Meditation

Sermon for 10th Sunday after Pentecost – 08-14-2022

Isaiah 5:1-7; Psalm 82; Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-56

Today’s theme is about freedom, which for most of the men in prison I’ve worked with over the years was a very popular topic. Actually, that’s not always true, as many of them will not leave prison alive, but our job is always to help them find true freedom within the prison walls, and yes, it is possible, it just takes working at it like all things worthwhile.

Our lesson from Isaiah teaches us that divine and human freedom are essential elements of creation. They form the basis for properly understanding divine sovereignty and human responsibility. God created people as well as a world. He is free to act in accordance with His wishes, and He provides all that His people need and reveals His guidelines for life—-justice and righteousness. We are free to refuse our allegiance to our Creator and ignore His plans for our lives. He is free to deal with us as well make it necessary by our conduct. Our freedom keeps us from being robots and allows us to choose to relate to God in loving faith. His freedom to interact with His creation prevents Him from becoming an “absentee God,” far removed from His creation and powerless to control it.

After giving the house of Israel every advantage, God sang of His disappointment at Israel’s bad fruit. Woe and destruction await those who disappoint God with evil and bad fruit. Rejected love turns to wrath when righteousness becomes riotousness and loyalty turns to lament. Beloved God reveals His love for us by providing everything we need to produce fruit as His people. Then we do not return His love, He shows His love in judgment and discipline, seeking to save a remnant. The wrath of God results from His love being rejected by living in righteousness and justice. The lower classes of people were losing their holdings into the hands of the aristocrats. The call of the prophets was for restoration of the poor to their place of economic, social, and political independence. The basis for this call is in the nae of God’s justice that calls for relief from injustice. He expects righteousness instead of riots and legality instead of lamentation.

Psalm 82 is a prayer of lamentation for it has strong language characteristics Israel’s prayer to God. This psalm traced the cause of injustice to the heavenly throne and presented the call for God to straighten out the heavenly council. Prayer seeks to express honest impressions to God and trust Him to accept our language and minister to our situation. All beings in God’s creation are responsible to use their power and position to help the needy and to establish justice. The underlying theme is that other people claimed multiple gods, while Israel claimed the One God that controls all things. If we as a people were to come together to pray about one problem, God would hear His people as they have unified on one problem that is significant and necessary for Him to take action, but that they too, would participate in the solution. Showing Him you are willing to be held accountable for our problems, reveals we are at long last ready to be involved in the solution for our problems and a willingness to work with Him in solving problems that are common to our lives.

From Hebrews we hear the inspirational statement, “By our Faith the people passed through the Red Sea; the wall of Jericho fell after the people had marched around them for seven day; the prostitute Rahab, because she welcome the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient I did not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who administered justice and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again; others were tortured and refused to be release, so they again a better resurrection. I could go on, but the simple fact is that all of this and a great deal more was accomplished by faith in Christ Jesus and the people would not quit or make deals, they depended on their relationship with Christ and their faith, to obtain what had already been promised to them. Do you have this kind of faith? If not, what is holding you back from developing your faith? God has promised to care for us and our needs, and we must come to belief that He will do what He said He would do.

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus asks the question, “Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. From now on there will be fine in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law.

Family relationships are given a high priority in the Bible, but the ultimate loyalty of every believer is to Jesus Christ as Lord. Beloved, the Prince of Peace brought disruption and division because people could not separate themselves from the comfort of their religious ways to see Him as the true fulfillment of God’s plans and purpose of true freedom. If you truly desire to be free of the trivial problems of this world, them you must let them go and place your faith in the only One who deserves your faith, Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time you quit worrying about every little thing that comes along and just place your faith as your number one priority and that you will trust Jesus? Tell Him today, Lord, I have sinned and desire to follow only You. Take away all worries from me and let me walk as You walk and trust You to take care of me from this day forward. I know you love me and now I understand how much I love you and my faith is completely in You alone. Amen

Meditation

08/12/2022

Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20 – God Commands Missions)

The Great Commission is a fitting ending to the gospel that begins with lineage of Jesus, the King of the Jews, and ends with a kingly command to extend His kingdom to all peoples. The central importance of this teaching cane be seen by its repetition. It appears in four different verses: Mark 16-15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8 and three locations: Jerusalem; Galilee; and the Mount of Olives. The Great Commission is given to the eleven apostles on a mountain in Galilee are directed to His church and to all Christians; it teaches the power and authority for the church’s missionary task and is accomplished through the Trinitarian God. The authority is valid in heaven and on earth. People are baptized by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and then given instructions of Jesus; to obey Him, to confess to Him and to make disciples of all nations. Note, there is no requirement to make disciples on one nation over another, for they are all the same to Him.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You have given us instruction to grow the kingdom and all we ask is wisdom, strength, and the right words to use with all people to help them find Christ and become fellow believers. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

God doesn’t make mistakes, but He can correct ours.”

