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Jesus Prays for Your Focus – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz
The Truth Network Radio
January 22, 2023 3:00 pm

Jesus Prays for Your Focus – Part 2

Living in the Light / Anne Graham Lotz

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Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz
Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz
Living in the Light
Anne Graham Lotz

Here's Anne Graham Lotz. Right before his arrest, his trials, his torture, his crucifixion, his death, and it was right at that time he prayed, and he prayed for you, and he prayed for me, that we would stay focused on our personal relationship with him. Anne Graham Lotz with a portion of today's Living in the Light message titled, Jesus Prays for Your Focus. You know, as Christians, we have a personal relationship with God. It's a permanent relationship, and as we will find out today, it's also privileged and purposeful.

Let's find out more about this as we join Anne Graham Lotz now. How did Jesus glorify his Father at the cross? How was God uniquely revealed at the cross in such a way that we love him and want to draw near to him?

And it's in this. The cross reveals the love of God, that God so loved you. Nobody else needed a Savior.

He would have sent Jesus for you. That God so loved you that he sent Jesus to the cross, and so the cross reveals the depth and the height and the breadth and the length to which God will go to take away your sin and bring you under a personal relationship with himself. Oh, the deep, deep love of God for you. And at the cross, God is glorified. So, Jesus says stay focused on your relationship with God, the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.

It's a personal relationship. When you receive Jesus by faith as your Savior and Lord, he comes into you and he will never leave you, he will never forsake you, and that's a permanent relationship. It won't even be interrupted by death.

Did you know that? Can I just tell you, I'm not afraid of death. I faced death three times in the last five years, my husband's death, my father's death, and then the diagnosis of cancer that I received. And I'm not afraid of death. I'm going to be afraid of the pain, the suffering, going to the hospital, all that kind of stuff. Nobody enjoys that. But the moment of death, I'm not afraid of because the Bible says a believer will not see death.

Did you know that? You and I won't experience death the way a non-believer experiences death. We don't see death. When we close our eyes to this life, we open them to the face of Jesus. Death is just that moment when we pass from faith to sight. So don't be afraid when you know Jesus is going to meet you at heaven's door. It takes the fear away, doesn't it? You're just going to see Jesus whom you've loved and you've lived for and you've known him by faith, and now you're going to open your eyes to his face, and it's going to be wonderful. There's no reason to be afraid of death. And besides, when you walk through that valley of the shadow, the Lord is going to be with you before, at the moment, and he'll take you home the moment after.

I was trying to explain this to my mother several months before she did die, and she had pneumonia, and we thought she was going to die. So I was sitting up beside her in the bed, and I told her that I'd recently been to London, England, and I had been to Westminster Abbey. And it's not true now, but then it was true there's just a small door that went into Westminster Abbey, and you'd go through the door, and then there was a sort of a small narthex or foyer.

By the way Westminster Abbey is where, I know you know that, right, where the kings and queens are married and crowned, and you know you've seen Prince Andrew and Prince William, glorious cathedral in downtown London. And so you go in this narthex, and in the narthex it's sort of small and dark and cramped, but that's where you buy your ticket that will take you through the next door, that will actually go into the sanctuary, but you get a guidebook also, and the guidebook tells you something of what you're going to see on the other side of that next door. So then you go to the next door, you turn in your ticket, the door is flung open, you go into the sanctuary, this glorious sanctuary, and the guidebook tells you something of what you're going to see. And I told my mother, I never saw anybody getting their ticket and their guidebook, running out in the street and say, oh look I've got a ticket to Westminster Abbey and I have a guidebook, and the whole purpose of the narthex was to provide that transition from outside to inside the sanctuary.

The purpose of the narthex was the place where you got your ticket and your guidebook and that got you through the next door. And I told my mother, this life is like the narthex, and you and I in this life, we get our ticket to heaven when we put our faith in Jesus, and our sins are forgiven, and we're given eternal life. We have a guidebook, which is our Bible, and it tells us something of what we're going to see on the other side, and when that moment of death comes, and we step into eternity, we turn in our ticket so to speak, and the door is flung open, and Jesus is right there to welcome us into the glorious sanctuary of his Father's house. So there's nothing to be afraid of, everything to look forward to. Your relationship with God that you established at the cross, that you've grown in, that you've developed, that relationship is not interrupted by your death.

