West End Assembly of God
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
MONDAY, June 17
Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and he spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they invited him to their home and explained to him the way of God more adequately.
Notice how Priscilla and Aquila responded to Apollos. They did not denounce him in front of his audiences or walk in protest marches against his teachings. They did not gossip about him to other believers. Instead, they invited him to their home and talked with him one-on-one about the scriptures to clarify his teaching about Jesus and baptism. They treated him with kindness and respect. Apollos became a key leader in the early church and a great debater for the gospel thanks to Priscilla and Aquila, his faithful mentors and friends. Relational ministry embraces people and invites dialogue. Jesus taught in very relational ways; and we should follow his example. Talk to people: engage them in conversations; ask questions; listen to their answers and ask more questions. Let people know you care about them and respect their opinions. Let them know you value them and that their perspectives are important to you. God will guide you in your conversations and give you wisdom in how to share your beliefs most effectively with all kinds of people. Let us become faithful mentors and friends to those around us who are hungry for spirituality.
TUESDAY, June 18
The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever. My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
God longs for us to live in peace. When our hearts are right with Him, the Holy Spirit leads us to be right with one another. People will know we are Christians because of our love (I John 4:7-21); and good relationships with one another bring quiet confidence and good rapport. Instead of fear, anxiety, or meaningless complacency toward one another, we will enjoy peaceful relationships of trust, confidence and good will. Our homes were meant to be secure places of refuge. This is the inheritance of believers who choose to walk in righteousness before God and each other. Too many communities have devolved into dangerous, violent places, where it is not safe for children to play in their own backyards. Too many parents engage openly in abusive actions and language toward one another. Too many people live in poverty and squalor. The Lord wants a better life for us! As we live in righteousness toward God and one another, we will reap the fruit of peaceful homes and communities. Is your home a place of comfort and rest? Today, let us pray for troubled communities to come to know the Lord and walk in righteousness and peace.
WEDNESDAY, June 19
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son; today I have become your Father?”
People have an innate desire to worship. Unfortunately, too many of them have misdirected that worship. Today, angel worship continues to fascinate many who believe in the supernatural, but throughout scriptures we find angels refusing to receive worship. They serve only as God’s messengers, protectors of God’s people, or as worshippers of God. The writer of Hebrews makes it clear that Jesus is the only one worthy of our praise. He is far superior to the angels. He sits at the right hand of the Father and rules and reigns over all creation, including the angels. Today, pray for those with misplaced faith. Pray for those who are captivated by the supernatural but overlook or dismiss the person of Jesus Christ, who is the “radiance of God’s glory and sustainer of all things” (verse 3). Also, pray that you will have a renewed understanding of Christ’s position and power—and may that truth lead you into deeper levels of worship.
THURSDAY, June 20
For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
By coming to earth in a flesh-and-blood body, Christ shared in our humanity. He hungered, grew weary, faced temptation, and felt all of the same emotions that we experience. He lived among the poor and experienced firsthand their struggles. He witnessed cultural barriers and boldly crossed them to heal broken hearts. False humility angered Him. Historians tell us He most likely wept at the bedside of his dying stepfather, Joseph. He led a band of bumbling disciples, who did not have a clue as to the scope or impact His ministry would have upon humanity. Within the mystery of the incarnation, Christ has the power to make atonement for us. He has the right of intercession at God’s right hand and serves as our merciful and faithful High Priest. Be thankful today that Christ identifies with you in every way. He feels the heartache you feel. He weeps with you; and He intercedes for you to God. Give thanks to Him today. He knows all about you and truly cares.
FRIDAY, June 21
God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
Many areas of service exist in the Church and, though some are less visible than others, none lacks importance. Each worker is precious to God. We are interdependent and linked together in this marvelous Body of Christ (I Corinthians 12). Love motivates us to serve; but sometimes we get weary. No duty comes without some form of challenge—yet, we need each challenge to grow and get better at what God made us to do. Give your best to the Lord and trust Him with the results. Are you one who serves apart from all the spotlights and accolades? Know that Christ sees your work and values your service. Wherever you belong in the Body of Christ, remember that the Lord will not forget your work. God sees your loving care for His people. Today, hear His voice speaking to you, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).
SATURDAY, June 22
Therefore brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.
MONDAY, June 24
Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the Lord in the assembly of Israel. There is the little tribe of Benjamin, leading them, there the great throng of Judah’s princes, and there the princes of Zebulon and of Naphtali.
This inspiring picture of God’s people marching in a huge parade into the sanctuary reminds us of how we should enter God’s presence—joyfully, with singing and praise. Tucked into verse 27 we read a pleasantly surprising truth: the little tribe of Benjamin leads them. Benjamin was the beloved, youngest son of Jacob. King Saul was a descendant of Benjamin (II Chron. 12:2), as was Mordecai, Queen Esther’s uncle (Esther 2:5). God loves to take the so-called “little people” and set them front-and-center to celebrate their significance to Him. God honored Rahab, who hid the Israelite spies in Jericho (Josh. 2): her name is listed in the bloodline of Christ (Matt. 1:5) and in the great hall of faith (Heb 11:31). Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s crippled son, sat at King David’s table (II Sam. 4, 9). A simple peasant girl, Mary, became the mother of Jesus Christ (Luke 2). God chooses ordinary people like you and me, so unimportant in our own eyes, and invites us to join the parade of worship. We march throughout life’s journey toward the great heavenly sanctuary of God’s eternal presence. Like the little tribe of Benjamin, we lead a procession of praise. Let us remember the importance of our role, and let us celebrate with all our hearts.
