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Weekly Dive Deeper

Change in direction

This week I want to start off with some verses, ‘When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him. Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders. When they had assembled, Paul said to them: “My brothers, although I have done nothing against our people or against the customs of our ancestors, I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. They examined me and wanted to release me, because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death. The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar. I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel that I am bound with this chain.” ‘ Acts 28:16-20 

This week I want you to encourage you to look at things that you think are holding you back from what God called you to do, it could be what God has placed on your life, not to hold you back, but to show you a different way of doing things. Paul may have thought that his ministry was over, but it was because of his jail cells that He wrote twenty eight percent of the New Testament, more than any other person. He was also able to reach all the guards that were supposed to be guarding him, instead they were really Paul’s captive audience for hours, so he could share the gospel with them. 

Maybe you feel like that the pandemic is holding you back from what God called you to do. But I want you to think is He calling you to minister to your family or whoever you are with during this time? Perhaps He is calling you to write like Paul did when He was trapped indoors or maybe He is calling you to something else, that this time has allowed you to do, that you would not have been able to do without the pandemic. He is calling you during this time to grow closer to Him and close everything else out and spend more time in prayer and reading the Bible.

So this week, I want you to pray and see what God would have you to do during this time in our lives, whether it would be to minister and grow closer with your family or friends you are around, to write a blog, a book, or a podcast. Is He just drawing you closer to Him during this time? He could be calling you to spend your time another way, pray and ask Him what He would have you to do during this time in your life, whether you are still sheltered in place or out and about. See how He can use you during this time in your life and when it feels like something is holding you back, take a step back and look and see what or how you can help others right where you are.

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Weekly Dive Deeper

The power of looking back

This week we are going to discuss the power of looking back. So let’s start off with some verses, ‘That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?” And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.” And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. ‘ Luke 24:13-35 In this passage, Jesus comes to Cleopas and a friend and they do not recognize Him until He breaks bread with them, even though they walked with Him a long way. It was not until they looked back that they realized what God was doing on the that walk with them.  He was ministering to them and showing them what they had missed when reading and interpreting the scriptures. He showed them starting with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Just imagine being able to hear Jesus telling all the things prophesied about Himself and all the pictures of Him as you walked with Him, that would have been incredible. But, they did not see that it was Jesus while they were walking through it. They did not see it until they looked back over their walk with Jesus and they realized the importance of what they had experienced. I think this means there are times in our lives when we do not realize how He is using something in our lives to minister to us, until we look back and see that it was Him right there with us the entire time, even though at the time we could not see it yet. But there is also a danger in looking back over our lives, if we do not have the right perspective. We could start to dwell on things we have done in the past that God has called us out of and that can make us less productive, if we dwell on those things instead of dwelling on things of Christ. So this week I want to encourage you to look back for the times when Jesus was there in your life and you did not see Him while you were walking through it to see what He was teaching you.  I also want to encourage you that if you do not feel like God is with you during this season of your life, then make sure your heart is right with God and wait because in those seasons when we do not feel Him, that is when He is teaching us for the next season even though we can’t see Him yet.

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Weekly Dive Deeper

Nothing without love

This week I want to start off with some verses, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:1-3‬ ‭In these verses Paul tells the Corinthians, if you do not have love, you have nothing and you have done nothing. In our world today we as a people seem to prefer hate to love, it is what drives clicks and that is why everywhere you look there seems to be hate. If you look at the trend it is mostly about hate and very little stories about someone loving a homeless person or  helping others or showing the love of Christ. It happens so little that when it does, it seems to get hate for the way they did it or what they were wearing.  So many people are stirring hate, whether over race, religion, or politics.  I think this week God wants to remind us that those things are earthly problems, that will not last forever and that love is the one emotion that will last forever. We seem to be interested in hate now, but at the root we all are looking to others for approval and for love when we should be looking for those things from Jesus. If you are a child of God, then there is nothing you can do to make God love you less or more than He does right now. For some people, you have been serving God because you are trying to get Him to love you more, but you can’t do anything to get Him to love you more. That does not mean that you should not serve Him, it means that you should serve Him more not seeking love, but because He loves you the most He could ever love you now. You should serve Him not to be seen by Him or anyone else for boasting rights, but so that others may see Him through you and so they can feel the love of Christ.  So many people are looking for someone to show them love, rather by giving them your time to come to know them or by meeting their needs. This week I want to encourage you to realize that we all need to feel love sometimes and so many people are hurting during this time, because 2020 has thrown off their gathering with their family, friends, and brothers and sisters in Christ. This week I would also like to encourage you to show the love of Jesus to all you meet this week and to think about finding some way to serve Him this week whether online or in person.

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Weekly Dive Deeper

Turning walls into doors

This week I want to start off with some verses, “While he was still speaking, someone from the ruler’s house came and said, “Your daughter is dead; do not trouble the Teacher any more.” But Jesus on hearing this answered him, “Do not fear; only believe, and she will be well.” And when he came to the house, he allowed no one to enter with him, except Peter and John and James, and the father and mother of the child. And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But taking her by the hand he called, saying, “Child, arise.” And her spirit returned, and she got up at once. And he directed that something should be given to her to eat. And her parents were amazed, but he charged them to tell no one what had happened.” Luke‬ ‭8:49-56‬ ‭In this passage, Jesus is going to Jairus’ house, because his daughter is ill.  On the way they get caught in a crowd, as often happened while traveling with Jesus, but in the delay his daughter dies. Jarius and his messenger think there is nothing more the teacher can do, they see a wall, but Jesus sees a chance to show Jarius, his wife as well as John, Peter, and James that He is more than a teacher. He has the ultimate power over death because He is God. But Jesus does not want them to tell anyone, because it is not time yet for everyone to know that death has no power in the world and that Jesus has power over death. He wants you to know today that He has power over death and that death is not the end, it is the beginning of Heaven. We have the ability as those who live in the church age to begin our relationship with God here on earth; we do not have to wait for Heaven or have the consequence of losing the Holy Spirit. God is right here with us, He cares for us, loves us and wants to know us. In this passage where Jairus and his messenger saw a wall, Jesus saw a chance to show he was more than a teacher, that He was the Messiah. He did not just come for the Jews, He came for all Jews and Gentiles. There is an advantage to doing something in secret such as prayer or in Jesus’ case raising Jarius’ daughter from the dead. So this week I want to encourage you that when you see a wall that you do not think Jesus can help you with, pray to Him and see what He will do with your walls. Also, remember that He wants to know you and have a relationship with you before you get to heaven. The best time to start growing in your relationship with Him is the present and that would be a good New Years plan to grow closer to Him in 2021.