Day 18/21: Put Your Sword Away

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 31, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

I am already dreading writing on the next few chapters. Grappling with your arrest, the betrayals, denials, and lies…the sentencing. Then every horrible ramification of the curse of sin. This is where the pen runs dry and the struggle for words begins. I often feel like silence is the only response. What is one thing I can utter that does not sound ridiculously disproportionate?

Today what stood out to me is when You corrected Peter and said,

“Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (18:11)

This is directly applicable to me. How many things have I fought, resented, resisted, avoided because I have been fearful of or have dreaded painful circumstances? How many times have I not even thought to try to think and pray about the larger purpose of the Kingdom in it all? How many times have I not said, “Your will, not mine, be done”?

I am so quick to say, “Yes, use the sword!” Let’s fight back, let’s solve this, let’s do whatever it takes to get back to happiness! Let me be healthy, let me be light-hearted, let me drive on through the problem quickly. “Yes, use the sword!” This is wrong, it is wrong because it is hard. It is unjust because it is hard. It is unfair because it is hard.

This past weekend in Steinbach I met the lovely Grace Fast who is the pastor of prayer and prophecy at Southland. You have touched this woman with the kind of grace that matches her name. Her name is a prophecy. Her oversight and leadership is a beautiful example for me. I am so grateful for her leadership there and how You are using her.

Pastor Ray told her story, briefly. Her husband died of cancer when he was 48. I believe that was around 13 years ago (?) and out of her life “falling apart” You put together something new and so influential for Your Kingdom. Only You can do this kind of healing and only You can cause a life to bear this kind of fruit.

I think of all the ways Grace might NOT have been used if she had not been willing to turn to You and accept that  “cup.” Wouldn’t she have license to be angry at You for stealing from her all that joy and camaraderie and partnership? How many mountains has she had to climb without her husband? How many times has she felt overwhelmed and alone?

Yet when I talked with her, she said, “I wouldn’t trade any of it because of what GOD has done.”

What GOD makes beautiful out of our pain! Amazing.

Jesus You knew the horror You would face anticipating the cross.

The assignment from the Father would mean You wouldn’t only experience physical torture and death. I used to think this, but how uninformed I was! A person can actually withstand a lot of physical pain. But what I didn’t know when I was younger is that You personally experienced the full torment of all sin, of all time. Every vile thing that any human has ever done or thought, You gathered all of this and took it in. You wore it, each sin like a second filthy skin, the disease of it like sulphur in your veins so that Your own Father couldn’t even look at You. It was that ghastly. That gruesome. That terrifying. That lonely.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin…” 2 Corinthians 5:21

This was the job. This was the cup. And this is what You willingly walked into because You knew what GOD would do through it. You knew on the other side of it, it would be “finished” and something good beyond comprehension would happen.

“For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame…” Hebrews 12:2

There is nothing I have walked through that can compare “my cup” with “Your cup” but You did say I would suffer and You didn’t add “Stop whining, it won’t even come close to My suffering.” You just call it suffering and that You identify with my suffering, comfort me in it, and walk with me as I walk it.

*** I think what You are saying to me today is this: You also set the example for me in this passage: Put away the sword. Don’t fight. Ask me what You need to know about the suffering and trust Me to use it to highlight the goodness and holiness of GOD.

Help me to rather fight to surrender to You in those times of misery, to COME ALIVE in the Spirit! No pretence that things are better than they are, but also no fatalism that this is more than You are capable of using for Your good will.

What a journey this all is! I so need Your help!

T

Day 17/21: Did I Hear My Name?

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 30, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Today as I read John 17 I am thinking about how beautiful it is to think of You praying for me. And You still talk about me all the time. Romans 8:34 says,

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died--more than that, who was raised to life--is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

You sit “at the right hand of GOD” -- a beautiful image of the back and forth conversation about Me. You are my advocate because I am Your daughter and out of your love and concern for me, You talk about me this way. I don’t know all the things You are saying, but I know they are all for what is best. Not only do You talk about me, but You talk about others (a model for me to follow – pray for yourself, pray for others). And not only do You talk about others, You pass names on to me to pray for also.

You call me to join You in prayer. Cool thought.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.”

There are 26 verses in this prayer and I look forward to really sitting with this someday. For now though, I am just revelling in the personal attention of Your prayer. What an amazing amount of grace this is because…who am I that You would pray for me? Haven’t You done enough? Do I still occupy so much of Your time? Yes, it appears I do.

You love me that much.

An interesting question was asked at the end of the weekend I was just at. We were asked to ask You, “What do You like about me?” or “What do You see when You look at me?”