KNOWING GOD:

In the last year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’ At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. ‘Woe to me!’ I cried. ‘I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.’ Then one of the seraphs flies to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth had said, ‘See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.; Then I head the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” (Isaiah 6:1-8 – God commands Missions)

All Christians are called from sin’s darkness and dominion to salvation and service. This passage, along with others make it equally clear that God calls some to special ministry and mission. Paul and Barnabas are prime New Testament examples of this type of call. In time of national and personal crisis, Isaiah saw God as the holy Lord of the universe in a way he had never seen Him prior. The result in Isaiah is what Christians feel on drawing close to God, that we are sinners and unworthy. The prophet saw that we are sinners as individuals and as congregations. When we confess our sins, God takes the initiative in cleansing us. Cleansed and forgiven, we can hear God’s missionary call. He presents the need, and the Christian with a willing heart responds, “Here am I. Send me.”

I AM:

But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” (Exodus 9:16 – God Commands Missions)

God raised up Pharaoh to demonstrated His power. Egyptian religion considered Pharaoh a god. The Exodus proved only the true God of Israel possessed divine power. God’s deeper purpose in the Exodus was that His name might be declared in all the earth. Knowing that God wants His name known in all the earth. Knowing that God wants his name known in all the earth provides authority for missions as Christians declared His name, love, and power. From the very beginning of the Bible, God is never presented as a tribal god or one who is confined in any way or any one location or a God who is without limitations of any kind. He is the God of all the earth, who acts so all peoples of the earth may know Him.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you; everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.’ Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He tole them, ‘This what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but sty in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:44-49 – God Commands Missions)

The Risen Lord explained to the eleven apostles the entire Old Testament as relating to Himself and the purpose of His life and ministry. He tied together all of he Old Testament and revealed its relation to all of he events leading to His death and resurrection; showing that the intent of the Old Testament and of His life; ministry; death; and resurrection pointed to the missionary purpose of the “sent one” or those who did missionary work and hat it proclaimed repentance and forgiveness in the name of Jesus Christ to all peoples of he world, beginning with where they were and hen expanding out from that point. That conversation brought tremendous implications for Christ’s church and for Christians of all ages. Mission is not an activity in addition to the Gospel message, but reflects the very purpose of God from eternity. Missions is not based on a single passage but on a theme that permeates the Bible. Mission work is not just something we do for a few months or even on a limited basis but our task extends to the end of the world.

Meditation

08/10/2022

May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face shine upon us, that your ways may be known on earth, your salvation among all nations. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples justly and guide the nations of the earth. May the peoples praise you, O God; may all the peoples praise you. Then the land will yield its harvest, and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us, and all the ends of the earth will fear him.” (Genesis 12:1-3 – God Provides the Scope of Missions)

This may well be the most missionary of all the psalms. Beginning with a prayer for God’s grace, presence, and blessing, it moves to seek His blessing for all the peoples of the earth. God has the right to invite and expect all peoples to praise Him because He rules the world fairly in justice. One way God extends His salvation to all the nations is through blessing the harvest. This act leads all peoples to reverence and worship him. The Psalm uses a Hebrew-style call parallelism by stating a great longing that God’s ways be known to all peoples of the earth and then repeating it in a slightly different form, asking that God’s salvation be made know among all nations. Even in modern times there is no more eloquent call to world evangelization.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You provide the Scope of Missions. You have trained us with Your Word, with Your Prophets, with Your Son our Savior Jesus, that those of who claiming to be Christians are to be involved in mission work. Sometimes it is in far away lands, sometimes in disasters areas of our state and sometimes in our own home town. It is not where we obey God to do this, it is that we are doing it in obedience to Him command. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Not all roads lead to heaven but all roads lead to the THRONE!”

KNOWING GOD:

As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—-when he come and prays toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place, and do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as so your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name.” (2nd Chronicles 6:32-33 – God Provides the Scope of Missions)

Solomon’s remarkable prayer pointed out that God’s love for Israel was not for the purpose of blessing other nations and peoples as well. God’s Temple had been built by an Israelite king in the national capital, but its purpose was never restricted to Israelites alone. It was to be one of God’s means of blessing all people. God’s acts for Israel were intended to draw all people to Him. The central teaching is hat God is Lord of he whole earth and of all peoples who come to Him. The New testament records of God’s people reaching out and sharing the message (Acts 1:8; 5:42).

I AM:

The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’” (Galatians 3: – God is the Scope of Missions)

Paul refers to and quotes Genesis 12:3 to show that the Scriptures foresaw that God would justify all people, not just Jews, by faith in Christ. God had revealed this world-embracing good news to Abraham when He first called him to bless the nation. Thus, from first to last, the Bible sets the scope of the missionary task, as the whole world. All people are invited to walk in the path of faith to Christ.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify that everyone who believes in him received forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:42-48 – God is the Scope of Missions)

God gave the Roman centurion, Cornelius, a vision to prepare him and to bring Simon Peter from Joppa to share Christ. The event clearly shows that God in interested not only in geographical or numerical growth, but also in people from different racial, ethnic, and language backgrounds. Daring to reach across cultural barriers is a crucial element in expansion of he kingdom of God today. As with Peter, God often must nudge us very hard to reach out to those who are different from us. Understand?

Meditation

08/09/2022

The Lord had sad to Abram, ‘Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.’ ‘I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all people on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:1-3 – God is the Source of Missions)

God’s purpose and actions provide the ultimate source for our missionary teaching and actions. With this chapter, Genesis moves beyond the universal primeval history of God’s dealing with all humankind to election of an individual person and nation. Through personal contact, judgment, and the flood. God had sought to bring humanity into willing, loving relation with their Maker. People continued to rebel, however. Finally God took a new direction. With Abraham, God began to carry out His purpose through one man, his family, and his descendants. While He worked through one family, God made His universal purpose clear. He wanted to bless the whole human race. In faith, Abraham accepted God’s challenging call and proved a blessing to other nations. As God had promised. Abraham’s descendants became the great nation Israel. Israel often forgot their blessings were for the purpose of blessing others. They fell into sin and followed false gods. Finally, God accomplished His missionary purpose through Christ. All believers in Him became sons of Abraham and children of he Heavenly Father. As believers we can follow Abram’s faithful example or easily forge we have been blessed to bless others. Christ showed His disciples how the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms all referred to Him. He then related that fulfillment to a missionary challenge in Luke 24:47-49. The seed thought of missions is here. All nations are to be blessed in Christ Jesus—-the God—-Son of Abraham, and Son of David. From the beginning. God loved the whole world.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, we look at God as the Source of Missions. He began by working through Abraham’s family by blessing them, and then they were to bless those around them. You were teaching us, the story of the single stone which plunks into the pond of water, and where it hit the water rings began to move outward, further and further. Such is the same as a blessing, that is given to one and that one blesses others an the ring of those blessed get larger and larger. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Every Bible should be bound in ‘shoe leather.’”

KNOWING GOD:

But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand for their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that they great city?” (Jonah 4:11 – God is the Source of Missions)

The biblical teaching on missions rests on one Foundation, the unique , all encompassing love of God. Humans see other people and feel envy, hatred, pride, and need for revenge. God looks at people and see helpless need and hopeless evil. The call to missions is a call to share God’s perspective on the world, recognizing the spiritual needs of those with the greatest material wealth and the strongest political power. We answer God’s call to go when we share His love of spiritually bankrupt people.

