Tag Archive | disciple

Prayer 19

​Matthew 28:1–8

In a culture where women were considered second-class citizens, Jesus appeared first to two women. He chose two ordinary women and trusted them with the most important news in history. 
Lord, thank you that you send me out to go and make disciples of all nations and you promise that the presence of Jesus will go with me as I do so.
#momentswiththeLord #Christlikeness #devotion #prayer #makedisciples

Jesus Cares

1peter5_6-7

Thoughts on Today’s Verse…

In a universe so incomparably vast, in a world so marvelously diverse, we can be paralyzed by our insignificance and impotence in the face of such staggering enormity. But in moments of simple faith, we can be calmed by our reverence and dependence upon the Creator and Sustainer of such wonders and find great comfort that our lives are in his hands.

When Peter was writing this, the Christians were under great persecution. While God did not send this suffering, He allowed it. So Peter is instructing the believers to humble themselves under God and when the timing was right, He would deliver them from their present troubles.
This is still good instruction for us today! While our very lives may not be in danger for claiming Christ, we all have struggles and problems that come with living in this fallen sinful world. When our circumstances are less than desirable, we must stay humble before God and trust Him to deliver us from our troubles when He sees fit in His timing, not ours. It is easy to trust Him when things are going smoothly, that does not require faith at all, but when things are rough and difficult we have two choices. We can either trust Him to carry us through or we can doubt His love for us and worry!

Verse 7 tells us to “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
I heard a preacher describe worry like this;
“Worry is sin because it denies the wisdom of God; it says that He doesn’t know what He is doing. It denies the love of God for it says that He does not care. And it denies the power of God; it says that He is not able to deliver me from whatever is causing me to worry.”
We tend to not think of worry as sin, but it is! I had a dear friend who used to say, “If you are stressing, you are not trusting God.” Every time I start to worry I think of her saying this. I wish I could say that it always stops me from worrying, but sadly it does not. I am happy to report that I don’t stress on things as much as I did 20 years ago, but oh, I have not arrived yet!
When I stop reacting to bad circumstances and truly stop and think about it, I know that God loves me and if He allows the worst to happen, He will be there to comfort me and give me peace through the process! He will never leave me or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5), and He will work everything out for my good (Romans 8:28).

Notice it says to cast “all” our anxiety or cares on Him. This means every single one of them. No taking part of them back after we have surrendered them to Him! God has proven His love for us repeatedly, so why would we ever think for one second that He would not continue to do so in future?

My Prayer…

Almighty and wondrous God, thank you for knowing me even though I can’t begin to comprehend your glory. I need your love, care, protection, blessing, grace, forgiveness, and presence. Without you, I have nothing of lasting significance. Please be near.

Help me to always remember Your love for me and that You always do that which is the very best for me. Thank You for sending Jesus to die for my sins and for the blessings that You have given me in this life. I love You so Abba and give You all glory, honor, and praise this day,  In Jesus name. Amen. 

In The Temple Courts

John 2:13-25 (NIV)

Jesus Clears the Temple Courts

13 When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple courts, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father’s house into a market!” 17 His disciples remembered that it is written: “Zeal for your house will consume me.”[a]

18 The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?”

19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”

20 They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” 21 But the temple he had spoken of was his body. 22 After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.

23 Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Festival, many people saw the signs he was performing and believed in his name.[b] 24 But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. 25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

V 12-13 –

Jesus often traveled around, rarely staying in one place very long. This is His second recorded trip to Jerusalem for the Passover. The first took place when He was just a boy. That time Jesus stayed behind when His parents left and spent days talking and debating with the teachers at the temple. At that time He also called it His father’s house. Jesus didn’t just become God or indwelt by God when He began His public ministry. He was always God. His public ministry is just when He chose to reveal Himself to the world as the Messiah. Tell a little about the history of the Passover.

This was the first Passover after Christ’s baptism. The second is mentioned, Luke 6:1. The third, John 6:4. And the fourth, which was that at which he was crucified, John 11:55. From which it appears,

  1. That our blessed Lord continued his public ministry about three years and a half, according to the prophecy of Daniel, Dan 9:27. And,
  1. That, having been baptized about the beginning of his thirtieth year, he was crucified precisely in the middle of his thirty-third.

