Christ’s prayer for His followers, offered long ago in Jerusalem, is still His prayer for us today.

BY CHARLES F. STANLEY

Last words carry great significance because they reveal what’s important to a person. That’s why we gather around a loved one’s bed as the end draws near, hoping to hear final thoughts, instructions, or wisdom. And of all the recorded last words, the most valuable are those of the Lord Jesus. Before He went to the cross, He spent an extended evening with His disciples, celebrating the Passover. His final words in John 13-17 show us His heart for those who belong to Him.

 

Consider the roller coaster of emotions the disciples experienced in those last days and hours with their Messiah: They’d watched the crowds welcome Him into Jerusalem as “the King of Israel” just a few days before (John 12:13). But now they were gradually being awakened to the fact that things were not going to turn out as they hoped. They’d left everything to follow Him, and now Jesus was telling them He was going to die.

To see this from the disciples’ perspective, we need to better understand their expectations. According to the Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was going to come as a conqueror to subdue Israel’s enemies, exalt the nation to global prominence, and rule over the entire world (Isa. 2:1-4). As His followers, they were anticipating places of prominence, authority, and greatness in the kingdom. They didn’t realize that they needed a Savior more than a King. The Messiah had to first offer Himself as a sacrifice in order to save His people from their sins.

 

THE LORD’S PLAN

When Jesus first began to speak of His upcoming death and resurrection, Peter actually rebuked Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You” (Matt. 16:22). Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system. But on this last night, the reality was finally sinking in, and they were filled with grief and sorrow at the thought of life without Him.

Despite Jesus’ repeated assertions, they could not fit a dying Messiah into their belief system.

Christ’s response to their trauma is best described in John’s gospel: “Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end” (John 13:1). Everything He said was for the purpose of strengthening their faith. Before their world began to turn upside down, Christ said, “I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He” (John 13:19). Then He revealed what was going to happen:

  • One of them would betray Him (John 13:21).
  • He was about to leave and go back to His Father, and they couldn’t follow Him (John 13:33), but He would return and take them to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3).
  • He promised that He would send them another Helper (John 14:16-18John 16:7).
  • He would still provide whatever they asked for in His name (John 14:13-14).
  • They would have a new kind of relationship with Him (John 15:1-5).
  • They would be hated and persecuted by the world but could have His peace (John 15:18-19John 16:33).

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church (Eph. 2:20). Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world. From an earthly perspective, this looked risky. They were not an impressive group. In fact, they lacked spiritual insight and the courage to stand with Christ when their lives were in danger. Yet Jesus knew their future success didn’t depend on their own abilities but on His power, provision, and intercession. Therefore, as the evening drew to an end, the Lord lifted His eyes to heaven, and this is how He prayed:

 

These confused and fearful men in the upper room became the foundation of the church. Jesus was entrusting them with the task of taking His message of salvation to the world.

FOR HIMSELF (JOHN 17:1-5)

First, Christ prayed that both He and the Father would be glorified in His death, which would bring eternal life to all whom the Father had given Him (John 17:1-2). The cross was not a defeat, and Jesus was not a victim. By completing the work He’d been given, including His redemptive death on the cross, the Son glorified His Father.

 

FOR HIS DISCIPLES (JOHN 17:6-19)

Next, Jesus prayed—not for the world but for those who believed that God sent Him. They were precious gifts to Christ, and He had been glorified in them through their faith in Him. Now He was going to send them into the world with His message. Therefore, Jesus asked His Father to protect them from the evil one and sanctify them in the truth of His Word.

 

FOR THOSE WHO BELIEVE THROUGH THEIR WORD (JOHN 17:20-26)

In conclusion, Jesus broadened His intercession to include all future believers who would make up the body of Christ—His church. Just imagine, on that night almost 2,000 years ago Jesus prayed for you. And what did He request? “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me” (John 17:21).

He wasn’t merely asking that believers get along with each other, although we should. Jesus was speaking of the spiritual unity of all Christians with the Trinity and each other. Every true believer is baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit and becomes a part of His body. Together, we are sent to proclaim the gospel so that the world may believe.

 

THE ANSWER TO THE LORD’S PRAYER

God answered Christ’s prayer for that little band of men gathered with Him for the Passover observance. They faithfully took the gospel to the world, and we now have their testimony recorded in the Bible. What’s more, the heavenly Father continues to answer Jesus’ prayer as new Christians enter into the spiritual unity of Christ’s body. In fact, believers around the world gather to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, which Christ established that last night.

