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Sue Stahl

For This Reason... by Sue Stahl

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Many years back I remember seeing a Christian play, and there in the scene at the point of Jesus’ Crucifixion in a shadowy background was another character depicting the ‘Father’. As each nail pounded into His Son’s body, the Father’s body would simultaneously mimic each movement of every nail piercing pain and agony that His Son was experiencing. 

I remember this now not to debate the ‘separation’ and ‘forsaken’ scripture questions that come up regarding the Father’s position at the moment of our Lord’s crucifixion (Mark 15:34). Here now instead God has brought me to a place to better know, understand and remember at this Easter Season, the depth of the Father’s love and purpose, and presence in the plans of His sending His only Son.

Jesus would have in no other way.

6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. - Jhn 14:6 NKJV 

The example of Jesus’ devotion, obedience and unity with the Father can serve as a testimony of how to worship in Sprit and truth as He did. 

In the earlier chapters of the gospel of John, Jesus’ commitment and passion to His Father’s will is evident: 

- His ‘food’- His fullness and sustenance were found in accomplishing God’s will. 

34 Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. - Jhn 4:34 ESV 

-He relied upon His Father to provide the direction, wisdom and guidance to complete the 

work He was given to do 

"Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. - Jhn 5:19 ESV 

-His purposes and His works were done as a testimony to point to His Father 

36 But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about me that the Father has sent me. - Jhn 5:36 ESV

-He sought only to glorify His Father 

54 Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' - Jhn 8:54 ESV 

The references regarding Jesus response and interaction with His Father in the gospel of John are a great example of how to have a heart set on surrender to God’s will. These scriptures also remind us of the ‘roles’ of our triune God in bringing us the gift of salvation.

However, there in the living word interspersed between Jesus’ relationship of surrender and commitment to the Father and His mission, I began to see the greater purpose. The unbroken unity and representation of His Father bound up in one revelation. Jesus’ ultimate desire is for us to know the Father’s love as He does.

Each gospel stories intended purpose seemed set in place to reveal His steadfast and unequivocal love for every one of the many He encountered. His care for Lazarus, His healing of the blind and lame, the feeding of the 5000, the woman caught in adultery to name a few. Here in these gospel stories, I heard Him saying ‘This is how much my Father loves you!” 

16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. - Jhn 3:16 ESV 

In the midst of the approaching agony of His own death and suffering, the red letters of John 17 set a seal on a love that is beyond our human abilities to comprehend. Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven and then He prayed for us!

These 26 verses reveal the heart of God- a heart that longs for us, protects us, claims us, desires us. All of us. Love manifested. Oneness with He and Father. 

He finished His Father’s work for us. He gave all the Father had given Him for us. He consecrated Himself for us. The glory He received given to us.

23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. - Jhn 17:23 ESV 

Lord Jesus, revive us by Your word and truth. May we be in oneness with You and the Father. Excite us by Your love and our mission to bring that love to others. By Your might and power. Thank-you Jesus. Amen 

14 For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith--that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. - Eph 3:14-19 ESV 


Join Us On Easter

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Prayer Is Not An Option by Sue Stahl

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A strong statement, yes, but this mindset may be needed to help us recognize the many schemes of the devil that are at work to destroy our desire, our approach and position in prayer.

In Ephesians 6, the great analogical lesson on our spiritual armor ends with the warning to ‘keep alert with all perseverance’ by ‘praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayers and supplication’.
Thus personally, I have asked Jesus to teach me how to pray.
These reminders of His truth have helped me to reposition myself into the blessing that is found at the throne of grace.

• Prayer isn’t about my words. It is about my heart’s desire to draw near to God.
He knows what I have need of before I ask Him. He intercedes for me when I don’t know what to prayer. His ways and thoughts are higher than mine.

I come to God as He is: Almighty, Creator, Sustainer, Life giver.

I come to Him as I am: weak, beggarly, childlike, foolish, uncertain, sinful.

We meet in the dwelling place of His love, His mercy, His power.

Light penetrates the darkness. I am home.


13 And you will seek Me and find [Me], when you search for Me with all your heart. - Jer 29:13 NKJV

• Prayer is the mortar to build the church:
The descriptive phrases that are coupled with prayer in the early church exhibited a passion, a certainty and a confidence that God would perform as He had promised in continuing to build and nurture His church. The sampling of these words would indicate that the knowledge and practice of prayer was foundational to the health of the church:devoting themselves to prayer, earnest prayer, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day,constant in prayer, praying at all times in the Spirit, continuing steadfastly in prayer, praying without ceasing, striving in prayer, always in prayer, remembering you in prayer, Struggling for you in prayer.


2 And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. - Luk 10:2 ESV

• Prayer is a thread of eternity weaving my soul into the oneness of a triune God.
The Atonement-ordained by my Father in heaven who gave me the right to be called a child of God.

