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Our DAILY GOSPEL DEVOTIONAL is the story of Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension. This is a chronology and harmony of the gospel accounts in which the ongoing narrative and doctrinal context are carefully considered. In one year we reflect on every passage of every gospel.
May God bless you as we follow the disciples on the journey through the earthly life of Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

How to Move the Mountain

How to pray for loved ones salvation and deliverance, and how to ask God to move on our behalf for the battles of this life.

Daniel 2:31-45 – the Mountain is representing Christ and the glory of His Kingdom.

Isaiah 11:9 - They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Habakkuk 2:14 - For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

Mark 11:22-23 – we instinctively see the mountain here as whatever the problem is, but Jesus says have faith in God, and whosoever says to this Mountain, i.e., God! Have faith in the Mountain, the Solid Rock; a mountain thrown into the sea becomes an island of refuge and hope!

So what does Jesus mean be telling us to ask God to be removed into the sea?

The sea stands for the Gentiles, the harvest, the lost, your family and loved ones (Psalm 74:13 / Psalm 89:9 / Jude 13). The sea stands for sin (Isaiah 57:20 / Micah 7:19); while they are drowning in the sea of sin we ask God to intervene, to splash down and cause them to see their helpless state of peril. Daniel 7:3 / Revelation 13:1 portray the sea as the tumult of the world, so we say to God, cast yourself into the midst of the sea and become an island for my family! The greatest thing for a shipwreck to see is a shore to rest on. Land ho!

As for our own battles we must realize that God is the Mountain. He is bigger than whatever we are looking at; the Mountain isn’t the problem, it’s the solution, our problem is the small thing. We need to see with spiritual eyes, prophetically, as God sees things. Spiritually we see a Mountain, but the Mountain is God who has already crushed that thing under His glory, and we fall on Him and are broken and set up On High!

Perhaps you might think that this commanding God to move stuff is a little much, you say that prayer doesn’t move God it moves us. Well, okay then; but listen here, I can prove that you can pray and move the Mountain, because the Mountain of God’s glory is in you (Luke 17:11), and Colossians 1:27 says Christ in you the hope of glory. We put legs to the Mountain, according to the power that works in us (Ephesians 3:20). We can become a walking, talking Mountain of God’s glory! Hallelujah!

Exodus 15:17 - Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, [in] the place, O LORD, [which] thou hast made for thee to dwell in, [in] the Sanctuary, O Lord, [which] thy hands have established.

Psalm 30:7 - LORD, by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand strong:
Psalm 48:1 - Great [is] the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, [in] the mountain of his holiness.

Isaiah 2:2 - And it shall come to pass in the last days, [that] the mountain of the LORD'S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.

Isaiah 2:3 - And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Isaiah 25:6 - And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

Isaiah 30:29 - Ye shall have a song, as in the night [when] a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel.

Isaiah 56:7 - Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices [shall be] accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

Isaiah 57:13 - When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take [them]: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;

Jeremiah 31:23 - Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As yet they shall use this speech in the land of Judah and in the cities thereof, when I shall bring again their captivity; The LORD bless thee, O habitation of justice, [and] mountain of holiness.

Ezekiel 20:40 - For in mine holy mountain, in the mountain of the height of Israel, saith the Lord GOD, there shall all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, serve me: there will I accept them, and there will I require your offerings, and the firstfruits of your oblations, with all your holy things.

Micah 4:1-2 - But in the last days it shall come to pass, [that] the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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The Crisis of Circumstance

Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?
(Matthew 11:3 – ESV)

The context of this passage is when the disciples of John the Baptist came to ask Jesus if He really was the Messiah. John had been in prison for perhaps as much as two years, and had obviously become depressed. His faith was in the crisis of circumstance. Jesus used His actions to demonstrate that He was indeed the One who was promised to come.