For His final request, Jesus said, “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory” (John 17:24). A day is coming when everyone Jesus prayed for will meet together in heaven with Him and with each other in perfect unity. And we can know with certainty that this will come about because the Father always answers His Son’s prayers. In the meantime, the church is called to strive toward unity here and now—loving one another just as He loves us, and testifying to an onlooking world about His transforming power.

 

Photograph by Ryan Hayslip

https://www.intouch.org/read/magazine/the-pulpit/from-the-upper-room

He Wants Men To Stand With Women On Abortion. Alright, Let’s Do That

Don’t let pro-choicers convince you it’s wrong to speak out. Offer your money, time, community, and resources to mothers who choose life.

Cory Booker Wants Men To Stand With Women On Abortion. Alright, Let’s Do That

 

May 25, 2019

Presidential contender Cory Booker (D–N.J.) says women need men to stand with them. I couldn’t agree more. His open letter to all men in GQ calls on all of us in the masculine sex “to listen, to speak out, and to take action.” Let’s do it.

Start by watching and listening to an ultrasound. You can find them all over YouTube. It will change your life.

When we were both 21, my young bride suspected God might have blessed our marriage with a new life. She made an appointment, and we went together to the physician. He confirmed what her womanly knowledge had told her: she was nine weeks pregnant. He also immediately prepared an ultrasound and we were able to see our first son, barely the size of a grape, with his vulnerable little heart firing off 153 beats per minute.

I do not have any experience in the baby-carrying portion of pregnancy. I do, however, have plenty of experience at listening to the rapid beat of a human heart that is smaller than the tip of my pinky.

I also have experience with the pain of silence. My wife has conceived six children. The second was never born alive. We sat together at her second ultrasound listening, desperately straining our ears to detect the slightest hint of a heartbeat. There was none, and we wept.

We did not mourn, and we do not continue to mourn, because our dreams were dashed. We mourned for the life that never reached its potential. A human being, a person, died in his mother’s womb. We carry the tragedy of it with us to this day, even after the successful births of four more babies.

I challenge you, men, to listen to and watch an ultrasound of an unborn child. Don’t just hit the play button on YouTube while you perform some menial task. Really focus in on the sight of that fetus grabbing her toes. Listen to the beat of the human heart as it pumps blood through a living person.

Do not talk about abortion until you have done this. But once you have, it is time to speak out. Once you have heard and seen the truth of an ultrasound, there is no keeping silent.

Abortion is often not a topic men like to talk about. I will never have an abortion; I don’t know what that is like. Our lack of experience can make us timid.

Abraham Lincoln and William Wilberforce had no idea what it was like to be a slave. That did not make them timid. Their freedom and the bondage of others made them bold to speak—to declare the evils of slavery openly in the public square.

So it should be with living men today. Open your mouths, not because you have no idea what it is like to be pregnant, but because you know what it is like to live. You know the joy of living, moving, and breathing the free air of this world. Let that make you bold to speak out on behalf of those who might have that knowledge stripped from them by the callousness of an abortion doctor, the timidity of an inexperienced father, or the fear of a young mother.

Then take action. Find a pregnancy clinic that cares for mothers and children, and donate or volunteer. Stand in the bitter cold or scorching heat outside the local abortion facility to let women considering this action know there is hope and there are people willing to help. Don’t just hold a sign, but be ready to give real aid to anyone in need.

Start mentoring the young men you know, especially those who have strained relationships with their fathers. They need a sturdy example to learn what it means to be a man. Show them the meaning of sacrifice, duty, and respect. Help them to see the unspeakable cowardice of abandoning a woman with whom one has conceived a child, or worse, encouraging her to get an abortion and kill the child you helped create.

Be ready to take action that supports pregnant women, especially those who have no network of family, church, or friends. Any father can tell you how difficult a pregnancy (not to mention the ongoing work of raising a child to adulthood) is when a woman has the full support of her husband and their extended families. A woman who finds herself pregnant and alone needs even more help.

Be that help. Recruit the women you know to help with the more sensitive parts of going to the prenatal appointments and dealing with the physical aspects of pregnancy. Volunteer to assemble furniture and toys for the newborn. Provide financially for the needs of mother and child.

