Monthly Archives: March 2008

22 THE SHEPHERD SONG

THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD        (Please read Psalm 23 in the translation you understand best)

 

Have you ever stopped and seriously thought about what that might mean?  Did you ever think about the circumstances under which this “poem” might have been written?  If David did it, it was probably composed while he was out under the dessert sky taking care of his family’s sheep.  Risking his life nightly, perhaps, to secure their safety and assure that their needs were met.  He knew from experience what an important role the shepherd played in the sheep’s well being.  And he also knew how utterly dependent the sheep were.  He never saw a sheep which did not need a shepherd! 

 

Have you ever noticed how Scripture uses such plain, ordinary, simple language to help us understand absolutely profound, eternal truth?  Occasionally, I’ve wondered how Jesus might have expressed such a concept if He’d been restricted to the terms we use today in modern technology.  Can you think of any word in today’s dictionary which could even begin to express such truth so clearly, and understandably?  And so beautifully!! 

 

It seems to me that God’s choice of the time, place, and manner in which He chose to reveal His will and Himself, is done in such a deliberate manner because His objective is this: Not merely to make His truth understandable, but to make it nearly impossible for even a simple mind to misunderstand.  You’d almost have to be stubbornly, terminally stupid to miss the points He tries to make

        If God had decided to speak eternal truth using today’s metaphors and analogies, do you think any simple shepherd on the back side of the desert in some distant land or time would ever have been able to understand or pronounce or grasp such terminology. . . much less the message?   On the other hand, can you see the wisdom and love of God expressing itself in this kind of deliberate choice?  While the unlearned and unwashed could perhaps NEVER grasp anything if God chose to use the language of Einstein’s quantum physics … you can know for sure that the most brilliant, learned mind on the planet could easily grasp and understand the figure of speech using the Lord as our “Shepherd.”

 

           In case you might have run right past it, notice the writer of the Shepherd Psalm claims He is MY shepherd.  Saying He’s “their” shepherd, or even “our” shepherd does not take this as far as God intends it to be taken.  He intends for you to be able to claim:  “The Lord is MY Shepherd” as well.  He’s gone to great lengths to enable you to be able confidently to say: “We are His people. . . the ‘sheep’ of His pasture.  Let us enter His courts with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise.”

           As I leave, I’m sure you recognize this is a “work in progress.”  I’m studying while I ask you to consider the same material.  Before we go further, perhaps you’ll let me know your thoughts on what this Psalm means to you personally.                                                                             A servant, donkimrey

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21 “. . . WITHOUT A DOUBT?”

Study Assignment: (Context) Mark 9:14:29                

 Concentrating on verses 9:22 b-24

 

“If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  Jesus said unto him: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  And straightway, the father of the child cried out and said with tears                      “LORD, I BELIEVE; HELP THOU MINE UNBELIEF.”                        

 

         As we’ve done before, I ask you first to thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the context in which this study is couched.  Ask yourself what was going on?  How did Jesus handle the situation?  and what lesson(s) can we gain from the incident?

 

         Something was always happening around Jesus.  He never was One to be ignored.  In this instance, a crowd had gathered to listen to some of the “intellectuals” of the day.  The Scribes, who represented the best scholarship of that time and place, had a crowd gathered and were teaching them something.

   

         When someone realized Jesus was close by, word spread quickly through the crowd . . . and the Scribes’ just that quickly lost their audience.  Without a conscious effort to do so, Jesus interrupted that “lecture.”  It seems then, and now, that people really want to hear what Jesus has to say.  More than anything anyone else has to say.   Perhaps it’s because they somehow recognize He really does have “the words of life.”

   

         Jesus asked the Scribes what they were discussing, and before they could answer, a man surged forward out of the crowd and interrupted Jesus.

 

         It wasn’t the first time someone diverted Jesus from what was occupying His attention.  You may want to take time and consider what Jesus did with those interruptions.  You’ll discover that He was patient, always.  Instead of being irritated, frustrated, or angered, He used the situation in a way that left no doubt about His identity or His ability.

 

         When the man spoke, it’s obvious to me that he was making a desperate lunge at Hope.  He’d already tried about everything he knew, with no success.  He was suffering for his son.  Like you would do, he’d probably consulted other sources and had just about run out of options. But a father would try about anything to get help for his son. Wouldn’t you?

