The 1 Percent – A Plea, A Pledge and A Promise – The Need and Nature of Prayer

Friends, I am interrupting my usual flow of interesting quotes (which I hope you all find provocative sometimes, uplifting always) to make a plea.  My plea is on behalf of a very close friend, Michael Garrett who just 4 days ago, learned that he may have cancer as a tumor has been discovered at the base of his brain stem.  Tests continue to gain better understanding of the nature of the tumor but as of now, the news has been more grim than hopeful.

So I am making a plea from any who come across this post to take a moment to pray fro Michael in his time of need.  Pray for the 1% chance they have been given that this will turn out to not be cancerous.  Pray that God’s will may become clear for all of us who love Michael and appreciate how he has served his many friends as a doctor (being a patient is not his forte, he likes to give answers and find solutions).  This is the Need of which I speak.

We submit this request to our Heavenly Father in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is the very Christ who is one with the Father and the mediator for all who call upon His name as repentant sinners in need of His Grace, first for salvation and then for sustenance in this fallen world.  And we do so because He made a pledge to His followers:

He told them a parable [the parable of the Persistent Widow (Luke 18:1-8)] to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.

Luke 18:1                                   

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you…You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide so that whatever you ask, the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 15:7; 16                            

The very One who created all that we see, all that we are, has pledged that the ear of our Father is always open to our request.  And I can attest that Michael is one who abides in Christ and Christ’s words abide in Michael.  Thus, these prayers will not return void.

Outside of the teachings of Christ on prayer, Paul, the greatest teacher and theologian, outside of Christ Himself, has given us a promise that we can trust:

Let your reasonableness be known to everyone.  The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:5-7                       

As you can see, from the teaching of Paul and Jesus Christ, the nature of prayer is one of hope and peace.  And more than this, God, in His infinite wisdom and mercy, has given us a Helper, the Holy Spirit (see John 14:26) even knows our needs when we don’t.

Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

Romans 8:26                               

What a wonderful God we serve.  What a merciful God oversees the needs of His own, even Michael.  Would you join me in praying for Michael, first that the 1 percent chance this is not a malignancy but if it is, then doors would open to treatments (also gifts of God placed in the hands of doctors) that would benefit him whether at Duke or others we may not yet know of.  Lastly, we pray that the Garretts would so feel the love and care of God through this time, that they can rest in the peace promised and the comfort of knowing, whatever may be, it is good, because it is God.

Thank you all.

Power That Would Blow Our Minds

Jesus gave a pretty remarkable promise to His disciples in John 15.  He said that if we “remain in Him” (i.e. abide in His love), we could ask whatever we want and it would be given to us.  If we lived with an awareness of His love for others, the kind of power we could tap into would blow our minds.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 161

Without Him, We Can Do Nothing (John 15:5)

Joy blossoms in our hearts not as we try harder and harder to grow, but as we see more clearly the depths of our sin and understand more fully our utter helplessness.  Only then will we take our eyes off ourselves and look to Christ for all that we need in life and in death.  Only then will we truly cherish our Savior and believe that we need him every minute of every day, and that without him we can do nothing (John 15:5)

– Duguid, Barbara; Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in our Weakness; P&R Publishing; Philippsburg, NJ; copyright 2013; Page 31

His Love Is Not a Response

And therein lies the very good news of the Gospel: as the Father is the lover and the son the beloved, so Christ becomes lover and the church the beloved (John 15:9).  That means that Christ loves the church first and foremost: his love is not a response, given only when the church loves him; his love comes first, and we only love him because he first loved us (I John 4:19)

– Reeves, Michael; Delighting in the Trinity: An Introduction to the Christian Faith;  IVP Academic; Downer’s Grove, IL, Page 28

God’s Love Cannot Be Understood Apart from the Cross of Christ

The Bible takes the concept of God’s love and connects it to the cross of Jesus Christ because that is where the mystery of God’s love was most clearly revealed. This is what Paul said in Ephesians 5:25, “Christ also loved the church and gave himself for her.” Other scriptures echo this fact and clearly demonstrated that the love of God simply cannot be understood apart from the cross of Christ: John 15:13, John 3:16, Romans 5:8, I John 4:9-10

– Driscoll, Mark; Who Do You Think You Are? Finding Your True Identity in ChristThomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, copyright 2013; Page 188

There Is No Eternal Life

So there is no spiritual life – no eternal life – apart from connection with Jesus and belief in Jesus (John 15:1-17)… And from our side, the way we experience this is that faith in Jesus is awakened in our hearts.  Spiritual life and faith in Jesus come into being together.  The new life makes the faith possible, and since spiritual life always awakens faith and expresses itself in faith, there is no life without faith in Jesus.

– John Piper, Finally Alive, Christian Focus Publishers, copyright 2009, page 32

Remember, You Have No Other Option

If you ask what foundation you have to build your expectations on, remember that you have no other options.  To whom will you go?  Christ alone has the words of life (John 6:68).  Without him you can do nothing (John 15:5).  Your only strength comes from Christ dwelling in your heart by faith (Ephesians 3:16-17).  You can only put the misdeeds of the flesh to death “by the Spirit” (Romans 8:13).  And who sends and commands the Spirit but Christ?

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 145

Jesus Died to Slay the Very Lust that Entangles You

Jesus died to slay the very lust that entangles you.  In fact, it has you trapped precisely because you’re no match for it.  You may be worn and exhausted from the grief and shame of it, ready to throw up your hands and surrender to a life of sin.  But there is stored up in Christ plenty of strength to relieve you (Philippians 4:13).  In your deepest distress and anguish, consider the fullness of grace, the riches, the treasures of strength, might, and help that are stored in him for your help (John 1:16, Colossians 1:19).  Remember that “God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel” (Acts 5:31).  And if he gives repentance, then he puts to death the flesh, because there can’t be repentance without striking a blow to the flesh.  Working faith in Christ this way is how we remain in him and find his cleansing power (John 15:3; Romans 11:20)

– Kris Lundgaard, The Enemy Within: Straight Talk About the Power and Defeat of Sin, copyright 1998, page 143

The Function of the Apostles

The function of the apostles was unique and unrepeatable; they received the revelation that is the meaning and the message of the church.  Paul grounds his authority on that revelation (Ephesians 2:20; 3:2-7).  In the Spirit the apostles were chose (Acts 1:2); through the Spirit they remembered Christ’s words and deeds (John 14:26; Acts 10:41); through the Spirit, too, they received the complete revelation of the risen Christ (I John 15:26-27; 16:13-15).

– Edmund Clowney, The Church: Contours of Christian Theology, copyright 1988, page 74