On the night of his arrest, Jesus ate with his closest disciples. He was preparing them for what was coming by praying aloud to his Father. We should know and meditate on what he thought would be vital for us to know - especially today. We challenge you to join us for 21 days on reading and pondering the deep truths found here. May the Holy Spirit give you fresh revelation that will strengthen you and motivate you as you start 2024.
The Prayer of Jesus
1 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. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him. 3 And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth. 4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.
6 “I have revealed you[a] to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
9 “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. 10 All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. 11 Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. 12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me.[c] I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
13 “Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They do not belong to this world any more than I do. 17 Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. 18 Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. 19 And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.
20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”
I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them.
Isaiah 42:16 NLT
Frank Sinatra famously sang the song “My Way.” The lyrics repeat a triumphant, “I did it my way.” Like Sinatra, many of us are convinced we have to find our own path, based on our own expectations and desires, and do it our own way. Taking our own path usually causes us to “get lost in the woods.” We may suddenly realize we don’t know which of many roads to take now, or even what destination to aim for. Or maybe our path has come to a dead end, with no way out.
It is then, that we cry out to God. We may ask for help to survive there, on a street with no name and in a house with no number. The enemy jumps in with his accusations and condemnation, “You are just a failure.” “See, God doesn’t love you. He’s abandoned you.” “Don’t listen to God. Just give up.”
We can never find the destiny we were created for on a road we were never created to take. It may not occur to us that we took this side road, not because it was best, but because it seemed easier, or was the world’s choice, not God’s.
We all feel blind sometimes, not seeing what lies ahead. But the Lord knows the future, and, as we trust him, he will guide us safely along his designated path. God has given us, his adopted daughters, wonderful promises of an abundant, full and fruitful life. We were created wonderfully for specific purposes only we can accomplish. God promises that we will not be alone on his road. He surrounds us with his presence and actively defends and protects us there.
So maybe, instead of losing hope when we feel trapped or lost in the life we have chosen, we should ask God to take us back to the place where we got off of his path, the one especially created for us. The Lord has lovingly gone before us and lit and made it smooth for us. We will recognize it as the Holy Spirit leads us there. Jesus will be waiting to heal our wounds and restore our peace and joy.
Dear friends, be blessed as you ask God for assurance that you are on the path he called you to take. Look around and see the evidence of his loving care and provision there. It may not be perfect, but may trusting God chose it for you, please him and fill you with contentment and the strength to carry on. Amen.
Mary Sumner ~ October 17, 2023
The eternal God is your refuge,
and his everlasting arms are under you.
He drives out the enemy before you;
he cries out, ‘Destroy them!’
Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT
In our life’s journey with the Lord we may feel our life coming to a sudden halt. We have done our best to listen and discern the next step, but it feels as though the path ends and the Spirit has led us to a high ledge and we cannot see the bottom of the chasm in front of us. But we sense he is asking us to take a risk and step off. “Just trust me,” he seems to whisper.
Our brain is telling us it would be crazy to step off. Our heart ponds. What do we do? You might ask, “Is it an invitation or a command?” We decide it is both. We remember who our God is, as Moses did in this blessing in Deuteronomy 33. He is faithful through the ages, has saved and delivered us from our enemies many times and given us wonderful promises. He has proved his love for us by giving his beautiful Son to die and pay our debt of sin so we may live eternally in his awesome presence. He has given us his Spirit to strengthen and guide us. He has never failed us yet. Though we didn’t always understand what or why he did what he did, we knew he was with us.
So, we remind ourselves, he is with us today, in whatever situation we find ourselves in. We may face real danger, or our children are making bad decisions, or, perhaps, our spiritual lives have gone dry and feel barren. We may feel defeated or feel things have been going relatively well, so why take a risk now? We all have come to a moment of decision. Do we trust God and surrender to him the area he has led us to? What is he asking you to surrender to him?
When we step out in faith alone, secure in our obedience, what will be below waiting for us as we fall? God’s Word promises that it will be better than when a little child jumps in the swimming pool into the arms of her loving father. Our glorious, all-powerful, compassionate God will catch us. If our spiritual eyes are open, we will discover more of his infinite, deep peace and love as he wraps his arms around us. Our enemy will be defeated in that moment. We are reminded that we are safe. He is always with us. Our faith will explode. We find that God’s love and peace are powerful weapons against the devil who was feeding our fear and doubt. We ask, “Why did I wait?!”
Dear friends, be blessed and filled with joy as you discover that our magnificent, worthy God is always present to catch us when, in faith, we fall into his arms. Rejoice today in your new testimony to his glory.
Mary Sumner ~September 5, 2023