 

         Throwing caution and propriety to the winds, he blurted out:  “If you can do anything at all, have compassion on us and help us.”  Please.

 

         On at least one other occasion we have record of a similar occurrence:  Right after what we call “the Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus came down from the hills and a leper pushed in close and said: “Lord, IF You will, You can make me clean.”

 

         So, this is not the first “iffy” situation Jesus was forced to face.  Both requests just mentioned for help were tentative, to say the least.  They seemed to be saying, “I’m not sure you can help.  But if you can, please do.”

   

         If you are aware of the accelerating events which would soon result in Jesus’ public humiliation and execution, keep in mind, that some of the people who were listening, and watching Him like a hawk, were waiting for Him to make any mistake.  

 

         Jesus reversed the contingency:  In other words, He seems to say: “it isn’t a question of whether I can do something.  The real issue is this: ‘If you can believe, all things are possible.’”                                                                                                                     

         The little boy’s dad responded simply, directly, and honesty: “I believe. . . Help thou mine unbelief.” 

 

         What I’ve been asking all along is that you simply think about what is being written.  He could have simply answered:  “I believe.  Sure.  Right on! Anything you say.  Yes Sir.  Anything you say.”  Personally, I’m not bothered if you have honest reservations.  In my opinion, a person who has never doubted has probably never thought deeply or seriously about anything.  What matters most is that you exercise the faith you do possess.

 

           But you can’t fake faith.  Not in the presence of Jesus of Nazareth.

 

         So, this man was completely honest with Jesus, and with himself.  “I have some faith.  But I have some doubts, too.”  He admitted the truth and added a plea:  “Please help my unbelief.”    

 

         Does that sound in any way like what you feel sometimes? Do you ever feel as if you might be too hard on yourself?  Would it help if you understood that Jesus understands and accepts your humanity and honesty?  If you’ve been “burned” or disappointed badly on occasions and have some reservations because of that… Would it help if you understood that Christ appreciates your humble honesty and can use what you give to Him?

 

         There are a couple of sentences I memorized not long after I became a Christian.  You may know them.  Proverbs 3:5-6.  The idea is that if you trust in the Lord with all your heart. . . He will direct your path.  “Trusting” isn’t something that just happens automatically, or easily for some of us.   It involves your thinking, feeling, and deciding.  It   involves your intellect, your emotions, and your will.  Your whole “heart.” And, if you can’t do it with all your heart, do it with whatever “heart” or faith you can muster.  It is a decision.  It is a commitment. 

 

         Faith can grow.  If it is fed and exercised, it is bound to grow.  Not overnight, maybe, but gradually.  Sometimes painfully slowly.  Sometimes without your even noticing it.  Over time, acorns can become oaks!  I sure don’t feel like an oak today!  I’ve never been able to muster “perfect faith.”  The truth is, sometimes I’ve had a mixture of reliance and defiance.  Of faith and doubt.

 

         Jesus accepted the honest answer.  You do not need to feel judged or rejected if you don’t have “perfect faith.”  When I think about it, I realize that whether my faith increases or not depends upon whether or not I “feed it,” exercise it.  Doubt’s the same way.

 

         So, I determined to believe what I believe.  Without being narrow-minded, arrogant, or ignorant, I simply decided to trust God and what I believe is His Word.  And, just as deliberately, I decided to doubt my doubts.  Sounds a bit simplistic, admittedly, but I believe what I believe.

 

         Jesus said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could do some pretty amazing things.  How big is a mustard seed?  .  About the size of that period?  It’s almost like powder, almost invisible to the unaided eye.  How big does a mustard tree get?  Look at an acorn and then try to imagine it being becoming a mighty oak.  Imagine an atom….Imagine the powerful potential it contains.  A tiny bit has enormous power.

 

         Jesus doesn’t expect you to “fake faith.”  He accepts us where we are, uses what we submit to Him.  In this case we’re now considering, Jesus honored the man’s honesty, accepted his faith, and granted the request.  The point I’m attempting to make is that Jesus will meet you where you are, accept what you give, and use it in the right way.  He is not a harsh judge.  He’s our Friend.  Our Saviour. 

   

         Two things struck me almost immediately when I read this incident.  One is the importance of being honest.  Jesus is not afraid of the truth.  The other is that I can act on the faith I have             even if it is slight.  Faith is powerful.  Invest whatever amount you have in the right cause; specifically, invest it in Christ.

