TEACHING AND HEALING
“When Jesus got word that John had been arrested, he returned to Galilee. He moved from his hometown, Nazareth, to the lakeside village Capernaum, nestled at the base of the Zebulon and Naphtali hills. This move completed Isaiah’s sermon:
Land of Zebulon, land of Naphtali,
road to the sea, over Jordan,
Galilee, crossroads for the nations.
People sitting out their lives in the dark
saw a huge light;
Sitting in that dark, dark country of death,
they watched the sun come up.
This Isaiah prophesied sermon came to life in Galilee the moment Jesus started preaching. He picked up where John left off: “Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.”
Walking along the beach of Lake Galilee, Jesus saw two brothers: Simon (later called Peter) and Andrew. They were fishing, throwing their nets into the lake. It was their regular work. Jesus said to them, “Come with me. I’ll make a new kind of fisherman out of you. I’ll show you how to catch men and women instead of perch and bass.” They didn’t ask questions, but simply dropped their nets and followed.
A short distance down the beach they came upon another pair of brothers, James and John, Zebedee’s sons. These two were sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, mending their fishnets. Jesus made the same offer to them, and they were just as quick to follow, abandoning boat and father.”Matthew 4:12-23 (Message)
Prayer: Almighty God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and in all our dangers and necessities stretch forth the right hand of Your Majesty, to help and defend us; through Jesus Christ. Your Son, our Lord. Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
ONE STARRY NIGHT
“He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples. And he said to them, “When you pray, say: …” Luke 11:1-4 (RSV)
Today the blessings abound as I was awakened in the early hours of the morning to begin prayer and communion time with our God. I looked out the window to see the restful darkened sky surrounding the tall, strong, straight trees with each branch pointing up to the stars. Like diamonds in the sky I saw constellations, each in their place, clearly revealing the light of God. How beautiful!
This tranquil scene brought to mind what it must have been like on that very night when the star of Bethlehem brought to the manager, those who were to honor our Jesus at His birth with great gifts. The blesses birth that was a sign to all of us that God loved us so much and wanted to be intimate with us. He not only wants us to know about Him, but He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. He wants us to know Him and His ways and His unconditional love for us.
Once we have formed a close friendship it usually lasts a lifetime. The closer in fellowship we become with God, the more we will trust Him. This is true for every relationship. The more time we spend with a friend, the more we learn about him or her, and the more we rely in that person. As trust increases, we find ourselves opening up and talking about the feelings we have and the challenges we face. Trust and intimacy are tightly woven together.
Where do we begin our step-by-step walk with God? In Luke 11:1-4 Jesus teaches His friends, His disciples, to pray. He taught His disciples how to begin developing that trust, intimacy and fellowship with God by praying.
At this wonderful time of year, may we give ourselves and our God the gift that is one of the greatest desires of His heart—the gift of taking the time in prayer to get to know Him—not just the gift of lip service on Sunday. May we draw near to God, as James wrote, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” May you and your loved ones be blessed as you grow in intimacy with the Messiah-the Anointed One, Jesus Christ.
Prayer: Praise be to Jesus for teaching the disciples to develop trust, intimacy and fellowship with God through prayer so that we too can share Jesus through prayer. Amen
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning; and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (RSV
The more I know about the smart phone the more impatient I get. I want the phone to respond and give me an answer immediately. Society keeps telling me I should move faster, eat fast foods, exercise more and travel faster.
Aren’t we an intolerant society? Everything is speed dialed and we don’t take the time to slow down. We have to learn to slow down, and it takes a great amount of discipline to learn how. It takes time to smell the roses and to look at what is around you. What God has created.
Look around you, the clouds, the trees, the fields, the people around you, the family and friends you’re missing by always being in a hurry. Why are you hurrying and impatient? God isn’t impatient, we are. He patiently waits for His children and hears your cries, pleas, and desires. He is patiently awaiting and listening for you to have a conversation with Him at anytime and in any place. Take a few moments right now and take a deep breath and relax. Blank your mind out and talk to God only, whisper or talk aloud and tell Him your innermost thoughts. He is waiting patiently for you.
