Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 10, Missionaries, John 20-23

sharing Jesus
When reading John 20:21-23, The Holy Spirit, through John, reveals to us “ Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost: Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.” What do you think of when you hear the word “missionaries”? Perhaps your image is someone who is a super Christian, able to accomplish great things and regarded as a hero to those to whom they minister. Or maybe your view is someone who doesn’t fit into American society because they live like they’re in the 1950s. When I think of missionaries, I think of servants who are much like me. They struggle with problems, doubts, and fears like any of us. Those having children have to balance parenthood with ministry. They are loved by some and opposed by others. They enjoy the new adventures of a new place while missing the comfort and security of their “hometown”. In other words, they are followers of Jesus Christ like all of us. But they are willing to go! Missionaries are convinced that God has called them to a specific place to ministry to people for whom they have a burden. They are called to something that will challenge them but not their God. I agree with Hudson Taylor’s assessment of the qualifications needed by a a missionary. He said, “”There are three qualifications for missionaries: patience, patience, patience.” The concept of endurance is essential to see a work to started and grow. Lord, please help our missionaries have the endurance needed for their difficult work. You never gave up, so please live through those you have sent so they will continue. I also notice that Jesus said, “Peace be unto you”. God gives the disciples a inner awareness of His forgiveness and presence that will help them face the problems of life. Lord, help them to have peace that comes from you overwhelming us. These disciples also were going to receive the Holy Spirit, living within them and empowering them to do what God had called them to do. When faced with struggles or doubt, please Lord remind them of you living within them. Help them to daily surrender to your Lordship and to walk with you. Finally, help them to teach the message of forgiveness, faithfully. Give them communication skills and as they share Your story, help them to encourage and support those they introduce to a relationship with You. God use them. Meet their needs, and help them find favor with those to whom they minister. Help them get up from failures and help them to remember You are the reason for their successes. Thank you for their example of following you and loving others. And God, help me to share you with those who are my mission field. Use me!


The Great Commission (as my Bible 9 students understand it)

sharing Jesus
The Great Commission (as my Bible 9 students understand it)
Jesus and the eleven disciples met on a mountain in Galilee. Even when they actually saw Jesus, they had doubts. That’s kind of weird because he was literally right there. They still had faith though. He told them that all power is given to Him, which means He is the most powerful. He is over all dictators, leaders, presidents, and all other types of leaders. He is still “way” more powerful. Jesus then tells them to teach everyone of His word and let them be baptized. It started with these disciples and we are still supposed to follow this today. Teach everyone, young and old. Then it tells me how I ought to do this. I am to teach them to observe all things. He is always with us. Even though we might risk our lives to share His word, He will not leave our side.
God is testing their faith. They did not believe, but did he sent them to tell something they didn’t believe? The point is that they have to believe if are going to tell others and risk their lives. In verse 17, it says they doubted but they still worshipped him. It shows me that they knew it was right to worship Him, but they were still skeptical that he was real. In verse 18, Jesus says “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth”. He knew they were skeptical and told them an explanation to how He could be there. After reassuring them, He then gave them a command.
Jesus told the eleven disciples to go to a mountain. When they see Jesus, they worshipped but some doubted. Jesus then told them “all authority in heaven and in earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples in every nation in my authority. Baptize the new believers in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Jesus wanted them to know that He was in control of everything ever made. He wants His disciples to tell people about Him all over the world. He wants them to obey even if they have doubts. That’s true faith. Following God when we don’t understand, but simply because of who we know Him to be is an act of faith. Our faith has worth because we place faith in Him and He is worthy.
The doubting disciples remind me of Thomas. Jesus gave them a reason for obeying, “all power was given Him”. He then commanded them to share the gospel worldwide, teaching and baptizing those placing faith in Christ. In addition to leading people to saving knowledge of Christ, the disciples, and us today, are to teach people how to obey and do what God command them to do. Jesus ends by encouraging the disciples that they will not do this alone, but that He will be with them always. He ends with the words, even to the end of the world or age. Today, He is with us as we share His story no matter how far He may seem to be away.
When you read this, you look at the eleven disciples and think, “what more do you want?! You have Jesus right in front of you! How can you doubt?!” But isn’t that really like it is today for many of us? We have God’s word in front of us and we have the opportunity to read what it says but we still have doubts. We shouldn’t but it’s our old nature to doubt.
The next three verses are the Great Commission. Jesus starts by sharing a truth. “I”, Jesus states, “have all power.” Then Jesus gives us a command, go and share the Gospel. You can witness wherever you are, even to your neighbor or someone in your class. Don’t look at this and say that there is nothing you can do. Just share Jesus.
The final verse tells us that we should teach the people to whom we witness to observe. He wants the disciples to share their experiences of doing what God commanded us to do. He reminds us that we can obey because He is always with us. This last sentence really gets to me, because it means that from the day you get saved until the end of your life, God will always be there for you. No matter how difficult it is to share Him, He will give you the power or authority to do what He has called you to do.
The disciples went to a mountain to see Jesus. Even though the men had been with Jesus, they still had trouble believing completely everything He was asking them to believe. I struggle in understanding how that with all that Jesus had done in their presence, they could doubt Him. They were able to worship, but they still doubted something. After worshipping, Jesus told them to share Him with the all the people that make up the world. I think that Jesus told them this so they could see if their faith was real. He already knew it was. Today, some say they’re a Christian, but don’t really show it in their actions. Christ wants us to share the transformation that has changed our lives with others. He also wants us to share His truth and teachings was we share Him. We are to help others worship, walk , and witness for Him. We can because He is always with us. Let’s start sharing Him with others.
I think we all agree that the Great Commission is given to us. So why don’t we do it? Notice the word “doubt”. I think that explains it. Either we are not fully committed that Jesus is God and our Lord or we doubt our ability to do this. Our actions tend to reveal whether we actually believe. If He is God has He claimed and demonstrated Himself to be, (and we would all agree that He is), then why don’t we do what He clearly told us to do? Our belief is not complete until it changes the way we act. So much of the passage encourages us that we do this in His authority or power and He will be with us always as we do this. He is answering our doubts. So bottom line, what are we going to do about this? Faith without works is worthless and empty. How’s our faith looking?

Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 9, Our Service. John 12:23-26

searching for Jesus 2
“And Jesus answered them, saying, ‘The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour’.” Jesus taught His disciples an important lesson about serving. He also taught us. I read the words, “the hour is come” and I know that Jesus is talking about the time of His death, resurrection, and exaltation. Jesus is about to do the greatest act of service in eternity. Not only is He following the plan of salvation that God planned, but the Creator and Lord of All, humbles Himself to die in place of His fallen creation; here insert the word “Ed” or “me”. He served “me”. Without this unconditional act of love and humility, I would be spiritually dead and separated from God, with no hope. Today, He still serves me. I can’t even breathe without Him. He gives life, power, and wisdom. He gives, He serves. ME! Notice, “except a corn (grain) of wheat fall into the ground and die”. Jesus used this to show surrender. The God of all left heaven and laid aside certain privileges of being God to come to earth to die. He served me! In order for a grain of wheat to reproduce, it has to die. Jesus died to reproduce “Christ-like ones”, including me. I notice, “it abideth alone” and think about being alone. Remember the movie Castaway? Tom Hanks played a character who was so alone his best friend was a volleyball. When a grain of wheat dies, it reproduces much fruit. Millions have come to Christ to be forever altered by His grace and because of His service. So based on His example, I have a choice. It gets down to a choice of love and I need to make sure that I understand the choice. I will demonstrate what I truly love by my surrender. If I love me, I will miss the greatest opportunity given to man. Salvation allows me to have a personal relationship with God! I also demonstrate that I have missed the true message of the Gospel. Remember the song, “I’d Rather Have Jesus”? When I came to Christ, I brought nothing because I realized I had nothing to offer Him. I “hated” my life apart from Christ and through the Spirit opening my eyes, I saw how empty I was without Him. The last part of this passage is where I want to focus, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour”. God, please help me follow Christ. I want to serve Him because I love Him and I want others to glorify Him because of what He does through me. Help me to see that my service is not my job and please don’t ever let me do what You have called me to do because I get paid for it. God I want to be where Jesus is, and I want to honor you will my service. Help me to take advantage of open doors and to give everything in following You. I know I can only do what He does though me but I need to remember that unless I surrender to follow Him, I am all alone and nothing of eternal importance will be accomplished. Jesus, please use me as your hands and feet. Please look at each person through my eyes. Jesus, please serve through me!

Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 8, My Heart.
February 25, 2015, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , , ,

searching for Jesus 2Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Immediately I notice the word “but” which tells me that there is a contrast involved here. If my first priority of my heart is to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then there must be something contrary to this that my heart can seek as most important. Reading back, I read “lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . . for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. In this passage, I have two choices, either I will put God first in my life, or I will select money. I recently read of a young woman with four small children who won over one hundred million in the lottery. She talked about how that this money would change the life of her children. It will, but in what ways? I have to confess that I struggle with what I want to treasure in my heart. There are days I long to have enough money to pay off all my bills and to have whatever I want. I long for the days driving my 1970 Dodge Challenger and having a house full of stuff. I wish I could give my children money to use to better their lives. I wish I could do good stuff with money. I grew up, working as a paper boy, putting up hay, getting a job when was 16, a fulltime job while attending college because I wanted stuff that money could give me. Then I got saved, and a struggle began within me. God wanted my focus and wanted to be first in my heart. He promised to take care of me, like He does with the flowers and the birds. And He has. I am amazed at what He has provided. But He gave me things that I didn’t even know I needed, like a relationship with the living God. He works in and with me as I share the truth of His Word. He has blessed me with all I need. So why do I struggle? It should be an automatic decision, put Christ first. I even have the “Jesus First” lapel pin. But still I find a battle raging within me. Others are often the source of frustrations because they are blessed by God but aren’t in “full-time Christian service”. Why is God blessing them, and just giving me what I need? It is at times like this that I go to God and begin to pray, focusing on Him. He reminds me that my life on this earth is for a moment. My eternity with Him is what really counts. God help me to have the attitude and actions needed to put you first in my life and my thoughts. Let me focus on you. God, let me see what really matters and help that matter most to me. God help me remember the times I talked to my children about a relationship with you and about following you and they listened. Thanks for loving them and seeking to have a relationship with them. Thanks for the unexpected ways that You provide for Teresa and me. Father, help me die to my desires that aren’t your desires for me. Help me to die to selfishness. Help me to see and live consistent to the belief that You alone matter. Help me seek You first, as the priority of my life. Help me to remember that the number one influence in my life is You. No one else will ever make the difference you have made. I struggle with trusting You for my daily provision. Help me die to the wrong belief that life easier if all my bills were paid and I could buy anything I wanted. God become the treasure of my heart and help me to die to my old nature. God help me understand that there is none like you. Help me today, seek you first.

Twenty-One Days of Prayer, Day 7, My Family
February 24, 2015, 7:53 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , , ,

the crossroop troop
Acts 16:31, “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” When I read the story of the redemption of the Philippian jailer it is such a straightforward and simply explanation of what salvation is. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Here’s what I believe: Jesus Christ is God, who unconditionally loves me and demonstrated that love by clothing Himself in a human body and after living a sinless life, died as my substitute on the cross for my sin and sins. He resurrected and is alive today, seeking to have a relationship with me. I believe He is who He says He is, and I believe that His death was for me. I also believe that by His grace, my trusting His Good News of the Gospel as my only hope, God the Father will save me and adopt me into His family. I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and that He is worthy of my surrendering to Him and following Him. I trust Him! In the story in Acts, it seems as if the jailer’s family was convicted and came to Christ immediately. I want to thank God for saving so many in my family and I pray that they will grow as they follow Him. I also pray for some of my grandchildren to come to Him as they understand and come to conviction. I don’t want them pressured to go through a ritual, but I want them to be led by the Spirit to recognize Jesus as their personal Savior. I also am praying for others in my extended family to come to Him. Finally, I pray that I am real and authentic in my walk with my Savior so that others will not be driven from Him by me. I don’t want to be a stumbling block to those who know me best and most intimately. In reading the story, I see the obedience that faith produced within the jailer and how he demonstrated his relationship with Jesus Christ by loving others. He loved God and showed that love by washing and caring for the wounds of Paul and Silas. He then fed them. Loving others is a result of true salvation, so God please love others through me. Finally, he rejoiced. Worship is a natural result of salvation. If you are doing church, please starting being the church and worship and living and loving as a Christ-like one will.

