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Exodus 9; Luke 12; Job 27; I Corinthians 13

Why do people ask me to pray for them? Pharoah begs the prayers of Moses.

The king sent for Moses and Aaron and said, “This time I have sinned; the Lord is in the right, and my people and I are in the wrong. Pray to the Lord! We have had enough of this thunder and hail! I promise to let you go; you don’t have to stay here any longer.”

Moses said to him, “As soon as I go out of the city, I will lift up my hands in prayer to the Lord. The thunder will stop, and there will be no more hail, so that you may know that the earth belongs to the Lord. – Exodus 9:27-29 GNT

I am starting to get a bit bolder and tell people to pray themselves. However, I will go home and pray for even those I have little hope for, and I continue to pray and speak into their lives with tough love. One thing is for certain. If you find someone who knows how to pray, I mean the prayer of Moses opened and shut heaven, I get why it is so tempting to ask them to pray. But let’s not forget, Moses prayer could not subdue the hard hearts of men.

If I am plugged into God, I think I will react differently because my life will be a prayer that will overflow in my situations. No matter what those situation will be or where I find myself – school, work, or home – the Holy Spirit can give me the words at that time.

For the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say. – Luke 12:12 GNT

I do not need to be anxious then. When I live on mission I will get the message I need.

Father, I want those You have called me to serve to find the joy they are missing in You. Just talking with You can change a person’s life forever. While they are on that journey, help remind me to pray for them. Even if I get discouraged, I know You never give up because You have never given up on me. While I may be amazed at how You answer my prayers, there are times I know that all I can do is lift myself and others to You. I trust You. Holy Spirit, if You have to yell at me, yell at me. I want to walk where You want me to walk. While it is so much easier to not care about people, that would not reflect Your character or Your love. If I am going to be like You, I need to pray. Help me and remind me. Thank You.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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Exodus 7; Luke 10; Job 24; 1 Cor. 11

Photo by Mandy Baldwin

“He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.””

Luke 10:18-20, NIV

It feels so good to get excited about wins in life. I remember back in high school when our band got second at a state competition. That was a first for our school and we were ecstatic!! It felt amazing!! I remember our band director celebrating with us. I also remember going to school that following Monday and getting back to practice. We had done amazing…and we needed to keep working.

I love the encouragement of the Lord to the 72 He sent out in His name. He rejoiced with them. He affirmed the power they have in Him. I love that we have a God that rejoices with us. He empowers us to live in His name and then he affirms that work and encourages us.

Jesus doesn’t stop at encouragement. He cautions the 72 to not stop and to continue on towards the goal…eternity with Him. Their new power is not the most important thing. It’s not the end goal of a relationship with Jesus. Eternity is.

Dear God, let us not loose sight of you in the midst of the work you are doing through us. Let us not get so caught up in the work that we neglect our relationship with you. Thank you for being a God that celebrates with us. You are so good!! Amen.

Mandy (mkaybaldwin)

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Exodus 4; Job 21; Luke 7; I Corinthians 8

How many times have we begged God to not make us do something we don’t want to do or make excuses for why His plan doesn’t work for us?  Moses was called to convince hard-hearted Pharaoh to let God’s people go, but he tried to talk his way out of it.

Then Moses answered, ‘But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, ‘the Lord did not appear to you.’  The Lord said to him, ‘What is in your hand?’  He said, ‘ A staff.’  And He said, “Throw it on the ground.’  So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.  But the Lord said to Moses, ‘Put out your hand and catch it by the tail.’ so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand ‘that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to you.” (Exodus 4:1-5 ESV)

Moses feared reactions from other people, so he tried making excuses to not do what God wanted Him to.  God in His mercy gave him a visual proof to share with people to convince them.

“But Moses said to the Lord, ‘Oh my Lord I am not eloquent, either in the past or since you have spoken to your servant, but I am slow of speech and of tongue.’  Then the Lord said to him, ‘Who has made man’s mouth?  Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?  Is it not I , the Lord?  Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.” (Exodus 4:10-12 ESV)

Moses had speech issues that made him feel unqualified for the job.  God knows our weaknesses.  He made us.  Nothing comes as a surprise to Him.  Therefore pointing them out to God does not make a good argument.

