Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘John 14:6’

One custom of our church community includes the babies and toddlers. Toward the end of the worship service, many parents collect their little ones and bring them to the sanctuary for the closing praise songs.

When our two-year old granddaughter, Elena, arrives, she starts out in Mommy’s arms, then clambers to Daddy, then over to Papa (my husband, Steve), and finally to Nana—that’s me.

Last Sunday she was particularly affectionate—arms around my neck, head nestled on my shoulder. Every now and then she’d lift her head to give me a kiss on the cheek.   I held her close and kissed her silken hair.

IMG_0172

(Who could resist snuggling with this?!)

 

Please understand: Elena is a typical toddler. She knows what she wants and when she wants it (usually NOW!). Her expressive cries can be quite vociferous.   But those traits of stubbornness and impatience—seen in most toddlers–don’t diminish my love for her. Not a bit.

I reveled in that moment of tenderness at church, while swaying to the music and singing of our love for God. In my mind’s eye, I saw myself as the child, held in the close embrace of my Father, who lovingly forgives my sins and casts them as far as the east is from the west.

What an astounding privilege he grants us—to participate in close, familial communion with him, the King of the Universe!

Day in and day out our glorious and powerful God draws near to us:

 

big_thumb_b8e3ad8d855043f095b0024ab5f33ecc

 

  • Through creation. Just this morning, he draped pink cloud-ribbons across a crystalline sky, turning our minds to him and his infinite genius. Almighty God orchestrates every intricate aspect of life on our planet, yet we can know him as our gracious and compassionate Father.
  • Through his Word. Just this week I had occasion to study the word, abide, found in John 14:6. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (KJV). First I looked up the word in the dictionary, and discovered abide means much more than just being with someone. Abide also includes persevering under (!) and tolerating (!), in addition to remaining in one place, to continue or endure.   I had to smile at the tongue-in-cheek humor. And I prayed, “Oh, Lord, thank you for loving me that much!
  • Through people. A young woman at our new church has been enthusiastically friendly.   And though I’ve told her I appreciate her kindness, I doubt she can fully understand how her interest, hugs, and effervescence have ministered to me. God draws near with his joy each time we meet.
  • Through circumstances.  Hugs and kisses from a toddler are just one precious example that makes me mindful of God’s love for me.

 

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

 

Oh, Father, I shake my head in wonder to think

You long for us to be your familial friends.

I praise you for your abundant, gracious love,

Motivating you to reveal yourself

Through creation,

People, circumstances,

Your word, and more.

In fact, you are intimately involved

In every moment of our lives.

Thank you for blessing us

With your abiding presence,

Even though it requires of you

Great tolerance and perseverance!

We cling to you, our Source of

Strength, wisdom, and provision.

You are with us and in us,

Always drawing us closer to you.

Thank you for never giving up

And never letting go.

 

(2 Corinthians 6:16, 18; Psalm 103:8; Psalm 19:1-4;

Matthew 5:14, 16; Psalm 92:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17;

Psalm 139:1-5; Zephaniah 3:17; James 1:17;

Isaiah 41:10; 1 Corinthians 3:16; James 4:8;

Philippians 1:6; John 10:28.)

(Photo credits:  Nancy Ruegg, and http://www.wallpaperup.com.)

Read Full Post »

Why do we say, “in Jesus’ name,” at the end of our prayers?

Several scriptures instruct us.  Let’s begin with John 14:6.

Jesus spoke very plainly and firmly that the only way for us to be welcomed into God’s presence is through him, our Savior and advocate.  Jesus made access possible by his death on the cross, paying the penalty for our sin.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Based on our own right-doing, we could never enter into God’s holy presence.  Our good deeds are as valuable as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), because they’re stained with sin.

But when we believe in Jesus and allow him full reign in our lives, he exchanges those filthy rags for a dazzling cloak of righteousness—his righteousness.  And dressed in this glorious finery, we may enter into the throne room of the King of the universe with our requests.

“And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.  You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (John 14:21).

When we pray in Jesus’ name, we’re praying by his authority.

Years ago, Steve and I enjoyed a VIP tour of Cape Canaveral, thanks to our acquaintance with an engineer who worked there.  Had we walked into some of those buildings on our own, we would have been turned away.  Immediately.  No discussion.    But Steve and I had been given special badges.  We were accompanied by a certified tour guide, and so we were given access.

Now think of such a privilege on a cosmic scale:  We are able to walk into the ethereal presence of Almighty God because we know his Son, Jesus.

John 14:13 says that we may ask for anything in Jesus’ name, and he will do it.  At first glance, it might seem that Jesus is promising to fulfill our every wish for a home worthy of Architectural Digest, a car that causes heads to turn, and a vacation each year in an exotic location.  Make that twice a year.

But could I really ask for those things in Jesus’ name?  He left the perfect splendor of heaven and angels to live in the squalor of humanity.  He died an excruciating death, to rescue me from the consequences of my sin.  How dare I behave like a spoiled child and request frivolous things, when he sacrificed so much?

No, what I want to do is line up my prayers with what Jesus values, what he would desire.  And his main goal is to bring glory to the Father.   Jesus wants to highlight the magnificence of our God in the prayers he answers affirmatively.

And when our prayers are in agreement with Jesus’ agenda, we can pray with confidence that we will be heard and God will answer.

“In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence” (Ephesians 3:12).

Perhaps it would be wise to begin our prayers with affirmations of these truths.  It might sound something like this:

Heavenly Father, I come to you as one of your forgiven children, saved by your Son, Jesus.  It is only by his authority that I kneel before you to bring these requests.

Teach me what it means to pray in the name of Jesus, to align my desires with yours.  Remind me to ask, even as I begin, “Will this request bring you glory?”

I don’t want to trivialize the horrific price Jesus paid for my life, by asking for frivolous things.  I want my prayers to reflect what you value.  It’s just another way I can live my love for you, O Lord, my God.  And that’s the deepest desire of my heart.

 

(photo credits:  www.bestronginthelord.com , www.camanocommunity.net , www.menupix.com , www.barnako.typepad.com , http://www.capresbytery.org  )

Read Full Post »

Living Our Days

Gaining a heart of wisdom

A Season to Share

Because Life is a Journey Shared

Laurie Klein, Scribe

immerse in God, emerge refreshed

Strength Renewed

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Colleen Scheid

Writing, Acting, Living the Grace of God

Walking Well With God

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Shelly Miller

Impressions Becoming Expressions

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

Wings of the Dawn

even there Your hand will lead me ~ poems and devotions by Heidi Viars

Holley Gerth

Empowering You To Become All You're Created To Be

Healthy Spirituality

Nurturing Hearts Closer to God

Just Wondering

Impressions Becoming Expressions

(in)courage

Impressions Becoming Expressions