V 14-16 –

When Jesus saw the temple He found that it was turned into a place of business. People were selling the animals for sacrifice. They had money exchange. Quite simply the temple had become a center of business and profit. The people who were doing this had selfish motivations. They obviously didn’t really care about worshipping God or offering sacrifices to God. They were using God as excuse to make money. They were doing the exact opposite of what Jesus wanted them to do when He told them to render to God the things that are God and to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. They were bringing God down to a low and base level. They should have been going there out of service, worship, and altruistic motives. Instead they were going out of greed, selfishness, and evil desire. James 1:27 says that true religion is visiting orphans and widows in their distress and being unstained by the world. Again, they were doing the exact opposite.

IT IS POSSIBLE TO GO TO CHURCH OR FELLOWSHIP EVERY WEEK WITHOUT TRULY WORSHIPPING GOD! Many people have the exact same problem today. Church leaders, evangelists, pastors, and missionaries get on TV, radio, or in front of the church and beg for money. They offer products like prayer cloths, holy water, and even prayer of blessings over any product you send. Scandal after scandal has broken out where these have been proved to be fake. The bad reputation of these evangelist money-grabbers has tarnished the reputation of much of the church. However, this thought process has tinkled down to mass numbers of church-goers. Most of these probably wouldn’t admit to going to church for personal gain, but many do nonetheless. You can see it when people ask what they will get because they follow God. Will they be able to pass their coming exam or having a better job? One guy last week repeatedly asked me what physical benefits we could get from following God. To Him, the spiritual side didn’t count for much if anything at all. So what kinds of reasons to people go to “worship” on Sundays?

Social life – People go to church because that is where their friends are. Hey, churches have lots of nice people that go to them and it is easy to make friends there. There are lots of activities around the week to enjoy during one’s free time. This includes trips to amusement parks, sports games, pizza parties, seafood meals, going to the beach, park parties, etc. This is not to say that any of these things are wrong. One can fellowship in these kinds of settings and make an impact on others for Christ. However, it is all too easy to begin going for the fun, food, or friends. Church is not meant to be a club to meet your friends! Are you going to church to worship God and grow or to be with your friends?

Safe feeling – Many others go to church for the feeling of safety that it provides. It makes them feel they are doing well spiritually. Basically they get their assurance of salvation from going to church rather than from faith in God. In this category can be included people who to church so that they won’t feel guilty. Are you going to church because it makes you feel close to God?

Warm feeling – I’ve invited lots of people to church with me for the first time. After they go to church I often ask them what they thought and what they like about it. The most common answer is that they like it because it makes them feel warm. Even many non-Christians have given this answer! They feel comfortable and peaceful when they go to church. Many continue in this state going to church for years without ever really knowing the gospel and it what it means to truly worship God. Are you going to church because it makes you feel peaceful?

Pressure – Another category go to church because their parents or friends put pressure on them to go. They are the ones who go because they “have to.” Are you going to church because you have to?

Pharisaic – Another very common reason for going to church is that it has become an ingrained ritual. We go because “we have always gone” or it’s “what we do on Sundays”. In a way this is good to set a habit. We should not choose not to go to church because we don’t feel like it on a given Sunday. However, we need to be careful not to fall into the trap of letting church become and impersonal ritual. Are you going to church because that is what you do on Sundays?

Psalms 24:3-4. So what is the solution for us to avoid these church-traps? There is no magic trick. We need to have the right attitude and motivation. If you have been going for the wrong reasons confess and ask God to give you right motivation. When you go to church focus on worshipping. Focus on listening to the sermon and growing spiritually. You can try some new things to make church more fresh and personal. Pray on your own during the prayer times. Think deeply about the words of the songs. Make notes and applications about the sermon. Pray beforehand and afterward that God will teach you in that days service. Discuss what you learned with others. Choose one or two points and practice them during the week. Most importantly, remember to go to church for the right reason and don’t think about what you can get out of it. Confess all selfish motivation. Go to worship, learn, grow, and encourage others. Think about what you can give to God and people, not what you can get. John 4:24

1 Timothy 6:5-6.

Also, if the church you go to is not a place where you can truly worship and grow you should think about finding another church.

