Workers Needed

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“The harvest is huge, but there are not many workers. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the fields.” Luke 10:2

Eyewitness: pp. 95,96
In Your Bible: Luke 9:1-6 and 10:1-14; Matthew 9:37,38

You know the situation. You’re thinking, “I could do more with a little help!” When Jesus visited towns and villages, healing and preaching the good news of the Kingdom, he must have had the same thought.

He looked at the enormous crowd, the helpless and the confused with all kinds of needs. Jesus, moved with compassion said, “The harvest is huge, but there are not many workers. Pray for the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the fields.”

Wheat Fields

Wheat Fields

Direction and authority given the disciples

Jesus called the 12 and gave them authority to cast out evil spirits and heal all kinds of sicknesses and infirmities. Later Jesus appointed 70 more disciples (only recorded in Luke 10) and gave them the same authority and mind-blowing instructions on what to do:

* Concentrate on the lost sheep of Israel
* Preach the good news, the Kingdom of Heaven is near
* Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, cast out evil spirits, raise the dead
* Give as freely as you have received

* Take nothing for your journey
* Take no sandals or extra clothes
* Take not even a walking stick

Jesus wanted the sent ones to know their dependence was on him and him alone. He warned them they’d encounter challenges and told them how to handle them. The purpose was to meet needs and bring the message of the good news of the Kingdom.

Believers are the workers in the fields

He commissioned each group and sent them out. The disciples were amazed at what they could do through the direction and authority Jesus gave them. They saw the people show the same joy as they had when Jesus ministered and healed. When Jesus sent the 70, he may have modeled sending all believers out.

When the 70 returned, they were elated and reported their experiences with delight. The disciples said, “It’s amazing, Lord! When we use Your name, the demons do what we say!” Luke 10:17-20 (The VOICE version).

Quickly, Jesus re-aligned the thinking of these disciples. Instead of rejoicing they could command demons to leave, they should rejoice that their names were written in heaven. Power and authority belong to the believer. Being counted as believers in the Son of God — that’s the primary reason to rejoice!

Application: Jesus has compassion for man’s needs. The Gospel of Luke shows Jesus sent more disciples….more were needed. Sent workers are extensions of Jesus in the fields. Today, workers are still needed in the fields. How are you helping?

Prayer: Father, your compassion is so great it overwhelms me. You are amazing. Show me how I can help in the fields.

Image courtesy of prozac1/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Understanding Authority

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“IN ALL ISRAEL, I HAVE NEVER SEEN SUCH FAITH” Eyewitness Matthew 8:10)
Eyewitness: p. 74
In Your Bible: Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:1-10

Authority speaks without words — a police uniform, a stop sign, a “Do Not Enter” sign, and the Presidential Seal. Likewise, military men and women know their position in authority, whether of high rank or low – they wear it on their uniforms. They even call it the “chain of command.”

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The Bible shows a Centurion in Capernaum, understood Jesus’ authority. This Roman military officer’s servant was seriously ill and about to die. The Centurion pleaded with the Jewish leaders for Jesus to come help his servant.

This military man loved Israel, built their local synagogue, and was well known for his benevolence. The Jewish leaders said to Jesus, “This man is worthy of your help.” They appealed to Jesus to go heal the servant. Jesus said, “I will go and heal the servant,” and started out.

Jesus was not far from the house, when the Centurion reconsidered his appeal. He hurriedly sent messengers to say, “He wasn’t worthy for Jesus to even come inside his house. So just have Jesus give the order and the servant will be healed.” The messengers explained the Centurion knew authority and was himself a man under authority.

At his command under Caesar, he gave orders to his soldiers to come, go, and do what he said. When Jesus heard this statement about the Centurion, he marveled. Then Jesus said, “In all of Israel, I have never seen such faith”

Jesus told the messengers, “You can go home now, it will be done as you have believed.” When the messengers arrived at the officer’s home, they found the servant healed — at the very moment Jesus spoke the healing words.

The Centurion and the messengers were witnesses to Jesus authority to heal the servant. This account was written to reveal a portion of the magnitude of authority God gave Jesus.

Application: What a simple, practical understanding of authority. The Centurion believed Jesus was from God and could do miraculous things. He (and the messengers) believed Jesus could say the words (give the order) and heal his servant. He believed and they believed. We must believe in Jesus’ authority too.

Prayer: Father, help me understand Your Word is literally a command — loving and life giving. Yes, help me build my faith.

Image of Centurion courtesy of Simon Howden at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Prayer – Plain and Simple!

“WITH A GOD LIKE THIS LOVING YOU, YOU CAN PRAY VERY SIMPLY”
Matthew 6:9


THE MESSAGE: Matthew 6:9-13
In Your Bible: Matthew 6:9-13

The disciples had been following, watching, and listening to Jesus for quite some time. Apparently they had heard John the Baptist teach his disciples something about prayer. Finally one of Jesus’ disciples asked him to teach them how to pray, just like John taught his disciples.

Jesus had just finished time with his Father when the disciples asked this question. They had seen and heard him pray often. But they didn’t know how! Jesus taught them what most of us learned as a child, we often quote it in religious settings.

Jesus told them how to prepare to pray:
* Find a quiet, secluded place
* Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage
* The focus will shift from you to God and you will begin a sense of his grace.