Jesus, the eternal sacrifice who became flesh and dwelt among us.

The Holy Spirit who gives life and is a guarantee of my heavenly inheritance.

The One who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

The One who parts the seas and walks on water.

The One who completes the good work that He has started.

My prayer is not about me in this moment, it is about His desire for me to embrace Him in every moment, forever. His eternal purposes become my goal, my vision. My momentary trouble is but for a moment.


22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. - Jhn 17:22-23 ESV

• My prayers bring delight to my Father and His response is my reward (a giving back, a payment, something I receive)

He tells us to ask that we would receive. His delight is to give us good gifts from above.
His intimate blessings reveal that we are His children and He knows the desires of our hearts.
Abba Father, Give us this day our daily bread. Fill and satisfy my longing soul with the good things from Your hand.


6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. - Mat 6:6 ESV

• Prayer is the conversation of truth that leads to life.
Eve’s conversation in a beautiful garden lead to rebellion and death.

Christ’s conversation in the garden of suffering lead to surrender and life.

I don’t need to wait to be in a place of suffering to seek Him.

He is a God of all seasons and always worthy of praise and thanksgiving.


41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Mat 26:41 ESV

• Prayer brings healing
This is how they will know that we are His disciples. We learn to trust, we become authentic, we receive instruction, we are brothers and sisters in Christ. We become knit together. We love.
In prayer, the vulnerability and weakness of another becomes a fragile treasure carefully lifted up.
We are changed. The cry for God’s healing touch upon another becomes our own balm of healing.


16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. - Jas 5:13, 16 ESV

• Prayer is a service of the Kingdom Priests
In the ancient priesthood, ritual and sacrificial duties were required to allow sinful man to meet with a Holy God. Though the Levitical priesthood has now been replaced by the leadership of our High Priest Jesus Christ, our role of intercessory prayer is our offering as servants under His ‘royal priesthood’.

Our prayers for the saving of souls, for the Word to go forth, for missionary needs, for doors to open, for ministries, for the church to grow are right now the petition being declared in the heavenly realms!
His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.


8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, 10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth." - Rev 5:8-10 ESV

Thank you Lord Jesus that You have seated us with You in the heavenly places. Let us serve in our position beside You. Please elevate our response to prayer as a privilege with purpose and power by Your Spirit Lord. Teach us how to love You more through our prayers. Amen


JOIN US AS WE FAST & PRAY…

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A Jealous God by Sue Stahl

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"You shall have no other gods before me. - You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.” -Ex 20:3-6

I never really dwelt on this title of God and didn’t fully understand it.
Jealousy as I knew it didn’t seem to be a character I could associate with God.
Jealous people bear bad fruit. They are insecure, angry, envious. They want what someone else has. They will do foolish things to get what they want. They ruin relationships.
If anyone has felt the jealousy over a relationship where one has been rejected, cheated on, betrayed and ultimately replaced by another you can understand the strength of those feelings and may have seen some of the bad results of jealousy as mentioned above.

Through our recent church reading on Hosea I began to see God as a ‘jealous God’ but in a new light that would move my heart to say I am glad God has proclaimed Himself to be a ‘jealous God’.

Hosea is told by God ‘take a wife of harlotry’. (adultery, fornication, prostitution) (Hosea 1:2)
In reading Hosea, God parallels a defiled marriage relationship with the Israelites’ relationship to Him. (forsaking Him and following idolatrous practices) Relevant to the gospel is the parallel of Christ’s relationship to the church (his bride) and the same spirit of idolatry that is present today.
However, what stood out for me was God’s heart; the thread of His steadfast love throughout the story. Love is the motivation. His intense passion is for us to know Him and be known by Him. He is love and we are the object of that! The breadth and length and height and depth of that love He wants us to know! (Eph 3:18)
Wow, that is why God wants no other God’s before Him; no idols that we turn to instead of Him. His jealousy is our grace for He will let nothing separate us from His love.

In Hosea, the disciplines, punishments and consequences of forsaking God are evident which only seemed to make God’s steadfast love more profound.
This jealous God never stops pursuing us, never stops loving us. He stays in the details of our lives even when we are not in obedience. He stays to bring us back, to rescue, to redeem.

But they do not consider that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face. -Hosea 7:2

And in the midst of it all with His alluring words and reminders, God’s thoughts towards us are revealed. His plans, His promises, His purposes will prevail. His steadfast love and faithfulness are unchanging. His jealousy has its cause.

pastYet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. - Hosea 11:3

present, "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. - Hosea 2:14

future. For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed, when I restore the fortunes of my people. - Hosea 6:11

Prayer:

Thank you Lord, that You are a jealous God. Let us respond to how great a love you have for us and help us to recognize and remove idols from our hidden places.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. -1 John 5:21


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