 

    And then don’t be surprised at the results                                                                                                                                                                               A servant, donkimrey

20 For WHAT Would Jesus Pray?

            Jesus said:  “Simon, Simon,

 Satan has desired you

that he might sift you like wheat;

but,I have prayed for you

that your faith fail not” 

                                                                                     Luke 22:31-32 a                                

          We’re winding down our consideration of the words Jesus spoke to Simon that evening as He and his disciples gathered for their “farewell meal,” what we’ve come to commemorate as the “Lord’s Supper,” or “The Last Supper.”                                                                              Did you get past the haloes we’ve painted on the heads of that “rowdy band?”  Disciples?  You’d hardly consider them to be “saints,” considering how they were behaving at this time.   Governed by raw ambition and completely oblivious to Jesus’ suffering, it was close to a collision of strutting egos and about to erupt into an angry explosion of selfish ambition.  If I missed the fact they were about to get into a fistfight while Jesus was trying to prepare them for what was coming, then perhaps I wasn’t paying close enough attention.                                                                               Jesus warned them.  Tried to get them prepared for the clear, eminent and present danger they were facing, and the storm about to be unleashed upon Him and them.  He tried His best to alert them to the Enemy they were facing, the methods he’d employ against them, and let them know He’d be observing, praying for them.  Just as He does for us today.  

          He prayed: “That your faith fail not.”  Now, that may not be what I want.  It may not even be what I think I need.  Perhaps I’d prefer better health, a better job, more money, nicer friends, a better car, better-behaved children.  There were times when being well-liked, popular, even famous were things that mattered to me most. 

          But, from Jesus’ standpoint, faith was the most important thing He could ask from His Father for His friend.   

          I’m not real sure I can adequately define “faith” or that it’s even necessary to do that.  The thing which impresses me is that’s the thing to which Jesus attached the utmost importance. . . the one thing He knew which would sustain Simon Peter when all else was lost. 

          Please don’t ever underestimate the importance of faith.  “Without faith,” the Scripture says, “it is impossible to please God.”  If you don’t even believe He exists, what basis is there for any type of relationship with Him?  

          Dictionary definitions might not really “nail” it to your satisfaction.  You need faith in yourself, to be certain.  If you lack self-confidence, rest assured you’ll have an impossible task of convincing anyone else to believe in your integrity or ability. 

          In this case, though, I believe Jesus was speaking about the faith Simon Peter has in God.  When the Bible speaks of “faith,” it encompasses your emotions, your intelligence, and your will being surrendered to God’s will.  It involves my recognition of my own sin and a conscious decision to accept the facts about Christ (His death, burial and resurrection.  And then living my life as though that is absolutely true.  It is all this and more, and my attempt here to explain is at best amateurish and perhaps inadequate.         

It is believing God is God, and I am not.                                                                   Here’s another of those little “words.”  FAITH.  Obviously, Jesus felt when he prayed for His friend THAT WAS THE THING HE NEEDED MOST.         

          Not long ago I plowed through Isaacon’s recent biography of Albert Einstein (Don’t know what it says about my reading habits, but about the same time I was reading another biography about Hank Snow!).  The story of Einstein obviously cannot be told without his famous “theory of relativity” and some “stuff” having to do with atoms.  Atoms.  Now there’s some power to ponder.  You can’t even see those tiny things.  Not even under a powerful microscope.  But the evidence is there.  And if you ever “split” one, you better watch out!  Enough power is locked up in one of those little “thingies” to provide lights and power for a large city.        

          Jesus must have known something about the power in just a little bit of faith (a “mustard seed!) to know power is there.  Strength, hope, peace. . . enough to help you through any trial.                

My reason tells me: if Faith is THAT important to Jesus, wouldn’t it be a good idea to find out what it is and get some?  To think about what it is?  To exercise it?        

I can do without many things. But faith is not one of them.                                                                                                                                   A servant, donkimrey  

            

         

19 HE’S STILL PRAYING FOR YOU

                                    Jesus said:  “Simon, Simon, Satan has desired you that he might sift you like wheat; but,I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU that your faith fail not.”                                                  Luke 22:31-32 a

  

I’m Still caught up in the idea of Jesus praying for me.  