I AM:

I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.” (Genesis 13:16 – God is the Source of Missions)

Abram’s family was elected by God and it had a purpose. Through Abram’s seed all nations would be blessed. God’s election also brought Abram the promise of land acquisition to the elect nation would have a homeland. Election of Israel thus rested on God’s initiative an promise, not on human action or merit.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and he Father is in me; or at lease believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things that these, because if am going to the Father.” (John 14:11-12 – God is the Source of Missions)

The presence of the living Christ in the believer is the source of missionary motivation. Paul pointed out that Christ’s love impels or compels us (2nd Corinthians 5:14). Jesus made a staggering promise: the one with faith to Him will do what He has been doing—-preaching the kingdom, teaching, healing, and expressing His compassionate ministry and so much more. Incredible, but true! How is it possible? Because Jesus ascended to the Father. He lives in believers everywhere, working through us. Jesus fed the 5,000 people. His caring children feed multiplied thousands each year in hunger relief in other nations, as well as feeding children in schools in America. Limited by space and time, He drew followers to Him in Judea, Galilee and Samaria. Each year, through the power of he Holy Spirit and in response to the message of His disciples, millions have pledged and continue to pledge allegiance to Him. The source of all these works is Jesus Himself.

Meditation

08/08/2022

Restore us again, O God our Savior, and put away your displeasure toward us. Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger through all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your unfailing love, O Lord, and grant us your salvation.” (Psalm 85:4-7 – Evangelism Through the Power of a Holy Life)

The power of a holy revived life is great in evangelism. Revival comes when God’s people seek forgiveness and a new sense of God’s love. All people believers are to seek that constant spiritual renewing that they may be holy people, powerful in God’s hands. Holy lives are vital to evangelism and revival.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, the power associated with a holy life are powerful, because the work evangelism requires is upheld through revitalized believers that are bold in taking their salvation witness to a multitude of people, that may have never heard anything like what will be presented to them in a truthful and loving way. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it!”

KNOWING GOD:

Then he restored the altar of the Lord and sacrificed fellowship offerings and thank offerings on it, and told Judah to serve the Lord, the God of Israel.” (2nd Chronicles 33:16 – Evangelism Through the Power of a Holy Life)

Manasseh was the king of Judah, and his return to the Lord was genuine. These were freewill offerings, not mandatory offerings. Obedience reflects the sincerity of his prayer. The principle of排estoring the altar�means the restoration of holy living and worship. We cannot worship on a 都trange altar�and expect God to honor our witness. Powerful evangelism grows out of a yielded life, lived wholly unto the Lord.

I AM:

I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles. I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are at Rome. I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes; first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” (Romans 1:13-17 – Evangelism Through the Power of a Holy Life)

Paul described three elements of his life which gave power to his evangelism efforts: a sense of obligation, eagerness and pride instead of shame in the gospel. Christ’s death for him put Paul in debt, under obligation to witness. The sense of obligation made him eager to pay the debt and preach to all people. He was on fire for the gospel. Thus he took pride in the gospel and could find no reason to be ashamed of it. His life centered on the gospel(Greek – euangelion, the root of the English word evangelism).The gospel was powerful good news putting people in right relationship with Christ and thus providing salvation. This produced a righteous life dedicated to sharing the gospel with others.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s vice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:29-30 – Evangelism Through the Power of a Holy Life)

John the Baptist understood that task that God had given to him. Upon the encounter with Jesus, he fully understood his task was almost completed. He was filled with joy, and knew that he was to take a lesser role and allow Jesus to take the lead from this moment on. The power of a holy life is vital to effective evangelization. Humility is a strong characteristic of such a life. John exemplified that quality. He understood his position in the light of the person and ministry of Jesus. Humility is an honest evaluation of oneself in the light of Christ. Do you know the task Christ has for you, and if so, are you moving to allow Him to work through you?

Meditation

Proper 14 – 9th Sunday After Pentecost – 08-07-2022

Exodus 34:29-35; Psalm 99:1-9; 2nd Peter 1:13-21; Luke 9:28-36

Our Old Testament lesson teaches us that God used Moses as a constant messenger who traveled between the people and God’s presence in the mountain. Each of the commands that God uttered were passed on to the people, who waited anxiously to hear the word of the Lord. Whenever Moses was in the presence of God, he unveiled himself. Both servant and Master revealed themselves in an “act of trust and closeness.” Revelation changed Moses’ appearance but not his humanity. The recipient of revelation and mediator of God’s word did not become divine. The written divine word was not all the people needed. They also needed a mediator to interpret the divine word in the new situations that passing time brought. Prayer brings us into God’s presence and changes our own lives. Moses’ closeness to God brought a radiance the people could visible see, but not bear. Nothing should veil us when we are in God’s presence.

