12 During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold. – John 17:12 NLT
Even though we call the prayer in Matthew 6 the Lord’s prayer, it is really an example of how we should pray. This prayer in John 17 is the Lord’s priestly intercessory prayer for all of God’s children. The ones that God had given Jesus to accompany Him on His earthly journey and all the others from then on including you and me. God had given them and us to Jesus because of His obedience. They would now bring glory to Jesus and to God. Jesus protected them by using the name of the Father and now that He is leaving, He is putting them and us in the hands of God to protect us by the power of His name. Once we accept Jesus and become the children of God, we are in His hands for safekeeping. There is nothing or no one that is more powerful than our God, There is no way we can be taken from His hands. Paul tells us “there is nothing that can separate us from God’s love”
God made each of us a little different from everyone else. These differences are not just physical, they continue through every part of us. Each of us has a different learning capacity and we react to things and situations differently. Some of us are much more vocal and enthusiastic in expressing our joy and excitement. Some of us see great things happen and we are awestruck and quiet in our observations while others may scream loudly or talk unceasingly trying to describe or explain what is happening. Praising God is necessary for Christians whether we do it quietly or with loud exclamations of joy and praise. We can become so overpowered by the presence of God that we fall to our knees and just weep. God understands it all and accepts it graciously. He made us different so that our praise to Him would be like listening to an orchestra play a great masterpiece. While that may be just noise to some people, others are thrilled and uplifted. So, however we choose to do it, let’s just praise God continually for all of His love, goodness, mercy and grace.
15 I will make you and the woman enemies to each other.Your descendants and her descendants will be enemies. One of her descendants will crush your head, and you will bite his heel.” — Genesis 3:15 NCV
God made satan a promise before He cast him out of the garden. God always fulfills His promises. That descendant of woman that God spoke about was Jesus. When Jesus died on the cross and said “It is finished”, the final blow was dealt to the head of all evil at the foot of the cross. It was crushed by the weight of the love of Jesus as He died for all mankind. We need to bring all of our sins, doubts and fears to the foot of the cross and allow Jesus to crush them for us. Lay them down and leave them there, Jesus will take care of the rest. But there are some good things that we need to bring to the cross and ask Jesus to watch over them and protect them. When we bring these things to Jesus we don’t leave them at the foot of the cross, we place them in the palm of His hand. When He receives those things from us they are placed under the loving care of the Father and legions of angels.16
“Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands; Your walls are continually before Me. — Isaiah 49:16 NASB
“The closer I get to the end of my life, it seems the only question that matters, Is the life I am living pleasing to God?” – Ken Gire In “Sacred”
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
What an encouraging thought to know that God has promised to rescue those that love Him and protect those who trust in His name. No other entity of any kind can make such a brash claim and then live up to it without ever failing. There will be times in our lives when our parents can’t rescue. our friends can’t protect us but God will be there to deliver us from every evil. Nations have trusted in other so-called gods only to find that they have no power. Man-made idols have hands but they can’t touch or feel us, they have feet but they can’ run to your assistance in times of need. They have mouths but they can’t speak to us., they have ears but they can’t hear us. Only our God, the Creator of the universe and every thing in it is able to do exactly what He says He will do and nothing or nobody can stop Him from fulfilling every promise. So, let us run to Him and allow Him to protect us and provide everything we need. He is waiting with open arms.
The disciples had been through basic training and spent three years with Jesus. They had peen patient, prayerful and persecuted and they had persevered through it all. True, they had their moments of doubts and disappointments and had at one point run away and left Jesus all alone to face his killers. But when the time was right, Jesus had brought them all back together and given them their final instructions before His departure. The first instruction was to “wait in Jerusalem”. The basic training was over and they were about to go on their first missions without Him as their leader. Up to now, the provisions and power had come through Jesus but He was no longer physically with them. Now, the time had come for them to tap into the source of power through another person, the Holy Spirit. A person just as much as Jesus, in fact, the same person but not in human form. Jesus was God in visible human form. The Holy Spirit is the new heart-sized version, just as powerful and able to be everywhere at once.
The disciples now had the power and God would give them the provisions. The fight was on, the Commander had given the order– “Charge!” and the power started a great movement that is still alive today. We are the “far away” mentioned in this verse. It is up to us to be the hands and feet as the Holy Spirit carries on the battle.
