Archive for May, 2010

What Did You Go Out to See?

Daily God Walk for Thursday, May 20, 2010

  Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind?… A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings; palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.                     – Matthew 11:7-9

 What was the appeal John had to the people? Jesus was trying to cause the people to identify who John really was and what was his purpose. Why was it important to him to define John and his purpose? Because his own purposes and the purposes of the kingdom of God were intrinsically intertwined with the message of John.

The first point Jesus made was to determine what John was not. He was not like a reed that was moved by the winds of opinion that blew on any given day. His message was “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and the message was the same for the publican as it was for the Pharisee and any other person who would come into the kingdom.

Jesus also made the point that John was not royalty. John had not become so accustomed to the easy life that he was willing to compromise his faith or his morals to keep the good times rolling. His message to the king was, “Repent of your adultery,” and he was in prison for that.

So, who was John? Jesus told the crowd that he was a prophet, and more than just a prophet. He said that there was none greater in the kingdom of heaven than John. Then he said something strange. He said, “Yet he who is least n the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

How could that be? If John was the greatest, how could the least be greater than him? Notice this; John was not in the kingdom about which he preached. His message was repent and get ready for the kingdom.

We who are least in kingdom must become stronger than reeds so that we will not be moved by the times and we must be careful that we become attached to creature comforts and forget which kingdom it is that we belong to. We need to ask ourselves if we are at least one of the least in the kingdom, and if we are, then what proof have we of that?

 Principle: The least in the kingdom is empowered to become great.

 Affirmation: I am the least that I might be effective in the kingdom

 Prayer: Lord, help me to see that you have called me into your kingdom and have empowered me to be effective in the world today. Amen.

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Are You The One?

Daily God Walk for Wednesday, May 19, 2010

  When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”                       – Matthew 11:2-3

 Was Jesus the one or not? This was the paramount question of the day. Jesus did not hesitate to give John’s disciples the proof of his identity. Jesus said, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see. The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (verses 4-6).

John was pretty sure that Jesus was the Christ, but he wanted to be absolutely sure, so he sent his followers to inquire. It is interesting that the proof Jesus offered of his identity was not the doctrine he taught but the work he performed.

We should notice a couple of things about the times and the people of that day. First, both John and Jesus had been ministering to the Jews. These were people who had for generations been looking for a Messiah, a Christ to come and deliver them. They believed in God, and looked for his Messiah, anointed messenger.

People today aren’t much different. National surveys indicate that about 95% of people in our country believe in God. Between 75-80% believe that Jesus is God. That tells me that most of the work of reaching people with the message of Christ is done.

Even with those numbers most of us are more concerned about convincing others of our doctrine than we are in offering proof of the identity of Christ. The greatest proof of the deity of Christ is not the doctrine but the works he came to do.

If we are to fulfill the prayer request of Jesus for the Father to send laborers into the field, then we must be prepared to do the works of Christ. He still wants to prove himself by removing the curse of poverty, healing the sick, raising the dead and freeing those in spiritual prisons.

Are you willing to do the works of Christ to prove him true?

 Principle:  It is the works of Christ that prove who is.

 Affirmation: I am doing the works of Christ so people will believe.

 Prayer:  Father, I do believe Jesus is the Christ. Grant me the power to show him to world through his works. In Jesus name, amen.

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The Principle of Authority

Daily God Walk for Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he said, “I Tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.”        – Matthew 8:5-12

 This story demonstrates the kingdom authority given to believers as good as any in the Bible. There are two versions of this event in the Gospels. This one and one in Luke 7. We’ll look at them both.

This Roman soldier, probably a captain as he was called a centurion, came to Jesus because he had a servant who was paralyzed. He appealed to Jesus to heal the servant and Jesus said, “I will go and heal him” (v7). The faith, and the soldiers understanding of authority, was shown when he said, “Just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority.”

Because he understood the structure of authority, and he had seen enough of the ministry of Jesus to believe in his power, he knew that all Jesus had to do was give the order and the work would be done.

In Luke’s record of this event the centurion sent elders to Jesus to ask Jesus to heal the sick servant. Jesus started for the house and hadn’t gone far when the centurion sent friends to tell Jesus he needn’t come but just to sent the word and the servant would be healed (Luke 7:1-10).

Jesus, in recognizing this man’s faith said, “I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (v10). His faith in Christ was based in what he had seen and heard as well as his understanding of authority.

God has given the same authority to believers today that Jesus exercised. In Matthew 10:1 Jesus gave authority to the 12 to drive out evil spirits and heal every disease. In Mark 16:17-18 Jesus said, “These signs will accompany those who believe. In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;… they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

 Principle:  Faith, and understanding authority produce divine results.

 Affirmation:  Faith gives me authority to see divine results.

 Prayer:  Lord, I believe, but I need the grace of understanding authority that I might be more effective in the kingdom. In Jesus name, amen.

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The Prayer Request

Daily God Walk for Monday, May 17, 2010

 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”                             – Matthew 9:36-38

 Jesus performed many miracles as he ministered in Judea and Galilee. As people began to spread the word about his miracles and his teachings concerning the kingdom large crowds started following him wherever he went. When Jesus saw the crowds he looked past the pushing and shoving as people tried to get into position to see and hear better. What he saw was people who were harassed by the circumstances of life, helpless to change their circumstances and who wandered aimlessly like sheep who had no shepherd.

The Christ was moved by compassion as he looked upon the crowd. He was so moved that he turned to his disciples and challenged them, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” He had called twelve to preach the kingdom and set people free, but he realized that would not be enough. He needed more workers.

