Posted by: whereintheworldismike | July 5, 2016

Settling for Less?

The Christianity most people settle for is a comfortable little pocket God I can take with me and who is always there when I need him. But I’m not really mindful of him or take him too seriously in my day to day life.

Here’s an interesting passage:

From Nothing to Everything (Read: Matthew 16:13-19; 21-23; 24-27)

(Read: (Job 1:21)) We start Naked and we end Naked

Peter Confesses Jesus as the Christ

13* Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14And they said, “Some say* John the Baptist, others say* Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16Simon Peter replied,* “You are* the Christ,* the Son of* the living God.” 17And Jesus answered him, * “Blessed are you,* Simon Bar-Jonah! For* flesh and blood has not revealed this to you,* but my Father who is in heaven. 18And I tell you,* you are Peter, and* on this rock* I will build my church, and* the gates of*hell* shall not prevail against it.

(Read: 2 Chronicles 16:9a )

Who builds the Church?

How is the Church built?

19I will give you* the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and* whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed* in heaven.” 20* Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.

What does it mean to bind and loosen?

Remembering a time of extreme thankfulness for knowing Christ

Confessing revealed sin and feeling God’s pleasure

Releasing held burdens and feeling God’s peace

Hearing encouraging words from your Maker

 

Jesus Foretells His Death and Resurrection

21* From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that* he must go to Jerusalem and* suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on* the third day be raised. 22And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord!* This shall never happen to you.” 23But he turned and said to Peter, * “Get behind me, Satan! You are* a hindrance* to me. For you* are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Why does Jesus call Peter “Satan”?

(Read John 12:26)

(Read Why is setting our minds on the “things of man” so bad in the Lord’s eyes?)

Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus

24Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him* deny himself and* take up his cross and follow me. 25For* whoever would save his life* will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26For* what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or*what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27* For the Son of Man is going to come with* his angels in the glory of his Father, and* then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

How can we have the best, most glorious future?

(Read Jonah 4:11)

Each Member will recite:

“Should I not be concerned?”

It is better by far to depart and be with Christ. If this is true, why are we still here? What is the purpose?

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 11, 2016

Contentment Even in a Crisis

I’ve been given some awesome opportunities to serve. I’m amazed at God’s grace toward me lately. I know refinement will be part of the rest of my life. It’s great to know there is a purpose and love is behind it!

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

This is equivalent to what modern science calls “mindfulness.” That is being aware of what triggers you or sets you on a habitual path of dysfunction or self-defeating behavior. This vigilant self-monitoring combined with meditating on Christ throughout the day is transformational and sometimes results in signs and wonders occurring in support of such a one’s service for the Lord. Such a lifestyle deepens the knowledge of God and changes lifelong self-defeating ways of thinking and doing that mar the image of God in believers.

This is what God has been teaching me lately. I am simply amazed and awestruck by the One who is truly the only One worthy to be called AWESOME!

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 5, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 32 of 32

Sometimes I can hardly wait for the coming of the fullness of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m amazed how much nepsis/kavanah/mindfulness/meditation on Christ throughout my day has helped me stay present in the moment and so much calmer. God is good and he is still setting free the captives and restoring sight to the blind.

Even now, come, Lord Jesus!

SCRIPTURE Rev. 21:1-8

The New Heaven and the New Earth

1Then I saw* a new heaven and a new earth, for* the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2And I saw* the holy city,* new Jerusalem,* coming down out of heaven from God,* prepared* as a bride adorned for her husband. 3And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold,* the dwelling place* of God is with man. He will* dwell with them, and they will be his people,* and God himself will be with them as their God.* 4* He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and* death shall be no more,* neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5And* he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I* am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for* these words are trustworthy and true.” 6And he said to me,* “It is done!* I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.* To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7* The one who conquers will have this heritage, and* I will be his God and* he will be my son. 8* But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,* their portion will be in* the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is* the second death.”

 

REFLECT What does it mean to “overcome” (“conquer” in 21:7)?

 

REFLECT Do you think that just praying a prayer to “receive Jesus” is enough to save a person?

 

REFLECT What is the requirement to receive a drink from the spring of the water of life (21:6b)?

