Friday, April 19, 2013
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.” - Matthew 28:18-20
Today is the ULTIMATE challenge and perhaps the most intimidating of all the Lord’s commands to many Christians... but it doesn’t have to be! Let’s break down the Lord’s command:
“All authority has been given unto me... GO Therefore!”
Jesus, through His death, burial and resurrection was awarded ALL the authority in Heaven AND on earth and BECAUSE He has ALL AUTHORITY, we are commanded to GO!
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” - Philippians 2:9-11
“...make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost...”
A Disciple is a STUDENT, all nations literally translates to “all ethnic (people) groups”. We are to do everything we can to make ALL people groups into students of the King and his Kingdom!
How do we do that?
“teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you;“
We make students of all ethnic groups by teaching them EVERYTHING that Jesus has commanded us! It’s not that hard to make a disciple; if Jesus has taught YOU something, teach others to do the same!
How can we do this seemingly impossible task?
“and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
This one might take you a little while... maybe your whole life?? Get with it!
Thursday, April 18, 2013
“Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, “Sit here while I go and pray over there.” And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.” He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Then He came to the disciples and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “What! Could you not watch with Me one hour? Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” - Matthew 26:36-41
This is one of the saddest passages in the Bible to me. Jesus, in probably the toughest moment of His life has NO ONE to stay with him and persevere in prayer.
TODAY you are going to WATCH & PRAY. This may be a challenge for some, but I PROMISE you, it will be worth it.
Today, you will WATCH & PRAY w/Jesus for one hour! There’s not a lot of direction other than you should meditate on what HE went through the night before His crucifixion. Jesus KNEW what He was going to endure, yet chose it anyway! That’s why I love Him! Facing certain death and terrible suffering, He thought of ME (and You) and gave His life ANYWAY!
Go, spend an hour and BE WITH JESUS!
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” - Matthew 26:26-29
Today, you are going to take the Lord’s Supper. You might have to go out and get some bread, some wine or some grape juice (whatever your persuasion), but the bottom line is that you are going to DO what the Lord said, “Take & Eat... Drink from it!”
First of all, get some elements for communion, see if you can find unleavened bread (matza) of some kind and a wine or grape juice. It doesn’t have to be a little taste, you could actually have a nice hunk of bread or a big glass of the wine/juice. But get everything together and find a quiet place to remember and reflect on the Lord’s command.
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” - Luke 22:19
Take 5 minutes and ponder the sacrifice that Jesus made in His body for you and your healing! When you’ve really got it in your head, eat and REMEMBER what He did for you!
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” - Isaiah 53:5
Take 5 minutes and reflect on the wine/juice in the cup. See how it runs red and reflect on the shed blood of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.
“In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” - Luke 22:20
Take 5 minutes and ACTIVELY ask the Holy Spirit to bring to your attention any area on your life that is NOT under the influence/benefit of BOTH the broken body and shed blood of Jesus!
Now, go take on the day, LIVING in the reality of the broken body and shed blood of Jesus!
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
“But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” - Matthew 24:43,44
The Day of the Lord, the Day when Jesus will come back to gather His church and judge the world will come suddenly. The Bible says,
“For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.” - I Thessalonians 5:2
It’s strange to think of the Lord as a thief, but that is how He will come back! We’ll have little warning, other than the signs of the times and then SUDDENLY, He’ll appear, like a thief would come in the night!
Several years ago, our church was robbed 5 times in 11 months. The thieves would take a rock, toss it through the window and grab as much stuff as they could before the police showed up. It’s called a “Smash & Grab”. I learned a LOT about thieves during that year, as I was the first person on the call list for our alarm company.
First of all, they NEVER came in the early morning hours of (5:30-7am) or late evening (10pm-12:30am) but they ALWAYS came in the dead of night, between 1-4 am. They instinctively knew that those hours are for SLEEPING. Even party animals wouldn’t be awake much after 2am and even early morning workers wouldn’t be in the office before 6:30am...
