Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. When we sing “this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it,” we recognize the fact that our Lord is in control of our experience of each day. No matter how this day may bring you, you can rejoice in it because He has a plan to make you a much better person through it. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:11-13). Will you seek the Lord with all your heart today?
"That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me" (John 17:21). If you are going through a solitary way, read John 17, it will explain exactly why you are where you are - Jesus has prayed that you may be one with the Father as He is. Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or have you some other end for your life? Since you became a disciple you cannot be as independent as you used to be.
The purpose of God is not to answer our prayers, but by our prayers we come to discern the mind of God, and this is revealed in John 17. There is one prayer God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus - "that they may be one, even as We are One." Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that?
God is not concerned about our plans; He does not say - Do you want to go through this grief or this upset? He allows these things for His own purpose. The things that we are going through will either make us sweeter, better, nobler men and women; or they will make us more captious and fault-finding, more insistent upon our own way. The things that happen either make us monster, or they make us saints; it depends entirely upon the relationship we are in to God. If we say - "Thy will be done," we get the consolation of John 17, the consolation of knowing that our Father is working according to His own wisdom. When we understand what God is after we will not get mean and cynical. Jesus has prayed nothing less for us than absolute oneness with Himself as He was one with the Father. Some of us are far off it, and yet God will not leave us alone until we are one with Him, because Jesus has prayed that we may be.
As I grow older, I am becoming more convicted that God cares not so much about our comfort but our character. He intends to nurture our character by His own presence in our lives. He allows different kinds of experiences (either good or bad) to come upon us, so that they will test our character or stimulate us to be more Christ like. What make us more Christ like is to abide in Him at all times. Nothing can please God more than drawing close to God the Father as Christ did. This union with God has direct link to our relationship with fellow human beings. In another word, you will have an enjoyable life with others when you enjoy your life abiding in Christ.
Please pray for our weekend ministry. Loretta and I will be speaking at a retreat at Nevada City (near Lake Tahoe). We will be back on Monday afternoon.
Love you out of this union with Christ,