PRAY

“Pray that you will not give in to temptation.” —Luke 22:40

“Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.” —Luke 22:46

http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=15782 Jesus asked—“But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith?” (Luke 18:8). The context of this question was directly related to prayer. As stated in the link above, Australia began fasting and praying for the United States today. They will do so for 7 days! Should we not join with them?

Prayer was removed from the public schools here in America in 1962. Then the next year the Bible was removed. In 1980 the Ten Commandments were removed. America is reaping the consequences of its disobedience.

I have been to Australia. It is amazing that they still have Bible teaching as part of their school curriculum. It is expected that the Bible will be taught as part of the school day. Anti-God forces are always at work. Will we fall to our knees to seek God for this country or just be complacent? Faith is directly connected with prayer. Would Jesus find faith in your life and mine? Would He find us praying… or sleeping?

Dear Father, may You be pleased to do a new thing in this country that would bring honor and glory to Your Name. May this be so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

THE ETERNAL CONTRACT

He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you. —Luke 22:19-20

Contracts… There are many kinds of them today. It used to be, yes in the “olden days,” that your word and a handshake were good enough to seal a deal. In this age we live in you better read the fine print of any contract. The main words may sound good, but when you read the fine print the loopholes can cause an opposite affect from what the main part of the contract actually says!

Jesus offers us a contract. There is a written contract, the Bible, that explains this out, but this contract is actually sealed by His broken body and shed blood on the cross. God gave His Son as a seal to this eternal contract for “Whoever calls on the Name of the Lord” to enter into this contract.

God does not lie. He has no fine print or hidden agenda. His motivation is totally pure and above board. This contact that He offers us has our best interests in mind, our eternally best interests. Entering into this contract with God means He is going to change our lives to be more of what He intended it to be and then one day we will be totally what He intended once we get to heaven! That is what those who enter into this contract have to look forward to.

Forty-three men at the State Prison recently indicated that they wanted to enter into this contract with God by calling on the Name of Jesus. They understood that this included repentance— that they had to turn from their own ways (Isaiah 53:6) and follow God’s ways (John 8:31-32). It would mean a change of mind as to who we are, what sin is and Who God is. These men verbalized their desire to do so and by entering this contract with God, their sins were forgiven (Hebrews 9:22), sealed by the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ and also sealed with the Holy Spirit of God which happens to everyone who believes (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30).

What about you? Have you entered into the eternal contract with God through the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Holy Spirit of God? May that be the case and may we bring this good news to others so they have opportunity to enter into this most wonderful contract as well.

Dear Father, thank You for the eternal blessings You have bestowed upon me. I am full of joy because of Who You are and for what You have done in my life. Now, dear Father, please help me to be a blessing to others in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power.

PROCLAIMING THE GOOD NEWS

But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. —Luke 21:13

When did you last share about Jesus with another person? Do you and I do so regularly or just on occasion? http://www.lifeway.com/Article/research-survey-sharing-christ-2012 The sad fact is there are many who follow the Lord Jesus Christ that do not regularly share the gospel with anyone.

The above verse in context speaks about a time coming when “there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers” (Luke 21:12). Then the Lord told us that this is an opportunity to tell them about Him. The arrest of believers just for the reason that they are following Jesus is a gospel sharing opportunity with those we wouldn’t normally have contact with! Do believers even today see it this way?

May those who follow Jesus in America or any other country in this world be faithfully sharing the gospel now. Then when the time comes when we are arrested and brought before the authorities for our faith in Jesus, may we take that opportunity to share the gospel with them as well.

Dear Father, help us to be faithful in sharing the good news about Jesus now. If we are arrested for following Him, then may we be faithful in sharing the good news with those people as well. May this be done in the authority of Jesus and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

THE CORNERSTONE

Jesus looked at them and said, “Then what does this Scripture mean? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.’ —Luke 20:17

When setting blocks, bricks or stone for the corner of a building, it is vital to have that corner placed right. It will determine the direction of the structure. If the cornerstone is off, the whole structure will be off.

Jesus is that Perfect Cornerstone and without Him our life now and for eternity will be affected. Life now is skewed without Him and after we die, if we have rejected that Cornerstone as the builders did in the verse above, we will be forever tossed out into hell, rejected by the Lord God Almighty. To reject the Cornerstone now is to be rejected by the Cornerstone, Jesus, after we die. Oh, if you have not repented and called on the Name of Jesus, may you do so! http://leadingforward.blogspot.com/2014/03/cornerstone.html

Dear Father, thank You for Jesus and may the life You have given me line up with His that I could live the life now that You desire. May this be done in the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank You that I will be in heaven one day for trusting the Cornerstone.