Booker has hit the nail on the head. It is time for men to listen, speak, and take action. Do not simply aim for making abortion illegal; make it unthinkable and unnecessary. Work to fashion a world where ending the life of an unborn child is a fossil that, 10,000 years from now, archeologists will look back upon with shame and contempt that their ancestors could have been so brutal.

Joshua Theilen is a husband of one wife, father of five children, and pastor of one Lutheran congregation. He and his family reside in southern Illinois.Photo Martin Kirigua / Pexels.com

https://thefederalist.com/2019/05/24/men-the-fact-that-you-cant-ever-be-pregnant-shouldnt-stop-you-from-speaking-out-against-the-evil-of-abortion/

The “A” Word

May 10, 2019 by Discerning Dad

 

 

Men…we were created in the image of God to be the covering for our families…the rock, the foundation, the supplier, the hunter/gatherer, the fix-it guy, the put-gas-in-my-car guy, the guy who has all the answers for our kids crazy questions….the guy who mows the lawn and pulls weeds.

Well darn…that’s a lot of responsibility.

But do we let our family see us sweat about it? Heck no. Instead, we bottle in our feelings, restrict our positive emotional output and kick the dog when we are frustrated. If the dog’s not available, we kick the wife and kids…. maybe not physically but certainly emotionally.

A man’s hidden paradigm – anxiety – we bury it deep inside and don’t let ANYONE in to see all of it…maybe glimpses, but that’s all. The American culture is to keep anxiety buried (or medicated) so it can’t be seen. I have been (and still sometimes am) that man. The problem is that anxiety isn’t just about being worried. As men we don’t stand around wringing our hands waiting for things to get better.

We usually look for some sort of outlet to divert the need to think about the things that cause us stress…. any distraction. It can be sports, obsessing over a hobby, or maybe burying ourselves in our job. These things are socially acceptable…and the church community generally doesn’t have an issue with either.

On the socially “unacceptable” end of the spectrum, anxiety can also be the conduit that leads to other issues. We were designed to be on this earth and walk in the power and authority of God, but we trade that power and authority for other things.

Fear, Anger, Lust, Control

These attributes can be manifest in many ways…. family abuse, substance abuse, pornography, affairs…. pick your poison. If you are doing something not honoring God, I guarantee you know it. We may be very good at hiding our sins, but we know the entire time, unequivocally, that it is sin. But is this how God instructs us to deal with stress?

So, what does the Word say about how to deal with anxiety?

Let’s look at a scripture that Paul wrote while sitting in an uncomfortable jail cell, probably hungry (hangry?) and thirsty and not knowing what his fate may be at the very next moment…. a perfectly good reason to be stressed out….and probably a bit agitated.

Phil 4: 4-9 – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

Okay men…let’s break this down.

1. Rejoice in the Lord always …I will say it again, REJOICE! – God is our #1 priority! You are NOT rejoicing in your circumstances…. you are rejoicing in who God is and that He is with you during your circumstances. If you place your problems and circumstances before God, they are an idol in your life.

2. Let your gentleness be evident to all. – RELAX…. This begins very close to you and your circle of influence. At home. With the kids. With your wife. With the dog. Alone in the car dealing with traffic. At work. In public. Stop being defensive. Don’t feel the need to prove you are right. Take a cue from Elsa…. LET IT GO.

3. The Lord is near. Duh…you know this…. or at least you should.

4. Do not be anxious about anything, but in EVERY situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
a. Bring your situations to God – Pray immediately and let God know specifically what your worries are.
b. Be THANKFUL – THIS IS HUGE! Let God know how much you appreciate all He has done in your life!! Think about this…. How great do you feel when your kids show you appreciation and gratitude just for being Dad??

5. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
a. Our Promise from God for being obedient to verses 4-6!

6. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
a. Verses 8 & 9 are NECESSARY!
b. Whatever unnecessary things in life cause you anxiety cut them out…This is necessary and will require for you to do some soul searching. If our current political situation causes you stress, stop watching the news, cut out social media, stop letting people bait you into conversations that get you fired up. YOU know your triggers. Identify them and leave them alone. Think about things that are pleasing to God…. I don’t think our Savior cares too much about Russian collusion.

7. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.
a. And the God of peace WILL be with you. Wow! Mic drop.

