About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Return To The Burden
was probably about six years old when I first began to be aware of it.
It would happen at times throughout the year, but for sure, you
couldn't miss it during the first two weeks of July.
I'd just sit back and watch the commotion. I
had no choice. I was to
young to wander away from my parents.
Outsiders would have thought it all very strange, if not a bit
the earliest age I understood the reason for what I saw.
On occasion throughout the year, and for sure the second Friday
in July, my dad would sit me in the center of it all. Being
slightly shy and embarrassed by the attention, I just hoped for the
after year, at the
prior to those days Jesus miraculously cured me of Juvenile Diabetes.
If He hadn't, I would have been buried in the local cemetery
decades before my parents ended up there.
It was this original healing that caused my dad to give his life
to Jesus and then drag me to the altar every few months for a second
healing. My dad figured that
if Jesus could heal me once, He could heal me twice.
It was simple math mixed with faith.
In my case, at least so far, the mixture of math and faith hasn't
quite worked out for my legal blindness.
So there I was, smack dab in the midst of the loud cries, the
groans, and the moans.
cries, groans, and moans, weren't heard just at healing meetings.
My parent's generation would often be seen crying, pleading to
the Lord for the salvation of their family and friends.
This sentiment was "sort of" seen in one of my dad's
favourite country gospel songs. Some
of you may remember, "wait a little longer please Jesus, a few more
days to let my loved ones in".
were "old fashion
prayer meetings". Old
fashion, not in the sense of being outdated, but in the sense of not
being seen much these days. Such
intercession was common in the Free Methodist church back then.
the reality of my salvation really hit home with me at the age of 19,
(1970) I experienced another type of prayer.
It was heart felt worship. It
was praying and singing in the Spirit, praying and singing in tongues. It
was ecstatic individual and corporate worship, with both hearts and
hands raised in submission to Jesus.
It was like nothing I'd ever seen in the Free Methodist church.
Sad to say, those in our church congregation weren't as thrilled
about my new found expression of faith as I was.
A few people took me aside and quietly, but very firmly, told me
I was dealing with devil worship. I
didn't, and still don't, believe that for a minute.
To dogmatically say that what the apostle Paul teaches about
worship in 1 Corinthians 14 is devilish, is not only bad hermeneutics,
it borders on blasphemy.
every generation tends to do, I and others, threw out some of our past
to embrace that which became new to us.
Looking back on it all, I admit that was a mistake.
It would have been nice if my parent's generation could have
admitted their mistake as well concerning what they called "devil
all the fuss that took place around the altar back then real?
Could it have been in the flesh, as some told me my new found
worship was? I certainly
admit that lots of what we do in church is fleshly, but I find it hard
to believe that what I saw as a child could be fake.
Those people were serious about praying.
can't manufacture real intercessory prayer.
We can't turn it on and off at a whim.
We can't organize it into existence.
It's more than weekend conferences in high priced hotels with
expensive meals. It's a
burden we carry around with us, a burden that only Jesus can place
within us. It's a burden
that causes our hearts to ache. In
Biblical terms it's called "a spirit of grace and
what God promised for
not only promised
these lasts days, the burden of the Lord, another term for the prophetic
word of repentance, judgment, and the return of Jesus, is being
proclaimed around the world. (Matthew 24:14)
Unlike the sentiment seen in the old gospel song my dad liked, Jesus won't
His return has been predetermined, fixed to the exact second by
the Father. If you're at all
concerned for your family and friends finding Jesus before that exact
second arrives, intercessory prayer becomes a serious matter.
So, along with the burdensome proclamation of repentance,
judgment and the return of Jesus, comes the burden of prayer and
supplication. The two go
hand in hand. In light of God's
judgment, our hearts
ache for those who need Jesus.
judgment is no place for your son, your daughter, your friend, or for
Eternal judgment is no place for your son, your daughter, your friend, or for anyone.
a personal note, I can spend hours studying the Bible, and I almost pray
without ceasing, as much of my thoughts are directed towards Jesus, but
intercessory prayer is different. It
doesn't come natural to me. I
don't believe it comes natural to anyone.
It's only when God "pours out a spirit of grace and
supplication" upon us that we can effectively enter into such
prayer. I've experienced it
at times, both individually and corporately.
As the end of this age draws closer, we can expect such a spirit
to be poured out on us. I
suggest we make ourselves available for it.
If we're not available, it may pass us by.
Embrace it, even if it looks insane to the onlooker.