A good thief knows when to strike when they are least expected. And that is what Jesus is compared to here! A thief! Does that you as uncomfortable as it makes me?? He’s coming and we MUST be ready.
Take 15 minutes today and similar to yesterday, ask the Holy Spirit to show you how YOU can prepare for His SUDDEN appearing! How can YOU prepare for the day of the Lord??
God won’t do it for you, this is something you have to do for yourself.
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” - Revelation 19:7
Monday, April 15, 2013
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven,[e] but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” - Matthew 24:36-42
Jesus, continuing His discussion on the end times tells His disciples to “watch therefore”. Now an excellent rule of thumb when studying the Bible is “Whenever you see a therefore, go BACK and see what it’s therefore!” So why is Jesus telling us to watch? And what are we watching for??
Jesus is telling us to watch for His appearing and we are told to watch so that we will be PREPARED for His coming! The Lord had JUST finished telling His disciples about a day when:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” - Matthew 24:35
Bottom line: things are going to change DRASTICALLY and we are being called to understand that we are living in the end times and the Lord is coming SOON!
In fact, we are told that the last days will be just like the days of Noah, people will be doing what they have always done and then, BOOM! The Lord will come back at a time of His own choosing! So many Christians have been lulled into a kind of spiritual slumber and lethargy, but we must rouse ourselves and WATCH!
Today, take 15 minutes and ask the Holy Spirit to show YOU what you can do to watch for the Day of the Lord. What can you do to prepare yourself for his appearing?? How can you stay free from this spiritual slumber and lethargy?? For some this is would look like prayer and/or fasting. There are even some Christian groups that keep the NIGHT Watch, staying up ALL NIGHT to pray and seek the Lord.
What you do is between you and the Holy Spirit, but DO something! WATCH!
Sunday, April 14, 2013
“Now learn this parable from the fig tree: When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” - Matthew 24:32-35
Jesus, when teaching about the signs of the end times, gives His disciples this command to learn a parable about a fig tree. And today, that’s what you are going to do!
To learn means to understand or be acquainted with... A parable is just a story with contrast. You listen to the parable and then contrast it with YOUR WORLD. The fig tree and it’s world has something to teach us about our world.
“When it’s branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.”
What was Jesus talking about when He said this??
Read chapter 24 in context, maybe even break out a commentary (they have them online as well), or you could even do a little digging online to understand what the tenderness and leafiness of a fig tree and summer being near could possibly teach you!
After reading chapter 24, ask and answer these questions:
- What is the tender branch all about?
- What is putting forth leaves all about?
- What is the summer being near all about?
Jesus says that IT is near, at the doors!
- WHAT exactly is He talking about when He says “It”?
- What doors??
Hey, if Jesus told us to learn the meaning of a parable, then we should! Go, do it!
Saturday, April 13, 2013
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” - Matthew 24:6
In the day of the 24 hour news cycle, we DEFINITELY hear of wars and rumors of wars. We also hear about the potential of every conflict covering the whole earth!
The news organizations are profit making enterprises and they learned long ago that “If it bleeds, it leads.” Disaster, calamity, crisis, murder and death make headlines and if you feature them, people will surf your website, read your blog, watch your newscast or news channel! THAT is why you are INUNDATED with bad news!
More than likely, that is a contributing factor to your general sense of anxiety and worry. But Jesus told us to NOT be troubled. Today, we’re going to obey His voice!
Today, you are taking a 24 hour fast from bad news. That might mean you don’t read the paper, don’t surf your favorite news websites, watch your stocks or watch your favorite evening talking head.
Live free from the rumors of wars for 24 hours and DON’T BE TROUBLED!
This might mean taking a one day break from social media as Facebook and Twitter are becoming agents for the 24 hour news cycle. Deactivate these programs from your phone or simply deactivate your account for 24 hours. I promise, you can live without it! Barely 5 years ago it wasn’t part of your life AT ALL! So today, lose the temptation to be troubled by cutting off troubling news!
You might like it so much that you never go back... (like me!)