All who were there, watching and listening, were surprised at how well he spoke. But they also said, “Isn’t this Joseph’s son, the one we’ve known since he was a youngster?”
He answered, “I suppose you’re going to quote the proverb, “Doctor, go heal yourself. Do here in your hometown what we heard you did in Capernaum.’ Well, let me tell you something: No prophet is ever welcomed in his hometown. Isn’t it a fact that there were many widows in Israel at the time of Elijah during that three and a half years of drought when famine devastated the land, but the only widow to whom Elijah was sent in Sarepta in Sidon? And there were many lepers in Israel at the time of the prophet Elisha but the only one cleansed was Naaman the Syrian.”
That set everyone in the meeting place seething with anger. They threw him out, banishing him from the village, then took him to a mountain cliff at the edge of the village to throw him to his doom, but he gave them the slip and was on his way. Luke 4:21-30 (Message)
Prayer: O Lord, keep your church continually in your religion; that they lean only on the hope of your heavenly grace and evermore be defended by your mighty power; through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
“If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honor him.” John 12: 26 (RSV)
While the grandchildren were visiting, we took a walk in the new falling snow. As we were walking, I noticed that my two year old grandson was trying to follow in my footprints. It reminded me of my footsteps with the Lord.
We all have to follow those whose faith is stronger. We learn from mentors (our parents, teachers, friends) to follow their footsteps to knowing the Lord. We grow in faith through reading the scriptures, Bible studies, worship and prayer. We all have someone to follow, especially Jesus Christ.
As we grow in our faith we, too, leave footprints to guide others, a child, fellow worker, family member, or stranger. Let us not miss anyone in their faith journey. Let’s all be disciples of Jesus Christ. “All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other.” John 13:35
Prayer: Lord, help us to daily leave footprints to guide others to know you in their faith journey. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen
WHAT DO ANSWERED PRAYERS LOOK LIKE?
“Hear my prayer, Lord, and listen to my cry; come to my aid when I weep.” Psalms 39:12(TEV)
“We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and endurance produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us.” Romans 5:3-5 (RSV)
When asked, “Have you had answered prayers lately?” What would you say? Does it seem that we often pray expecting an answer to our prayers, but we don’t see the answers?
When we pray for patience, does it seem that God sends us a difficult person or situation that tries us to the maximum? Our prayer was answered. We learned patience.
When we pray for unselfishness and God gives us the opportunity to give of our time, talent, and money or to demands made upon us that we didn’t expect. God answered our prayer.
We pray, “Lord, increase our faith”, and some unknown and unexpected trial calls for an increase in our faith in an area where we have not needed it before. Are we filled with thanksgiving that God answered our prayer.
We pray for gentleness and kindness and there comes a perfect storm of temptation to harshness and irritability. We pray for peace and quietness and every nerve is as tight as a string of a guitar. This utmost tension is the answer to our prayer so that in looking to God we may learn that He does give quietness that no one else can provide.
When we pray for love, God sends suffering and puts us with unlikely people, lets them say things that hurt and cut the heart; “ Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”1 Cor: 13:7. Our chance to love another has come, for love suffers long, and is kind, love is not impolite, love is not provoked. Are we thanking God for these times? Our prayers are being answered.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you that you are so wise and do not answer all our prayers according to our individual needs but we receive them as you see fit. Amen
WHAT DOES “ALL” INCLUDE?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37 (TEV)
Love God with “ALL” our heart, our soul and our mind. How many times have we read this? What does “ALL” include?
Does it mean that we love Jesus more than anyone or anything in our life? If so, what does that mean? That we sleep in our Sunday rather than worship our Lord? Does it mean that we love Jesus and desire his will for our life over our own? If this is true, do we go to pray or have Christian fellowship rather than go to the movies or attend a sports event?
Are we willing to accept ridicule and sacrifice for the cause of Christ? Are we willing to give that money saved for our fun to a person in our church family who is having financial struggles? Are we fearful of being judged an “all they do is church stuff?”
