11 Then the Lord asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” — Exodus 4:11-12 NLT
God has given each of us particular gifts and we use those gifts daily in our secular lives but when God asks us to use them for His work, we suddenly pretend we don’t have those abilities. Take Moses, for instance, forty years earlier, Moses had no problem taking charge. He killed an Egyptian who was beating a slave. The next day, he comes out and tells the slaves to quit fighting each other. Those are characteristics of a leader. But, now after forty years of desert training, when God wants Him to use those same talents to free His people and lead them through the desert, Moses suddenly can’t. If you think God was happy with Moses, you are wrong. In fact, He met Moses and was about to kill him and would have except for the actions of Zipporah.(Exodus 4:24-26)
In today’s world, think about the effectiveness of the church if: Every school teacher volunteered to teach Sunday School Every CEO or business leader volunteered for a leadership/mentoring position Everyone who served others in any position served in the church Whatever talent you have, you used that talent in the church
Just think about this: The Creator of the universe, the Omniscient God would not ask us to do a job that He has not specifically given us the talent and the training to do. If God knew someone else could do the job better than we could, then He would have called them instead of us! The next time we feel that little nudge to volunteer, before we say “no”, think about the results in the parable of the talents (Matt. 25:14-30).
10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Eph. 2:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
At the time Jesus was speaking, He, of course, was referring to the Old Testament Scriptures which clearly prophesy of the Messiah coming as the Suffering Servant. But the Jewish leaders didn’t want the Suffering Servant, they wanted the King. They did not understand that Jesus was both. People today are still reading the Scriptures, both the Old and the New Testament looking for confirmation of what they already believe instead of searching for the Truth. There had been impostors in the past, that the leaders had accepted because the impostors led rebellions against the Roman Empire. They had been led astray and deceived before. Today, we still have so many highly educated and/or charismatic leaders that lead people astray. People are searching for something or someone to believe, so they honor and follow after those they can see refusing to believe the truth about Jesus. The way we can show our love for Jesus is to spread the Truth to these poor souls who have been deceived. Will we win all of them to Jesus? No, but that should not keep us from witnessing to the lost. How can we do this? We can follow the example Paul set for us:
22 When I am with those who are weak, I share their weakness, for I want to bring the weak to Christ. Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone, doing everything I can to save some. 23 I do everything to spread the Good News and share in its blessings.–1 Cor. 9:22, 23 (NLT)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
We must remain humble where God has put us. We need to learn “to bloom where we are planted”. In other words, we should work diligently where we are until God moves us. Be obedient to those He has ordained to be over us. Since we are all parts of one body, we must work together in unity and unison to accomplish the work God has for us. If it is truly God’s work, it is not just “busy” work. If we do our part, God will certainly do His part. Work well and willingly with others. Encourage and help others with patience and love. We must always seek to do good to others and let God take care of the rest. Even though, we may never see what becomes of the other person, the one thing that we can be sure of is this: God will not be mocked, each of us will reap what we sow.
10 Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. 11 Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones. — 1 Thess. 3:10-13
Paul’s love and concern for the new converts that he and his companions have led to Christ is a great example for us to follow. We may never be missionaries in a faraway land, but we are missionaries in a land that is not our home. We are aliens and strangers wherever we are on this earth. Therefore, we need to have the same concern for those new converts in our own churches. Every church body needs Barnabases and Timothys to encourage and teach new and older converts. We need Esthers and Priscillas to teach self-sacrifice, humbleness and obedience.
15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” –Esther 4:15, 16
We need Ezras to teach leadership, fasting, praying and complete reliance on God.
21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. — Ezra 8;21-23
We need workplace ministers like Paul who witnessed while carrying on his occupation as a tentmaker and Lydias to encourage, support and provide for those laboring in God’s fields.
14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. — Acts 16:14, 15
We are all servants in God’s army and God needs us to serve and stand firm wherever we are and complete the tasks He has called us to do, whatever that may be.He has a plan and a purpose for everyone He calls.
Have you discovered your purpose in the Kingdom? If not, talk to Him today about it and get started.
33 But Jesus told them, “I will be with you only a little longer. Then I will return to the one who sent me. 34 You will search for me but not find me. And you cannot go where I am going.” 35 The Jewish leaders were puzzled by this statement. “Where is he planning to go?” they asked. “Is he thinking of leaving the country and going to the Jews in other lands? Maybe he will even teach the Greeks! 36 What does he mean when he says, ‘You will search for me but not find me,’ and ‘You cannot go where I am going’?”—John 7:33-36 (NLT)
These must have been very confusing days for the disciples and the true believers in Jesus. The Messiah had come but He had not set up an earthly kingdom as many believed that He would do. Now, Jesus is telling His followers even worse news. “I will be with you only a little longer.” Why was He leaving and where could He be going? Looking back from our vantage point in history, we know where He was going and we understand why He had to leave. Few, if any, of the people present at that time understood that. Isn’t it wonderful news that Jesus has never made that statement to us? In fact, just the opposite is true. To us, He has said: 5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”—Hebrews 13: (NKJV)
We have a companion that is closer than a brother. He not only leads us, He walks with us, He is our rearguard, and He abides inside us. Jesus is in us and we are in Jesus. What more could anyone ask?
16 So the Jewish leaders began harassing Jesus for breaking the Sabbath rules. 17 But Jesus replied, “My Father is always working, and so am I.” 18 So the Jewish leaders tried all the harder to find a way to kill him. For he not only broke the Sabbath, he called God his Father, thereby making himself equal with God. 19 So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. In fact, the Father will show him how to do even greater works than healing this man. Then you will truly be astonished. 21 For just as the Father gives life to those he raises from the dead, so the Son gives life to anyone he wants.—John 5:16-21 (NLT)
Jesus used the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda to get the attention of the people, especially the religious leaders, He wanted them to understand who He was and why He was there. But, like most of us, when we first encounter Jesus, the religious leaders looked for reasons not to accept the truth of who Jesus is. We find fault with how and why Jesus does the things He chooses to do. Here is a human being, who claims to be the Son of God. He is making these preposterous claims that He can heal, raise from the dead, and even forgive sins. In their eyes, this is blasphemy. What do we see, when we look at Jesus and His claims? Do we see the love of God and His great mercy or do we see what the religious leaders saw? If we are totally honest in our search for truth, we will be drawn to this man Jesus and His love for us. He will not force you to accept Him, but He is standing at your heart’s door asking you to invite Him into your heart and life. If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment and ask Him in now.
7 Remember your leaders who have spoken God’s word to you. Think about how their lives turned out, and imitate their faith. 8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 9 Don’t get carried away by all kinds of unfamiliar teachings. Gaining inner strength from God’s kindness is good for us. This strength does not come from following rules about food, rules that don’t help those who follow them. 10 Those who serve at the tent have no right to eat what is sacrificed at our altar. 11 The chief priest brings the blood of animals into the holy place as an offering for sin. But the bodies of those animals were burned outside the Israelite camp. 12 That is why Jesus suffered outside the gates of Jerusalem. He suffered to make the people holy with his own blood. 13 So we must go to him outside the camp and endure the insults he endured.—Hebrews 13:7-13 (GW)
Any time, we hear a message or read a devotional or blog, the first thing that we must be sure of is that it is aligned with the Holy Scripture. God and His Word are not capable of being changed. Any time, we are listening or reading and feel a little tug at our hearts or minds, we need to stop and check the Word. There are different translations of the scriptures, some better than others. But they should all present the same thoughts. If anyone should say that God has given them something to add to His Word, have them read this scripture passage: Revelation 22:18,19 (GW) 18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy in this book: If anyone adds anything to this, God will strike him with the plagues that are written in this book. 19 If anyone takes away any words from this book of prophecy, God will take away his portion of the tree of life and the holy city that are described in this book.
Our relationship with Jesus Christ does not depend on rituals or the kind of foods we eat. It isn’t the externals, it is what is in our heart. Will we be insulted and offended for our faithfulness? Ask the Christians in Iraq right now. We will have to endure insults just as our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, did.
17 When God tested Abraham, faith led him to offer his son Isaac. Abraham, the one who received the promises from God, was willing to offer his only son as a sacrifice. 18 God had said to him, “Through Isaac your descendants will carry on your name.” 19 Abraham believed that God could bring Isaac back from the dead. Abraham did receive Isaac back from the dead in a figurative sense. 20 Faith led Isaac to bless Jacob and Esau. 21 While Jacob was dying, faith led him to bless each of Joseph’s sons. He leaned on the top of his staff and worshiped God. 22 While Joseph was dying, faith led him to speak about the Israelites leaving Egypt and give them instructions about burying his bones.–Hebrews 11:17-22 (GW)
Can you imagine the thoughts that must have gone through Abraham’s mind when God told Him to sacrifice his only son? Surely he wondered how God was going to fulfill His promise to make him a father of many nations, if he killed his son. But this matter was already settled in the mind of Abraham. This was the statement Abraham made in Genesis 22:
5 Then Abraham said to his servants, “You stay here with the donkey while the boy and I go over there. We’ll worship. After that we’ll come back (GW)
At that moment, Abraham didn’t know how God would do it, but he trusted God to provide and take care of both he and his son, Isaac. Isaac trusted God to carry out His promise through his sons, so he blessed both of them. Jacob believed the promise and blessed his 12 sons. Those 12 sons would become the leaders of the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph believed that God would rescue his people, so he made them promise that when God led them out of Egypt that they would carry his bones back to the Promised Land and bury them there. All these promises were fulfilled and written down for us so that we might be believers as well. God is faithful!!
Read 2 Timothy 5: 6-25. (We will focus on vv 21-25) 21 I solemnly command you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus and the highest angels to obey these instructions without taking sides or showing favoritism to anyone. 22 Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 23 Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often 24 Remember, the sins of some people are obvious, leading them to certain judgment. But there are others whose sins will not be revealed until later. 25 In the same way, the good deeds of some people are obvious. And the good deeds done in secret will someday come to light.—2 Timothy 5:21-25 (NLT)
Paul has left Timothy in charge of the Church at Ephesus. He is writing these letters to encourage Timothy in how to deal with doctrinal errors and practical problems in the church there. He is also telling Timothy how to deal with pastoral responsibilities and the qualities that church leaders should have in their positions of responsibility. These instructions are just as pertinent and important today as they were when Paul wrote the letters. When working with others in any field, but particularly in God’s work, we need to pray for discernment in selecting and supporting the ones God has chosen.
1 Timothy 2:1-6 (NLT) 1. I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. 3 This is good and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. 5 For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. 6 He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone. This is the message God gave to the world at just the right time.
Jesus willingly gave His life for each of us. He gave it for those who cursed and persecuted Him as well as for those who followed Him. He did it because of His great love for humanity of all religions and nationalities. It is His desire that everyone be saved. Will everyone accept Jesus as their Savior and Lord? No, but that does not change what Jesus did for us. Once any person accepts Jesus as their Savior and Lord, should they decide to do that, the Holy Spirit indwells that person. As we progress in following the example of Jesus there is a change in our hearts’ desires and our actions. We are to attempt to live at peace with everyone around us, even with those who curse and persecute us. Is this possible? Yes, or Jesus would not have asked us to do it. When we are mistreated for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, our response is to love and pray for those that commit the acts. Praying for our persecutors pleases God because we are following the example that Jesus set for us. How they respond to that love and our prayers for them is not in our control. It is ultimately between them and God. If revenge of any sort is necessary, God says that is His responsibility, not ours. So pray for everyone, family, friends, neighbors, cults, religious people, anyone in authority over you in any situation. You can be assured that your flesh is not going to want to pray for some of these people, but God’s Holy Spirit will draw you, teach you, and even do the praying for you if you choose to be obedient.