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Day 14/21: I've Known You For Such A Long Time

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

 January 27, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

There are so many things I love in this chapter.  But this part really got me earlier this year and just gets me again. John 14:5-9ish

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time?

It’s that last verse especially:  “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time…?”

**** My application is very simple today. Jesus, I don’t want to be with You a long time but just barely know You. I don’t want to keep misunderstanding You. I don’t want to keep needing clarification about basic things about You.  I want to live out that Born-Again life You have both given me, and are walking with me through. If You are alive in me, I should walk a different walk. An improving, less hindered walk. If I really know You, it should be easily noticeable I know You — not just from people looking at my life from the outside, but me looking inside and knowing what I know.

 I don’t want to meet You and need an introduction…I want our first face-to-face meeting to be a reunion. I want to KNOW You. I want to know what You would say. I want to know what You think. I want to know the SOUND OF YOUR VOICE. I want to recognize the look in Your eye.

That’s all. May I COME ALIVE in Your presence. You are with me always, so help me to know You everywhere I go and in everything I do…to keep the conversation going and rely on You.

 T

Day 13/21: What Are You Doing, Jesus?

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

 January 26, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Every day influences what jumps out at me from Your Word. Yesterday as I was reading ahead to this chapter, I thought I knew what would speak to me. Today…it is something entirely different.  Thanks for being so personal with Me and taking this day by day!

This morning I hear You saying what you said to Peter, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

Oh man, isn’t that the truth!

So many times I do not understand. I do not get it. I look around me and think, “This just can’t be right!” I find myself calling a meeting with You and talking for an hour about how, “This just can’t be right.”

But Lord, You know what You are doing. You know “when” You are doing it. You know the times and all the inner workings of every person’s heart. You know the “trouble” and how to solve it and the moment for the turn-around. You know the residual effects, You know who all needs to be present for Your Will do be done. You know.

 As Your people, we do not realize what You are doing and we are very, very time constrained. Oh Lord, please show me a little…a glimpse of what is to come.

 In the meantime, this is what You want me to know. You want me to know Your Words and stand on them. These are not just written things, these are what You said and say still. Here are some words for me to ponder for a while related to the thing I am watching You watch over — the thing I am waiting to see a great miracle for. You want me to know this:

  • "Who can snatch the prey from the hands of a mighty man? Who can demand that a tyrant let his captive go? But the Lord says, 'Even the captives of the most mighty and most terrible shall all be freed; for I will fight those who fight you, and I will save your children" (Isaiah 49:24 & 25, TLB).

  • John 10:27-29 "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand."

  •  "They went right on sinning, doing everything their evil hearts desired. I have seen what they do, but I will heal them anyway" (Isaiah 57:17 TLB).

Thank You that while I do not know each piece of Your strategy, You will meet with me any time and any place and put Your hand on my shoulder and reassure me that You are on it. You will tell me again about Yourself and build my faith and trust.

In the middle of my big question marks, You bring peace and You bring Life.

 Come Alive!

T

 

 

Day 12/21: More About Jesus

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 25, 2019

Good morning Jesus.

Today…this falls into the “isn’t this cool” category. Isn’t it cool how Isaiah saw Jesus long before Jesus walked the earth?

John 12:41 follows a passage in Isaiah where he prophesied about the hardness of people’s hearts – those people who would be in the presence of Christ but would not receive Him? Their sin had led them to such a place of disdain for the true things of GOD, they would not repent and so Jesus did not entrust His life giving words to those who had already demonstrated a great disinterest (but there were some leaders who did believe as we read in 42)

The Bible says, “Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus’ glory and spoke about Him.” Not just a general statement about GOD, but Jesus specifically. Jesus was revealed to Isaiah in so many places in his book, long before Jesus was born.

You speak to this in John 5:

John 5:39, “You [Jewish people] diligently study the Scriptures. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.”

 What does this tell me about You? I think it just hits me again that there is way more going on with You then I sometimes think about. Jesus did not only live for 33 years, was crucified and rose from the grave and ascend to heaven. Jesus is from the beginning, from before our beginning.

