!

"But you, LORD, 
are a shield around me, 
my glory, 
the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the LORD, 
and he answers me from his holy mountain.
I lie down and sleep; 
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands 
assail me on every side." --David

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Christ's Prayer For His Disciples

"Father, the hour is come. Glorify your Son, that he can bring glory to you in return. You have given him authority over every man and woman on earth, that he might impart eternal life to those you have given him."


What "authority", exactly, does Jesus have over every man and woman on earth?

To get a perspective it is helpful to remember the response to the Boston Marathon bombing
where the governing authorities  ordered every man, woman and child to "shelter-in-their-homes" for a day.  It is  a chilling reminder of how earthly rulers, even in the land of the "free" and home of the "brave", wield authority by coercion and brute force.

We know from eye witness accounts that Jesus had authority over physical things such as wind and waves; over disease such as blindness, leprosy, deafness; over spiritual and emotional paralysis such as demon possession and seizures; over moral decay such as money-grubbing in the temple.

Bruce Marchiano as Jesus,
 from the Matthew video series
But the real authority he wielded was the ability to rouse in people the desire for things eternal.  By using the consequences of bad decisions, sinful behavior, disease and nature's most fearsome threats, he demonstrated God's divine desire to draw our heart to His; to save us from our own destructive ways and embracing, in childlike gratitude, His perfect Will; of creating true hunger and thirst for a righteousness that He alone can satisfy.

To better understand this authority it is well to view Jesus' reaction to the response from certain individuals at His healing touch.  Consider the leper who refused to heed Jesus' command to refrain from broadcasting the healing miracle. 

Jesus got angry. 
"The Lord, who can read the heart, saw that [the miracle] had made in the leper no true response-that there was not awakened in him the faith Jesus desired to rouse: he had not drawn the soul of the man to his. The leper was jubilant in the removal of his pain and isolating uncleanness, in his deliverance from suffering and scorn; he was probably elated with the pride of having had a miracle wrought for him.
In a word, he was so full of himself that he did not think truly of his deliverer.
The Lord, I say, saw this, or something of this kind, and was not satisfied. He had wanted to give the man something so much better than a pure skin, and had only roused in him an unseemly delight in his own cleanness-unseemly, for it was such that he paid no heed to the Lord, but immediately disobeyed his positive command. The moral position the man took was that which displeased the Lord, made him angry.
Jesus saw in him 
  •  positive and rampant self-will and disobedience, 
  • an impertinent assurance and self-satisfaction. 
  • Filled, not with pure delight, or the child-like merriment that might well burst forth, mingled with tears, at such deliverance; 
  • filled, not with gratitude, but gratification, the keener that he had been so long an object of loathing to his people; 
  • filled with arrogance because of the favor shown to him, of all men, by the great prophet, and swelling with boast of the same, he left the presence of the healer to thwart his will, and, 
  • commanded to tell no man, at once 'began'-the frothy, volatile, talking soul-'to publish it much, and to blaze abroad the matter, insomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was without in desert places.' 
(from The Displeasure of Jesus, Unspoken Sermons III, MacDonald)

Do you believe he still wants to give to every man and woman "something so much better than pure skin", that is, Life Eternal?  Than be sure, his anger--the mark of his authority--the anger of a good Man, unyielding in its desire for purity, truth, humble gratitude, and loving obedience will burn until he awakens faith and rouses righteousness in the hearts of all mankind!

Lord Jesus, do your work in me today.  May my response to your healing touch result in greater faith in you and deeper love for you inside the circle of your consuming fire!