Unity

Unity. Of all the things He could have prayed for, Jesus cried out to the Father for unity. As He prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus bowed His heart before the Father and interceded for us. In John 17:20-23 (NLT) we hear Him say: I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in Me through their message.  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. I have given them the glory You gave Me, so they may be one as We are one.  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.

His heart desired unity. He prayed that you and I, His followers, would be one. He longed for us to be unified, like He and the Father are. His plan is that His Body would function as a single unit, united by His heart and His desires, moving and flowing in solidarity in Him and through Him.

Jesus prayed for our unity because He knew it would be the key to our success. He knew that the only way we could advance would be to operate as one.  He knew that without unity, it would impossible to accomplish anything. He knew that without unity, His Body would be disjointed and splintered. And, Jesus also knew that in a disjointed and splintered state, we’d be an easy target for the enemy and susceptible to his deceptive strategies.

So what does unity look like? Does unity mean that you agree with me? Or that I agree with you? Or that together we agree with the leader? Does it mean we lay down our opinion to pick up the majority’s? I don’t think so. I believe unity means, we agree with Him. Unity is being on the same page with Abba. And solidarity is evident as together we say what He says, go where He goes and do what He does. We are unified as we live out His plan.

How does this happen? We step into unity as we practice 2Chronicals 7:14 (NLT) Then if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. Certainly, unity is developed through prayer. But specifically, unity is achieved through humility. Humble prayer. This means we don’t come to Abba with our agenda. We don’t spend our conversations with Him telling Him what we want or what we think. We are not sharing our plan. We are not taking our preconceived notions and opinions into the prayer closet.

Humble prayer means we enter with a heart that says: I do not have any answers. I do not know what is best. I need Your wisdom and guidance. I choose to want what You want. Please tell me what that is.  Then we sit and listen. And, in our silence He reveals His plans. As we leave the prayer closet, we follow His plan with His power.

As we humbly pray, He will reveal His plan. And the plan He reveals to me is the same plan He will reveal to you. If we disagree, one of us is not listening. Therefore, we return to the prayer closet, determined to listen until our heart is unified with His.

Humble prayer positions us for a move of God. Our unity with Him brings us to a place of restoration.

And, living this way will resolve so many issues within the Body of Christ. It would mean that we would stop fighting over everything from the color of our carpet to the type of music we worship to. We’ll no longer bicker over doctrinal differences or how to exegete a particular passage. And we’ll stop squabbling over which political candidate to vote for. (insert eye-roll here)

Which brings me to the point of this post: Abba has a plan. He has already chosen the one He desires to be in office. Shockingly, it may not be the person we think it should be. It may not be the person we identify with politically. It may not be the one we would personally choose. It may be the one we don’t like. But it doesn’t matter what we think or what our political stance is, because the one He has chosen is the perfect one for the job. He knows what we need and He knows what we cannot see. And, if we will humble ourselves in prayer and listen to His heart, He will tell us who to vote for.

It’s not about what I want. It’s not about your opinion. It’s not about what we think. It’s about His divine and perfect plan.

As we lay down our ideologies, opinions, perspective and feelings, we – the Body of Christ – will be a force to be reckoned with. When we have been in humble prayer, as a unified body we’ll exit the prayer closet and enter the voting booth and change the course of our nation.

Now – stop for a moment and think big picture. If we, the Body of Christ are unified, imagine the possibilities! To start, we’ll no longer look foolish to the world. When we say we heard from God, we’ll all be saying and doing the same thing, instead of giving the impression that God is confused or senile. In unity, we’ll powerfully execute the Great Commission with precision, making powerful disciples. We’ll step into the enemy’s territory and put an end to his destructive plans.

As we live in humble prayer, unified under His plan and purpose, we’ll be agents of change. We’ll change our life. We’ll change our families. We’ll change our local church. We’ll change our community. We’ll change our nation. We’ll change the world. This is how we become world-changes – through humble prayer that brings us into unity, enabling us to cohesively move as one.

So, with that, I am telling you who to vote for.

Vote for the one Abba has chosen. Get into your prayer closet and ask Him who that is with all bias aside. Listen. And then vote for that person. Even if they aren’t the one you’d have chosen yourself. This is unity.

And then, let’s live that way. In unity, saying what He says. Going where He goes. Doing what He does.