Acts 16:31 tells the story of the Philippian jailer’s salvation experience. Here is mine. I have seen some people posting the story of when they got saved so here’s my story. I was in a Watch-Night Service at a union hall in Fairlawn, VA where Gethsemane Baptist Church was meeting. I was sitting in the back with a girl who was my friend, waiting to preach. The preacher speaking was my 2nd cousin, Ray Franklin. He began to reveal the hypocrite that was me, and it seemed as if he had followed me around and saw what a phony I was. I got really uncomfortable and began to listen more seriously. (Remember I was waiting to preach). I was a pretender and I had convinced many that I was saved and a really good person, but God knew my story. The Holy Spirit had brought me to an encounter with Jesus Christ and I saw my awful sinfulness and separation from God. I remember bowing my head and admitting to God that I needed to have a relationship with Him. I believed that my God, Jesus Christ had died for me and was resurrected, defeating dead and sin and offering me an eternal relationship with Him. I felt as if a heavy burdened had been lifted and I have never been the same. Within 3 months I surrendered my life to serving Christ with my life and decided to attend Piedmont Baptist College (PIU) and 41 years later, I still have the relationship and still seek to serve my Savior Jesus Christ. I still have a sin nature, but I am a son and a servant of the most High God and He has taken my sins and removed them forever. He is my best friend and has and is blessing my life. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless, I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Not me, but Christ!
Like ·

Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 6, Mission, Matthew 28:16-20
February 23, 2015, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book

searching for Jesus 2
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, ‘All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen’.” When I read this passage, I think of the Great Commission. In Bible college, it seemed like either this passage or the “fields are white unto harvest” was always the passage from which missionaries spoke. As I read, I see that there is purpose behind the commission, “a mountain where Jesus had appointed them”. Jesus didn’t randomly speak this to the disciple but He had purpose. This was His plan to share the Good News with all the world. What really interests me is this section “and when they saw him, the worshipped him: BUT SOME DOUBTED. This seems like a contradiction of actions. How can they worship but doubt? So let me look at me. I really do understand that Jesus is so great and amazing, and awesome, and wonderful, and terrific and I could go on and on. He is all that He is and all that I need. Is it perhaps that the doubting was directed toward him, but toward themselves? I really do believe that they had self-doubt. Notice what Jesus said, “all power (or authority) is given to me.” Doesn’t this sound like Jesus was addressing self-fears that the disciples had. He is saying, go in my power and authority. In sharing the Gospel, I sometimes assume that the person with whom I am sharing will go to heaven or hell based totally on my effectiveness in sharing Christ. I doubt my ability, so I don’t share. But reading this, Jesus relieves the tension because He is the power or authority and what I am sharing is truth He has given me to share along with His authority to share it. On the basis of my authority (therefore is in the passage to remind us this) go, share, and baptize in the authority of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Not only are we to go in His authority, but in the authority of the Trinity. The message consists of “all things that I have commanded” and then He gives us a promise; I am with you as you share, to the end of the age. God help me to share you and to allow You to be my authority. I am simply obeying you because You are my strength and authority. You are willing to empower this weak vessel. God help me obey you and go!

Twenty-one Days of Prayer, Day 5, Remembrance
February 22, 2015, 10:55 pm
Filed under: Searching for our Savior in His book | Tags: , , , ,

searching for Jesus 2
Psalm 143:5 “Remember”. When I looked at this Psalm, I saw that David was pleading for God to hear his prayer. Here was a man after God’s own heart, yet at this time in his life, God didn’t seem to be listening to him. So, this is a prayer for God asking God to listen. I have to admit, I am going through a time like that in my life. Like David, my enemy has targeted me. Let me share how David described what he was going through because I really can identify with him. (You may be at this place in life right now, or just gotten through it, or are just about to go into it.) My enemy, David said, has persecuted my soul, crushed my life to the ground, made me to live in darkness like those who are long dead. David admitted, my spirit is overwhelmed and my heart is distressed, or overcome with dismay. So David has said, God please listen because I am down for the 10 count, and I don’t have it within me to get up. In this state of failure, David remembers!. I remember the days of old, or I remember what You have done in the past in my life. I meditate on all You have done, I reflect on the works of Your hands, and I am like a parched land before You. I left out one because this is where I am today, I spread out my hands to you. At least in my mind, I think about a child who needs a hug and stretches his hands out to let you know. David has turned his focus from what overwhelms him toward God, from Whom he needs a hug. Starting with verse 7, David pleads with God, but what I find remarkable he keeps giving reasons for God to hear. Look at the word “for”. For in you do I put my trust, for I lift up my soul to You, (for) I come to You for protection, for You are my God, and finally for I am Your servant. God I throw myself on you because I am empty, powerless, and defeated at the end of my rope, but You are trustworthy, the lifter of my soul, my protection, my God and my Master. God help me to remember my life is the story you are writing and I trust You with each struggle and each day.