But he said, ‘Oh my Lord, please send someone else.’  Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, ‘Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite?  I know he can speak well.  Behold he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart.  You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do.  He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.  And take in your hand this staff, with which you shall do the signs.” (Exodus 4:13-17 ESV)

Moses, in a panic, begged God not to make him do this job that he was afraid of.  This made God angry that he would not obey, but again in His mercy, He gave him an out.  He let his brother be his spokes person.

Like Moses, I too tend to fear people.  Big cities make me paranoid and want to walk through them with tunnel vision, fearing that harm might come to me and my family simply because of thoughts that go through my head.  And like Moses, I might argue with God that I don’t need to witness to people because they might reject me.  In reality they would be rejecting God, I am just the messenger.  But I think as I’ve grown I have less times when I beg God not to make me do something I don’t want to do.  I am learning to pray instead when worry grips me.  And I take comfort knowing that God still used Moses in mighty ways despite how he fought God early on.

 

Lord,

Let me learn to simply obey and not allow my head to take over my heart.  If You have called me to do it, You will be with me through it, and there is no need to fear or make excuses.  Help me to trust in each and every uncomfortable situation.  I know from experience that You are faithful.

Kellie

 

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Exodus 2; Luke 5; Job 19; I Corinthians 6

 

This morning we read about the calling of Matthew. He was a tax collector. Not a very honorable vocation in the sight of the Jewish people. Tax Collectors were historically crooked individuals who would gouge the people they collected from and usually took some for themselves. So Jesus calls Matthew (read below):

27 After this, Jesus went out and saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, “Follow me.” 28 So, leaving everything behind, he got up and began to follow him.
29 Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were reclining at the table with them. 30 But the Pharisees and their scribes were complaining to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
31 Jesus replied to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a doctor, but those who are sick.  have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:27-31 [CSB])

Sometimes the newer you are in Christ the more creative you are in sharing your new found faith. Here Matthew gathers his friends for a banquet to introduce to them his new found Savior, Jesus. Funny thing, Matthew knows a lot of tax collectors and sinners. And of course the Pharisees take issue with Jesus eating with them. And what is Jesus’ bottom line through all of this? We see it in the last verse he likens them to the sick and says it’s the sinners and calling them to repentance.

Perhaps you should throw a party for all your unsaved friends and invite someone who can explain the gospel in a non threatening relational way. Or perhaps you throw a watch party and show a Christian film that gets the point across. There are so many ways we can share our faith that doesn’t include grabbing someone by the collar or hitting them over the head with a Bible. What can you do? What can I do? this is our assignment this week. What can you do to share the gospel with your friends in a fresh and creative way. Share your ideas in the comments section… We may just start an evangelism movement!

Father God help us all to unleash the creative minds You have given us to plan ways to reach our friends for You. Thank You for saving us and give us that divine passion to introduce others to Jesus. I pray all this in the saving name of Jesus, Amen!

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Genesis 50; Luke 3; Job 16,17; I Corinthians 4

Many whose lives are recorded in the pages of Scripture had profound faith.

They didn’t look just at the life around them, but they looked to the past and saw God at work, they rested in the present trusting His plan, and the hoped in the future confident of His promises. The situations they found themselves in were irrelevant because they walked in faithful obedience regardless of the pressures of life that pressed in around them.

Joseph went from favored son to slave to prisoner to the palace and in the end, he had this to say to his brothers, upon whom we could easily heap the blame:

19 But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? 20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. (Genesis 50: 19-20 ESV)

His faith freed him to forgive, because he recognized God’s sovereignty. There might have been nights along the way when he lost hope momentarily, but in the end, he held no grudges and he trusted God implicitly. So much so, that he believed they were headed for a better land and since he would not live to see it, he at least wanted his bones in the promised land when the time came (400 years later).

