Sent on a mission

THE STORY OF JESUS: John 17:13-19
“As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18)
God sent Jesus into the world for a purpose: to seek and to save the lost.
Jesus lived as a human in order to show the world what humans should be like.
He lived WITH, LIKE and FOR God in the, as a child of God ought to live.
By living as Adam and refusing Satan, Jesus reclaims Adam’s throne.
We are invited to accept His victory on our behalf, and to stand with Him.
But not just to stand WITH Him, but to live LIKE Him, and go FOR Him.
As God sent Jesus into the world to live this way, Jesus sends us.
This is our mission; like Jesus, we are to seek and to save the lost.
We are to show the world the way humans ought to live – with the Spirit’s help.
In your home, with your neighbours, at your school, in your workplace.
Wherever we are, we are sent… sent for a purpose.
Today the Spirit is helping me to refuse Satan, and to reflect Jesus.
This will make me different from others, or at least it ought to.
As a Jesus follower, am I reflecting Jesus wherever I am, wherever I go?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, everything I say and do will either reflect well or poorly on You. Help me to remember that wherever I am, I’ve been sent there for a purpose – to show the world Who You are, and why You matter!

United (in Christ) we stand!

THE STORY OF JESUS: John 17:6-12
“So that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17:11)
Divide and conquer, this is Satan’s strategy for defeating us, and God.
He succeeded in turning Adam and Eve on God, on each other, and Cain on Abel.
It is our separation from God that makes our world is warn-torn mess it is.
Jesus lived in loving harmony with God – Satan could not separate Him from God!
This is what Jesus is praying for His disciples.
Consider how many splits, factions and wars there have been in the church.
Protestants, Catholics, multiple Baptist and Reformed denominations.
Using God’s Name to separate themselves from others who didn’t agree with them.
We are saved by grace, not by our correct beliefs or doctrines.
Grace ought to humble us, reminding us that we haven’t got it all together.
What unites us to God and each other is God’s love expressed through Jesus.
We can disagree, we can look at things differently.
But don’t let the enemy turn us against each other.
What unites us (God, Jesus, love, grace) is always greater than what divides us!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, we Christians have divided ourselves into many factions, but there is only One Name that unites us. Hold us together by the power of Your Name!

To love God like this!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Psalm 119:145-176
“Yet you are near, Lord, and all your commands are true.” (Psalm 119:151)
There is no better place to be than close to God.
God is with us always, wherever we are… but are we with Him?
Not just in His presence, but with Him in practice too?
‘Are you with me or against me?’, we might be asked?
If we do the kinds of things that displease God, we are with Him?
If we are selfish, cruel, vindictive, greedy, are we really with Him?
God’s commands represent His character, what He is like, what He stands for.
If we claim to love God, we ought to love what He is like.
Through this Psalm you can sense David’s heart for God, and for God’s will.
With all his heart, from before the dawn and through the watches of the night.
Seven times a day… with all his heart and soul and mind and strength.
God inspired David to write this prayer to inspire us to love like this.
God is assuring me, ‘I am with you…’ then asking me, ‘are you with Me?”
As a Jesus follower, I want to be near Him, and to devote my life to Him!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, why would we love any other way of living than Yours? You are near, and Your commands are true!

Empty religion?

THE STORY OF JESUS: Zechariah 4-7
“When you fasted and mourned, was it really for me that you fasted? (Zechariah 7:5)
God’s people are in exile because they turned away from God (7:13).
They still practiced their religion, but not from their hearts.
They went through the motions, but not with the meaning.
Zechariah is both comforting and challenging them with visions.
‘You’re in this mess because of how you turned from God.
But He will turn back to you, and set things straight.
He will light the lamp, restore the altar and the throne.
Not by human strength or effort, but by His Spirit.’
God offers us this same hope for renewal and restoration.
But we need to stop playing religion and pretending devotion.
Going to church, saying our prayers, etc. this is not true devotion.
Jesus the Branch has come, and the Vine is being restored.
But we must remain in Him if we want new life in Him (John 15:1-8).
Are you sincerely serving God, or just going through the motions?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You do not want me to be religious, You want me to be real. You are offering me life transformation, but only if I sincerely want it.

God wants us back!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Zechariah 1-3
“‘Return to me, and I will return to you,’ says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 1:3)
Zechariah is a prophet of hope to a people living under God’s judgment.
God has not given up on us, He will pluck us out of the fire.
He will stand up to Satan, forgive us, and make us clean again (3:1-5).
The promised Branch of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1) will restore us in one day (3:9).
All that God asks of us is that we turn back to Him in repentance (1:3).
We do not need to defeat the enemy, we do not need to rebuild creation.
God will do what we cannot do, but we must do what we can… return!
How many times have you stood in failure before God, with Satan accusing you.
In shame, we dare not look up, we cannot believe that God can forgive us again!
But this is the hope that Zechariah is offering, for then and for now.
God hates our sin, but He loves us; He will do what it takes to rescue us.
But will we do what it takes to receive His help?
Do you really want to be forgiven, set free, and restored to wholeness?
Don’t let Satan hold you back any longer; the Lord is ready to set you free!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, sometimes all we can hear is Satan’s accusation, and Your offer of forgiveness seems to good to be true. Help me to hear You rebuking Satan (not me), and welcoming me in mercy and love.

Glorious humility!

“Glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5)
Jesus does not go around saying ‘I am God’, but He does give us hints.
He is fully a human like us, and yet there is more to His story.
Here Jesus suggests He existed before Genesis 1, “in the beginning”.
When John starts this story, he echoes this idea of Jesus “in the beginning”.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

We cannot explain this, we just confess it with mystery and wonder.
Somehow, in Jesus, we are face to face with ‘God with us’ (Matthew 1:23)
But what is most striking is that God humbled Himself to be with us.
He “made Himself nothing” (literally ’emptied Himself) to be human (Philippians 2:6-7).
I am a Jesus follower because I believe that Jesus is ‘God humbled with us’.
In a self-serving, people-using-and-abusing world, THIS is glorious, this is LIFE!
The only way to experience the glorious life is to experience His glorious humility.
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I want to know the Father like this, to know You like us. Not just know about, but know personally, so that I can share in Your humble glory, Your glorious humility!

My never-failing ‘circle of friends’!

THE STORY OF JESUS: John 16:25-33
“You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.” (John 16:32)
It is not good for us to be alone (Genesis 2:18).
But sometimes in this sin-messed world we are left alone.
Friends or family are not with us; away for a time, or worse they deserted us.
One survey I read said that half the population struggles with loneliness.
God offers the comfort of His presence when we are alone.
Jesus experienced this when His disciples proved unreliable.
He describes the feeling of God with Him, when no one else is.
I remember a time when God impressed on me His surrounding presence.
I had a friendship candle burning, with four figures holding each other.
The Lord impressed on me that the Father was facing me, with a loving smile.
To my right was Jesus, to my left was the Spirit, holding me to the Father.
Together the four of us were held together in a bond that would not fail.
I call this my original ‘small group’, or my never-failing circle of friends.
Do you sense the threefold presence of God with you – over, with and in you?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, it is sad and hard to be lonely. Give me a strong sense of Your never failing presence, even when others fail to stand with me.

The prayers God loves to answer!

THE STORY OF JESUS: John 16:17-24
“My Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.” (John 16:23)
The “name of the Lord” refers to more than the label we attach to God.
His name represents His identity, His character and His purpose.
For example read Exodus 34:5-7 where God proclaims His name to Moses.
When Jesus speaks of His name, He means the same things.
Praying in Jesus’ name is not just a phrase we use like a password.
Just saying ‘in Jesus name’ does not make the request in His name.
The person asking will have embraced the fullness of Who Jesus is.
They will love and honour the identity, the character and the purpose of Jesus.
They will seek God, His kingdom and righteousness, just like Jesus did.
And this will shape their prayer requests, what they want from God.
When we pray to God, are we asking for our sake, or for Jesus’ sake?
Jesus is promising a deep joy when we when pray with, like and for Him.
Knowing that God always answers Jesus-honouring prayer brings joy.
We may not see it right away (grief), “but our grief will turn to joy!” (v.20)
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, I want people to experience You for real. I want people to have a life-changing experience with Your Spirit. Use me to lead others to You and God… in Jesus’ Name!

Listening for His Voice!

THE STORY OF JESUS: John 16:5-15
“It is from me what he will make known to you.” (John 15:14)
The purpose of the Spirit is to help us hear the Voice of Jesus.
Jesus is not with us physically, but He is still with us.
He is our Advocate, Counselor, Comforter (v.7), working with and for us.
He continues the work that Jesus began while on earth.
When you sense ‘God loves you’, it is the Spirit of Jesus.
When you feel ‘you are not alone’, it is the Spirit of Jesus!
When you discern ‘that is not a good thing to do’, it is the Spirit of Jesus.
When you hear ‘help that person out’, it is the Spirit of Jesus.
Jesus is not with us in person, but He is with us in Spirit…
The purpose of the Spirit is not to make us charismatic.
The Spirit makes us Christ-like, bringing glory to Jesus through us.
He will always speak for love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, etc.
Through the Spirit, Jesus is training and equipping us for following Him.
Are you listening for His Voice… are you following His lead?
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You are with me, speaking to me through the day. Help me to pay attention to Your message, knowing that Your words bring life, hope, wisdom and happiness.

Do something!

THE STORY OF JESUS: Psalm 119:121-144
“Time for you to act, Lord; your law is being broken.” (Psalm 119:126)
As Jesus followers, we should feel the pain of so much sin and misery.
A world of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. seems like an illusion.
God, this world is a mess, we need Your help, DO SOMETHING!
“Tears flow from my eyes, for your law is not obeyed.” (Psalm 119:136)
Tears are a start, but tears are not enough.
God put us in charge, we’re responsible for the heaven or hell of this world.
Thankfully God has DONE SOMETHING through Jesus, the perfect Adam.
Satan, sin and death have been overcome, the Spirit has been restored to us.
Now it is our duty and task, in Jesus’ Name, to restore God’s kingdom!
Tears should flow from our eyes as we observe greed, hate, inequity, misery.
But more than that, we ought to DO SOMETHING about it.
We cannot save the world, but we can affect our part in it.
In the Spirit of Jesus, we can show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.
God acts when we act, in and through us, to bring His healing to the world!
What do you sense the Lord saying to you?
Lord, You have done what I cannot (overcome sin, death and hell) so that I can do what I ought. Help me with Your Spirit to DO SOMETHING for good, for God, for others!