How could it be that John, who knew better than anybody who his cousin Jesus was, had fallen into doubt? John saw more signs than anyone ever. Consider the fact that John had been prophesied about as being the herald to the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3 / Malachi 3:1, 4:5-6), and he knew that this prophecy was about him (John 1:23). His parents knew that he was the herald of God (Luke 1:17, 76). John was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). John had leapt in his mother’s womb at the presence of Jesus (Luke 1:41). John was sent to live in the desert by God himself (Luke 1:80). He heard directly from the Almighty as a prophet (Luke 3:2 / John 1:6). Jesus said he was the greatest of the Old Testament saints (Matthew 11:11 / Luke 7:28). He knowingly said that he must decrease but Jesus the Christ must increase (John 3:26-30). John told about Jesus baptizing with the Holy Ghost (Luke 3:16). At Christ’s baptism he was at first unwilling to do it because he felt unworthy (Matthew 3:14). God told John that when he saw the Spirit descend upon a man, that this was the Messiah, the Son of God (John 1:33-34). He heard the voice from heaven declaring Jesus to be the Son of God (Mark 1:11). He proclaimed to the crowd that this was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29, 36).

John had known and truly trusted his whole life to Jesus being the Messiah. John was no weak minded, immature believer. Jesus said that John was not a reed shaken with the wind; that is, he was not tossed about by circumstance. He was a rock, he stood up to Herod and that is why he was imprisoned. He lived in the wilderness, not delicately, and had camel’s hair as clothing, not soft raiment. John the Baptist was used to and prepared for hard living, even the dungeon. All this and he still was able to reach a place of doubt. If he did, how can we be so sure that we never will doubt? Why would we think we are any better?

There are two main lessons to see here. One is that this story can bring us comfort and courage. When we are in a crisis of circumstance such as John, we can know that we aren’t the only ones who have ever doubted. We all go through it. We can realize that we are not failures in Christ, only failures in ourselves, and can reach out to Him for strength. The operative prayer should be, Lord I believe, help me with my unbelief (Mark 9:24).

Also know another lesson of John the Baptist: no matter what we have known, believed, and experienced, we cannot rely on our own strength. No sign or wonder is going to last. We cannot rest on the past; we must continue to stay close to God. If we become separated from Him through our negligence of the Word and prayer, and isolated from the fellowship of the saints, we will begin to let doubt have its way with us.

What we must do, as John did through his disciples, is to come to Christ and declare our need. When we are separated from Jesus, as John was, we become vulnerable to the fear and deception of the enemy. That is why we must stay close to Christ. Staying in the Word of God, reading, studying, and meditating upon it everyday keeps Him near. Fellowshipping with other believers is also an important key. Just as Jesus showed his power to John’s followers, Christ will demonstrate his power in our lives, and in other’s, with strength, faith, and answers if we will truly seek him and hold on in faith. Our faith may not be missing any doubt, but God can strengthen it when we rely on Him, and also see what He is doing through others.

When the lost see you living above your crisis of circumstance they are more likely to look toward God for their security. True saints begin to understand that it isn’t all about what is happening in their little world. They know that they don’t see the whole plan, and they trust in the sovereignty of God anyway. How about you?

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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Sunday, October 02, 2005

Secrets of Being a Great D-A-D

Ephesians 6:4

What is it that we want for our children? We are hoping that they have healthy relationships, happiness and fulfillment in their career, and that they stay out of trouble, right? If we could teach our children how to do those things we would be a great dad.

Provoke not your children to wrath: it doesn’t just mean don’t get them angry, it means, in context, don’t train them to be angry people, but bring them up in the Lord. It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men and women.

Proverbs 22:6 – training is not just telling. It is showing. The word in Hebrew means dedicate.

Bring them up – train them don’t just tell them. My loose translation would be train them in the affection and discipline of the Lord. *Your children will learn what you live.

The three keys to being a great dad are (D) devotion, (A) affection, and (D) discipline.