Another angle to think about this issue from is what if Jesus came to your church and see you there. Would He be happy with your reasons for going and your activities there? What practices and things might He cleanse from your church?

V 15-16

Jesus saw the greedy and selfish business practices going on at what was supposed to be a center of worship (the world religion during the tribulation will also be tied closely with economy). He made a whip and then drove them out of the temple with it! He overturned the tables where people were exchanging money! Wasn’t Jesus gentle? Wasn’t He like a quiet sheep? What was it that set Him off? Quite simply, He was angry.

It is common for us to think that anger is not sin. But this is not so. There are two kinds of anger. The second kind, the sinful kind, is very common to us so we naturally assume that all anger must be bad. This kind of anger stems from selfishness. Someone does something to us that we deem is unfair so we get angry. Someone gossips about us behind our back and we get angry. Somebody steals money, cheats us, lies to us, takes our seat on the subway, cuts in line, fouls us in sports, etc. and we get angry. In all of these cases this is probably a sinful response. We are upset because someone did something to us. They violated our rights! This kind of anger is sin and we should avoid it.

However, the first kind is a righteous or holy anger. This kind of anger is aroused because of injustice and sin. This is the kind of anger Jesus had. He was angry because people were sinning and violating the temple. See also Isaiah 57:16-17. Ephesians 4:26. In Greek this is actually a command to be angry! We are supposed to get angry when we see sin in the world. If we don’t ever have this kind of anger we have some problems. Probably we are too much like the world. Either we are agree with their sinful practices or are apathetic and indifferent. Do you ever experience righteous anger?

Read Jonah 4.

If you haven’t experienced this kind of righteous anger you should take a deep look at your principles and see if they are biblically based. Study God’s Word and make deep and firm convictions from it. We don’t need to seek out opportunities to show this kind of anger to prove our spirituality. And we should be careful not to be prideful, thinking we are better, or hateful. Yet we should be involved in the world and in people’s lives and not just sit by and watch as others sin without any check. Also, it is much easier to have this anger against other people. Make sure that you are just as merciless against sin in your own life.

Did the Jews take to heart Jesus’ lesson? No! They were right back doing the same thing as we can see when Jesus visited the temple a long time later in Matthew 21:12-13. Jesus did the same thing then too!

18-23

The Jews wanted a sign from Jesus. Basically they wanted evidence or proof that Jesus was right and had the authority to do this. People are basically the same today. They want evidence. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. We should seek to know what we believe and to understand that it is reasonable. However, a blind person will never be able to see the evidence clearly. Faith is the most essential aspect.

Jesus told them that the sign would be His resurrection. But He used veiled language and they thought He was talking about the literal temple. As we study John you will see that this routinely caused misunderstandings of Jesus’ message. The people were thinking physical all the time (they thought even the Messiah’s kingdom would be physical) when Jesus taught them numerous spiritual truths. Even His disciples didn’t understand at that time. Let us not restrict ourselves to thinking only on a physical plane.

During this time many people believed in Him. As we will later, many turned away. Their belief was shallow and they were like the rocky soil. Nonetheless there must have been some true converts who persevered. Also, if our belief is only based on a sign that we saw there will come a time when that will be seriously tested because we won’t be seeing a sign.

V24-25

Jesus knew that humans were sinful and totally depraved. No one could possibly know better than Him. He was coming to earth and giving His life for this very reason. No easy solution, enthusiastic response, or energetic feelings could change this fact. John’s overall focus is on telling us who is Jesus. Here we see that Jesus is independent, not relying on any person. Also more than anyone else, He knows the heart of man.

Likewise we should not put our trust in man or put our lives in their hands. Do not trust unbelievers easily or put yourself at their mercy.

Instead entrust yourself to God. He is the one who is control of everything and holds our soul in His hands. Be dependant on God, not on people.

Main Points:

  1. Evaluate your motivation for going to church and fellowship. Confess any selfish reasoning. Resolve to go for worship, growth, and the opportunity to encourage others. Be pure and holy in your worship. Make some specific changes that will help to focus on what is important.
  2. It is OK, even commanded, that we be angry. If we are never angry it means that we are insensitive to sin. First we need to have the right convictions and then when we get angry about sin work to help solve the problem in the right manner.
  3. Do not put entrust yourselves to man. Man will fail every time. Sometimes they will cheat, mistreat, or lie to us on purpose. Other times they will fail us simply because they are weak and sinful, not out of any maliciousness in their hearts. Be dependent on God, not on people.