Prayer: O Father, we ask forgiveness for neglecting you and not looking at all you have provided for us. We haven’t taken the time to smell the roses or to converse with you at all times. Help us to focus on you and only you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
FOR THINE IS THE GLORY
“Our Father, who are in heaven, Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” Matt 6: 9-15 ( RSV )
Whether we are in church or at any gathering where we close with the Lord’s Prayer, my husband and I reach for each other’s hand. At the end of the prayer it reads: “For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.” My husband tells me that at this point in the prayer I press his hand harder and accentuate each word: Kingdom, Power, Glory, Forever and Amen. (It like I want to shout it to the world that everything we are and have is God’s.)
We should direct out praise and honor to God for giving us His Son, Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who was slain for our salvation. No words can really express our glorious Savior. Jesus brought us into God’s kingdom and for that we will praise Him eternally.
When we Christians reach heaven, we will have the opportunity to join with the angels in saying: “Amen! Praise, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might belong to our God forever and ever! Amen!”(Rev 7:12) and again, “Halleluiah! Praise God! Salvation, glory and power belong to our God!” (Rev 19:1).
Prayer: Lord, may you be praised, glorified and thanked here on earth daily. In Jesus’ name forever and ever. Amen
GIVE US DAILY BREAD
“Give us today the food we need.” Matthew 6:11 (TEV)
When we think of daily bread, we think of dietary substances. But, daily bread includes everything that we need (not want) for a satisfying life: food, money, family, clothing, shelter, peace, scripture, health, close friends and other blessings. These daily breads come from God.
All daily bread comes from God. He gives us our food at the proper time and it says in Ephesians 5:20, we should be “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.” We should also be diligent in prayer and in our daily work so that we can share with others (believers and non believers).
Jesus Christ is the Bread of life. He has offered Himself on the cross for the life of the world and given us His body (bread) and blood (wine) in the Lord’s Supper for forgiveness of our sins. Assuredly He will continue to give us all we need.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for providing for us our daily bread and for forgiving us our sins through Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord. Amen
In God We Trust
“They shall trust in the name of the Lord.” Zephaniah 3:12b (KJV)
I received a paper weight full of brand new 1975 penny’s as a gift. When I look at it, the first things I see are the words,” In God We Trust.” Can we trust God when we feel the bottom has just fallen out of our lives and there is nowhere to go? When the circumstances of life seem to overwhelm us, or when we always seem to hear bad news? Where is the good news?
If we think positive, we hear in the gospel, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:16-17
No matter how bad the news or circumstance, God’s promise is kept. He gives us faith to respect, love and trust Him above all things. We trust because he died for our sins and made us his children. “In God we trust.”
Prayer: Lord, when things go wrong as they sometimes do, we feel Your power and encircling arms around us. We fear, love and trust in You above all things. Thank you for being there. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen
THINKING ABOUT FRIENDS
“We have not creased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruits in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Colossian 1:9-10 (RVS)
My nephew and I were sitting at the beach one day. He was starring out at the water so seriously that I said, “A penny for your thoughts?” He said, “I was thinking about several friends at school who are of different religious and ethnic backgrounds and who don’t believe in Jesus. They believe and pray to other gods, but I wish they would come to know Jesus.”
Wow! We sat there talking, praying and discussing what he could do about his dilemma. We discussed what and how he could show through his actions his love of Jesus. The way his life tries to follow Jesus’ examples through worship, study of the Bible, speaking of Jesus, helping others and showing all people acts of kindness, respect and sharing in his daily life. He prayed that through the Holy Spirit, God would give him the right words to speak up and openly tell them about Jesus.
Prayer: Lord, direct and encourage all who are seeking you in the right time. Fill them with spiritual wisdom and understanding that they may grow and proclaim you, Lord. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen