**please see the italicized section toward the end of this briefing--a critical lifeline we must bear in mind.
It is early morning and my house is quiet, though the birds are awake chirping and singing, flitting between branches, flying between trees with young green leaves. Opening the chicken coop this morning, I noted the magic and newness in the air...Spring! And this week, we have the joy of remembering the greatest event in history - the resurrection of Jesus Christ . . . Easter. I find myself wondering what Jesus was thinking about in the last days and weeks of his life. Was he remembering the conversations he had with the Father before he was born as a baby? Was he fondly recalling family life in Nazareth when life was so much simpler? Was he counting down the days until he would be reunited with the Father? Hmmm. Was he recalling just a few days before when he entered Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, people throwing their garments down on the path in front of him, waving palm branches hailing his arrival? But wait, friend -- how had Jesus known it was time to go up to Jerusalem where he would be arrested, tried and crucified? Hmmm. Three years earlier, how did Jesus know when it was time to do his first miracle, turning water into wine to rescue a wedding party showing himself divine? And how did Jesus know it was time to go out to the Jordan River for John to baptize him? Hmmm, lots of thoughts. How did Jesus know when to move, when to go and where to go? He was led by the Holy Spirit, Scripture informs us. Your attention? How did the Spirit lead him, how did he sense his direction? Jesus prayed. While he was truly the Son of God, the gospels tell us that Jesus withdrew often to pray. He knew Isaiah's words and the value of listening for the leading of God to know his will: "Whether you turn to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, 'This is the way, walk in it.'" Isaiah 30.21 Over the years, I have had many ask me how to ascertain the will of God - we have our answer today. If we look at Jesus, he clearly shows us how to know God’s will by what he did himself: ~>Jesus made prayer a priority. ~>Jesus prayed regularly, and ~>listened for the direction of his Father's voice which he heeded. Plainly, Jesus obeyed what he heard God lead him to do. Jesus embodied the desire to do the will of God by making prayer a priority. Think of it . . . to the keen reader of the gospels, throughout Jesus' ministry, there is a sense of an advancing timepiece moving toward a climax of epic proportions--that which we will celebrate in our hearts and minds on Easter Sunday. Yes, in the fullness of time--the time the Father had appointed, Jesus began his final journey to Jerusalem. To the observer, Jesus went to celebrate Passover ~ that famous Passover meal we call the Last Supper. It was also the same Thursday night he would be betrayed by his own disciple and friend, Judas; the night he would then walk across the Kidron Valley the short distance to the Mt. of Olives, where he would enter the dark Garden of Gethsemane to pray, to agonize over what was to come. What a week. Jesus knew the Father's will because he prayed regularly, and he listened for his voice. Ohhhh, yes. I want that to be true of me too - in these days before Easter and all year long. **a couple simple thoughts about prayer--it is neither an exercise to make ourselves feel better, nor a box to be checked. Like Jesus, we are praying to our Heavenly Father, who is not just good, but all-knowing and all-powerful. But--- God is also faithful and loving. I think of times my life has seemed overwhelming, my heart close to breaking, my fear about to overtake me--when I hit my knees to pray, that fear ought flee--because the One to whom I am praying has now taken my burden and He is at work. I can and must trust Him, get up off my knees with the burden off my back, free to do that to which he has called me. Just discovered this beautiful, apt song by Scotty McCreery, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZAFsIZh_Mk; (also in full at the end of the podcast)
God will lead you if you look to him, Christine