Applications:

  1. Decide on a specific way to help you worship God and grow more at church. I will take notes on the sermon.
  2. Do something about a specific sin or injustice that you see going on around you. It might be your colleagues cheating the company, others going to church for the wrong reason, or immorality in someone’s life who is close to you. Or look at your life and root out some sin in your own life. Don’t be indifferent or complacent.
  3. Examine your life and see if you are dependant on someone. If so confess and take steps to depend on God instead of that person.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, scripture prophesied that passion for God’s house will consume You drove out the merchants and money changers from the Temple, reminding the people that Your Father’s house was meant for prayer and worship. I learn from You that we can be angry and yet not sin – when we express anger over the violation of Your laws or injustice or sin but that they drive me to do what is honoring You. And I know that this is only possible when I am constantly Spirit-filled as You meant Your followers to be.

Talents That Given To Us

Luke 19:11-27 (NIV)

The Parable of the Ten Minas

11 While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. 12 He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. 13 So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.[a] ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

14 “But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

15 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

16 “The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’

17 “‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.’

18 “The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’

19 “His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’

20 “Then another servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth. 21 I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man. You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.’

22 “His master replied, ‘I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Why then didn’t you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?’

24 “Then he said to those standing by, ‘Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas.’

25 “‘Sir,’ they said, ‘he already has ten!’

26 “He replied, ‘I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what they have will be taken away. 27 But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and kill them in front of me.’”


 

Prayer:

Father, You have given us excellent resources to build and expand Your Kingdom. You expect us to use these talents so that they multiply and Your Kingdom grows. Someday, Jesus will ask each of us to account for what we have done with Your gifts. Lord, while waiting for the glorious appearing of Christ, help me to faithfully use whatever resources and talents You have given me to further Your Kingdom. Let me not waste time for life is short and the message is urgent. I pray that when Christ returns, He will find me faithfully doing the work You have entrusted to me.

The Faith of the Blind Man

Luke 18:35-43 (NIV)

A Blind Beggar Receives His Sight

35 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. 36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” 43 Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, the blind beggar understood and accepted You to be the long awaited Messiah and he took hope in You. He shamelessly cried out for Your attention and You said that His faith allowed him to see. Lord, no matter how desperate my situation may seem, if I call out to You in faith, You will help me. Please turn what little faith I have into faith that sees You for who You really are in every area of my life – the One True God who is powerful and sovereign yet loving and gracious.

Grace, Mercy and Love

1 Timothy 1:12-17 (NIV)

The Lord’s Grace to Paul

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

1 Timothy 4:12 (NIV)

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.


Prayer:

Father God, thank You for Your mercy, grace and love. I’m humbled by the works You’ve done in my life. I’m thankful to be known by the One True Living God. Words are not enough to express my gratitude to You. Please receive my whole hearted worship and adoration. Lord Jesus, I praise and thank You for saving me, redeeming me from my sins and giving me eternal life. Thank You that Your life brought me life and You equip me to do the work of Your ministry. Empower me Lord to be a good example to the young ones in my speech, conduct, love, faith and purity. Let my life be Your true sanctuary giving You honor and glory. Amen

What is Important – Prayer XIII

Luke 16:14-31New International Version (NIV)

14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God’s sight.

Additional Teachings

16 “The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing their way into it. 17 It is easier for heaven and earth to disappear than for the least stroke of a pen to drop out of the Law.

18 “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

The Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”


Father, Your word says that there is more to life than obtaining riches and enjoying its power; that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in Your sight. In Your economy, only one thing is important and that is our faith in You through Jesus Christ. Lord, let me not be distracted by the bathos and pathos of life but help me invest my time and effort on those that really matter and have eternal value. As I go through life on earth, may I use each day in service to You and in expressing my love and gratitude through obeying Your word. At the end of my life, may I take my last breath with no regrets, ready to face You and eager to spend eternity in Your presence.