David was a man after God’s own heart. Time after time, David sinned and repented and God always forgave him. God blessed David with peace and with a super-abundance. Why does God do this for those of us who fall time after time? Because He loves us with a love that we cannot totally grasp or understand. He continued to forgive David because David always had a godly sorrow for his sins. After the heat and passion of the moment had settled, David always turned back to God and begged for His forgiveness. This was a continuing battle for David and it is a continuning battle for any of us as long as we remain in the flesh in this sinful world. God knows that we cannot be perfect in this flesh. If that were possible, then Jesus would not have had to die to redeem us and the old covenant would still be in effect. When we fail and come short of the mark, we must remember to be like David, admit our sins to God and repent from them. When we repent, we turn from the old way and to a new way. True repentance requires actions that show God and those around us that we are serious when we ask God for forgiveness. When we fail and we all do at some point, don’t allow satan to beat you up with guilt and condemnation. Follow David’s example and choose to be disciplined by God. His mercies are new every morning and there is plenty of mercy for all of us and enough to last throughout eternity. When God saved us, He knew our weaknesses and He knew that sooner or later, we would fall, but He chose us anyway and He hasn’t changed His mind about our salvation. Be honest with God, He already knows what we did and what we will do in the future. Those sins are already forgiven, but we must repent.
3 During the forty days after he suffered and died, he appeared to the apostles from time to time, and he proved to them in many ways that he was actually alive. And he talked to them about the Kingdom of God. 4 Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before.5 John baptized with water, but in just a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” — Acts 1:3-5 NLT
Jesus spent forty days on earth after His resurrection. He would often appear to the apostles and talk with them, giving them further instructions about what they should do and how they should do it. The most important instruction was not to leave Jerusalem until they had been baptized with the Holy Spirit. That instruction is still just as important to God’s children today. When God calls us to do something specific for the Kingdom, we should immerse ourselves in prayer and wait for the moving of the Holy Spirit before we attempt anything. The reason for this is that we are merely mouths, hands and feet for God, He will accomplish the work to be done. What God speaks to us, we speak to others. We take the message wherever He instructs us to take it and we minister to those who He puts in our path. That is how the message gets to the ends of the world. We are carriers, He is the activator. The reuslts are not in our hands, they are in His hands. We are to be concerned about being obedient and God will take care of the results.
14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.— 1 Thess 5:14, 15 NIV
We pray and ask God to bless the work of our hands, but if we aren’t doing anything with our hands, there is nothing for God to bless. If we are doing the works of our Father, then He certainly will bless the works of our hands. We do need to be full time Christians, but that doesn’t mean we have to be employed by the church or a mission organization, God needs workers in the workplace. Our vocation and how we support our families is important to God. He has placed us in secular organizations to spread His Word there. Jesus was a friend to sinners and we can use that example in our workplaces. We can build bridges by encouraging the disheartened and helping those that are weak. Each of us have areas in our lives that are weak and need developing. We need to look for those weak areas in those around us. Not so that we can criticize the other person, but so that we will be able to encourage them and build them up. When we find them, we need to pray for them and marinate those weak areas in prayer. We need to pray for discernment for ourselves, so that we can be specific in our prayers for others. Then with love, patience and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can help them develop their weak areas.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Eph. 4:32 NIV
As the old adage goes, “No one cares what you know, until they know that you care”. Our lifestyles will let them know whether or not, we really care . So, above all, we must live our lives so that they see Jesus in us everyday.
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us— yes, establish the work of our hands.– Psalm 90:17 NIV
21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.—1 Cor. 3:21-23 NASB
All things in heaven and earth belong to God the Father. Jesus Christ the Son belongs to the Father. Since Christ gave His life on the cross to purchase us, we who have accepted Him as our Savior belong to Him and therefore we belong to the Father. God sees eternity without beginning and without end. With Him, there is no past or future and it all belongs to Him. He is gracious enough to let us be stewards of the earth and everything in it, but it all still belongs to Him. We have nothing in and of ourselves, what wisdom we have is as foolishness to God. What righteousness we may think we have is as dirty rags to God. So, what does man have that he could possibly boast about? Absolutely nothing! 15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.—Col. 1:15-17 NASB
1 Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. 2 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. 3 But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. 4 But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. 5 But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.—Gal. 2:1-5 (NASB)
Paul had been teaching in Antioch and then he went on his first missionary journey. This journey lasted about three years. When he returns to Antioch, he finds that the church at Jerusalem had sent messengers up to Antioch. They were sent to tell the Gentiles who had been converted to Christianity that it was necessary for them to be circumcised. Paul had not taught that to the new converts and did not believe that it was necessary. In fact, Paul taught that God did not require new Gentile converts to be circumcised. We still have people in our society who are bound by the traditions that they were taught. We must understand that God the Holy Spirit abides in us. He is our guide and our teacher. We have much liberty in Christ Jesus, but we are not to use that liberty to grieve the Holy Spirit or to mislead others. Jesus said that if you were bound by the law and did not fulfill every iota of the law, then you cold not enter heaven, That is why God sent His Son as the perfect sacrifice for our redemption. From that time forward, there is no sacrifice required. If there were need for more sacrifice, then Christ died in vain.. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own. 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.–Hebrews 9:24-26 (NASB)