Even as I write this I think, “Well of course He is, that’s nothing new,” and it isn’t new. But it is funny how things can just get organized in my head, this view of You, and I don’t take in the WHOLE view. The WHOLE MAGNIFICENT HISTORY of what I can know about GOD.

I am picturing a photo album of pictures yellowed by age – 100 year old photos or, if it were possible, 1,000 year old photos. And there, and there, and there is someone I know very well today, yet appears in these images of times long ago. How is this possible?

Isaiah saw You long before You were sent to us: Jesus was, is and is to come.

*** What does this mean for me today? To know a person, you need to know all about them. You went after Cleopas about this in Luke 24:25-27 when You said

 “How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the prophets, [Jesus] explained to them what was said in all the [Old Testament] Scriptures concerning himself”

 I confess that I am slow too! Jesus, I will never stop learning about You and I pray that I wouldn’t stall out in this. I day by day I would know you MORE, visibly, noticeably, deeply more!

 I want our relationship to be living and breathing and advancing.  Alive!  May our relationship never stall out or become quiet and uncomfortable. I want to COME ALIVE as I walk with You!

T

Day 11/21: Death, and Other Minor Injuries

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 24, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

I love the whole “trilogy” involving the “Mary, Martha and Lazarus” family. Today as read the story of when Lazarus fell ill one thing stood out to me in a new way about You Jesus.

In verse 11 you said, after knowing for a bit that Lazarus was sick, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

I know there are many things to think on in this story but I stopped and smiled when I read this. Only You could say something like that. Only You could have this view when, to us,  this very scenario is “the worst.”

I am thinking of a small child who cuts their finger and at the sight of a spot of blood, loses their mind!  They hyperventilate over such a small thing! Who views it as such a small thing? The adult attending. The adult views a prick of blood as nothing. In their adult perspective they know that breaking your femur is a valid reason to wail in pain, but this? 

Only Jesus could see death different from how we see it. He said Lazarus had fallen asleep in the same way we might say to a child, “It is only a tiny thing.” The Disciples, who never really understand things first round, question the necessity of the trip: if he is just sleeping, why are we making all the effort to get there?

Jesus clarifies once again. Asleep = Death. It is important that we go, because I am going to show you something about My power over death. I am going to show you something about the thing you fear, the thing the enemy satan always holds over your head.

I digress: On a purely human level, did it ever frustrate Jesus that He had to explain His lovely word pictures? Those disciples never got it. Jesus said things so beautifully, but every time He had to go back and pick plainer words. Having said that, thank goodness for us that we don’t have to put up our hands in class. They did it for us and so we get both the poetry and the interpretation.

Who but GOD could see death as relatively minor? Who but GOD can see any situation I walk through as completely within His power to fix. Easily.

This isn’t to say that GOD treats my suffering and grief lightly. He does not.

The adult treating the little scrape, comforts their sobbing child even though they know the little one has no idea of how minor their injury is.  What the adult feels is empathy for is their child’s grief, even while they are not worried about the wound itself. That blood could be wiped with a Kleenex and won’t reappear, but the rude awakening of pain and all the pains to come, that is what we feel for. We love our child so much, we grieve that they grieve.

This is the heart of GOD also. He is not worried about death. I do not have the perspective on death that He has. I have not walked through that doorway to see the astonishing wonders, the endless discoveries, the unfathomable excellence of being with GOD in all His glory, creativity, and joy!!! Death is a concern? Not to GOD, not at all because He sees all we cannot see. I don’t see what He knows about life after life. Yet, He does not rebuke my feelings of pain. He identifies with them and comfort me.

I could write pages about this – but today I think the thing *** You are wanting me to know is that there is not a situation that I go through that You do not view differently. Every thing that is painful to me, in Your hands, has a different outcome.

Lord Jesus, Your Word says in Romans 12:3 that you “distribute faith” and I am asking You today to give me this faith. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening – oh Lord, especially at “night”. Especially when things are dark – give me faith. I am so hard of hearing, Lord shout out faith to me I pray. As the song says, “Every hour I need Thee…”

Speak those words of comfort to me to right size things: “It’s just sleep…” – ah that perspective. When I am close to You, walking with You, You help me to see the things of life the way You see them. Only Your Spirit can give me that view. I cannot imagine this on my own, so I am asking You Spirit, right-size things for me again and again so that I COME ALIVE and do not waste my time moaning over things that are so manageable in Your hands.

