John 17:1 (Benediction)

from The River Walk  –  3 comments

Cristo Redentor

After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.” (John 17:1)

Relate: Usually, when Jesus prays, it is a very private thing. We do have occasional, very short prayers like when He was about to feed the five thousand or right before the raising of Lazarus, but usually Jesus is alone when He is praying. Even if He brings His disciples or the three along, like He soon will at the Mount of Olives and as He did at the Mount of Transfiguration, He still separates Himself from them a bit and His prayer is a very private matter. We don’t know what He is usually praying on the many, many times in scripture He is getting alone to pray. Even at the Mount of Olives we get only a glimpse or a summary of His prayer.

The first of two notable exceptions to this are what we call The Lord’s Prayer, but should better be called the teaching prayer. It is a tool and an example of how to pray on so many different levels it is staggering. On a literary level alone it is the greatest recorded prayer in human history. The other exception is His benediction here. This prayer is better suited to be called the Lord’s Prayer because it is not just a model for others to use but rather a genuine, heartfelt prayer that we have from Jesus to the Father. it is the only prayer we have of its kind. And in it, He is praying for you and for me.

React: If you haven’t done so yet I would encourage you to hop over to John 17 and read this prayer in its entirety. In fact, as I’m writing and we’re reading out of this prayer over the next week or two, I would encourage you to do so daily. What are some thoughts and observations you have as you read through it? What jumps out at you? What are some things you saw that you could use in your own prayer time?

I have my own observations and I’m sure a few of them will be woven in to what I write as we dig deeper into the Lord’s Benediction, but I would love to hear from you. What are your initial thoughts? What are some points or verses you would most like to see highlighted?

Respond: 

God, I am so thankful that You didn’t just leave us with an instructional prayer but also that You modeled intercession both through Your lifestyle and through this Benediction as well. I confess that I am not coming to You, spending time with You nearly as often as I should. Help me to find myself seeking You through prayer far more than I have been. Give me a passion, a longing to be a man of intercession. Help me to live out a life of continual prayer just as You have done so before me.

Respond at: http://tworiversblog.com/2014/10/29/john-171-benediction/

Staying Awake

I have shared a number of selections from Mike Erre’s book, Astonished. I think theses selections below ought to make readers want to go out and buy this book. I know I will be re-reading it when I get done. Too much to comprehend and fully appreciate on one reading. I don’t say that lightly — I never re-watch movies and seldomly re-read books. Mike is one writer I have learned to love and will be picking this book up again.

 

As a follower of Jesus, I want to wake up to the fact that God is all around me and always at work. Many of us live as practical deists— acting like God is somewhere else and maybe, if we sing loud enough or pray long enough, He’ll show up. I want to be aware of the God who is right here right now, and because of that , every moment is drenched with divine presence and potential. I no longer have to wait for God to decide to get involved right here.

We don’t need more people who are busy doing church things; we need people who are aware of the bushes that are burning around us all the time. I

Every person, every relationship, every interaction, every time, every place— the Father is always at work.

Most of us miss this, though, because we sleepwalk through life. The routines of everyday living lull us into a kind of minimal awareness . Without even knowing it, we consign God’s work to our “sacred” places, times, and actions , and miss Him as He moves right around us. We live life on autopilot— eating the same things, driving the same roads, working the same jobs, sitting in the same seats over and over again. And the price for this kind of life? A dull, listless, and boring faith. Our

Life becomes the adventure God intended when we remember that God is in the equation— that He is present, active, involved, real, here, now. Because His name is I AM, the basic life-stance of the Christian is expectancy. Because God is always near and always at work, we live in eager anticipation of what He could do in our midst. With Him, what looks like defeat is often victory, what looks like weakness is often strength, and what looks like God’s absence is often the prelude to His miraculous intervention. The challenge of this isn’t in the doing of it as much as it is in the remembering to do it. Autopilot is the enemy of this kind of awareness and expectancy.

Simply believing Jesus is Lord of our lives does not magically make Him Lord. His presence must be remembered and then pursued.

Mike Erre, Astonished: Recapturing the Wonder, Awe, and Mystery of Life with God, Kindle Edition.

A Prayer for Seeing People and the Word with Eyes of Grace

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Sam. 16:7

     Dear heavenly Father, this Scripture makes me long for more of the ophthalmological corrective that only takes place as the gospel does its work on the eyes of my heart. Even if I could see with 20/15 or 20/10 vision, if I’m only focusing on the “outward appearance” of people and things, I’m still not seeing as you intend. My plea? Open the eyes of my heart, Lord, that I may see Jesus, and as I see Jesus more clearly, help me see everything else from his perspective.

     Help me to see people with eyes of grace. Father, help me to see the beauty, dignity, and your image in people, much more clearly than I notice their brokenness and inconsistencies. And when I do see their weaknesses, may I do so with compassion and understanding, not with shock and irritation. Help me to see what you see in my spouse, children, and friends—even in total strangers.