Prayer: Lord – In the midst of my problems I choose to focus on YOU!! Regardless of the difficulties my path may present, YOU are GOD and YOU are MIGHTY, and YOU are SOVERGN. I will trust in YOU and LEAN on YOU for all things in my life. LORD, THANK YOU for all that YOU are in my life, Thank YOU for my family, my existence and the opportunity to REJOICE in YOU. I give my worries to YOU and accept the PEACE that YOU promise in my life. I choose today to focus on YOU and the things that please YOU. LORD, make your path and will clear to me daily. In JESUS MIGHTY name! Amen!

Jordan Lynde
Guest Discerning Dad

 

Original here

Abortion Hurts Men Too

 

April 29, 2019 by Dr Michael Brown

 

 

When we talk about abortion, our focus is first and foremost on the baby in the womb, rightly so. We also realize the destructive impact abortion can have on the mother. But what we often forget, is how devastating abortion can be to the fathers as well.

In my forthcoming book Jezebel’s War Against America, I draw attention to the emasculating effect that abortion can have on men.

As Allen West stated when speaking to a conservative women’s group in 2011:

“We need you to come in and lock shields, and strengthen up the men who are going to the fight for you. To let these other women know on the other side — these Planned Parenthood women, the Code Pink women, and all of these women that have been neutering American men and bringing us to the point of this incredible weakness — to let them know that we are not going to have our men become subservient.”

Not surprisingly, he was ridiculed for these comments by the left, especially by radical feminists.

But the point he was making was simple: Men who have sex but do not father children are not men at all.

As I explain in the Jezebel book:

“Men are being neutered by the baby-killing culture, and when they are complicit in aborting a child they have helped produced, they degenerate from fathers to copulaters. . . . A man who will have intimate sexual relationships with a woman and not take responsibility for the consequences of his actions is not acting like a man.”

But that’s not the only way that abortion has a negative effect on men.

Men have consciences too.

They sometimes grieve deeply over the life they have taken. They feel regret because of the pressure they exerted on their girlfriend (or wife) to abort their child. They chastise themselves for failing to take responsibility, failing to oppose the abortion, failing to be faithful dads.

Some of these men have called my radio show and wept as they told their story, even if the abortion took place more than 30 years ago.

They still felt the shame. They were still embarrassed. They still felt stung by their failure to be responsible men.

Last month, we received an email from a man named Greg. He wanted to tell his story about the destructive impact abortion had on his life. And he titled his story “Murderer Redeemed.”

As he wrote:

“By God’s grace I have been redeemed from the guilt of being an accomplice to murder—three of them in all.”

Those are strong words.

He explained that he had been “the complicit father in three separate abortions,” even though he had been raised “in the ways of Christianity.”

But as he got older, he fell into the lifestyle of “sex, drugs, and rock-n-roll,” resulting in “three pregnancies with two different women [which] were terminated with my consent.”

His life continued to spiral downward, until, around 30, he hit bottom and sought help, starting with a Twelve Step program. He confessed his sins to God and man, but it didn’t dawn on him to confess the sin of participating in three abortions.

Somehow, it was off his radar, until one day, while in prayerful meditation:

“out of nowhere the recollection of the abortions I had been a part of entered my consciousness.  My chest began to heave.”

He continues:

“Tears streamed down my face yet my mind had no comprehension as to why these physical manifestations were taking place.  It wasn’t until after I had composed myself that I had come to realize that his was my spirit grieving the loss of my unborn children.  The truth of the matter was laid bare.  What I had convinced myself as being just a glob of cellular tissue was in fact precious God-given life.”

It took some time for him, with the help of professional Christian counselors, to deal with his guilt, to get healed on the inside, and to move ahead with his life.

But note this carefully: It wasn’t the promiscuity and drug use that so wounded his spirit. It wasn’t his rebellion that was so hard to address. It was his role in three abortions.

That’s what left such lasting scars, and that’s what required so much prayer and ministry.

How many men like Greg are out there today, still wounded and conflicted? How many others have lost their dignity and manhood?

Yes, abortion affects men too.

But let me leave you with some good news. Greg closed with this testimony:

“My heavenly Dad has blessed me with a wonderful wife and five beautiful children (one of which we were propositioned with to abort because he was diagnosed in the womb with Down syndrome).  I am blessed.”

Our God is a redeemer.

Original here