T

Day 10/21: Stranger Danger

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 23, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

This morning the line that struck me in John 10:1 where you talk about someone who wants to get to the sheep in the sheep pen, but does not walk through the gate. Instead of opening the door to the fold, he climbs over the wall. This is never the behaviour of the godly – skulking around, slipping in through the side door, coming late, leaving early so as to go undetected. You then talk about how You enter through the gate, Your sheep know Your voice, they follow You out and You take them to safe places. All in the light. You are the good shepherd; You lay Your life down for Your sheep. You will not abandon them, as others would.

You say that Your sheep would not follow the stranger who climbs over the wall. Your sheep know You have come to bring life to the full versus the stranger who comes to steal and kill and destroy.

As I observe the sheep, I get concerned. I see things that should be a “stranger danger” warning but somehow this thing, or this belief or this practice is not alarming. There are many sheep who do not pick out that the voice they are listening to is not Yours. They do not feel the chill of warning when they come close to a way of thinking that is not Yours. They put things in their houses they shouldn’t, they put their belief in the power of things that hold no power, they absorb bits from other beliefs and practices they shouldn’t be practicing…not if they want to walk the way of the Shepherd.

Maybe we are just not looking. Maybe we are just not listening. Maybe some are Your sheep in name but not in a born-again belief. I don’t know…

When something does climb over the walls of my life do I quickly recognize what is “of You” and what is not? You call us to this discernment and say You will help us discern.

During these 21 Days, I have been experiencing extra “wall breaches.”  Here I am enjoying You and Your good words and ways, praying for so many things. Believing in faith for so many things and I have had The Stranger coming alongside and speaking untruth to me. I hate it. Discouraging things. Defeating things. Just the right things at the right time to really flatten me. Stirring up things I really don’t want to have to wrestle with. I know it isn’t Your voice. Clearly they are not Your words because they are tinged with condemnation and hopelessness.

How have I been handling this? Sometimes I can just walk away. I flick The Stranger off like he is a mosquito. Maybe that day it is easy. But other days it is not so easy. I have had a few wrestling days that have been very draining and these I never feel as good about – I think, “Next time I should…” employ a better tactic.

In verse 17 You remind me that You have all authority. You laid Your life down with that authority and You took it up again with authority. In verse 27 You say “My sheep listen to My voice; I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”

Things easily get snatched out of my hand (or lost because I set them down and can’t remember where), but not Yours. I am in Your hand, and nothing can snatch me away. Today I am praying that You would help me battle. Help me battle the things that the Stranger brings. Lord I wish that I could remember, in the moment, that You are mighty in battle! Psalm 24:8 “Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle.”

 Next time in the thick of it, when I can’t even think, I am just going to say Your name over and over; will You remind me? I will block the darkness with the light of Your Name. I will be reminded. I will walk in Your authority.

 Thanks Lord…I am still alive…and You are making me Come Alive more and more, not less and less.

Keep me green.

 T

Day 9/21: Who Is Responsible For This Pain?

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 22, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

If I do not sit with you, I lose sight. I lose sight of the bigger story – the actual story. It is not difficult to lose sight, I find it happens very easily and very quickly. In fact, I have to be with You to see the story with any kind of truth. When I sit with You in the morning, I see it. As the day goes on…I have to consciously keep clearing my eyes.

I quickly lose track of the plot as my own part in it is affected by how I interpret “the happenings.” I lose track of Your intentions as the Author, especially as other characters interact with me. I don’t know how to read the plot at times, I want to flip forward a few pages rather than allow things to unfold in the particular event I am in.

I don’t like some of the scenes, Lord. Especially the ones in size 8 font where the text fills page, after page, after page. Could this scene not resolve itself so we can move on? Sometimes I think You ask a lot of me. “And you don’t ask enough of Me,” I hear Your Spirit say. Noted.

As I am reading John 9 the chapter begins with the story of another blind man. The disciples ask a common question, “What went wrong with this guy?” Actually it is more pointed then that; it is a judgement on him and/or his family. What did they do wrong for this tragedy to happen?

Your answer is fresh to me today even though I have read this page many times. I have a “green leaf” beside it for a reason: it is such a life giving, life shaping answer. You say,

I put a green leaf in my Bible when I come across a verse that contains a truth that, if lived out or held close, really leads to a “green” (opposite to brittle) life. In this case, if I really owned this I wouldn’t resent tough circumstances so much and would live with more freedom as I go through it…

I put a green leaf in my Bible when I come across a verse that contains a truth that, if lived out or held close, really leads to a “green” (opposite to brittle) life. In this case, if I really owned this I wouldn’t resent tough circumstances so much and would live with more freedom as I go through it…

“Neither this man or his parents sinned…but this happened so that the work of GOD might be displayed in his life…” (9:3)

And then You go on to connect this work (the miracle that You were about to do) as the kind of thing one does as “day-work” versus the ceasing of labor when the night comes and makes it impossible.

Two things here:

First, that this man’s issue was not a consequence of sin and was not a waste of time. In fact his blindness would be completely used by You to “let in the light of GOD” as You extended mercy to him through it.

Second, my life lived out in the light is to be about a work greater than just musing about why bad things happen My life is to be about revealing the light in all situations, over and over again.

And now I come back to the bigger story. I see how one of Satan’s most effective temptations is to get me to dissect troubling situations; analyze them, to somehow try to explain them. What a trap it is. If it is easily explainable (pain due to my sin, someone else’s sin, or the sin of the world) then I can move to the next square as described in the Bible by receiving forgiveness or extending forgiveness and then I must GET ON WITH THINGS. There is work to be done while it is day!

This story is clearly about the “other” kinds of situations where an explanation isn’t obvious in the moment.

Could it be that as I am living out a plot-line not of my own fault or choosing, there is a greater thing at play? Will this bring me to hate GOD for allowing it, for not fixing it presently? Or will I be able worship You for what You will do through it? Very important question and not easily answered. I don’t hate You GOD. I don’t think I am even angry, am I? But I definitely am sad more often then I like and I am not necessarily thanking You either.

Not to forget…Satan’s goal is for me to doubt You, blame You, distance myself from You and others, live in misery, and lose hope for victory. He knows the scenarios where these temptations work so effectively.

I find that when I am walking through troubles like these, the GOD I adore easily becomes

the GOD I am frustrated with,

the GOD I don’t understand,

the GOD I beg.

And this brings me back to the beginning of my time with You here Jesus. This chapter in John is like a mile-high sandwich of truth. I have only taken a tiny bite.

Are you good even now, even in “this thing” that pains me? I am asking You, Holy Spirit, please stretch my mind to understand Your Good. Help me to see good in the silence and in the incremental movement as much as I see you as good in the instantaneous, answer. Help me to see your goodness, the miracle at play, in it all.

*** I hear You saying a few things to me today. I can and should ask You for more. I can ask You to do greater things in me. I want to have the mind of Christ. I cannot achieve this. I need You, Jesus, to change me. I need You to melt my heart down and reform it. Word of GOD speak. Mind, will, heart, soul, be submissive to your Maker. I am calling you to this.

Also, defiance is very motivating to me. The idea that praying is an act of defiance against Satan and demonstrates an allegiance and POURS love out to Jesus is very motivating. Today, to know that Satan wants to pull me away from GOD in times of struggles-I-do-not-understand makes me feel even more like hanging tightly onto Jesus. I want to be shoulder to shoulder with You, Jesus when I am feeling especially vulnerable and doubting. “Where is Jesus? Find Him NOW. We need to talk!” I want to be defiant against the evil one who would have the audacity to try to get between me and Jesus. Not happening.

Mold me into something new and something more Alive.

Teresa


Day 8/21: Did She?