From our Psalm to day, God’s people praise the holy God because He rules all creation. God’s position as King of the universe and His past history hearing and forgiving His people are reasons to lift our praises to Him. God revealed Himself to Israel as a forgiving God, but He was not soft on sin. His past forgiveness calls forth praise and provides assurance that forgiveness remains a possibility.

In 2nd Peter it is Peter’s experience as eyewitness of the transfiguration that gives certainty to Christ’s final coming. People’s physical nature is actually no more permanent than a tent that is packed up as a camp moves on. The body is put aside, but our life continues in Christ through resurrection. Death is the putting off of the body, for the permanent spiritual body not made with hands. Death will be a departure to be with the Lord. The brief time in this life would leave behind memories of what God has done and taught through us.

Since the beginning of the written Gospels the early church had to contend with charges they invented the stories about Jesus. Peter pointed to God’s personal revelation at Christ’s baptism and at the moment of the transfiguration. The promise of Jesus’ return in not a clever invention of human imagination; it is based on the transfiguration as a foreshadowing of Christ in His true majesty as will be seen at His second coming, as Jesus comes in His full glory and majesty as promised through scripture. Beloved, the Bible is the inspired result of God’s plan and purpose. Prophets spoke in the vernacular of their day, but they spoke what God’s Holy Spirit wanted them to say.

Our reading from the Gospel of Luke concerns the Transfiguration. It was not uncommon for Jesus to take His disciples away from others to teach them, but in today’s reading He takes Peter, John, and James up on a mountain to pray, only this time the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lighting. Two men Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Peter, John, and James were sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As Moses and Elijah wee leaving Jesus, Peter said to him, “Master, It is good for us to be here. Let us put up three shelter—-one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” While he was speaking a cloud appeared and enveloped them and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. A voice came saying, “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” Then Jesus was alone. They disciples kept this to themselves, and told no one at that time what they had seen.

The course set for Jesus had been put in motion before He came to this earth, but the encounter with Jesus, Moses, and Elijah, combined with the affirmation from God that Jesus was His Son and was now on his way to Jerusalem, to finalize the plan for salvation, that Jesus was going to purchase for our sins with His very human life.

Our faith in Jesus, our confidence in Jesus lets us do things we could never do otherwise. What Jesus was about to do for us, what Jesus does for us, and our sometimes tiny, mustard seed-sized faith that connects us to Him, means we can hope, serve, and enjoy; Jesus can see a bright future that we cannot, but we can look for, prepare for, and do our part for. Jesus made a future for us that we could not even imagine possible

It’s Jesus’ faith that makes the difference. Our faith in Jesus, our confidence in Jesus lets us do things we couldn’t do otherwise. What Jesus did for us, what Jesus does for us, and our sometimes tiny, mustard seed-sized faith that connects us to him, means we can hope, serve, enjoy. Jesus can see a future we cannot, but we can, with confidence, look for, prepare for, and do our part for. Amen

Meditation

08/05/2022

Peter and the other apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than men!’ The God of our fathers raised Jesus from the dead—-whom you had killed by hanging him on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has give to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:29-32 – Evangelism Through the Power of the Holy Spirit)

God gave the Holy Spirit to equip and empower the church for the task of world evangelization. The Spirit is given all believers. Without this giving and infilling of the Spirit of God upon the church, people are never brought to faith in Jesus Christ. God’s people must be dynamically related to the Spirit to be used a His agents to win others. Such relationship may confuse the world, but the Spirit’s power to raise questions is necessary for great soul winning!

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, the power that You gifted to those of us who obey our commands and seek to bring others to follow Christ was given as a blessed gift and tool to seek out those whom need You in their lives. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, especially for Glenn who passed from this world to the next and for his wife Debbie, who is broken-hearted at his passing, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Sin offers much, but nothing that lasts or enriches our lives.”

KNOWING GOD:

Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” Acts 9:31 – Evangelism Through the Power of the Holy Spirit)

Church growth depends on God’s strength and encouragement provided by the Holy Spirit. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, the church is just a shell, but with it the result is a reverent, worshiping, witnessing church. Is this how people describe your church?

