Thursday, August 21, 2014
1And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease.
Jesus knew the mission God the Father gave Him needed to continue on earth after He ascension to heaven. So very early in the mission he chose twelve to do so. Jesus used mass duplication which is very effective in leadership. Not all of the original twelve would carry out the mission. Jesus took people with various backgrounds. Jesus even took a tax collector, called Matthew. Tax collectors were not well liked and were often considered crooks. God can use anyone! Peter, who would later build the church, had a nasty temper. So much so that he cut off the ear of one of the guards that arrested Jesus. But God can use anyone! The sons of Zebedee, James and John were very ambitious to the point of self-centeredness. But God can use anyone! Jesus took the weaknesses of these twelve and still utilized them for God's glory. Yes, He continued to prune those weaknesses in time. But none of the twelve would be considered 'perfect enough' to sit at the feet of Jesus. That's just it though! None of us are but by His grace and mercy. Verse two lists out the disciples. It's not that Jesus didn't use all twelve because He did. He even used Judas that would betray Him. God uses everything to "work for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Judas' greed still played a part in Jesus being glorified. But have you noticed anything in scripture? Who was present during the transfiguration? Who walked on the water with Jesus? Who was present when Jesus went to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane? Who did Jesus say would be the rock? In all four major cases, one or all of the three were present: Simon Peter, James and John ( the sons of Zebedee). Peter was to build the church so it makes sense that He would be much closer to Jesus. But remember, James and John came to Jesus saying they wanted to sit at His right hand. So they had a chance to have more personal time with Jesus. Those who spend more personal time with Jesus will be used by Jesus to the fullest. Those who are willing will be used by Jesus to the fullest and those whom He has chosen will be used to the fullest by Jesus. Yes, everyone can be used by Jesus but those who are willing, the Lord will show them even greater things. Are you willing?
Monday, August 18, 2014
11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give a future and a hope.
Jeremiah the prophet had written a letter to the captives in Babylon. His letter was to reassure them that God had not forgotten about them and that they would not be left in Babylon forever. If you recall, the people of Israel had been taken captive by the Babylonians for 70years. God's message to the people of Israel was their captivity would not be long lived. God still had a plan for them if they were willing to seek Him.
Last week, someone asked me a question. "How did you come into your purpose?" My answer was the truth. I unfortunately had a near death experience first and within a year, God spoke to me about writing and it all unfolded. The person didn't believe it and thought what the doctors told me was just them making it up. But the threat of death was indeed real. "Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death." That's where I was. But Bless God because He was with me! Do I want anyone else to find their purpose that way? Of course not! But, I didn't understand at the time that it was also a "dying of self" taking place. Learning to listen and obey God's instructions in such a life or death situation was the beginning of transformation. Now, I'm not scared like I was then because I know now I'm on the right the path. But up until that point, like the people of Israel, I sought my own way and ignored God's instructions MOST of the time. So did the people of Israel, and for it, they were in captivity. My pastor preached on this topic of God's way vs. your way. What is captivity? Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines captivity as 1) to be made prisoner esp. in war; 2) kept within bounds; 3)held under control. Do you understand that the sin in your life is captivity? It may seem like "fun" but it hinders your growth in Him. And even hinders you understanding who you are in Him which will lead you to your purpose (why you are here). How can you become "a new creature" as the Word of God says when you are still stuck in the old ways and mindset? "The renewing of your mind" requires that you shed the old you. The Lord has thoughts of peace, hope and a future for you. But how can you grasp hold of them if you are held captive by your own thoughts and actions? His name is J-E-S-U-S! He already paid the price for the remission or forgiveness of your sins. Jesus freed you from Babylon and captivity. You just have to grab hold of it so He can walk you into freedom, victory and purpose. You are no accident in God's eyes. You have a future.