PEACE

But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. —Luke 19:41-42

What has ever made you weep where your chest was heaving and tears streamed down your face? More than likely if you have been in that situation it was over the death of a loved one.

Jesus was overlooking the city of Jerusalem as He rode toward it on a donkey. It was what we call Palm Sunday or the Triumphant Entry. As He looked over the city tears streamed down His face and His body shuddered as He wept. He knew what was going to happen to that city in the not too distant future when Titus the Roman commander would level the city, kill multitudes of Jews and take multitudes captive for slavery.

He came to bring them eternal life and a lasting inner peace for all who would receive Him, but the majority rejected Him. Jesus could see all this down the corridor of time and it upset Him greatly. God’s Word tells us clearly “Say to them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Why will you die, people of Israel?’ (Ezekiel 33:11). Again in Ezekiel 18:23 we see again God saying “Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?”

Again, at the State Prison last night as Bay Forrest, former NBA player, brought the message of the good news of Jesus Christ, more than 30 men acknowledge they wanted to follow Jesus. Just as anyone who has called on the Name of the Lord Jesus, they now have the Prince of Peace in their lives to guide them. Would you pray for the New Hampshire State Prison that these men would go one and be faithful disciples of the Lord God Almighty? Would you also pray that the Holy Spirit would empower them in such a way to have a great impact on that prison for the glory of God?

Now as a believer, can you see down the corridor of time what will happen to your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors and any person that does not know Jesus? How does that impact you? Are you going to do anything about it? Oh may we be faithful in sharing the good news of Jesus with others.

Dear Father, thank You for the many men You are impacting at the State Prison through Your servants. Be please to do even great work there to impact many other guys by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the Name of Your Son, Jesus. All for Your honor and glory! May it be so!

REJOICING IN HEAVEN

For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. —Luke 19:10

Have you ever lost something and you looked and looked and searched and searched for it until you found it? It could have been your wallet, cell phone, keys… something that you really valued. Remember how you felt when you found it? You rejoiced! Well, this is what happens when one person repents and calls on the Name of the Lord Jesus. There is rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents!

I am part of a special evangelistic event that is taking place at the State Prison this week. Last night 15-20 men responded to the gospel stating they desired to repent and follow Jesus. This is exciting because these men are guys that do not come out to the chapel. They were invited by believers who do. Please pray for these guys as they are encouraged in discipleship. I already go in to the prison to meet with men personally and in group settings, but there will be a need now to go to the prison more often for discipleship of these new believers and we expect more to trust the Lord Jesus this week! I would appreciate prayer for wisdom in serving these new believers.

This is where the focus of the church needs to be: 1- Seeking the lost and 2- Discipling those who repent and desire to follow Jesus. So many times, too many times the church is distracted from these main responsibilities the Lord has given the church. It is amazing what the church can get busy doing other things and these two main responsibilities are not even part of it!

Are you and I seeking the lost to share the wonderful gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Are we involved with discipleship? If so, that is wonderful because that is what the Lord has called us to. If not, why not?

Dear Father, please help us to keep the main things that we have been delegated to by our Lord Jesus in focus. May we not to get caught up in other things that distract us from these main things. Oh, may it be so!

WEALTH’S LURE

How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! —Luke 18:24

And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.” —Luke 12:16-21

Those who are wealthy have the tendency to be consumed by their riches. I remember reading about billionaire Adolf Merckle. He committed suicide by stepping in front of a train http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/recession/4210246/Adolf-Merckle-what-made-this-German-billionaire-commit-suicide.html. Why did such a wealthy man do this? “His companies were his life and when he was going to lose control of them he obviously felt he would lose control of his life, that is the only way I can see it,” said Ernst Junger, a friend in Blaubeuren.” His personal fortune was over 12 billion dollars! His riches consumed him, controlled him. This is a very sad commentary.

Then we look at the evilness of ISIS. What drives this group? Well, there are many factors, but one of them is the desire for wealth. Look where there is evil and as someone has said then “follow the money trail.” Corruption… “follow the money trail.” Drug dealing… “follow the money trail.” God’s Word is very clear and to the point on this—“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil” (I Timothy 6:10).