Are we willing to commit to following Jesus whether or not it is popular or expedient? Are we brave enough to walk away from the popular T.V. shows that teach against God’s commands?
In John 15:12 Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you.” In John 14: 21, 23, &24 it says “if you don’t do my commands you don’t love me.”
Pray the scriptures! Pray these scriptures for each other. Pray that we will all love our God with “ALL” of our heart, soul and mind. Pray that we will resist temptation and always be led to triumph through Christ. If we pray with passion and compassion we will ALL know and experience the fullness of God in our loves. Praise be to God.
Prayer: Precious Lord, we do love you with all our heart, soul and mind. We thank you for giving us the opportunity to know you and to share you with others. In Christ’s name we pray. Amen
PRAYER AND SPIRIT
“I pray to you, O Lord; you hear my voice in the morning; at sunrise I offer my prayer and wait for your answer.” Psalms 5:2-3 (TEV)
We pray because the spirit given faith enables us to pray. What God gives us through prayer, namely our hearts and minds, opens His words and His will freely to us. God knows what we need no matter how we feel. We have this tendency to fight God with our free will, but God’s plans for us outstrip any plans we have for ourselves. When we trust Christ as our Savior our spiritual perception grows and so does our prayer life.
Through Jesus Christ we receive mercy, grace, baptism, communion and forgiveness and because of His great love “I (we) can come into your house; I (we) can worship in your holy Temple and bow down to you in reverence. Lord, I (we) have so many enemies! Lead me (us) to do your will; make your way plain for me (us) to follow.” Psalms 5:7-8
Prayer: O Lord, we thank you for all that you have given us without us knowing it and for forgiving us when we insist on doing it our way. Amen
WE ARE ONE
“Christ is like a single body, which has many parts; it is still one body, even though it is made up of different parts.”1 Corinthians 12:12 (TEV)
Think of us as one with Christ. Think we are one:
One in life
One in baptism
One in spirit
One in hope
One in communion
One in the church
One in mission
One in faith
One in death
One in body
One in the Lord
One in Christ
They all add up to one Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. “So there is no division in the body, but all its different parts have the same concern for one another. If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it; if one part is praised all the other parts share its happiness.” (1 Cor 12:25-26) So be it with all people. What a wonderful world we would live in. Let us strive to live like Christ in all that we do daily.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, as we go about our daily lives, help us to be more like you and forget about the worldly temptations that surround us. Instead we should be focusing only on Jesus Christ. Praise be to God. Amen
“O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise….Let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker.” Psalms 95:1-2, 6 (RSV)
Today, I went to a church service and saw several empty front rows, and it reminded me of a poem that was writing by a friend who was a church organist. Her advice is applicable to every congregation where the first, second and third pews are vacant.
As I go to church on Sunday Did you ever stop and wonder
And I look down at the pews, As the Pastor starts to speak.
I wonder where the people are If you moved front and center
And why there are so few. It would be a great relief.
Whenever two or more are gathered in His name God lives in the front pews
To read the Holy Bible, I’m sure He feels all alone,
And to study If you would move there with Him,
That’s His aim. You would surely feel at home.
I wonder if they say their prayers. Don’t forget your tithe
I wonder if in vain? When they pass that large gold plate,
To be a closet Christian, Remember who is Master
Is not to praise His name. And He’s the Master of your fate.
As you enter church to worship As you leave the church to serve Him
To pray and meditate Now is your time to talk,
Be quiet. Keep your tongue in cheek To visit in the vestibule
And give your friends a break. Or even on the walk.
Your friends have come for answers So come to church on Sunday
Their burdens may be great. That’s where we all belong.
How can they talk with Jesus Together we can worship Him
If there’s no time to relate? In praise, in prayer and song.
Prayer: As we reflect and grow in grace and knowledge our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, let us give Him all the praise and glory now and forever. Amen