 

I feel I can be very candid with you and tell you It’s been my good fortune to have faithful, loving friends who continued to pray for me . . .even when I did not pray.  When I felt I had neither the right nor any reason to pray.  First, there was my Mother.  Then my Wife.  And, of course, my daughter and favorite nurse, Kelli.  I knew they hadn’t given up on me and never would.  There were others, and all had a part in my return to Christ.  I owe great gratitude to all of them.

But none of this has had the effect on my mind that it did when I realized (if I placed myself in these stories about Jesus) that HE may be praying for me!  The magnitude of that thought has not yet sunk in, and I’m not sure I can ever fully grasp its significance.  But I’m mulling that piece of knowledge over in my mind and perhaps shall continue to do that until I draw my last breath.  Whom could you ever select with that kind of power, integrity, and influence if you had to choose ONE person to pray for you? Who would ever possibly care so much for you?  Who would have the greatest likelihood of having their prayer heard and answered by God?

In discussing that thought in the last post, the idea seemed to suggest other roles the Lord plays in our lives: Advocate, with which I dealt briefly, seems pretty much to be a legal term.  Intercessor, is another way to deal with the same idea.  While it has religious and political applications, an “Intercessor” is someone who intervenes on behalf of another.  Usually when there’s been a misunderstanding, a failure of communication, or hostilities that cannot be resolved by the usual reasonable, peaceful means.  It may appear that the breach is too wide and too deep to be bridged.  Two parties are estranged, and a third Person intervenes to help settle the situation.  Scripture teaches that Jesus “ever lives to make intercession for us.” 

Yes. US. Even now.

In a mystery which even the most brilliant minds cannot fully understand or explain, the Bible teaches clearly, consistently, that by His life, death, words and work, Jesus is able to reach out to God and then to us and bring us safely together and have a broken relationship restored. 

Mediator is a word that is very closely similar to “Intercessor.”  The Bible teaches there is “one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus . . .”

If you want to pursue the idea further and find the subtle distinctions between the titles, it would certainly be worth your while and would take more time than we’ll take now.  Here’s where your own mind, your concordance, dictionary, Bible dictionary and perhaps another translations’ points of view will prove invaluable in your own studies.  I’ll look forward to what you discover and share.

The truth I’d like to have you grasp is the idea that, perhaps even in your deepest difficulties or your darkest hours, Jesus could be speaking your name to His Father in Heaven.  When you’re “sifted.”  When you’re tempted.  When you have no idea how you’ll deal with a trial that has just ambushed you from out of nowhere.  Now think about it.  Really THINK about it.  Would that give you some courage, renewed strength and hope in your hour of trial?  

May I suggest that you stop, just now.  Take a deep breath and think more deeply and prayerfully about the idea:  JESUS.  PRAYING.  FOR ME!

Would it bring some light to dispel the darkness of doubt or fear?

Jesus is our Savior, to be certain.  But He is so much more!  It is true that He died for us.  Rose again.  And will return.  But He remains our “Friend who sticks closer than a brother.”  He continues to care for us.  With everything that is going on in the universe, the Bible keeps reminding us of that important fact.

When I was a young Christian, I used to hear an evangelist on the radio on Saturday mornings.  He would go hard at it, exhorting, admonishing, encouraging for a full thirty minutes, full throttle, and just when you thought he was through and running out of breath and time, he’d always say: “Don’t forget, Beloved.  I’m still praying for you.”

I still remember Dr. J. Harold Loman, and wonder how many people were encouraged by those closing remarks. 

Even more, my heart will always be lifted each time I remember that Jesus prays for me!  

THIS BEFORE I GO:  We’re drawing close to a conclusion of this study.  While I was thinking about my “choice” of people I’d like to think would take time and interest to pray for me, Billy Graham’s name occurred to me.  But, the problem is, he doesn’t even know my name.  Much less what my greatest needs are.  There’s really no contest:  Jesus remains first choice.  If He were to volunteer for that assignment, it seems the next logical question would be:  “What would He request?”

You may be surprised at the answer.  Review the text.  Think about why that might be so important.

A servant, donkimrey 

 

 


 

 

18 JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS FRIENDS

Jesus said: “Simon, Simon: Satan has desired you, that he might sift you like       wheat, BUT…  I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU  that your faith fail not.”               Luke 22:31-32a 

We often speak of Jesus as our Savior.  That is a word whose possibilities we can never fully understand or exhaust. He also has other titles, which signify other roles He occupies. Other duties He performs for us.