Do you understand that? That relationship just goes from faith to sight. On June 14th, 2007, my mother left the narthex.

One of the hardest days of my life, one of the best days of hers. The only thing that mattered at that moment, didn't matter all the things that she'd accomplished, or her reputation, or all that mattered, was that she had her ticket. And as a little girl in China, she'd put her faith in Jesus, and I know he was right there to welcome her into the place that he'd prepared for her. So your relationship with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit is permanent. So Jesus is praying that you'll stay focused. In the midst of all this COVID, in the midst of all these threats and chaos, we want to stay focused on the relationship with him that's personal, and it's permanent.

Thirdly, it's privileged. And he says in verse three, now this is eternal life, that they may know you. And that word that he uses for know is a word for a very intimate relationship between a husband and wife.

So when Adam knew Eve and she conceived, that knew, that word know, that's the same word, okay? So it's talking about having an intimate, personal relationship with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. I remember talking with a great Bible teacher once, and the person could quote scripture, knew it backwards and forwards, just like a sort of a biblical encyclopedia, but with tears streaming down their face, they said, Ann, how is it that I've missed the main thing? And while they had all the knowledge, they didn't have that vibrant, intimate relationship with God.

That's the privilege. I remember when I was young, I loved Jesus, was in love with him, got married, had my children, just the business of being a bride and a young mother, I just neglected him. I couldn't keep up my Bible reading, Bible study, prayer time, and all that, and I sort of drifted from him.

I got so homesick for him, and wanted to be back in his Word, didn't know how to go about it, somebody told me about Bible study fellowship, and I'll leave out all the details, but nobody would start it. I wanted to be in it, so I started it so I could be in it, and taught it for 12 years, but the first year I taught, we taught Genesis, and when it came to chapter 12 and Abraham, Abraham walked off the pages of my Bible into my life, and I'd known about him all my life, but I didn't really know him, and what occurred to me is that he was a very ordinary person that became extraordinary because when God called him to follow him in a life of obedient faith, Abraham followed him one step at a time, one day at a time, a week at a time, a year at a time. It didn't mean he didn't fail, he made mistakes, he sinned, but he never quit.

He just picked himself back up, and he kept on going to the end of Abraham's life. God calls Abraham in Scripture three times, my friend, so if I told you the Queen of England was my friend, you could sort of smirk, and you'd be right, you know, but if the Queen of England walked in here, and she said Anne Lotz is my friend, that makes a difference, that's impressive, and Abraham didn't say God is my friend, God said Abraham is my friend, and so way back then, 30-some years ago, I set that as my life's goal. I want to know God in a relationship that one day he will describe as a friendship. I want to know him better today than I did yesterday, better tomorrow than I do today, and this was my thought process. If Abraham could know God as his friend, if Noah could know God as his refuge from the storm, if Moses could know him as the bondage breaker, if David could know him as a shepherd, if Isaiah could know him in his glory, if Elijah could know him in his power, if Paul could know him in his grace, and Peter knew him in his forgiveness, and Mary knew him in his humanity, and John knew him in his glory as a king of kings and Lord of lords, and why can't I know him like that? The Bible says that God hasn't changed. He's the same yesterday, today, and forever, so if I don't know God like the Old Testament, and the New Testament people knew him, there's nothing wrong with God, there's something wrong with me, and so I began my journey to know God, to embrace knowing him, the fullness of that relationship, and can I tell you something? That's a privilege, and I think there are many people within the church, within the body of Christ, who have a personal relationship with God, and a permanent relationship with God, but for whatever reason, they stop short of the privilege, and I want to challenge you.

Don't stop short. Ask God to reveal himself to you. He'll speak to you, quicken his word, illuminate it for you, tuck it in your heart, whisper in your ear, and you come to know God as one who loves you, and wants you to know him in an intimate way. He knows you. You'll never embarrass him. You'll never disappoint him.

You'll never shock him, you know? He knows you inside and out. He understands you, and he loves you. So Jesus said, you've given me the authority to give them eternal life, and eternal life is knowing you, and the one whom you sent, who is Jesus, through the person of the Holy Spirit, is knowing the Triune God. And lastly, the relationship that we're to focus on is not only personal, and permanent, and privileged, but it's purposeful.

There's a reason for it. In verse 4, he says, I brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. So when Jesus came to earth, he had a job, he had an assignment, he had a work to do, and in order to finish it, to complete it, he had to be very intentional about the way he spent his time, who he was with, what he said, what he did. He wasn't whimsical.

He didn't guess his way through life. He was absolutely devoted to his Father's will, and God has given you and me a purpose. We also have a purpose to live for, and the overarching purpose is the same for all of us. We're to live for the praise of his glory. We're to live our lives in such a way that people look at me, and they want to know Jesus, and love Jesus, and draw near to Jesus because of what they see in their lives. We want to make Jesus desirable, attractive to the people around us.

And I'll tell you what, this is a good time to do that, because people are afraid. They don't have hope, they don't have peace, they don't have joy, and we do, or we should. So Jesus said, I finished the work that you gave me to do, and the work was the work of redemption. It was coming to earth certainly to reveal God the Father to us, so that we look at Jesus and we can see God, we can hear God, know God, but it was also to die on the cross as the Lamb of God who would take away us and redeem us from an empty way of life, save us from the penalty and power of sin. So Jesus said, I finished the work that you gave me to do. So you and I have the purpose of living for the glory of God, and then under that we have specific positions, you know, roles that we play. So I was a wife to Danny Lotz, and I was to live out that role so that other people could look at me and they would see what Jesus would be like if he was a wife and a caregiver to Danny Lotz. And then a mother to my three children, and I'm to live that out in such a way that people can look at me and see what Jesus would be like if he was the mother of my three children. And my grandchildren, people, I want to do that in such a way that people look at me and they see what Jesus would be like if he was the grandmother of my grandchildren. And to be a ministry leader, or a Bible teacher, or a neighbor, or a friend, to be that in such a way that people can look at me and see what Jesus would be like in that role.

So what are the roles that he's given you? Listen to me. This life is not all about you, and this life is not all about me.

This life is about the glory of God and the glory of Jesus Christ and living our lives in such a way that we bring him glory. And you can do that if you're sick or if you're well. You can do that if you have COVID or you escape it. You can do that if this whole nation crumbles.

You can do that if you're rich or if you're poor. We can all live to the praise of the glory of Jesus Christ. That's our purpose. But then within that, I think he gives us assignments.

And we have our roles to play. But one of my most recent assignments was to go through a cancer journey. And I remember when I was first diagnosed.

I wasn't shocked. He prepared me for it. I knew I was going to be diagnosed. But as I fought through it and prayed through it, I knew it was an assignment from heaven.

You know that? I knew he was giving me a platform for ministry. I didn't know if I would be healed or not.

I didn't know how I was going to come through it. But I knew he was giving me opportunity to show other people that sometimes God allows hard things, bad things, evil things, wicked things to happen to good people. Not that I'm so good, you know, but I know I'm a child of God. But I think sometimes when people go through something like that, they think somehow they've done something wrong. They're not blessed.

God doesn't really love them. And I knew he'd given me an assignment to speak his love into the lives of people who were suffering and having a hard time. And my two daughters went with me to every hospital visit, every chemo thing, every radiation. And they said it was like missions trips, you know, because we'd go to the big hospital and people all around you were suffering and dying. And we had opportunity to share the gospel and to pray with them and with the nurses and the doctors. And it was an assignment. And so just a parenthetical thing.

I'm two years out. My last checkup was good all the way around. So I believe in the answer to the prayers of God's people. I believe he's healed me. Amen. And I praise him for that. But do you know something?

If it comes back with a vengeance, I'm okay. Because I know that'll be part of his purpose for my life. Do you understand? Cancer did not catch God by surprise. It was part of his plan and purpose for my life.

I just was surprised. I had to sort of take stock of it and think it through and pray it through and then just say, all right, God, how am I going to use this for the praise of your glory? And he showed me step by step. My current assignment is to lead this weekend. This is my assignment from God. But I'm praying that he'll speak to you through these messages also.