 

 

If you’d like to hear more on prayer and politics, I recommend this message by my son, Stefan. It will certainly open your eyes and adjust your perspective.

My Soapbox

It’s that time of year when we all start to make plans, promises and resolutions to read our Bible through in a year. We’re shopping around for a Bible reading plan that we think we can easily manage and follow.

But before you go any further – can I encourage you to read (or re-read) this post? And then ask Holy Spirit what He would like you to do. He’s got the perfect plan mapped out for you!

And feel free to share your thoughts with us below!
Blessings for exponential spiritual growth in 2016!

Kim Wahl

I’ve got to get something off my chest. I know this is risky. I’m sure I’ll be misunderstood. There may even be some backlash. But I’ve got to say it. Especially since it’s January.

I don’t like the “read the Bible in a year” plans.

I think it’s a terrible idea. I know it goes against Christian culture. I know there are dozens of plans available. I know many Bibles include it. I know lots of people, pastors and ministries support it. But really – it’s a bad idea.

Why?

Because it values quantity over quality. Because it makes reading the Bible seem like a project on your to-do list. Because it forces you to rush through chapters in order to stay on schedule. Because if you fall behind, you’ll never catch up and will more than likely give up. Because you probably won’t remember very much of what you’ve…

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You heard it right the first time.

I’m irritated. I just read an article someone shared. I won’t mention names, sites or titles – let’s just say it’s one of those lists of things the church has gotten wrong. And now I am highly annoyed.

Don’t misunderstand. The church – the collective body of Christ throughout time all over the world – has gotten plenty of things wrong. The Crusades. The Inquisitions. The Salem witch trails. Need I say more?

But one thing we have not gotten wrong is the love of God. I’m upset because the well-meaning author of the irritating article said that God’s love is conditional. And that is simply NOT true.

God IS love (1John 4:8). Love is the essence of who He is. Love is His nature. Love is the basis and foundation for everything He does. And since He does not change (Malachi 3:6 & Hebrews 13:8), then He will always be love and all He does will flow from His love.

God loves ALL of humanity – regardless of who you are, what you’ve done, what you look like, what your genealogy is, your ethnicity or socio-economic status is. John 3:16 makes that pretty clear: for God so loved the WORLD. The word “world” in this passage means the inhabitants of the world. If you are an inhabitant of this planet – God loves you. There are no exceptions.

Even if you don’t love God, He loves you. Even if you reject Him, He loves you. Even if you are unfaithful to Him, He loves you. Even if you renounce, curse and hate Him, deny His existence, choose to follow another “god” or reject Jesus, He loves you. Nothing you can ever do will change His mind about you. He faithfully loves you (Psalm 100:5).

And that is because His love for you is based upon who He is [LOVE] and not who you are. God’s love for us is not a response to us – our good behavior, good works or good words. God’s love initiates the relationship. He loved us first. (1John 4:19) And this is what makes His love unconditional – He is the initiator, reaching out to everyone, regardless. (Romans 5:8, Ephesians 2:4-5 & 1John 4:9-10)

We don’t have to perform for it. We don’t have to earn it. We don’t have to qualify for it. We don’t have to do anything. He freely pours His love out on all of humanity.

This is why Abba is so amazing [among other things!] – His continuing, unfailing, faithful, consistent, unrestrained, unlimited, unconditional love. It’s so deep, so wide, so expansive and vast that we simply cannot comprehend how great His love for us is. (Ephesians 3:18) His love for each, individual human is so far outside anything that we know or have ever experienced that we must have His help to be able to just grasp the edges of His incredible love for us! It is so deep, profound and expansive that eternity will not be enough time to explore and discover every aspect of His love.

And when we enter into a relationship with Abba through Jesus, the journey of exploration begins. We begin to experience His love for us in a greater way. The understanding of His love starts to unfold within us. We discover the benefits of His love. His love does some incredible things in us.

And we choose whether we want it or not. But our choice does not diminish the reality that He loves us all.

That’s why I’m irritated. God’s love is poured out on all of humanity without restriction. It’s such a wonderful, amazing thing. And I hate that anyone would ever think or feel that His great gift of love was not available to them. That they must meet some standard or criteria. Even if they don’t want it – I think they should know He still loves them.

So you heard it right the first time – GOD LOVES YOU.