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 5, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 31 of 32

Today’s news and world happening cause any thinking man or woman to wonder where we are headed or what can possibly make things better.  Apt thoughts for this passage and reflection.

 

SCRIPTURE Gal. 3:7-9 The Gospel was preached to Abraham, the man of faith. We are his children as we have faith in Christ.

 

REFLECT Ask God to free you from trying to obey the law as a means of justification before God. Let’s rest in Christ’s finished work on the Cross trusting in his righteousness alone.

 

REFLECT How can your faith increase? How have you sensed God is working to grow your faith?

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 3, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 30 of 32

In the English Bible St. Paul writes that he is a “fellow worker with God” (1 Cor. 3:9). In the Japanese Bible “fellow worker” is rendered 「協力』which means “cooperator.” Let’s live our lives as God cooperators and watch his mighty power work in and through us.

 

SCRIPTURE 1 Cor. 3:1-9, especially 3:9; Heb. 5:7-14. Growing to maturity.

 

REFLECT Reflect on the fact that God accepts us as his “fellow workers.” We can actually join him in his work and the results will reflect the effects of the power of Almighty God! Ask God to make you a responsive, apt “fellow worker with him.”

 

REFLECT Ask God to help you grow in practical ability to distinguish good from evil (Heb. 5:14).

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 2, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 29 of 32

This might be the toughest one yet. I pray we will all have grace to follow Christ even if it means the Via Dolorosa.

 

SCRIPTURE Rom. 3:21-24; 5:8

 

REFLECT God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (5:8). Reflect on this for a moment and then pray your own prayer of adoration and thanksgiving.

 

REFLECT: Jesus told his followers to love everyone—even their enemies! After a moment’s reflection, let’s pray to be able to follow him no matter what.

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | May 2, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 28 of 32

I still can’t believe some of the things God is doing but that’s all I will say or God might get me for being on a power trip. All glory goes to the One and Only!

 

SCRIPTURE John 14:6-14 Jesus is the only way to the One and Only God.

 

REFLECT “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father” (14:12). Let’s ask the Lord to give us faith to believe this wonderful promise without reservation.

 

REFLECT “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it” (14:13-14). Let’s pray a prayer asking Jesus to align our heart with his so we might receive this promise fulfilled.

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | April 27, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 27 of 32

There is no reconciliation with God without repentance. This old time word means “turning around.” This is something God must graciously enable. But we must take the opportunity when it is offered. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. May we be found righteous and faithful when he comes to claim his.

 

SCRIPTURE Luke 24:36-53 Repentance and forgiveness preached in his name to all nations.

 

REFLECT “Peace be with you” (24:36), this is the resurrected Jesus’ standard greeting when he encounters one of his servants. Do you have peace in your heart right now? Is there something you need to release to him? Is there a secret sin you need to confess and be cleansed of? Pray and do what needs to be done to be filled with his peace once more.

REFLECT “He opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures” (24:44-45). What are the two main points of the message that is to be preached in his name to all nations (24:47)?

REFLECT What does Jesus tell them they need to wait for in order to do the job he assigns (24:49)?

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | April 24, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 26 of 32

What’s it look like to love God with everything you’ve got? Today, if you choose to accept it, that is your…and my assignment!

SCRIPTURE Matt. 22:32-40 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all of your mind.

 

REFLECT How can you love God more holistically? Coming to serve as an intern in this devastated region of Japan should give you many opportunities to apply this passage.

 

REFLECT Worship God as you serve by “offering your body as a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).

Posted by: whereintheworldismike | April 19, 2016

God’s Unchanging Agenda 25 of 32

Sometimes the hatred is such a weight to carry.  It can be so hard to remember, “Our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the powers of the air and the forces of darkness.” Such forces are real and they are working overtime knowing that their time is short to create mayhem. Today we read about an emissary sent by God to ancient terrorists.

SCRIPTURE Jonah 4:8-11, especially 11a-11b.

 

REFLECT Jonah did not want to help the enemies of his people be saved. God shows his heart in this passage: He is concerned about all people. Ask him to increase your concern for those who do not know him yet.

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