I AM:

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.” (1st Thessalonian 1:5 – Evangelism Through the Power of the Holy Spirit)

The words of Paul are the inspired revelation of God at work, communicating the good news of Jesus Christ with deep impact and belief. The Holy Spirit gave power to Paul’s words, elicited deep commitment from the audience and gave them great joy. The gospel presents great power to convert because the Holy Spirit uses it, as His sword to bring deep conviction and, thereby, save the hearers. The power of human eloquence is not enough. Only God’s power leads to salvation. We can and are supposed to witness with genuine power from heaven; therefore take caution, you cannot just sit in the pews and expect things to happen without the support of God’s people within the church.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me that the Lord had opened a door for me. I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.” (2nd Corinthians 2:12-13 – Evangelism Through the Power of God)

Brother and Sisters, Paul constantly stressed that doors for evangelization are opened by the Holy Spirit alone (Acts 4:31). To go ahead of God or lag behind will thwart the word of the Holy Spirit in opening people to receive our testimony. We must walk with God in the fullness of the Holy Spirit to be effective witnesses, ready when opportunity presents itself by those seeking to walk in Jesus’ footsteps and are ready to witness to them.

What a profound responsibility Paul placed on believers! We are an aroma to the word of life or death. How essential for us o spread the fragrance of the knowledge of Christ in such a way as to bring life. We have God’s promise of victory—-He leads us in His triumphal procession. We are utterly unequal to the task, but Christ gives us grace and power to evangelize with effect. We simply must place our trust in Jesus to help us through the Holy Spirit as we share our story with others, that it will touch hearts and minds and lead them to Christ.

Meditation

08/03/2022

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)

Christ followers have a difficult message to declare: we must tell people they are in sin, lost, estranged from God, and desperately need salvation in Jesus Christ. That message may cause a severe negative reaction. Christians faithful to their evangelistic responsibility will suffer different forms of persecution. Some will be called upon to forfeit their lives. For others the persecution is no more than ridicule or being excluded. Under any persecution believers are to rejoice. Like their Lord and the prophets before them, great is their reward in heaven.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You have called many of us to witness to others about experience of accepting you as our Lord and Savior and many recount of losing friends for doing so. You have stood by us, for responding Your call to witness to others, and even though we were not always successful in converts, we felt Your presence with us, while we reached out to the lost in the world. Never let us forget that the words we express come from our experience coupled with the Holy Spirit, to call other people to listen to Your call for them. It is not our job to make them listen, only to listen for Your call on their lives. We present salvation messaging to them, but they must respond. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, especially for Glen who passed from this world to the next and for his wife Debbie, who is broken-hearted at his passing, and for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

For peace that lasts put God first.”

KNOWING GOD:

Who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to all men in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved in this way they always heap us their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.” (1st Thessalonians 2:15-16 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)

Suffering is an inevitable result of standing for Christ and sharing the gospel, but God will care for His people and judge the persecutors. To resist the gospel is had enough; to persecute those who do embrace and propagate its truth is tragic beyond words. Beloved, persons who heap up sins trying to prevent the preaching of the gospel find God can act in their lives to protect His witnesses. What actual event Paul had in mind as evidence of God’s wrath having come we do not know, but what we do know is that people who use their voice or position to make one who pursues bringing the whole gospel message to others, will find themselves under God’s wrath.

I AM:

I know where you live—-where Satan has his throne. Yet you remain true to my name. You did not renounce your faith in me, even in the days of Antipas, my faithful witness, who was put to death in your city—-where Satan lives.” (Revelation 2:13 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)

The church at Pergamum remained true despite severe persecution. The phrase “where Satan has his throne” could refer o the huge pagan temple given to the worship of Asciepius. More likely the reference was to Pergamum’s reputation as a center where the Roman emperor was worshiped as a god. God’s people were under pressure, but they kept their testimony alive and thus won many over to Christ. Real evangelism always sustain His faithful ones.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” (Mark 13:9-10 – Evangelism, Through Persecution)

Christians who tell others of their sin and their need of Jesus Christ as Savior can expect persecution in one form or another. For Jesus’ sake we endure, and in the context of sacrifice the gospel will eventually each the entire world.