This question makes some squirm. Really, you are going to ask the GOD of the universe this? Isn’t that a bit trivial and…childish?

Yup.

Do we really need to hear that?

Nope. But what a delightfully unsophisticated question to ask one’s dad.  Don’t we want to know the little things our parents notice in us and affirm?

It’s a perfectly lovely question that’s a bit embarrassing to ask, requires quite a lot of vulnerability to ask it, and therefore is just the kind of question Jesus loves.

Jesus, You were so immediate with me. Kind of wrestling with whether I should write them here on this public blog but I will include 2 things. I heard Your Spirit say

1.     “ You are a servant” and then You said immediately, “don’t put other words alongside.” This was a very personal word to me because my tendency is to qualify complements or add on an instruction: “You are a servant, great, and here is how you can improve.” Or “You are a servant, a little shaky but I love you anyway.” These are words I would say. But Jesus I felt Your approval over me just being Your servant and the heart and obedience to “be that” is enough.

2.     “I love that you want to be with Me, not just now but you are imagining heaven. I am excited to show you around.” That one got me right in the heart. As You know, over the past few years I was really challenged about “looking forward” to heaven and being with You. People used to ache for this. At the end of Revelation when John says, “Come Lord Jesus” I was very impacted and asked myself, “Am I eager for Jesus and to be with Him?” Since then, I have written a lot in my private journals of looking forward to being in that new experience with You. It is in my thoughts often as a longing. It really touched me that this has been noticed by You…ya, that one really got me.

So now I am picturing You still, Father and Son and talking about me. You always talk about me! This is going on behind my back all the time. My ears are burning… :) And then I show up to talk with You and You love it.

Teach me to pray…keep inviting me over to talk, to confess my sin. Keep releasing me from traps and ties, keep freeing me up. Show me how to hear Your words clearly as I seek You. Keep showing me Your heart for people and needs and the work of Your Kingdom.

I Love You! Thank You for drawing me into this relationship with You. You made me and You talked about your love for me and You called Me to know You, that is the order in how it went. You showed me who I was but with hope in Your voice, showing me that You had made all the arrangements for me to be adopted by You. Even though in this life I sin, You dealt with the bigger condition of sin for me and now see me…clean. So now there is nothing that divides us and every day is a day to COME ALIVE in Your Spirit.

Yay!

T

Prayer: My Story (Part 4)

21 Days of Prayer — January 13 to February 3
This month we are featuring interviews with SunRidgers highlighting their understanding and perspectives on prayer…

Rachael’s Story

Who introduced you to prayer and how has your prayer life grown and changed over the years?

My parents introduced me to prayer when I was really young and I was quite comfortable talking to God on my own. I felt free to a continuous dialogue with Him and certainly had a lot to say. I felt like I could talk to Jesus like a friend.


We were Mormon and the out-loud prayers were more of a scripted prayer and I often felt uncomfortable praying out loud because I was embarrassed to say something incorrectly--especially at church or with my grandparents. There was a lot of pressure to have the right words and tone! It is likely I put this on myself…I do that.


When we left the Mormon church (age 6ish) it was quite upsetting and did not feel comfortable praying anymore. Our lives changed for a lot of reasons and I believed terrible things were happening because we left and I felt ashamed to pray. It is hard to explain what that is like other than a darkened quiet...I don't know, maybe that sounds too dramatic. It was quite confusing. My parents and I eventually became Christians but there was a long road to actually get there and we didn’t all get there at the same time. There are so many reasons why praying was such a complex issue for me as a newer believer (that I obviously won’t get into in this questionnaire!) but I no longer feel ashamed to pray and feel much closer to God for it. The dialogue with God throughout the day is how I get through difficult days and find joy in those and the other ones.



If someone were to ask you why you pray, what would you say?

I pray because I believe that God wants to hear from me and cares about what I care about. -Praying helps me sort out what is going on in my head.

What are you learning about prayer?

  • Praying is really quite simple.

  • Thanking God throughout the day has helped me to have a more grateful heart.

  • Praying like I did as a child makes me feel closer to God so I no longer complicate my praying...I just talk.

Why do you think it is important to gather and pray together as a community?

Praying as a group is not something that has come naturally to me. I much prefer to pray on my own but the older I get the more comfortable I am with it (not that I think I have to be comfortable all the time). It has only been in the last 4 or 5 years that I have been okay closing my eyes in public so I think this has a lot to do with it. I know...it is really weird… The solidarity of gathering to pray and caring for the people in our community and what they care about is something I understand though.


