Thirty-one Ordinary Prayers, #22

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Prayer Remembering God’s Acts of Love (Paraphrase of Psalm 136)

There is so much to thank You for, LORD, I hardly know where to start. You are opening my eyes to Your infinite love and goodness. Here You are, God Almighty, King of kings and Lord of lords, yet Your power and majesty are matched by Your everlasting love. For that I will never tire of thanking You. The greatest wonder of all Your creative handiwork is that it flows from Your bottomless storehouse of love, never-changing and never-ending.

Your genius in creating the heavens is love-based; this great green and blue planet was conceived in love; the life-sustaining light of the sun, and the mystery of the moon, stars and planets was born through Your infinitely-enduring love.

Every event in the history of humanity speaks of Your ceaseless love, mercy, and grace as You purpose to accomplish our rescue, the redemption of sin-imprisoned people.

Like a father granting his children an inheritance of provision and rest, the opportunity to experience Your great love falls into my lap too somehow. You remember my weaknesses with love; You free me from my wretched selfishness, obsessions, addictions and enemies with love; You feed me bread of earth and bread of heaven with love; Your love endures forever.

Every time I think of the refrain of the song of Your involvement in our lives, I hear great, endless, life-giving, ever-enduring LOVE. Thank You.

(Photo Credit: By NASA/GSFC/Reto Stöckli, Nazmi El Saleous, and Marit Jentoft-Nilsen – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=885, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2561260)

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WHAT TO EXPECT IF YOU MEET JESUS TODAY

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Part 3: Partnership

Contemporary leadership-training programmes have shifted their views on how leaders must lead. They’ve called for a major reversal; they’ve moved camp, pulled a u-turn, switched their modus operandi. Rather than lording it over their underlings, the modern leader now understands that collaboration is the key to leadership. Leaders must integrate and coordinate their most valuable resource, people, to create an organization-moving synergy. They could have come up with the idea sooner by watching how Jesus leads.

As Jesus introduces Himself to the first four disciples in Luke chapter 5, He sets the stage carefully. He draws a crowd, teaches them the word of God, takes an intermission to catch the disciples’ attention through a private miracle, and then makes His primary appeal. He invites the four into partnership. He summons them into God’s great business of life-transformation and gives them the vision, the objective, the holy grail of their role, saying, “from now on you will catch men.”

That’s how Jesus leads. It’s how He called all twelve disciples. It’s how He and they sent others out into the far reaches of the Roman Empire at the time. And it’s how what we now call the gospel has permeated throughout the planet. It’s about partnership.

Jesus is alive and well and fully capable of doing His work without His people. But for some divine reason He wants to include every generation of His followers to participate in this grand scheme of His to ‘catch men (and women, young and old)’. It makes sense, really. As our Creator, He has invested a fair amount of timeless creative energy into each of us. He has gifted us with unique abilities, one-of-a-kind combinations of mindset, focus, skills and perspective that make us exactly what He wants for His organization, no matter how little we have valued ourselves. And He doesn’t stop there.

Jesus is not only concerned about adding numbers to His association. He’s consumed by the idea of personal development for His co-workers. Unbelievable as it may seem, He directs all the profits of His business back into people in order to make them….perfect. It’s what the company is all about. The Father wants to create a place where individuals – you and I – become everything we were designed to be, and are able to fully enjoy relationship with Him and with our co-workers. That’s the vision in a nutshell.

But no one said it would be easy. The partnership Jesus calls us into is stimulating and life-changing, but it is also demanding. We are no longer masters of our own destiny, desires or decision – we have a leader whom we must follow at all costs, and His vision trumps our lesser ones. We also have guidelines to which we must submit the vagaries of our minds and bodies. We tend to be a capricious lot, a bit eccentric and unpredictable. We revert back to our own style of ‘fishing’ when our faith wanes. Jesus is pretty clear that He wants us to be transformed from the inside out and it will take His Spirit indwelling us, our own determination to learn from His Word, and a resolution, as partners, to follow His lead.

(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, T.K. Naliaka)