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 21, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

 Since I am looking closely at You, I am seeing myself beside you when that “adulterous woman” was brought before you in John 8. Her accusers laid it out along with what “the Law” gave them permission to do to a person caught in the act. John writes that You knew it was a trap. In the heat of things, You casually bent down and wrote something on the ground while they continued to badger You with questions. You were just writing…they must have thought that was so odd. What’s he doing? What’s he writing? They come over to see what You were so occupied doing.

 You straightened up and said, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” And again, you stooped down and wrote on the ground. One by one they leave and You stand up again and act surprised. You ask her, “Where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

 It goes without saying that I am DYING to know what You wrote. I can only speculate: were You writing about their personal sins? Their law-breaking? Were You writing about their own private thought-life that You knew all too well? I wish I could step through time and see. Whatever it was – it was key to this story and it quickly ended the confrontation (still I am, so curious to know!!)

 I love the amusement you showed. As if You didn’t know they all had run away with their tails between their legs! You enjoyed a little “dark humour” with this woman who must have been absolutely terrified. You lightened things – “Oh, where did they all go? Did I leave anyone out…no one is left?”

 She said, “No one sir”

 “Then neither do I condemn you,” You said to her. This is so significant. Even if what happened to this woman was a trap, she fell into it for a reason. Maybe she was the kind of woman with a reputation and adultery was an easy set-up. She was probably living a lifestyle they could easily exploit. She was probably vulnerable to a situation just like this. Maybe she had even been with men in that very circle…

 Jesus “acted out” His Good News in this story, the Gospel.  It was THE BEST thing that could have happened to her that day and this little story advertises Your priority. Jesus, You did not come to condemn. You came to save. You came to give life. You saved her and after You saved her, You called her to something better: “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

 What is the opposite to a “life of sin”?

 Romans 6:23 says,

 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 If sin = death, then she had been living out a dead-end life. How many people just don’t understand they are living a life of sin that has a dead-end?

 The opposite of dead is alive. Jesus was calling her to Come Alive! He was calling her to a radically changed hope-immersed entirely new LIFE.

 Jesus didn’t call this woman to now “go and live a moral life.” He called her to something grander. He called her to go and live within the free gift of GOD = a grace affected life.

 This little story is just another version of every human being’s story. It is my story.

  •  I was a sinner, standing condemned

  • You took my actual sins on Yourself, you wrote my sin to be on You, and put them to death on the cross

  • You came back and said, “Now, live the new life I have just given You and will help you live out.”

 I don’t live this life shamefully like a dog waiting to be kicked. I live it as Your daughter. You have written my name not in the sand, but upon the palm of Your hand (Isaiah 49:16)  I am approved of because this brings you glory! You are with me now and anticipating living with me forever. You have removed the heavy weight of death off my shoulders and replaced it with a grace-filled freedom. Do I live in the awareness of this?

Did this woman walk around in thankfulness as she left Jesus? Did she feel the wonder of this second chance? Did she feel reborn? Did she surrender her old ways and wear her new identity free of shame? Did she see those accusers around and feel absolutely redeemed by GOD? Did she tell others again and again?

**** Do I?

 Come Alive!

 Teresa

 

Day 7/21: How Did You Get That Way?

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 20, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Coffee and conviction. You really put your finger on a “way that I think” today that needs some shaping. The other day I read a quote by Brennan Manning in the 21 Days of Prayer Email and it has stuck with me. I am again challenged about that word “trust” and having the mind of Christ. In that quote, Brennan said, “The troubled eyes and furrowed brow of the anxious believer are the symptoms of a heart where trust has not found a home. The Lord Himself must pass through all the shades of the emotional spectrum with us – from rage to tears to amusement. But the poignant truth remains: we do not trust. We do not have the mind of Christ.”

For one particular issue I am dealing with, I give myself permission to go through that range of the emotional spectrum because isn’t that just human? Don’t You identify with me in my weakness (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)? I think the answer is Yes…and….But. Yes, I am fully accepted by You, You will walk my emotional journey with me, but there is also a better place I can live. This place of trust.

Oh GOD – Father, Son and Spirit – come tutor me. I wrestle with how to trust in “that situation” and to have hope about it. I want to. I want to have the mind of Christ. I know trust has to be trust and it can’t be assigning You the outcome. Trust has to be trust even when I am living in outcomes I don’t understand. Trust has to be me looking at You and seeing that you are thoroughly loving, and trusting that love even when present circumstances often seem uninhabitable.