25 Then Joseph made the sons of Israel swear, saying, “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.” (Genesis 50:25 ESV)

Jumping ahead about a millennium, John’s faith also proves to be unbound by time or his life span. As he prophesied the coming of the eternal God in human form, he spoke with unbridled boldness about the coming power. He saw what human eyes could not see.

16 John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (Luke 3:16 ESV)

We too can see with our spiritual sight. God placed us as stewards of His great mysteries. Mysteries that the world needs to know, needs to hear. What is asked of us? To be faithful. Trusting in the dark, when he asks us to dream with Him, take a stand for him, and trust His mysteries even when they seem illogical.

This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.
(I Corinthians 4:1,2 ESV)

Lord God, loving Shepherd, thank you for leading when the way is dark, for never deserting us even when we are tempted. Hold my steps secure, planted solidly in confident faith. Thank you that we can always trust You to speak truth, act justly, and out love us. In Jesus name Amen.

Erin (6intow)

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Genesis 47; Luke 1:1-38; Job 13; 1 Corinthians 1

One of the first things which Paul addresses in his letters to the Corinthians is the need for humility, he said,

“God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to mothering things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1st Corinthians 1: 28-29, ESV).

Paul is instructing the Corinthians to remain humble, because they were chosen from groups that were considered shameful to people who considered themselves strong and wise. I need to remember to remain humble, because without God I would still be stuck within the depths of my sin. Paul continues by saying

“So that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord” (1st Corinthians 1: 31, ESV).

I need to remember that nothing on earth is worthy of boasting about compared to God’s mercy towards me. It is good for me to stay humble at all times and remember what God has done for me. Paul also emphasizes the importance of following God rather than man, he says

“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart’” (1st Corinthians 1: 18-19, ESV).

It is good for me to practice humility in the face of what God has done for me, because worldly pride is put to shame by God and his glory. Paul says,

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (1st Corinthians 1: 25, ESV).

Dear God, thank you for all that you have done for me. Please help me to have a grateful heart, and please help me to keep my mind and heart on you, and not on the world. In Jesus’s holy name I pray, Amen.

Asher (AsherB)

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Genesis 45; Mark 15; Job 11; Romans 15

Then Joseph said to them, “Please come closer.” They did, and he said, “I am your brother Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. Now do not be upset or blame yourselves because you sold me here. It was really God who sent me ahead of you to save people’s lives. This is only the second year of famine in the land; there will be five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor reaping. God sent me ahead of you to rescue you in this amazing way and to make sure that you and your descendants survive. So it was not really you who sent me here, but God. He has made me the king’s highest official. I am in charge of his whole country; I am the ruler of all Egypt.  Genesis 45:4-8 GNT

If I were to make an action plan based on Joseph’s response to his brothers, this is what it might look like. First, decide with my head that I need to come to a place where I might forgive with my heart. Secondly, depend on God because forgiveness does not come naturally to me. Thirdly, understand my emotions and allow my feelings to catch up to my decision. And lastly, pray for my enemies and those I think are persecuting me – love them.

I think of Jesus’ prayers, there were so few recorded. I cannot imagine how He felt when He prayed this one.

At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?” – Mark 15:34 GNT

Of all the prayers He could have spoken, I love that He chose one from the Psalms, a traditional prayer or maybe a more prophetic prayer being fulfilled.  It may not have been as long as some of His spontaneous prayers but I love knowing prayer had a place in His life.

Paul gave us the best examples of requesting prayer from his friends.

I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love that the Spirit gives: join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there. And so I will come to you full of joy, if it is God’s will, and enjoy a refreshing visit with you. May God, our source of peace, be with all of you. Amen. – Romans 15:30-33 GNT

I want to learn how to pray with strength and I am motivated by Paul’s request for prayer. If I want God to use me, I need to depend on people who depend on Him by being in prayer.

Father, my strength to forgive, to love, to be a follower of You, to be a shoulder for others and to proclaim the Gospel comes through my conversations with You. I am thankful that Your door is always open.

Erwin (evanlaar1922)

 

 

 

 

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