Matthew 18:20For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Day 16/21: And There Is So Much More

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 29, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

Slept in. An intense but beautiful weekend at the Set Free/Church Renewal experience in Steinbach at Southland Church. A long day of meetings and then flights home yesterday. My heart is full. I have much to process and I so identify with John 16 today and Your words to me here. 

 “I have much more to say to you…” (vs 12)

 Isn’t this the truth?

 I am 50 and what I don’t know is so much more than I know. This is a thing I struggle to explain to those who are new to faith and feeling awkward in their new expressions of faith. I actually feel the same way they do, only with the new things I am learning. This is why not one of us are “masters” in being disciples. We may have walked the first steps of faith a long time ago, but there are new steps all the time. So none of us can boast in this. We are all just students of Jesus. 

Yes, students of Jesus, coming near to You again and again to learn.

 You say

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear…”

 I can attest to this. Even this weekend, I found myself looking back on my life and asking, “Why didn’t I know this?” And by know, I mean, know in a practical, outworking way. Why didn’t I have this in my toolbelt a long time ago. Jesus you often said, “It isn’t the time…” and I think this can mean many things for me.

  • It isn’t the time, because I am not ready to receive it.

  • It isn’t the time, because I don’t have the proper foundation or experience yet.

  • It isn’t the time because I am still putting things ahead of you so it won’t be useful anyway.

  • It isn’t the time because I am in a place of deafness (ugh, GOD help me!)

  • Or maybe it isn’t the time, and I have no idea why, but You do.

 Your timing is perfect and I trust that yet I am sorry for when my lack of obedience has slowed the process. I know it has.

 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into ALL truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears, and He will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is Mine and making it known to you…” (v. 12-14)

 So I today sit down, Your student, and ask You to guide me into ALL truth. Not just some, ALL.

 An old Keith Green (October 21, 1953 – July 28, 1982) song just popped into my head, so appropriate. He was a man with such a passion for this.

 Make my life a prayer to you
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

 I wanna shine the light you gave
Through your son you sent to save us
From ourselves and our despair
It comforts me to know you're really there

 Well I wanna thank you now
For being patient with me
Oh it's so hard to see
When my eyes are on me
I guess I'll have to trust
And just believe what you say
Oh you're coming again
Coming to take me away

 I wanna “die” and let you give
Your life to me so I might live
And share the hope you gave me
The love that set me free

 I wanna tell the world out there
You're not some fable or fairy tale
That I've made up inside my head
You're God the Son and you’ve risen from the dead

 Thanks for the things You spoke to me this weekend. So refreshing, so convicting, so calling…all the things You do as my most honest friend, telling me ALL the truth.

 I am feeling so loved by You today and so aware of Your “walking with” me all these 50 years. You noticed me way back then– that little blonde kid, that little girl and You loved me. You introduced Yourself and we have been friends all the years since. You have mentored me like no other; this has hit me with such a wave of wonder and gratitude. I feel so deeply thankful today to You for sending Your Spirit to me and calling my name.

 I can hardly wait to see You and thank You face to face, but for now, may my life COME ALIVE as a prayer to You.

 T


Day 15/21: Free As A Bird!

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 28, 2019

Good morning Jesus,

This is great news to wake up to!  Great News to be reminded of!  The truth of the Gospel – the message that describes our salvation and new life in You – is that there was not one single thing I could do to save myself. You created the world to be perfect, we rebelled and sin came as a result of our rebellion, You sent Jesus to be my redeemer – the substitute for the penalty of sin which was death. Jesus died and rose again and has done the work of restoration between me and GOD. I have been born-again, made new – this is a now thing, and this is something that will be fully completed when I am with You.

 So I do not need to spend time today trying to gain Your approval. I do not need to work to be “good enough.” I don’t need to list reasons why You should accept me. I don’t need to pretend to be amazing and I also don’t need to pretend I don’t sin. Your love for me is unmerited and it has been given as a gift by You. You love me because You choose to love me and it totally pleases You.

You say to me:

 You are already clean because of the word [the Gospel] I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. 

 So now…how do I spend my time? Remaining in You. Hanging around You and learning about You with no condemnation hanging over my head. I can be with You as trusting as a child, just loving to be with my dad.  You show me all sorts of way to do life in a freer and better way. You show me how to live without stuff junking up my life. You show me how to get along with others and to love them and my planet. You and I will be together all day, every day and not once will I have to worry that You will love and accept me less.

 I am clean as a whistle! I am free as a bird! What a good day!

 Come Alive!

 T

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