A Prayer Journal

November 9, 2018

 

TGIF  Those letters used to bring a sense of quiet joy—Thankfulness to God that It’s Friday—we’ve almost made it through another week—we will soon be able to enter that Sabbath Peace Jesus bequeathed to all His children when He said,  

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." TNIV

This Eternal Jesus, “. . .who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” offers peace as eternal as Himself in the Sabbath--who’s hours will soon arrive.  TGIF should ignite the same sense of quiet anticipation I used to enjoy when preparing a gift for Barbara while we were courting.

So Lord, why have those letters lost much of their luster?  Why?  Well it started when  a large chain of  restaurants hijacked TGIF as it’s name for offering “great food and alcoholic drinks.” The letters dimmed further through overuse—they became a cliché—greeted by a tired,  ‘ya sure but there’s work to do.’

But God, is it possible there is a more dangerous reason?  In the battles of every day living have I forgotten what that Friday was like for Jesus?  That day He promised us His peace started with a meal—a meal with His betrayer. Just moments ahead was Gethsemane—that horrific struggle—when for the most intense moment in eternity, His human  desire was in conflict with Sovereign God’s revealed will—a conflict so outrageous it caused our sinless Brother to sweat great drops of blood.  

Our human focus is often on the physical abuse heaped upon Him--the illegal trial, the abusive guards, the gouging whips, the vicious lies, the cowardly judges, the demon driven mob and the deserting friends. The Peace of Jesus, like the eye of  a hurricane, remains calm in the midst of dreadful abuses--because in the early hours of Friday He fought, and won, the battle with self by surrender—“Not my will but Thine be done.”

The peace Jesus offers comes after the early Friday hours of victory in Jesus through surrender of self—Thank God Its Friday—for Friday’s victory always brings in Shabbat Shalom—no matter what day of the week it is—or what trauma any day brings. 

 

October 29, 2018
 

Victory yesterday!  How sweet the sound.  You sent the grocery cart cowboy at just the precise time.  Praise the Lord, Your timing is still exquisite when we stay in tune with Your Spirit! 

This wasn’t D-day in the Great Controversy.  It was just a gallon of spilt milk.  Yet it could have been enough to make angels weep.    Instead it sounded like they were singing—at least in my heart.

God,  I know You don’t need my record in my prayer journal to tell You how good it was.  But I need to write down the details so some time later when it seems to me that Your timing is way off I can review these details and remember—Your timing NEVER IS OFF—only my limited view of heaven’s clock makes it seem that way.

Don’t know if the Devil set me up for failure or You allowed the test to reaffirm in my mind that yes, 2 Cor. 5:17 is true, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person.  The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”  NLT

Here’s the trap.  Two ferries are out of service for repair—only 3 of the 5 running.  Reservation system cancelled till the fleet returns to full force.  WSDOT[1] notification says “we recommend you arrive 1 to 2 hours before sailing.”  The phone app shows the ferries  running on time--on a day I was praying they would be late.  The ferry terminal is still a half hour away.  If I leave the shopping cart in the parking space I might be able to arrive at the terminal just as the ferry loads.  But leaving the cart in a parking space is not courteous.  And it could ruin someone else’s day.

Dutifully returning the cart to the corral there it was—that pesky gallon of milk—sitting in the sunshine—on the bottom level of an empty cart.    To leave it there it would probably spoil. To walk it back into the store would almost certainly mean missing the ferry.  No one around looking for their missing milk.  On impulse I threw it into the truck. 

No! That isn’t right.  That kind of action could lead to missing more than a ferry. Grabbing the milk I ran toward the cart corral.  At that split second the cart cowboy showed up—told him it had been left in a cart.

Smiling—he said, “I’ll turn this into customer service—they will record its return—then if a customer calls they can get a replacement.”

Traffic lights all green—ferry had space—I drove on—crew casts off.  And I? I reveled in that special joy of “getting on by the skin of my teeth.”

Lord help me be as focused on meeting You each morning  as getting on board a ferry.  And when Your timing upsets my day help me find what I should discover in Your time—it is ALWAYS right. Amen & Amen.


[1] Washington State Department of Transportation

 

October 24, 2018

 

Father, Thank You for waking me early again this morning so I can meditate and rejoice in Your guidance.   Please give me texts today that will help prevent my falling for the trap of self-delusion.

Deceptions without and within seem to distract many of us in the church from the simple clear imperative “Go make disciples.” Why is our attention so easily diverted?

Why do we seem to repeat the mistakes of leaders from Christ’s day who He described as 

“. . . Hypocrites! For you cross land and sea to make one convert, and then you turn that person into twice the child of hell you yourselves are!” Matt 23:15 NLT         

What a painful thought!  How can we avoid that result?  
 

  * * *  Pause to look for inspired answers  * * * *
 

Father God, I was amazed to discover solutions in places I would never have dreamed to look.    2 Cor 1:1  through 2:17 was a surprising parallel—the church in Corinth experienced issues like churches in the 21st century—conflicts diverting from mission.  From this powerful section some passages jump out:

  • “God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.”   2 Cor 1:3 

  • “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.”  :4

  •  “We were crushed and overwhelmed . . . But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God,  :9, 10

  •  (A loving confrontation with one creating a problem occurred.  After that Paul wrote) “Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort”  2 Cor 2:7

  • “So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.”2:8

  • “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” :11

Inspired commentary:

  • “All who humble their hearts, confessing their sins, will find mercy and grace and assurance.”  {That I May Know Him 299} 

  • “It is our privilege to feel our weakness, our unworthiness, and then claim the help that God has provided for us.  {This Day With God} 209  

  • “John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ's followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character. But while one in humility was learning of Jesus, the other revealed that he was not a doer of the word, but a hearer only. One, [John] daily dying to self and overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, [Judas] resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan.” AA 559

Father God, please keep me and our brothers and sisters in Christ in the Spirit John followed.  Without You none of us has any chance of escape from the self-deception that trapped Judas.  He thought himself doing God’s work when he betrayed Jesus.  Please Father, deliver us from that evil. For Jesus Sake Amen

 

October 17, 2018

 

Dear Father,

If feelings are a reflection of my relationship with You then I am as far from You today as I’ve been in a long while. But we are told by your Spirit that we cannot depend on feelings because they’re fickle. Certainly within my heart there is no desire to be far from You. I have no  desire to rebel against Your word.  Even when tempted by my own flirting with covetousness the distance it creates between us is repulsive. 