Reading John 7 today I love what You say and just how transferable it is to me. The Jews are all wound up about You, amazed at You and bugged that they are amazed by You. They say, “How did this man get such learning without having studied?” (15). Basically they were saying, “How did you get that way?”

You answered them and said,

“My teaching is not My own. It comes from Him who sent Me. If anyone chooses to do GOD’s will, he will find out whether My teaching comes from GOD or whether I speak on My own…” (16-17)

I love how You answered them and I love how this speaks to me today. It isn’t that You devalue study, it’s just that no words, no insight, no wisdom, no conviction can match the Words of GOD. Your words were unlike any words they had heard because they contained all of the authority of GOD. What a difference!

You still speak today with this same supernatural kind of insight wisdom and conviction and when we listen well and share this well, it testifies to how we got this way: You have changed us. You are changing us. ***This also calls out to me to know Jesus really well and to listen very well so that I will be changed by You!

This past Wednesday at the prayer evening there were children and young people there who certainly have not had a lot of time to amass a library of knowledge. Yet a young person can have beautiful insight about You. They can hear from You as You speak to them on a level they will understand and we hear surprisingly mature things come out of their mouths that could have only come from You. How did they get this way? Only through the Spirit of GOD.

There was a day when You showed me my need for salvation – forgiveness from my sin. You did this. It isn’t something I saw naturally – You had to show me that I was fallen. I confessed, I agreed with You and asked You to rescue me. And You did. You showed me that Your Son died for me and I could receive that pardon for my sins. You made me clean and gave me Your Spirit to teach me Your ways. All of this did not come because I studied. It came because You led me there.

And now I am able to say that what You are teaching me, and what I am talking about is not my own. It comes from You. I am Your follower, walking in Your will, and time will tell if what I say comes from You or whether I was speaking on my own. Jesus, You always spoke in perfect alignment with the Father; I speak on my own at times and make mistakes doing so. Forgive me for running ahead and forgetting to ask You first.

So here I am wrestling with trust. I pray You would do something in my inner world that will give me a confidence and peace; pull me away from living “half way to tragedy” – that middle grey place between total despair to the left and bright hope to the right. I believe without a doubt that You will give me wisdom beyond my years. I believe You will settle me and give me a picture that is truth-filled and perfect. Lord of my life, help me to understand Your Good News deeply, because I know this will orient me only in one direction: trust.

I was reading an article by Tim Keller. He says, “If the inmost desires of the heart are likened to a piece of metal, then common morality bends the heart into a moral pattern with the tools of fear and pride rather than melting the heart into a permanent new shape through humble joy and loving gratitude that decimates its old selfish insecurity and arrogance. If you bend a piece of metal, it will eventually either snap back into its original position or break off.” I think this applies to what I am thinking about. I am asking you to melt mistrust down and form something completely new so that it has no resemblance to the old.

May trust Come Alive in me!

Teresa

Day 6/21: Follower

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 19, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

 Great way to start Saturday, just enjoying Your company. Please come and sit with me and talk tell me about Yourself. I want to know You better than I know anyone.

 Right away in John 6, I find my mind spinning. It says in verse 2

“and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick.”

It’s really the first part of that verse I am thinking about, how a great crowd of people followed You. What was that like? I am asking myself if I have ever been a part of a great crowd that “followed” someone.

 I don’t think I can compare any experience to the one described in that verse. I have gone to concerts where I am among a great crowd, but that’s not really following. It’s an evening. I know some people are devoted to a band, but I never have been.

I have enjoyed certain authors, thinkers, speakers and some I tune in to regularly but I wouldn’t call myself their follower or a part of their crowd. I think of them as a kind of occasional mentor that I consult from time to time.

 What does following look like. I googled “What does it mean to follow someone” and of course, what pops up? All things Facebook. Is that what following has become?

 As I am thinking about who “followed You” Jesus, it is literal feet on the ground follow. Scads of diverse people heard about You – truly a random crowd – drawn in by what was reported about You. They actually left what they were doing and hit the road to watch You and listen to You. Some people went to extreme lengths to find You and spent dawn to dusk with You and showed up the next day to do the same.

 Your disciples followed You EVERY day. You shared the most important things about Yourself with them and answered countless and sometimes repetitive questions. You guys all ate together and found shelter together and did things together in all kinds of cities and towns. You told stories to them and created stories with them. You taught them and reminisced with them and looked forward to a future of being together.  All this happened while your friends followed You. They were clearly following You; it wasn’t them setting the agenda.

They took following to a new level though. Not only did they know You, could describe You as only a very close friend could, and could quote You verbatim…they became like You and picked up on how You lived to live like You also. They made Your priorities their priorities so that people could actually pick them out as a follower of Jesus. **** This is what You are pointing out to me today and calling me to keep pressing into.

 When I say I am a follower, my desire is to be a feet on the ground kind of follower. In my waking, in my working, in my playing, in my conversations, I do think of You as being with me. I do this imperfectly, because even though You are with me, I often dominate the conversation, I often take the lead as we journey, and I can get so lost in my own thoughts I can forget You are in the room but Jesus, I am Your follower more than I am anyone else’s.

But Jesus, I so want to be like You. I want people to see me and see You.

Is it harder to be Your follower now? No, no it is not. Your Spirit is IN ME — that means there never is a moment we are apart. At all times You are with me for everything I want to ask…for everything I need.

A great crowd still follows You every day — and in my context, I walk alongside many followers. Ah, so thankful just now for this!!

Your people all around the world along with seekers and sojourners. We all follow You and You share the most important things about Yourself with us and answer countless and sometimes repetitive questions. We all eat together in honour of Your Name and find shelter in Your Words of Life. You still invite us to do things together with You in all kinds of cities and towns. You tell us stories and create stories with us. You teach us and reminisce with us and look forward to a future of being together.  All this happens while your friends still follow You.

 We are clearly following You; it isn’t us setting the agenda.

“All those the Father gives me will come to me,
and whoever comes to me I will never drive away” (John 6:37, NIV).

 Spirit, touch Your followers deeply so we will Come Alive!

 Teresa


 

Day 5/21: Receive Hope!

Welcome here! This blog is an “extra blog” being posted daily between January 13 and February 3 to come alongside the 21 Days of Prayer. We are reading the book of John with the intention of looking at Jesus very closely. We want to know Him really well so that we will love Him even more!

January 18, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Hard to get out of bed this morning. The blankets were so warm. But I have my coffee, heat dish at my feet, sweater on, coffee to my right, pen, Bible and journal and I am ready! I am taking “my thoughts captive” so they won’t pull me all over the place (this pretty much happens immediately when I sit down with you – 5 other random thoughts that suddenly start knocking on my mind, wanting my attention…they can wait).

As I read John 5 my first mental note is…I need to spend more time with John 5 at some point. This is a meaty chapter. Holy Spirit I know there is so much here, but show me the one thing You want me to know today. The verse that jumps out at me in this chapter is verse 6. I think every time I read this, it jumps out. It is just such a compelling question and depending what is going on in my life at the time, it speaks to me in a new way.

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had ben in this condition for a long time, He asked him, “Do you want to be well?”

What were your thoughts here? What was your tone of voice? It is so easy for me to hear my voice rather than Yours. I can see myself walking up to this scene and having a pretty judgemental assessment: “Seriously, 38 years? For 13,870 days he has not thought up an idea to move this situation along?”

Dear Reader: Spent some time reading about John 5:6 because I was curious about what other people have said about this verse. I googled “John 5:6 commentaries”…read a few on Bible Hub. I also googled “John 5:6 Maclaren” because I really love the way he looks at things. Old language, so it requires a little patience, but worth it…want to read it for yourself, go here

A few things that stir my thoughts.

