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.

Advertisements

The elephant and donkey in the room.

I’ve spent the last two weeks watching the RNC and the DNC. My head is spinning. I’ve listened to so much rhetoric and heard so many promises, it’s hard to keep it all straight. I’ve heard so much slander and name calling, I feel like I should be offended. I’ve been informed of so many strategies and solutions for all the world’s problems, I feel like I should wake up tomorrow in utopia.

We have so much hanging on this election. So much rides on who is voted into office. The economy. The environment. Immigration. Energy. Healthcare. Unemployment. Social injustices. Education. National security. The stability of the United States. World peace. The future of life as we know it.

That’s a lot to rest on one person’s shoulders. The expectation of the resolution of every problem to the satisfaction of every citizen. The expectation that the elected person would never disappoint and will always come through. The expectation that this person will continually give strong, courageous, compassionate, decisive, wise leadership. The expectation is that their leadership will make us feel secure, safe, stable and hopeful. The expectation is that when their term has ended, we will all be satisfied with the condition and status of America and be optimistic about the future of the nation, and in turn of our personal lives.

Do we realize what we are asking? NO ONE could ever fill those shoes. NO ONE could ever do all the things we are asking this elected person to do. NO ONE could ever meet those expectations. Not even a team of the best of the best strategist, thinkers and leaders.

And I think, that is our problem. We are looking for humans to do what is humanly impossible. We are looking for humans to set the world right. We are looking for societal perfection and harmony here on earth. And this is just not possible.

How do I know? Because if it were possible, it would already be done. The world has had its fair share of brilliant, intelligent, creative, forward thinking leaders who were full of ingenuity, compassion and charisma. Many of them have instituted reform and brought change. But no one has lead us to this utopian society we’re all looking for. No one has provided the answer to every problem and workable solutions for every dilemma. No one has brought us long term security and stability. No one has given us sustainable hope. No one has given us peace in any one nation – much less in all the earth.

No one could do this. Except Jesus.

Jesus is the only Ruler who can resolve all our issues and bring true reform to every broken system we have. He is the only one able to bring us security, stability and peace. He is the only one able to do this with justice. We know this because Isaiah 9: 6-8 (NLT) tells us: For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. The government will rest on His shoulders. And He will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Our hope should be anchored in this promise. Our confidence should be placed in the never failing counsel of Jesus who rules in perfect fairness and justice and brings perpetual, sustainable peace. Under His rule, there will be no injustice and no war. There will be no poverty, no sickness and no one is left behind, left out or excluded. I know all this sounds too good to be true, like pie-in-the-sky and fairy tales. But this is Abba’s promise to us, and He will make it happen. He is more than powerful enough to bring this to pass and Jesus is everything needed to accomplish this monumental task. And, those in a relationship with Him will live to experience His magnificent reign.

I’m not saying that we should not prayerfully choose a candidate. I am not saying that we should abandon our system of government. I am not saying that our system doesn’t need reform. Until Jesus brings all this to pass, we still have a responsibility to occupy and govern our society with justice and compassion. We still have the responsibility to care for the planet, each other and the future until Jesus returns.

What I am saying is that our hope can NOT rest in any of this. The government, political system or a human cannot do or give what we really need. We cannot rely on any human to give us what only Jesus can give. We cannot depend on any system to supply what only Jesus can provide. We cannot count on government to be our provider. Systems and government will fail us because they are driven, fueled and lead by humanity. And we are woefully flawed.

David says it like this in Psalm 20:7 (NCV) Some trust in chariots, others in horses, but we trust the LORD our God.

As Believers and followers of Jesus, this should be our anthem, too. Some trust in government. Some trust in the system. Some trust in politicians and leaders. Some trust in promises made by men. But, we – the followers of Jesus – will trust in our God, the Master and Ruler of the universe.

I encourage you, don’t place your hope in government. Don’t put your hope in the political system. Don’t hope in humans and the promises they make. Don’t depend of them to make your life better. Don’t count on them to make a better future for your children. Place all your trust in God, listen to His voice and follow His direction. If we’ll do this, He will take care of us, provide for us and sustain us. We’ll live in peace, security and stability – even before His eternal reign begins.

ps ~ Vote. Exercise your right, freedom and privilege. And if we’ll allow Holy Spirit to guide our choices in the voting booth, we cannot go wrong.

I need a drink

I’d like you to meet our daughter, Danielle. She has some great thoughts and I’d like to share them with you. Let us know what you think!


I have this water bottle that I greatly enjoy. It keeps my cold drinks cold for twenty-four hours and my warm drinks warm for twelve hours. I carry it with me everywhere. At the beginning of the day I put ice cubes in it and fill it with water and then I start my day.

But I’m having a problem with it. It’s not helping me stay hydrated. Why? Because I don’t drink out of it.

I carry it around when I walk from place to place in my office complex. It sits on my desk while I work. It’s sitting six inches from my hands as I type this. But I don’t drink out of the bottle. When I’m thirsty, instead of grabbing my bottle, I run upstairs and grab a Coke from the fridge which becomes room temperature in about thirty minutes. Or I head to the café to grab a coffee (which dehydrates me) that will turn cool in an hour.

But my water bottle is sitting beside me, untouched. Instead I grab things that look more appealing but end up leaving me just as thirsty as I was before. Then I complain to myself.… “I am SO thirsty. I should go buy a soft drink.” or “I’m parched. I should grab a coffee!” All the while my ice cold water is sitting beside me, ready to quench my thirst.

Doesn’t this sound oddly familiar? Let me put it this way…

I have five Bibles. I HAVE FIVE BIBLES. I also have a version of the Bible on my phone (I guess you could say I have six Bibles). So, I literally carry my Bible everywhere. It comes with me to my office. It’s in my car with me. I take it to the café. To be perfectly honest, it even comes to the bathroom with me on occasion. My Bible is everywhere I am.  

But I’m having a problem with it. Why? Because I don’t drink out of it.

I run to other things to gratify when I’m dry and expect my thirst to be quenched. I run to others for advice about a situation. I want someone to give me a ‘word’.  I go to songs, movies, self-help books, and blogs to make me feel better, while the ultimate Thirst Quencher is sitting six inches from my hands.

At the end of the day I’m dehydrated. I feel drained and my soul is parched. I feel empty. Then I sit and whine about how God doesn’t answer my problems. “He doesn’t respond to me when I talk to Him.” or “I feel like He’s ignoring me.” or ask “Where is God?” Yet I refused to consume the only Drink that would satisfy.

I failed to realize He’s ready to pour me a Drink, but I missed it because I keep going to coffee bars instead of my Water Bottle.

Drinking water (the liquid kind) takes discipline. Especially for someone like me who is attracted to flavor and bright colors. But if I go too long without water my skin dries up, I feel tired, I become confused, irritable, and my head hurts.

It’s the same way with real Water. It takes discipline. And when I go too long without drinking in the Word of God, my spirit gets dry. I can’t let myself get spiritually dehydrated. I must pour in so I stay healthy and hydrated. So I have a reservoir to pour from.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go have a drink of water.

image