This morning the problem is that I find within my heart the desire to expose the sins of at least one other. Specifically an individual in leadership that has asked a friend of mine to lie under oath. The temptation is very strong to test the new system of compliance to see how it works for an officer that,  if my friend’s reports are true, needs to be exposed.

Yet I know that that spirit itself is contrary to Christ’s example.  How does one know when “love should cover a multitude of sins” and when one is asked to “cry aloud and spare not.”

Please lead me to  at least three texts that will clear away the fog.

Thank you Jesus for Eze 16:8;  1 Peter 4:8 and James 5:20.  All extol the idea that if the desire is to save it is Your love that covers a multitude of sins.  Also there is the example of Jesus dealing with Judas and the apparent difference in dealing with Peter.  His purpose in both cases was the redemption of the person.  Ah! What an easy answer.  The spirit to criticize and expose does not come from heaven.  Criticism destroys the desire to save and heal. 

Thank You Lord this morning for sweeping away the emotional fog to let me understand more clearly Your way with mortals—a way that is safe for we humans to use—a way that brings harmony and joy.  Thank you Jesus! Amen.

 

October 14, 2018

 

Oh sovereign Lord—that isn’t one of Your names usually attractive to me—today it is. The word sovereign, brings in a new thought; an exquisite new hope! The new thought—on  this earth I’ve never lived under a sovereign ruler.  History has taught us to fear the absolute power of a human potentate. Yet in this text this morning You  say, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”  (Matthew 28:18).  And that fact brings only hope!  Hope because during our walk together I’ve learned that I can TRUST YOU.  John’s statement about You has proven true, “God Is Love.”

How comforting to have the assurance that the only absolute power in the universe is governed by the only absolute Love anywhere in all creation.  It was demonstrated conclusively in Your life on earth where not even the furry of demons could cause Your love to waver.  And the resurrection demonstrated potent power to eradicate our mortal enemy: death.  

Thank you for the thought that Loveand Powerare not two different characteristics of our One and Only God.  They are one and the same quality of our Powerfully Loving or Lovingly Powerful Lord and Savior

Doesn’t matter what happens in Battle Creek this morning.  It will not change Your message.    You still say, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”  you still promise,“I will come again. . . that where I am there you may be also.”

Please help me remember that the structure of the church is not THE message. Throughout history human beings have made mistakes when placed in leadership of the nation of Israel or the Christian church—the Everlasting Gospel continued. 

Help us not to get bent out of shape trying to correct others or even ourselves.  Help us rest confidently in the promise, “He which hath begun a good work . . .will perform ituntil the day of Jesus Christ” Amen

 

October 8, 2018

 

Father God, You know that I have had a difficult struggle this morning-keeping my mind on You.

Thoughts push back to Lions meeting yesterday.  All the creative juices keep generating enticing projects that would be so fun and generate so many interesting ways to help our community.

My mind keeps straying from You. Your Holy Spirit is pushed off the screen of my mind while I play with the tantalizing thoughts of what the results might be to this or that product or project.

I keep straying from the thing that I need more than anything else—that life changing connection with heaven—Jesus illustrated by the Vine and the branch. Please bring life to this dead branch through prayer and study of your Word just now.   Please blot out distractions.

The biggest distractions sometimes even disguise themselves as Your work, “If we just did this, it would cause people to think about Your church and its message.”  “You want us to be the head not the tail.”   Sometimes we quote that inspired sentence deceived by the enemy to think that we want to be the head for Your sake.  In reality Lucifer has flattered us to clothe selfishness in attractive garb.

Thank you for revealing that deception this morning. Now please send Your Spirit to lead me through Matthew 11.  What is it You want to download into my mental computer this morning?

Please help me recognize it when you send it!  Then please make me willing to follow in what ever path it leads—in the precious name of Jesus,  Amen

 

MY PRAYER JOURNAL

Real, honest, powerful prayer is so personal it usually hides in a closet - sequestered away from curiosity or cynicism. That very quality of prayer is both good and bad. It is good because it frees the prayer from sham. It is bad only in the sense that most of us seldom share the privilege of seeing someone else in real prayer. So we miss the process of learning by eavesdropping.

The gospels frequently mention that Jesus took Peter, James and John into His prayer closet. Why? Why just those three? If inspiration answers that question I believe the reason is two fold:  A) Jesus felt the need of human prayer partners.  B) They then could become prayer mentors to others.

Not even Peter, James and John were invited by Jesus into the vast majority of Christ's prayer life - just a glimpse now and then - when Jesus needed human support. From those glimpses they gleaned tidbits that met the needs of their souls.

My own prayer journal is so personal and precious no other human eye will ever see parts of it. And while it is not a model for others to follow, it does record great needs. Needs that other struggling pilgrims might be able to help lift the load if they knew, and might benefit from the effort. In that spirit I'm offering to expose my struggles from my prayer journal. If it helps anyone walk more closely with Jesus through the mystique of a prayer journal, it will have been worth the pain of exposure.

Yours in His Grace,

Elder Glenn Aufderhar