On no other occasion does Christ ask a question without being addressed first: why does He now ask a question of which the answer was so obvious? Probably in order to rouse the sick man out of his lethargy and despondency (Cambridge Bible for schools and colleges)

I am thinking about what it is like to live with a “condition” for 38 years,

  • how that affects every area of one’s life

  • how it is so defining of everything one calls “life”

  • how it can become an identity even, the language of the condition becoming what is most talked about, thought about, lived around — as if it “is you”

  • how people stop thinking beyond the condition, dreaming, or planning

Some things are so blocking!

Maclaren says,

The true text only tells us of an intermittent pool which possessed, or was supposed to possess, curative energy; and round which the kindness of some forgotten benefactor had built five rude porches. There lay a crowd of wasted forms, and pale, sorrowful faces, with all varieties of pain and emaciation and impotence marked upon them, who yet were gathered in Bethesda, which being interpreted means ‘a house of mercy.’ It is the type of a world full of men suffering various sicknesses, but all sick; the type of a world that gathers with an eagerness, not far removed from despair, round anything that seems to promise, however vaguely, to help and to heal; the type of a world, blessed be God, which, amidst all its sad variety of woe and weariness, yet sits in the porches of ‘a house of mercy,’ and has in the midst a ‘fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness,’ whose energy is as mighty for the last comer of all the generations as for the first that stepped into its cleansing flood.

This poor man, sick and impotent for eight and thirty years-many of which he had spent, as it would appear, day by day, wearily dragging his paralysed limbs to the fountain with daily diminishing hope-this poor man attracts the regard of Christ when He enters, and He puts to him the strange question, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ Surely there was no need to ask that; but no doubt the many disappointments and the long years of waiting and of suffering had stamped apathy upon the sufferer’s face, and Christ saw that the first thing that was needed, in order that His healing power might have a point of contact in the man’s nature, was to kindle some little flicker of hope in him once more.

I’m just going to stop there and not analyze the story because I just want to look at You in this situation, Jesus, and at that question again.

“Do you want to be well?” That is the first thing You said to this man. In that question is truly the stirring of hope. You are asking, “Can you imagine being well? Can you see yourself different than you are at this moment?”

It is a bit of a scary question for us humans, because we do ask ourselves if we dare hope after experiencing stinging disappointments. We tend to build walls to protect ourselves from that hope/disappointment cycle.

I have something I am hoping for. But often I find myself hoping in a very aching way. Perhaps a bit like this man at the pool….hope mixed with “despondency and lethargy” because I have been hoping a long while now. In this story, a conversation happens between You and this man. **** You introduced hope into his life and I believe this is what You are wanting me to hear today: Receive hope. No matter how drawn out a problem seems, no matter if it seems impossible to solve, see Jesus coming alongside and receive hope. And this is not hope built on positive words (like a nice quotable on social media); this is hope based on the power of Christ to accomplish the impossible. You will give me a new vision; new vision as often as needed!

I need to apply this to my life: out of this hope in Christ, the man who was a cripple trusted. He trusted enough to just do what Jesus asked of Him. Maclaren says “A very ignorant trust, no doubt, it was; but all that was set before him about Jesus Christ he grasped and rested upon.” And isn’t this true of me. I want my trust to be stellar, bold, and confident. But often it is just a little pea-sized trust because I am sad and tired and fearful yet in there…the kernel of trust lives still.

Jesus says to the man to get up and the man does not argue. He just attempts to do what Jesus instructed. This is a submissive trust. And don’t I get caught on the submission part? I see my stubbornness Lord and confess it to You!

So it is no spiritualising of this story, or reading into it a deeper and more religious meaning than belongs to it, to say that what passed in that man’s heart and mind before he caught up his little bed and walked away with it, was essentially the same action of mind and heart by which a sinful man, who knows that Christ is his Redeemer, grasps His Cross and trusts his soul to Him.

Do a work in me, Holy Spirit. I receive hope from You today. I lay down my “free-will” (which is also the choice to “not be well” or “not have hope” or “not have a new vision” or “not trust” if I so stupidly choose) and I am listening to what trust looks like. You told the man “pick up your mat” – what are you telling me to do today? I will do it.

Thank you that You see me, You see me even when I am miserable and You compassionately offer me hope. I pray I would not refuse it but would receive hope and COME ALIVE in Your Spirit!

Teresa