But this is my assignment. And I know he's brought you here. He's called you to come up on this mountainside online here in this auditorium. And you've come to him.

And there's a purpose for that. He's got something to say to you, something he's wanting to impart to your heart, something he's going to lead you into, maybe a person that you meet. I don't know what the purpose is except that I know he's challenging you and me in the midst of all the craziness to stay focused on the purpose for which he's brought you here. And Jesus ends this passage of scripture. He says, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. So before the world began, way, way, way back, before there were any waves that crashed on the shore and before there was any leaves that rustled in the forest and before there were any birds twittering and before there were any stars twinkling in the sky, Jesus, seated on the throne of glory, surrounded by millions of angels, worshipped and adored as the rose of Sharon, bright morning star, the beloved son of the father. And he gets up from his throne and he takes off his glory robes and he enters into creation.

He became a part of what he created, submitted to a woman's room for nine months, went through the human birth process, lived inside of the body of a little baby and then grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man and he lived his life so that we could see what God is like and he went to the cross and he gave his life and atonement for our sin and then he rose up from the dead and he ascended back into heaven and when he came back into heaven, he was praying, God, when I come back, I want my glory robes back. I want you to give me back the glory I had as the son of God. But in addition, I want all the glory that I've earned as a son of man. I believe Jesus was saying, God, I want everything you want to give me and I want to tell you something. I want everything God wants to give me. I want to have an abundant entrance into heaven.

When I enter heaven, I want the angels to applaud Jesus so that I'm to the praise of his glory here and there and in order for that to be possible, can I tell you, I have to be very intentional about the way I spend my life. I have to say no to some good things, yes to some hard things. I'm not free to spend my time the way I want.

I don't have a chance to do things with my friends that I might love to do or grandchildren that I'd love to do. I just, you know, I'm very disciplined. I count my minutes but I want to redeem the time so that when the trumpet blows and I'm called up to meet Jesus and I believe it's going to be in the rapture but maybe at my death, I want to be able to say, Father, I finished the work that you gave me to do. So in order for that to be possible for you, you have to know the work that he's given you to do, don't you? To be to the praise of his glory and whatever role he's given you but then what are your assignments? Maybe that's what he has you here for. Maybe he's going to reveal to you what your assignment is and he's just given me one at a time, basically. Although I did sort of multitask in the last couple of years but each one I knew was an assignment from heaven.

So be very intentional about the way you spend your time. Start your day praying. Give him your day. Ask him to guide you. Ask him to show you his purpose for your life.

The relationship you have with him is for a purpose, not only your salvation, not only you knowing him in this relationship but making him known to others in whatever way he puts before you. So the night that he was betrayed, right before his arrest, his trials, his torture, his crucifixion, his death, in other words he understands chaos and confusion and fear and anger, persecution, and it was right at that time he prayed and he prayed for you and he prayed for me that we would stay focused on our personal on our personal relationship with him, a personal relationship that's permanent, that's privileged, and that has a purpose. So would you stay focused?

Stay focused with everything going on. Stay focused on your relationship with God and remember something. Jesus is praying for you. So if there's someone here that has never been born again, pray a prayer something like this. Dear God, I confess to you I'm a sinner and I'm so sorry for all the wrong things I've done. I believe Jesus died on the cross to forgive me. I'm asking you in his name would you cleanse me with his blood? Forgive me of all of my sin.

And I believe Jesus rose up from the dead to give me eternal life. And right now I receive the eternal life that he has the authority to give and I understand it not only means heaven when I die but it means knowing you right now. And I open up my heart as I turn away from my sin I turn to you and I invite you to come live inside of me in the person of the Holy Spirit. I surrender the rest of my life to you. I will follow you all the way to heaven. Lord God how we thank you for your presence here. We thank you that you didn't just call us to be slaves or robots or servants but you called us into your family to know you as our father.

In a personal, permanent, privileged, purposeful relationship. Oh God thank you. Help us to stay focused on you please for the glory of Jesus' name. You've been listening to Living in the Light and when you go to Ann Graham there are free resources to help you in your study of God's Word. Ann's desire is that you embrace a God-filled life step by step, choice by choice, living in the light.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-22 16:09:55 / 2023-01-22 16:19:25 / 10

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