The crowds are not much different today than they were then. Their needs are oriented to 21st century culture, but they remain basically the same; people are harassed with the circumstances of life, they feel helpless to change, and they wander through life without a shepherd to guide them.

Christ is still calling to those who would follow him today, “Pray! Pray to the Lord to send laborers into the fields to harvest souls for the kingdom.” That was the last verse of chapter 9. In chapter 10:1, “He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.”

Pray for harvesters; then get ready to enter the harvest.

 Principle:  Compassion for the lost should drive us to the harvest fields.

 Affirmation:  By the grace of God I am a harvester in his fields.

 Prayer:  Lord, give me eyes to see the needs of people, the heart moved with compassion and a will to enter the harvest. In Jesus name, amen.

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Jesus Still Calls World Changers to Follow Him

Daily God Walk Sunday, May 16, 2010

  Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve – designating them apostles – that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.                                 – Mark 3:13-15

 Twelve is an interesting number. Jacob had 12 sons who became the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus called 12 to be his apostles. It just appears that 12 is the number required for a complete team to accomplish the task that Christ came to initiate.

We only get acquainted in the Scripture with a few of these men, but the world certainly got to know them. At one point it was said of the apostles, “They have turned the city upside down.” At a later time it was said that they had “turned the country upside down.” Still later it was said that they had, “turned the world upside down.” And indeed they had.

Actually, they had turned the world right side up, it was the world system that had been turned upside down. Even the religions of the world were upside down compared to the kingdom of God. Every major religion of the world, including Judaism, calls people to the path of human performance and offers salvation based upon works, but Jesus and his apostles offered, and still offer, a kingdom of God’s grace.

Because of the twelve that Jesus chose we have the Gospel preach in most areas of the world today. The message of Christ and the kingdom of God has given hope to countless millions since that day on the mountain when he choose them.

Jesus has never stopped calling men and women to be his ambassadors in this world. As men and women accept his offer of a new life and are born into his kingdom he gives them purpose and a challenge. He asks the same today as he did then, “Are you willing to deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow me?”

God’s kingdom purposes are the same today, and his question is the same: are you willing to deny yourself, take up the cross and follow him?

 Principle: Jesus still asks us to take up the cross and follow him.

 Affirmation:  I willingly bare the cross of Christ.

 Prayer:  Lord, on my own I am not worthy to be called a disciple, but through Christ, and by your grace, I am made worthy. Thank you, amen.

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Jesus is the Christ of Hope

Daily God Walk Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, warning them not to tell who he was. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah.                     – Matthew 12:15-17

 At first glance it seems strange that Jesus would perform miracles in a crowd then warn people not to tell who he was, but there was good reason for doing so. When the people began to declare that he was the Messiah, the anointed of the Lord, the religious leaders became very angry and began to plot against him.

Jesus knew the time would come that he would surrender his life to the purposes of the Father, but the time was not yet. He knew the cross was ahead of him, but he had much work to do establishing the hope of kingdom life in the hearts of the people.

Matthew records this passage coupled with the promise of Isaiah 42. Read what he quotes:

Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.

Look closely at what Isaiah is saying. First he is saying that Jesus is the delight of the Father. Remember his baptism? A voice from heaven spoke, “This is my son whom I love, with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

Then Isaiah declared a primary purpose of the Christ; He will proclaim justice to the nations. The hurting ones, the bruised reeds, will not be broken, but he offers them hope. The weak ones, the smoldering wicks, will be treated with care until they are strengthened.

Through Christ and his kingdom justice will prevail. The poor, hurting, sick and discouraged have hope in the one who declares, “This is the day of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:19). Today, about 2 billion people in the world, people from every nation, have put their hope in his name.

 Principle: Jesus is the Christ who offers hope to the world.

 Affirmation:  My hope is securely placed in the Christ of hope.

 Prayer:  Thank you father for giving us Jesus, the Christ of hope. Amen.

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The Pharisees Plot to Kill Jesus

Daily God Walk for Friday, May 14, 2010

 He said to them, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and life it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” So he stretched it out and it was completely restored, just as sound as the other. But the Pharisees went out and plotted how they might kill Jesus.    – Matthew 12:11-14

 The Pharisees were getting worried. Those who believed the teachings of Jesus were growing in number and they saw their own power base beginning to erode. Every time they thought they had Jesus trapped he turned it back on them. By this time they were furious with him.

It was the Sabbath and Jesus had just entered the synagogue when he saw a man with a shriveled hand. Using this man as an example the Pharisees asked Jesus, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?” They thought they had him this time. They had so finely defined what one could and could not do on the Sabbath that even healing someone was “work” and couldn’t be done.

Jesus knew the law better than even the Pharisees. He knew the exception clause. Jesus knew the law taught that if an animal fell into a pit on the Sabbath that it was necessary and good to pull it out of the pit, even if it was on the Sabbath. Using that logic Jesus declared, “How much more valuable is a man than a sheep!”

The Pharisees were being confronted with a crossroads of choice. They could submit to Jesus and confess him as the Christ, or they could turn away and seek for a way to neutralize him. They chose to turn away.

How often people have made the same choice these religious leaders made. When confronted with their own failures they would rather reject truth than admit that they were flawed themselves.

If we are to grow in grace then we must be willing to follow our master, even when doing so goes against the grain of our own traditions.

 Principle: If we are to grow in grace we must be willing to follow Him.

 Affirmation:  His wisdom is greater than mine so I will follow Him.

 Prayer:  Lord, grant me the humility to accept your will above my traditions. In Jesus name, amen.

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Paul ”Hope Preacher” Smith

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