Does Jesus Pray for YOU?

  • Wednesday, September 29, 2010
  • Within twelve hours, Jesus will be hanging on a cross, enduring incredible pain and agony unto death. And He knows it…

    This is the backdrop for the 17th chapter of John in which we are able to read the prayer of Jesus to His Father. It is only in the opening five verses that Jesus prays for Himself, and then not for deliverance but rather that Jesus the Son would glorify His Father!

    I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:4-5

    Jesus prays in the “past tense” as He had completed the work God gave Him to do. Christ’s willingness to submit to the Father and do the Father’s will resulted in the Son bringing glory to the Father. And in turn, God the Father glorifies the Son!

    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Phil. 2:9-11

    He then turns and prays for his disciples (6-19) and then later for us (20-26)…

    I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. John 17:6-8

    And the Divine Mystery of grace and salvation is captured in Jesus’ prayer for His disciples.

    The Father chooses whom He will…

    …For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me, unless it has been granted him from the Father. John 6:65

    The Father reveals Himself in the person of Jesus Christ…
    And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. Col. 1:15

    And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. Heb. 1:3

    The Word is heard…

    So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Rom. 10:17

    Life-changing belief in The Way, The Truth, and The Life…

    Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. John 5:24

    For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. John 6:40

    Jesus, in His darkest day on this earth, prayed to the Father for those entrusted to Him by the Father! Jesus prayed the gospel, the “good news” of eternal life through God’s plan of redemption…

    And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent. John 17:3

    Glory be to God!

    Does Jesus Pray for YOU?

  • Friday, September 24, 2010
  • Been wondering, “How am I going to feel if I turn 71 years old?” Now, I don’t mean, “Will I have lots of aches and pains?” Or, “Will I be totally consumed with telling anyone in ear-shot about my latest doctor visit or surgical repair or… ?” No, what I mean is, “How will I feel if I celebrate my 71st birthday and come to the realization that the wager I made 20 years earlier, I lost?”

    Too many are taking incredibly unnecessary risks. They are “rolling the dice”, betting it all without seemingly any sort of serious contemplation regarding the cost of being wrong. This came to me in one of those unplanned “incidental’” moments this past week. I arrived a few minutes early for an appointment at the coffee shop (bet you would have never guessed THAT location! and ran into a friend from some years back.

    We caught up on the passing of time and the advancement of various family members. And, he told me that his wife was spending time with her father who was in failing health, probably not having all that long yet to live. “Has your father-in-law yet come to faith in Christ?” I asked. “No,” he replied. “And the shocking thing is he has no fear regarding dying! When we ask him if he has any concern about what will await him after the grave, he says he literally never even thinks about it!”

    Show Them Our Glory, Part 2 John 17: 1-5

  • Tuesday, September 21, 2010

  • These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up his eyes to heaven he said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee." John 17:1

    We often recite a prayer which we call The Lord’s Prayer as recorded in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. A more correct term for that prayer would be the disciples’ prayer. The 17th chapter of John is the true Lord’s prayer, a unique look into the communication between Jesus our Lord and God the Father. In this time of communicating together, Jesus prays first for Himself, then for the disciples, and finally for the church.

    Our time together Sunday focused on the first part of this prayer. He began with prayer recognizing His destiny, the hour in which He would go to the cross to demonstrate His love for us. That hour was a turning point for the world. That hour was planned from the beginning. That hour changed the world forever. That hour in which he was burdened with our sins, and the sins of all mankind. There is no hope for the hopeless if it does not center on that hour.

    Even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou has given Him, He may give eternal life. John 17:2

    As Christ prayed, He acknowledged His sovereignty. He has authority over all mankind. He has authority over Satan. He has authority over death. He has authority over the physical world. He has authority over death. He has authority to receive our worship. We are God’s gift to Jesus and Jesus is God’s gift to us.

    And this eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou has sent. John 17:3

    Here Christ speaks of intimacy, of knowing. He prays as much for our intimate relationship with God the Father as He does for His intimate relationship with God the Father.

    Show Them Our Glory

  • Friday, September 17, 2010
  • There is something special about the way that two who are committed to one another communicate, especially when the subject under discussion is of a personal nature.

    My mom and dad would often talk in very low voices. Sometimes they would tell us to stop listening in because what they were discussing was 'none of your business'. I recall often hearing the phrase, "little faces have big ears," a signal to the other parent that the kids had NOT stopped listening and that perhaps another time would be more appropriate to continue the present conversation.

    My Grandpa Pete and Grandma Marie implemented a completely different communication strategy. They would speak to one another with us grandkids in the room, and would speak in normal conversational tones. In fact, they would often speak with a bit of an elevated voice due to Grandpa Pete's diminished hearing (Grandma Marie said that he was her eyes and she was his ears...sorry, made sense when we were kids!). Anyway, they carried on extended discussions in our presence...but they spoke to one another in German. (, I don't know whether it was 'high-German' or 'low-German. What kind of Mennonite descendant am I anyway!?!) But when they wanted us to know, they spoke English. When they didn't want us to know, they spoke German. We heard it, but we simply did not understand.

    There is something special about the way that two who are committed to one another communicate, especially when the subject under discussion is of a personal nature.

    Clarifying Job Descriptions

  • Wednesday, September 15, 2010
  • If ever there was doubt about what our job descriptions are in the church, it was clarified on Sunday. Pastor Michael Krause took us into two of Paul's writings to point out the call of pastors, and the call for members of the church.

    And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-12

    Examine that passage, and what it tells us is that the job description of the pastors and teachers is to equip the saints (that's the members of the church) so that the members of the church can do the work of the church and build up the Body of Christ.

    So, now you ask, "What is the work of the people of the church?" The answer lies within other passages of Scripture.

    Love Will Keep Us Together

  • Friday, September 10, 2010
  • Stickability is hard work!

    The heart of Christ, the Lord of His Church, is for unity, harmony, mutual submission and sacrificial service. In the hours before His inevitable agony the disciples heard Him intercede with His Father for stickability among His followers. “I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.” John 17:20-21

    In encouraging the Church in Ephesus, Paul wrote, “...being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:3 Stickability is hard work!

    God's Plan for Your Prosperity

  • Tuesday, September 7, 2010
  • The conclusion of our study in Proverbs titled "Hope for the Harried Household" ends with a collection of four-letter words. Work - Plan - Save - Rest - Give - Pray. In our time together Sunday, Pastor Tom focused on these words and what Scripture provides as guidance. In today's faithnotes, we’ll review God's plan for your prosperity and hope for your harried household.

    Work. Work is God's wonderful provision for the meeting of your family's needs, and it is clear that He makes no commitment to support the lazy. Work was part of the Creator’s plan…labor was the consequence of the curse!

    • "A worker's appetite works for him, for his hunger urges him on." Proverbs 16:26
    • "The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. The getting of treasures by the lying tongue is a fleeting vapor, the pursuit/seekers of death." Proverbs 21:5-6
    • "A faithful man will abound in blessings, but he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good, because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth, and does not know that want will come upon him." Proverbs 28:20-22
    • "In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty." Proverbs 14:23
    Remember, it's not wrong to have riches, but it is wrong to let riches have you.

    God's Plan for Your Prosperity is a Four-Letter Word

  • Friday, September 3, 2010
  • "The hand of the diligent makes rich...It is the blessing of the Lord that makes rich, and He adds no sorrow to it."  Proverbs 10:4, 22

    Had a coffee break this past week with the man who is tasked with taking my meager set-aside nickels and transforming them into a safety-net for that day when my life-stage has brought us to the inevitable season of reduced earnings. He laid out his recommended strategy, explained some of the other options worth contemplating, and then asked me what I wanted to do. "It is your money. I am only an adviser. I am prepared to assist you in any way I can. But it is your money so you get to decide."