TUESDAY, June 25
II Samuel 9:6-7, 13
“Don’t be afraid,” David said to him, “for I will surely show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan. I will restore to you all the land that belonged to your grandfather Saul, and you will always eat at my table.” And Mephibosheth lived in Jerusalem, because he always ate at the king’s table, and he was crippled in both feet.
Mephibosheth’s story is a remarkable testament to the honors of sonship. Due to no fault of his own, young Mephibosheth fell as a young child and became crippled (II Sam. 4:4). After years of hunger, heartache, and exile, Mephibosheth was called to King David’s palace, where David showered him with honor simply because he was the last of King Saul’s lineage. Imagine how he felt. His early life had been shattered by trials, but his later life was showered by blessings. The story of Mephibosheth is a wonderful metaphor for us. Life comes prepackaged with trials that have the power to cripple and destroy us; but when we become followers of Christ, we receive an invitation to sit at the Lord’s Table and enjoy the many blessings that come as a result of being His children. The Lord blesses us in spite of our painful history or brokenness. Reflect on the blessings that have come to you as a result of being a child of God. Give thanks today for the opportunity to eat at the Lord’s Table, where He provides the food of strength, wisdom, joy, peace, and hope.
WEDNESDAY, June 26
II Timothy 1:7
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.
Fear is a normal human emotion that everyone has experienced in one form or another. Each time we face new, intimidating circumstance, we have to set aside the draining emotions, focus on solutions, and step boldly forward with self-discipline. So many fears are silly and ungrounded and easily solved once the truth is explained. Yet, the feelings of fear are very real. If we can learn to identify what it is we are afraid of, then we can take steps to overcome that fear. Every time we overcome something we are afraid of, we get stronger. A strong vision or sense of mission can give us the motivation to overcome our fears. Think of all the Biblical heroes who overcame their fears in order to accomplish their missions. God calls us to walk in faith as these men and women did. He challenges us to throw off timidity, grab hold of His power, remember His faithful love, and engage self-discipline to get the job done. What is your mission? What are your fears? Grab hold of God’s power and move forward in the strength of the Lord.
THURSDAY, June 27
In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame. Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me. Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go; give the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked, from the grasp of evil and cruel men. For you have been my hope, O Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you; you brought me forth from my mother’s womb. I will ever praise you. I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge. My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long.
David knew the importance of taking refuge in God when faced with dangerous situations. While others relied on alliances with neighboring nations, clever tactical strategies, or armies with better weapons, David relied on God. The Lord gave him peace, protection, and provision. When threatened, what coping skills do you engage? Do you bury yourself in your work? Do you sue people and fight your battles in court? Do you over-medicate yourself and crawl into a fetal position? David knew the value of prayer. He knew he could bring his concerns to the Lord and find quiet, confident peace. Believers can find a place of perfect rest, as David did, by turning to our rock of refuge: Jesus Christ. Pour out your concerns to the Lord in prayer. Read biblical accounts of how God repeatedly delivered His people. The Lord has solutions for every pressure point you face today; and He wants to provide a place of refuge, at His side.
FRIDAY, June 28
“Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them—to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses.”
God gave specific directions to Joshua as the Children of Israel transitioned into the Promised Land. He said, “Moses is dead;” in other words, “The past is gone and it is time to move forward; do not look back, look ahead.” For each of us there comes a time of transition when we must to stop looking in the rear-view mirror of life and begin concentrating on the road ahead. We appreciate the past, but we also anticipate the future, knowing God is already there. When Joshua looked at the Promised Land, he saw walled cities and tall, strong, intimidating, godless people. The Lord encouraged him three times, “Be strong and courageous” (verses 6, 7, and 9). Joshua could not allow fear to derail him from his mission because more than a million people were counting on his leadership. If we allow fear to rule our hearts, it will impair our ability to act; and our ultimate success depends on our ability to progress, one step at a time, toward our goals. When you face a time of transition, remember these principles: 1) Do not let the past keep you from your future, and 2) Be strong and courageous so that fear does not derail you. God will be faithful and walk with you each step of the journey.
SATURDAY, June 29
“Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
God gave Joshua a three-part “mouth, mind, movement” action plan for accomplishing his divine mission. First, God addressed Joshua’s mouth: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth.” During this important time of transition, Joshua’s words would play a huge role in building confidence in his people. As he reminded them of God’s Law, God’s promises, and God’s power, they would muster courage to do the tasks before them. Second, God addressed Joshua’s mind: “Meditate on (the Book of the Law) day and night.” Focusing on God’s Word fills our hearts with faith and saturates our minds with truth. Third, God addressed Joshua’s movement: “Do everything written in (the Book of the Law).” God’s Word is the plumb line for action. It must find its way from our heads to our deeds if we are going to live a life congruent with true faith. God’s blessing rests on those who hear and do His word. One without the other is insufficient for true godliness. The result of this three-fold plan is prosperity and success, according to God’s value system. How are you engaging your mouth, mind, and movement to accomplish your life mission?