He then said these profound things:
* This is your Father you are dealing with
* He knows better than you what you need
* “With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply”

Knowing God loves you and wants to hear from you is wonderful. Couple that with the fact that the Father wants to speak to you is special.

Application: Ponder the understanding that the Father wants us to come to him in simple prayer. Wonderful.

Prayer: Father, help me take the fresh view of praying.

Compare your personal version with The MESSAGE. But hold on, this interpretation by Peterson is quite different – it’s in simple language we use today. It may take time to fit into your concept of this prayer.

“Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what’s best – as above, so below.

Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven as you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You’re in charge!

You can do anything you want!
You’re ablaze in beauty!”

What Do You Live By?

“PEOPLE DO NOT LIVE BY BREAD ONLY BUT BY EVERYTHING GOD SAYS.”

Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4

From: Eyewitness: p 34
In Your Bible: Matthew 4:1-11; Deuteronomy 8 (entire chapter)

What are your basic daily needs? Most of us would include water, air, food, sleep, and probably money. God has a much different view on needs than we fully understand or begin to realize.

Yes, we need water, air and food. But do we consider the unmentioned key basic need – knowing and obeying God? He promised he would be our source, if we believed and trusted in him. From the beginning with Adam and Eve, every biblical hero, to believers today – God revealed we need him and must obey him!

When the Israelites fled Egypt and had no water or food in the desert, they complained to Moses:
* God heard their cry
* God told Moses how to sweeten the bitter water at Marah using a tree (Ex 15:23-27 NASB)

* Later when the Israelites were hungry, God provided bread from heaven (manna) for their daily food (Ex 16:3-32 NASB)
* God fed them and reminded them to obey Him
* God showed them He was their need

His words are the source – Jesus sets the example

After Jesus was baptized by John, the Spirit led him into the desert for forty days. He fasted all this time and was very hungry. The first challenge by Satan focused on Jesus’ physical need. The tempter knew Jesus was the Son of God and Jesus knew his ability to perform miracles was not the reason for this test.

Satan challenged Jesus to prove who he is. He commanded Jesus to turn stones into bread – show you are a miracle worker. No way was that going to happen. Jesus quick reply was to quote Deuteronomy 8:3, “People do not live by bread only, but by everything God says.”

Even at his weakest physical state, Jesus didn’t waver. We must know what God says or shows us. Jesus referred to the time when God commanded the Israelites to remember how much he did for them. God’s words will sustain us even today – believe it.

Let’s redirect our thinking on basic needs – “And my God shall supply all our needs according to His riches in in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19 NASB). Yes, God’s word remains our first source to live by. Live by every word God has for you – The Word written, read, spoken, life breathed into you.

Application: Read his Word and listen to his voice. See how he cared for Israel. See how much he loved – he gave his only Son that you may have life in him. He says my words will sustain you!

Prayer: Father, I want to chew on these Scriptures, mull them over, take them to heart, and hear your voice. Help me live by them.

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God Publicly Affirms Jesus – Again

Welcome: First time to this devotional blog? Please view the ‘home’ and ‘concept’ pages for helpful background on why these Scripture sources are used.

Eyewitness: pp. 189-191
In your Bible: John 12:12-44; Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22

A huge crowd came to the City of David for Passover. They heard Jesus was coming and some thought they might also see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead at Bethany. On this day of remembrance, expectations were high.

Jesus’ triumphal entry

Many shouted praises to Jesus as he rode the donkey:
“Great Glory to the Son of David.”
“Hail to the King.”
“Blessed be the one who comes in God’s name.”

“Blessed is the kingdom of our father David.”
“Praise God in the highest heaven.”
“Blessed is the king sent by God, who brings peace.”
“Let the heavens rejoice and God be glorified.”

But some Pharisees told him to rebuke the people for doing this. Jesus’ comment to the Pharisees was quick. “You can be certain,” Jesus said, “that if they kept quiet, the stones would have to shout praises.”

When Jesus came closer to Jerusalem, he wept and spoke to that great city, “Oh, if you only knew the peace that is available to you today, but you cannot see it.” He entered the city and went straight to the Temple. He observed the people and spent time interacting with them until evening. Jesus focus was entirely on what God wanted him to do.

God Speaks

He told them my soul is troubled. He knew what he must go through. Jesus then said, “This is why I came. Father bring glory to your name.” And just as happened at Jesus’ baptism and the Transfiguration, God affirmed him. A voice from heaven said, “I have already glorified my name and will do so again” (Eyewitness John 12:28).

When bystanders heard this, they thought it might have been thunder. But others thought it was an angel speaking. Then, Jesus referred to God’s own utterance, “That voice was for your benefit not mine” (Eyewitness John 12:30). That’s God and Jesus, making it clear to all!

Jesus then strongly encouraged his followers, “Those who believe in me are also believing in the one who sent me” (John 12:44). And today, believers must still cling to this bold statement. Believe in Jesus, believe in God and step out in faith.

Application: God speaks to mankind – then and now! We need to listen even when it seems confusing. Jesus focused on what his Father had for him to say and do. So should we.

Prayer: Father, thank you. When you spoke affirming words about your Son, all those who were present were in awe. I want to hear your voice and learn from you. I am in awe of you, Lord.

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