When He tells Simon that He’s praying for Him, Jesus is performing another function in addition to being “Savior.”  In Scripture, He is referred to as our “Intercessor,” our “Mediator” or “Advocate.”  You’d be wise to look further into the significance of these positions on your own, but I’m going to give it a “shot.”  Hope it will trigger your interest and let’s see what you dig up.

Something very fundamental rests here.  Please think about the ideas prayerfully, carefully, and then look those words up in your dictionary.  If you have a Dictionary of the Bible, that will give you even more insight into the terms and their use in Scripture.

“Advocate” is a legal term.  You might even picture it as an attorney.  Suppose I get into trouble, and I’m worried. The Police caught me dead to rights in a matter and I have no defense.  I’m guilty.  Got caught red-handed.  His honor is in court every day, but I’m not.  I’m scared stiff, as a matter of fact.  How am I going to pay the fine?  Reckon I’ll have to go to jail.  It was bad enough the night I saw that blinding, whirling blue light and almost swallowed my Adam’s apple when the siren started screaming like a banshee. . .  Now, this.  I’m scared.

That isn’t intended to trivialize the importance of what I’m trying to say.  

In reality, I’m often convicted of sin and stand unarmed and without resources in the presence of His Sovereign Majesty, the Great God of the Universe!  And, it is as if my Defense Attorney is Jesus.  He pleads my case.  He approaches His Father in my behalf… even offers to accept the penalty Himself. . . and, by faith I can be free and fully forgiven forever!  My Savior has not only died for me.  He’s risen, returned, and when necessary He “prays for me.”  Pleads my case.  My “Friend who sticks closer than a brother” also is my “mediator,” my “intercessor,” my “advocate!”

That sounds incredible!  Too good to be true!  And now I can understand.  That is precisely why the whole truth about Christ’s redemptive effort is called:  THE GOSPEL!  The GOOD NEWS.  Can you ever find or invent a better word in the English language??!! In any language?

Some of the “guys” might relate to this idea in another way:   Let me use an illustration from sports.  I was never a great athlete; but enjoyed my brief, insignificant stint in the sports as much as any great athlete who ever played any sport. Back in my day, we had none of the sophisticated padding the bone crushers use today.  At first, we had leather helmets with no face masks. When I first “burst upon the sporting scene,” we ran from an old-fashioned single-wing formation.  None of this fancy-dancy, new-fangled quarterback and the T formation.  I was a linebacker on defense and played blocking back when our team had the ball.  Believe me, it was not a glamorous position and in the years I played varsity, I only scored one touchdown.  In the last game of my last year in high school!  I was supposed to lead interference for my teammate who had the football.  I was simply a blocker for the other running backs. . . the guys who scored the touchdowns.  And got the credit and their names in the paper.  And had the cheerleaders and the crowd waving pom poms and yelling themselves hoarse.

Now this isn’t “church talk.”  No haloes or angel wings, no stained glass windows, or organ music and lighted candles in the background.  If you think about it, Jesus had none of that either.  Ever. He probably never saw a beautifully velvet upholstered pew or kneelng bench. Or a grand pipe organ.  He turned to very ordinary, common things that people saw, were familiar with, understood and used every day to make His point.  And did He ever make His point!  And people understood, and loved Him. 

And followed Him!

If you really consider everything He’s done for you, and what He continues to do for you. . . if that reality really dawns upon you,. . . you can understand why one of the poets could only refer to His activity as “Amazing Grace.”  And why another was driven to conclude: “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my life.  My soul.  My all!”

A servant,

donkimrey

17 The Very Idea: Jesus Praying for Me?

 “SIMON, SIMON, SATAN HAS DESIRED YOU THAT HE MIGHT SIFT YOU LIKE WHEAT; BUT I HAVE PRAYED FOR YOU THAT YOUR FAITH FAIL NOT.”                Luke 22:32-33a

        Linda (my wife) and I really like to travel.  On occasions we’ve been to Europe, and the beauty as well as the antiquity and quaintness of some of the places is enchanting and nearly intoxicating to me.  Linda (red-headed and a bit younger than I) likes moving at a rapid pace, taking in a lot of “stuff” in a single day.  It’s what she calls “getting an overview.”  For my part, when we come upon a rustic village, I’m content to park, stroll and just enjoy looking around.  Having lunch outdoors with the “Locals.”  Enjoying their festivities.  Or, if we happen to be viewing majestic Alpine peaks as we did from a little “village inn” in the edge of Germany just before crossing into Austria, I simply would not care to go anywhere or do anything else.  I’d still be there sketching, or writing or singing “Sound of Music” if it were possible.  I could spend hours upon hours, or days, or weeks at the Louvre.  Looking up close and marveling at the exquisite detail, or backing away, squinting, and viewing from a distance, the incredible artistry sometimes takes my breath away and just leaves me speechless.            

