As we approach Good Friday we see little evidence of change from the events that took place over three days over 2000 years ago.
The world is more conflicted it seems than ever before and further away from God who created it than ever in history. We live in dark and dangerous times.
But it was dark and dangerous during Jesus final days as well. In the last conversation he will have with all of His disciples this side of the cross, Jesus explains what is about to take place.
Then John 17 records His prayer before He goes to the garden of Gethseame.
In these dark times we can take comfort in this prayer. He prays for His disciples and then He prays for those to come down through the years.
You and I.
And in this prayer He prays for two critical things that it is good for us to remember as we face the challenges of this world.
He prays for those who will believe in Him through the message of the twelve (minus one) who will now carry the Good News to the far corners of the world, a message that will endure and thrive even in the most difficult circumstances from then to today.
He prays for oneness- a unity in the message that will transcend generations, borders, language and race.
A message that will heal the broken, set captives free and in the process restore relationships to the Father who was willing to give the very best to make that happen.
He prayed for you and I and all those who would come before us and after us.
I believe that is a prayer that will be answered.
If you are following Him today in Spirit and in Truth you are evidence it has been answered.
Go tell someone.
He is risen.
The power of sin and death defeated.
Heavens gates are open wide!
Lift your head weary sinner, the river’s just ahead
Down the path of forgiveness, salvation’s waiting there
You built a mighty fortress 10, 000 burdens high
Love is here to lift you up, here to lift you high
If you’re lost and wandering
Come stumbling in like a prodigal child
See the walls start crumbling
Let the gates of glory open wide.
Songwriters: David Crowder / Ed Cash / Seth Philpott
Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains) lyrics © Music Services, Inc
“Now at last they were beginning chapter One of the great story no one on earth has read: which goes on forever”.
I love this line at the end of the Last Battle by C.S. Lewis.
Everyone has a story to tell and ultimately we are all part of a greater story that someday will be revealed in full.
“ For now, we can only see a dim and blurry picture of things”.
( 1 Corinthians 13:12).
My story is not remarkable, although the events I have had the privilege in my life to witness have been.
I grew up in the south “the land of cotton” and the old times there were definitely not forgotten.
I remember where I was and what I was doing when JFK and Martin Luther King were murdered in Dallas and in Memphis.
I remember the Civil Rights movement, a time of great unrest and change.
I remember the dawning of the “Age of Aquarius” in the late 1960’s. It was also the dawning of my love for playing music, a love that has stayed with me throughout my life.
If my life were chapters in a book one would tell of my precious bride of 20+ years who endured so much and stood beside me through the good and the bad.
One would describe the blessings of being a father and a grandfather.
One would tell about how despite being “the wretch” the song sings about God was able to change me, and use me to make a difference in others lives, make me a servant in His church, and surround me with friends all because of His goodness.
All part of a story that has had many twists and turns.
I think of the words Jimmy Buffet wrote in one of my favorite songs
"As a dreamer of dreams and a travelin’ man I have chalked up many a mile Read dozens of books about heroes and crooks And I learned much from both of their styles"
And so it is true for me.
But in all of my travels and all I have read and experienced nothing compares to where I am headed.
The place where my story here ends and the story that goes on forever begins!
"" I am confident that He who began a good work in you will carry it on until completion until the day He returns".
My hope is that as we all run
our race that in some small way my words will encourage and speak to you, as your story is being written.
And draw you ever closer to the One who loves you.
Further up and further in!
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