     Help me to see creation with eyes of grace. Father, don’t let me miss your majesty revealed in the ocean and mountains, sunrises and sunsets, flora and fauna, rainstorms and rainbows. Help me live more as a worshipful steward of your creation and less as a selfish consumer of your creation. Help me to live at the pace of grace that I might notice more of the wonders of your love, everywhere.

     Help me to see pain and suffering with eyes of grace. Father, sometimes looking at the crucibles and crises, and cruel stories and crushing blows of life makes me want to run and hide, fix or deny. When overwhelming need is staring me down; hard things over which I have zero control; and stories which seem to contradict your goodness and sovereignty, help me to see from the perspective of eternity. Thank you, Father. So very Amen I pray in Jesus’ kind and healing name.

by Scotty Smith at Heavenward

What “Love Your Neighbor As Yourself” Does Not Mean

from The Blazing Center by  – 1 Comment

I_love_me_some_me_motorcycle_helmet_sticker__93978.1405435219.1280.1280

“Love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus gave us this as the second of the two greatest commandments. Paul described it as the summation or fulfillment of the whole law. No complicated explanations, lists of caveats, or endless parsing – just “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Continue at: http://www.theblazingcenter.com/2014/10/what-love-your-neighbor-as-yourself-does-not-mean.html

Islam’s Claims of Biblical Corruption Actually Impeach the Qur’an

from ComeReason

Islam began in the early seventh century, when Muhammad supposedly received many revelations providing him with the Qur’an. Given that Christianity and Judaism had been in existence for centuries, it’s easy to see why Muhammad would have found it attractive to try and co-opt these monotheistic faiths as part of his own. To this end there are many places in the Qur’an that address Christians and Jews, and their holy books.

One key passage may be found in Sura 10:94, where Muhammad writes, “But if you are in doubt as to what We have revealed to you, ask those who read the Book before you; certainly the truth has come to you from your Lord, therefore you should not be of the disputers.”1 Here, Muhammad is addressing the children of Israel, and appealing to the Bible in the phrase “the Book” as a way to authenticate his message.

There are many such passages in the Qur’an, some of which point specifically to the New Testament writings. The Arabic word for gospel is Injeel and Muhammad lifts up its authority as well:

If only they had stood fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course: but many of them follow a course that is evil. O Messenger! proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith. Say: “O People of the Book! ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Law, the Gospel, and all the revelation that has come to you from your Lord.” It is the revelation that cometh to thee from thy Lord, that increaseth in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. But sorrow thou not over (these) people without Faith. (Sura 5:66-68, emphasis added.)2
Another passage advocating study of the Bible is found in Sura 4:136:
O you who believe! believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger and the Book which He revealed before; and whoever disbelieves in Allah and His angels and His messengers and the last day, he indeed strays off into a remote error.3Notice how this verse places the Bible (the “book which He revealed before”) as equal with the Qur’an (“the Book which He has revealed to His Messenger.) Clearly we are to believe both books, otherwise this verse makes no sense.

Recommending a Corrupt Guide?

Read more at http://apologetics-notes.comereason.org/2014/10/islams-claims-of-biblical-corruption.html

The Danger of Drifting

John Piper

Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. (Hebrews 2:1)

We all know people that this has happened to. There is no urgency. No vigilance. No focused listening or considering or fixing of their eyes on Jesus. And the result has not been a standing still, but a drifting away.

That is the point here: there is no standing still. The life of this world is not a lake. It is a river. And it is flowing downward to destruction. If you do not listen earnestly to Jesus and consider him daily and fix your eyes on him hourly, then you will not stand still, you will go backward. You will float by.

Drifting is a deadly thing in the Christian life. And the remedy to it, according to Hebrews 2:1, is, “Pay close attention to what you have heard.” That is, consider what God is saying in his Son Jesus. Fix your eyes on what God is saying and doing in the Son of God, Jesus Christ.

This is not a hard stroke to learn so that we can swim against the stream of sin and indifference. The only thing that keeps us from swimming like this is our sinful desire to float with other interests.

But let us not complain that God has given us a hard job. Listen, consider, fix the eyes — this is not what you would call a hard job description. It is not a job description. It is a solemn invitation to be satisfied in Jesus so that we do not get lured downstream by deceitful desires.

If you are drifting today, one of the signs of hope that you are born again is that you feel pricked for this, and there is a rising desire in your heart to turn your eyes on Jesus and consider him and listen to him in the days and months and years to come.

Important differences between Christianity and Mormonism

Here’s a podcast featuring J. Warner Wallace. This is an after action report from Wallace’s recent missions trip to Utah to evangelize Mormons.

The MP3 file is here. (74 minutes)

Topics: (Read them at http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2014/10/29/j-warner-wallace-important-differences-between-christianity-and-mormonism-3/ )