       I told Linda that, in my opinion, there are two ways to “see” something.  One is to glance.  The other is to gaze.  I believe the Greeks had words which expressed precisely that difference in definition.  One thing I’ve been attempting in these studies is “gazing.”  Meditating. Contemplating.  Not skipping stones lightly on the surface.  I want to really SEE what is here, and HEAR what is being said.  Hope you don’t mind my method.  If you come upon a truth, which impacts your mind at the deepest level and CHANGES how you think and how you live, you’ll see why I attach much importance to this method.            

      While we’ve been doing these “studies,” I’ve been trying to get across my belief that God gives us principles by which we can live our own lives.  The things He said so long ago and so far away are just as real and relevant today as when they were first uttered.  If God, in actual fact, said and did what Scripture says, it is for us, just as it was for them.  For you and me, just as it was for any of the “Saints” in Scripture.  When Jesus said these words to Simon Peter that night, “Pete” was in the middle of a messy, angry quarrel that was about to explode into a brawl.  Can you imagine?  Holy Saints alive!  The Disciples about to get into a slugfest!!!  And this was while Jesus was dealing with Judas’ betrayal and facing the looming reality of the trial and execution.  While He was attempting to equip the disciples for their mission and the “sifting”  (more like a tornado that was about to be let loose on them.).  They were arguing over who was going to be “in charge.” 

            The point I’m attempting to make is that, if I find myself in anything close to this kind of situation, Jesus would more than likely SAY THE SAME THING TO ME.   And to YOU.   If you’re in a certain situation, or searching, or hurting, the truths of the Bible are designed with YOU in mind. This is not a “stretch.”  I’m not “reaching” for anything.  Just listening and thinking.  And praying. If I fail to miss the personal message intended for me, perhaps I need to go back, pray, re-read, and re-think my position. Perhaps I need to slow down.  Stop.  And Gaze.  And think.  If you feel as if I’m grappling for words at the moment, you’re absolutely correct.   The idea. . . just the thought. . .that someone named JESUS IS PRAYING FOR ME.  That thought, on the surface, is more than my mind can grasp…at first.  It sounds incredible.  When you come to believe the truth and incorporate it in your life, it is even more than incredible!

              Carol Westbrook, a friend on the West Coast recently wrote to me personally, made some helpful suggestions, and told me she enjoyed my “sermons.”  While I appreciate her encouragement, I hope you  won’t think of these efforts as “preaching,”  “bible-thumping,” or “pulpit-pounding.”   If they are “sermons” then we may have set some kind of record just now. “Sermons,” I heard once, “are by definition three points and a poem.”  Here’s no poetry.  And only one point to ponder and at which to wonder:  “JESUS PRAYS FOR YOU.  AND ME.”                      

          Earlier, I believe I made the comment that words have meaning.  And ideas have consequences.  This is a very small phrase, to be sure.  But what do you think about the idea of Jesus praying for you?  What would it mean as you face heart-rending tragedy, or the loss of someone or some thing you hold dear?  Or as you deal with the daily drudge of routine that grinds you down and robs you of joy or a sense of meaning?  What would it mean to you if you feel you’ve strayed too far away and stayed away from God too long, if it dawned on you that JESUS IS PRAYING FOR YOU?            

          Would that enable you to “buckle on your armor, pick up your sword” and go face the  enemy like the “Champion” Jesus believes you can be?  I’m not a gambler, but I would bet if Jesus believes in me, “bets” on me, this mule is a winner!  Not somehow, but triumphantly.  Does it even seem possible Jesus would invest effort in, and PRAY for, anyone who’s a loser?  Can you even begin to wrap your mind around such an enormous idea?                         I want to spend a bit more time with this thought myself, before moving on to something else.  But here’s something else I hope you will consider when you have more time:  If you were God (now THAT IS a “reach.”), . . . stay with me a minute:  If you were GOD and your “only begotten Son” came to you on behalf of one of His friends, would you pay attention?                                                                   

A servant, donkimrey