D = Devotion (Of the Lord)

1) Devotion to God (Ephesians 4 & 5)
The family that prays together stays together. Be committed to God and you children will be. *

2) Devotion to your wife (Ephesians 5:25-33)
If your children see that your wife matters to you it will go along way in helping them with their relationship to you and for their later relationships in life. *

A = Affection (Nurture)

1) Affection for work (1 Corinthians 10:31 / Ephesians 4:28 / Colossians 3:17, 23 / Titus 2:10)
If you live the truth about the value of work then your children will value it too. Children must be given an understanding through teaching and leading that there is no difference between the secular and the sacred, all life is to be lived to its fullest, and that this is in many cases our greatest witness to the world. Be a role model, show your children that work is a blessing not a burden and they will grow to see work as desirable rather than see it as drudgery. Don’t model job addiction or job boredom, as many do, model God’s perspective about work itself. This also has to do with chores around the house, not just how they see you talk and act about your job. *

2) Affection for children (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11)
Remember the song “Cat’s in the Cradle?” The balance about affection comes with children and your involvement with them. Be there for them as their cheerleader. If you tap into what they are motivated by then you can steer them in the right direction. Each child is different, and we must pay attention to what God is calling them to. It is usually manifested through their desires; what is it that they are drawn to? Allow them to express their growth through a variety of activities, and help them understand the value of trying hard, practice, patience, and teamwork. Your involvement with them creates a common ground you can come back to for safety in times of stress between you and your children. If you create the common ground as kids, then they will appreciate the need for this and will continue to create common ground with you as adults. This is the answer to getting your children to call and visit when they are older. *

D = Discipline (Admonition)

1) Discipline yourself (Titus 2:12) teaching in Greek means train, or disciplining yourself
The secret of home rule is self rule. *

2) Discipline your children (Hebrews 12:5-11)
We think of discipline only as punishment, but it also includes training, having them do things for the sake of doing them, so that when they have to do those things, they will not become lazy. Tie in to affection for work, you are training, disciplining them to appreciate work with chores and you revealed attitude about your job and work in general.

You will either teach them to be independent or you will teach them to rebel. * If they are 15 they only have three years left until freedom, a new level where they make up the rules. They need to develop responsibility, you are training them to be independent, and this is what the boundaries are for. You are modeling discipline to keep them from falling when they are on their own, and pouring wisdom into them. You are testing their ability to make good decisions.

The New Testament focus is more about shaping the mind than it is about commanding particular behavior. God trains us and we are to train our children with discipline, not just punishment but giving them the experience of an ordered and Godly life. You may have a child who is always good, but they still need to be taught to have a disciplined attitude towards life. Hebrews 5:8 – the Father disciplined Jesus and He did nothing wrong, but it says He learned obedience by the things He suffered. Suffered means experienced here in Greek, He had to go through things, and that is how in verse nine He was made perfect. He was flawless already, but the discipline fashioned Him for His particular call, and disciplining your child, even the good ones, fashions them for what God will call them to.

Single mothers this message is also for you; you can be successful; you can do five of six, and many father’s are missing more than one of these; how many father’s aren’t doing half or any of these things, and use your other relationships to show your devotion. So in a less than ideal world, you can still manage to train them right. Watch the male role models they are getting. Every one is a role model, because everyone has a role to play whether they want to or not, they are watched. To say one isn’t a role model is to say one doesn’t exist, what people are wanting to do is shirk their responsibility; shame on those who say they aren’t a role model for kids!

Single men – this message is for you too. Training yourself to be devoted to God, affectionate for work, and self disciplined is great training for life as well as for being a husband and a dad. Replace devotion to wife with devotion to relationships, and affection for children with others.

This is a simple yet profound plan. It will take self sacrifice to do properly, but men are best judged by what they have given. This is what Jesus did. He gave Himself, He poured His life into others, and He was a man of prayer. Jesus would tell all you fathers out there the same thing He tells everyone: “Follow me”, because He truly is “the way, the truth, and the life”, amen.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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