Meditation

08/02/2022

You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere.” (1st Thessalonians 1:6-8 – Evangelism, Through Testimony)

The Thessalonians had a wonderful testimony of Christ. It rang out far and wide because they had spoken from their hearts of their personal experiences. This was what Paul had taught the people. Our experience of coming to Christ will be different because of how each of us experiences the encounter, because God calls us to witness as an example to others even in suffering. Our words are guided by the Holy Spirit, and when we follow this example, it ring true to those listening.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, You have called us to witness to others about experience of coming to You through Christ Jesus, your Son and our Savior. Let our words be used to lead others to you in a way that is true and honors all of the blessings we have received from you. We love You and worship You for guiding our paths to others who need o hear of our experiences, that they too, might also answer Your call to serve. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

Jesus will calm the storm—-or calm you in the storm!”

KNOWING GOD:

They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that hi time is short.” (Revelation 12:11-12 – Evangelism, Through Testimony)

Our testimony for Christ not only strengthens others and wins people to our Lord, it even defeats Satan, ‘the accuser of our brothers’ (v 10). In the power of Christ’s death on the cross, Satan was disarmed. Now we can defeat him through Christ’s victory and by the word of our testimony if we will totally give our to our Lord, even unto death. The reference to heavenly rejoicing is because Satan’s time is short. Heaven is a place of joy in prayer!

I AM:

At this I fell at feet to worship him. But he said to me. ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus, is the spirit of prophecy.’” (Revelation 19:10 – Evangelism, Through Testimony)

Beloved we are mere human beings, deserving no reverence. Nor do angels themselves deserve such. We worship and revere God alone and bear testimony to Him and His holy glory and redemptive grace. Yet that testimony of Jesus and His power to save glorifies God and out to a needy world as the real spirit of proclamation. Share it for God’s glory and the salvation of others.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe.” (John 19:35 – Evangelism, Through Testimony)

Eyewitness testimony to Christ’s death and resurrection is the primary basis of evangelism. John’s Gospel, as well as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is based on such testimony. Testimony to Christ is given so people will commit their lives to Him and experience salvation.

This text underscores the intense evangelistic intention of the 4th Gospel. John wanted people to believe in Jesus as the only source of eternal life. Do you accept his testimony? Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior? I pray that you have.

Meditation

08/01/2022

Sing praises to the Lord, enthroned in Zion; proclaim among the nations what he has done.” (Psalm 9:11 – Evangelism Through Worship Experiences)

Although you can worship anywhere. Throughout history, people have successfully worshiped in caves, in homes, in open air venues, and yes, even in churches constructed for this exact purpose. Worship reaches its highest level in the corporate worship of God’s people. Int that worship setting, we are to ‘proclaim among the nations’ God’s wonderful deeds of salvation. Worship and evangelism go together and complement each other.

PRAYER FOR THE DAY:

Precious Abba, it is not the location of where worship is held that is the main point, it is that all who father do so to worship with fellow Christians. Therefore, when we come together for the purpose of worship, we should participate fully and without fear whatsoever. It you see someone new, allow the Holy Spirit that we have been given to reach out to them and help them to understand everything that is going on and why, so that they feel a part of the congregation and feel comfortable to worship fully and without abandon. Today we continue to pray troops serving in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that a peaceful solution might be found and let the fighting be silenced. We also pray for those who are suffering in body, mind, and/or spirit, with friends, family, for those we don’t know. Amen

THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

The easiest way to bring up a child in the way they should go is for us to be traveling that same route. This applies to new people in our churches, too.”

KNOWING GOD:

Shout with joy to God, all the earth!” (Psalm 66:1 – Evangelism Through Worship Experiences)

In the midst of the worship experience, it is fitting to praise God for who He is, His steadfast love, and His grace which brought salvation. Out of His great love and mercy, redemption springs. Worship and praise should always move us to share that glorious realty with others. True worship and praise result in the evangelization of others.

I AM:

When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonicia, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. ‘This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ, he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.’” (Acts 17:1-4 – Evangelism Through Worship Experiences)

Open and honest worship of God helps make on receptive to the Holy Spirit and is thus a significant context in which to evangelize. Note that Paul reasoned with the Jews, and when questions came up, he explained the answer to them and because he did not attack them, they listened until they no longer had questions. You should also note there was a significant number of of prominent women in attendance as well.

2ND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:

And he taught them, he said, ‘Is it not written: My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations? But you have made it a den of robbers.’” (Mark 11:17 – Evangelism Through Worship Experiences)

It has been said many times that true worship begins when we sincerely seek God. That is why God’s house was knows to Israel as a “house of prayer.” That principle must not be corrupted if evangelism is to be effective in the worship of God’s people.