When riches are a person’s god, then they will not typically call on the Lord in repentance for salvation (Luke 18:18-23). But, what is impossible for people is possible with God (Luke 18:27) and there are some wealthy people who are faithfully serving the Lord. Regardless of how much wealth we have or do not have, may we faithfully serve the Lord Jesus.

Dear Father, I thank You for Your graciousness to me. May I be a faithful steward with the responsibility You have delegated to me that I would honor Your Name.

PRAYER

But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith? —Luke 18:8

If you have a lack of trust in people then you will think they have some ulterior motivation behind what they are communicating. Surely, you think, they are really hiding their real intent and then you begin to build scenarios in your mind of what they are really up to. Or it could be that you don’t trust yourself and you withdraw from communicating truthfully or communi…cate things that are not really accurate about yourself— you sensationalize to feel accepted. Either way, this is destructive to sincere communication in relationships.

In the verse above when Jesus asked “how many will he find on the earth who have faith” when He returns? It was in the context of prayer. He told this parable “to show that they should always pray and never give up” (Luke 18:1). If we truly trust Jesus, if we truly have faith in Him then we will be communicating with Him regularly. This is one way that our faith or trust in Him can be known— by prayer, regular communication with Him.

If Jesus came back today, would He find faith being lived out in your life and mine? May we spend regular time in prayer with Him— special times as well as speaking with Him throughout our days? May it be so that this type of faith is active in our lives.

Dear Father, may I speak with You often throughout the day. I surely need Your input all day long. Thank You that You are always there for me to communicate with. Oh, that I would do so often!

WOE TO THE TEMPTERS!

Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! —Luke 17:1

Who are those people tempting others into drugs, drunkenness, sexual immorality of all kinds, atheism, love of money and countless other vices? According to the verse above these people through whom temptations come are in deep trouble if they do not repent of their ways.

Jesus said that “temptations are sure to come.” Buy, He also said, “woe to the one through whom they come!” In Mark 9:42 Jesus put it this way— “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them if a large millstone were hung around their neck and they were thrown into the sea.” Tempting others to sin against God is a very serious affront to God and He will not allow that to go unnoticed.

A person who sins is responsible for their choice, but those tempting others to sin are also responsible. Those tempting others to sin can be individuals, a group or even the government. Here in the U.S. we have seen in the news where Christian photographers, bakers, other business owners and chaplains in the military are being told by the government to violate their obedience to God. The government is tempting them to be disobedient, to sin against God. Woe to those tempting followers of Jesus like this.

Fellow follower of Jesus, hold your ground and do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). Be aware of and stand against the devil’s schemes (II Corinthians 2:11; Ephesians 6:11). Temptations to sin will come… be on guard (I Peter 5:8).

Dear Father, please help me to flee temptation when it comes that I would not sin against You. Regardless of who seeks to tempt me to sin, help me to flee it. May I do so in the authority of Jesus and by the Holy Spirit’s power. May this be so!

FAITHFULNESS

If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. —Luke 16:10

Here is an abiding principle! Help a child become responsible in the “little things” before being given more responsibility with “bigger things”. Actually, this is true of adults as well. If a person cannot be responsible in “little things,” how can they be trusted with “bigger things?” This principle needs to be learned from one’s youth in life’s multifaceted purposes: in relationship with God, in relationship with people, in relationship to finances, in relationship to authority… When this basic principle of life is not learned, then all kinds of destruction can occur: devaluing who God is, being disrespectful in relationships, unfaithfulness in finances, leadership corruption at all levels…

This is what the Lord Jesus does for those who follow Him as well- if we are faithful in the “little things” then He will give us “bigger things” to responsible for. Those of us who have been following the Lord Jesus for some time can look back and see how this has happened in our lives. As we were faithful in our earlier years as a believer the Lord gave us more and more responsibility. On the other hand, those who are not being faithful in those “little things” have not been given more responsibility with “bigger things.” May you and I be faithful in serving the Lord in whatever the Lord has for us at any given time. Most importantly, may we be sitting at His feet to hear what He has to say. Yes, this is most important!

Dear Father, may I be faithful in those “things” You have delegated to me to be responsible for. Thank You that I can serve You and may I be a good and faithful servant in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord.