Our legacy as believers started in the early days of the Church. I love reading the last sentence in Acts 11:26 where it says, The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch. This is where it all started. People can argue all they want about the genealogy of what happened, but they cannot argue about where we came from. We are Christians because we came from Christ. We should not be ashamed of that designation. But somehow being called a Christian is not acceptable any more and that is sad. I am proud to be called a believer, Christian, follower of Christ, or whatever you want to call me. Christ saved me; all to Him I owe.
My apologies for missing yesterday. It doesn’t happen very often, but yesterday was just one of those days. Today there will be two posts to catch up.
Today we read Acts 18. The biggest thing that stood out to me was discipleship and how one person poured into another and in turn they poured into someone else. Paul spent time with Aquila and Priscilla, who in turn spent time with Apollos. This is how true spiritual growth and learning really happens. We should always spend time learning from more mature believers than ourselves and teaching others who are younger in the faith. We are not expected to know it all, but we are expected to be available to be led by the Holy Spirit for the benefit of others.
We spend a lot of time coming ere every day to read the Bible. While this is obviously a very good thing, we must do more than just read God’s word. We must apply the things we learn and His commandments for our lives. Luke 6:49 says, “But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.” Let us not spend our time simply reading God’s word. Let us live out our lives based on God’s commands and the example left to us by Jesus Christ our savior.
As we finish the book of Matthew today, I love the way Jesus finishes up His instruction to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” His words were true back then and they are true today. Let us not forget the true reason why we are on this earth.
Today, as a break from our daily reading, my good friend Sarah shared this video for our reflection day. It’s about 20 minutes long, but it is well worth your time. This is such a good reminder of our purpose as believers. I would love to here your thoughts in the comments section after you listen to it.
If you ever come across anything you’d like me to post on this blog, please fee free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today’s reading shows Jesus’ heart clearly as He prays to His Father in heaven. Jesus takes the time to not only lift up His disciples, but also to lift up future believers. In verse 9, speaking about the disciples, He says, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” How beautiful and reassuring for Jesus to lift up His disciples and clearly make a distinction of who really belonged to Him. Then in verse 20 Jesus talks about us, the future generations, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,” It is comforting and humbling to know He lifted us up in prayer to the Father. It makes a big difference in my day knowing I am loved and that I am covered in prayer.
“Lord, to whom shall we go?” Those are the words of Simon Peter in verse 68 when Jesus asked the Twelve “You do not want to leave too, do you?” At this point in Jesus’ ministry people were beginning to realize that following Jesus was going to cost something. But the Twelve realized the cost had eternal implications for their lives. Simon Peter goes on to say, “You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” I get goose bumps reading those words! Here was Peter, a simple fisherman, who was standing in the presence of the Holy One of God and he knew he could never go back to the life he had before. This is how we should view our lives! He has changed us for eternity and we should never be able to look at our existence in the same way again, especially when we view our future and the amazing plans He has in store for us.
There are some great passages in the very beginning of this first chapter of John. When I read John 1:12-13 which says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.” In reading this passage I realize how much God loves me. By accepting Jesus as my savior, God gave me the right to be called His child.
The second part of this first chapter is actually entertaining to me. These first few interactions with each of the disciples begins to show some of their personalities. When Jesus sees Nathaniel, He already knows who Nathaniel is and what he said in verse 46 about Jesus, ““Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked….” The same is true for me. Jesus already knew me before I ever accepted Him. More importantly He knows me today as well; He knows my struggles, my victories, and sadly my sin. But He is always with me through it all. There is no hiding, there is simply accepting the fact that He has accepted me.
In reading the first part of Matthew 4, we see that Jesus truly is a man because He is able to be tempted. He is also clearly the Son of God and is able to overcome the temptation of Satan. This is a good reminder that, while I am human and do not have the same abilities as Jesus, I do have the same strength through Him if I just trust in Him and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading.
In the second half of Matthew 4, it shows Jesus’ beginning to His ministry. I love the way the disciples follow Jesus. It is almost humorous to see them drop everything and follow Him. At the same time, it is a great example to us to know How we should follow Jesus. We aren’t supposed to put our affairs in order or wait to fix our lives, we are simply supposed to trust and follow Him. Everything else is fixable through His power, mercy, and grace.
A quick note here… We will be jumping around quite a bit as we read the book of Matthew. Parts of Matthew are written based on topic rather than chronological order, so it will seem like we are all over the place. Also, if you are following the reading plan I posted, I need to make some adjustments because I have a couple chapters listed twice. This is because some chapters are supposed to be broken in half since the events of the chapter are not chronological. I should have these adjustments done in the next day or so. Sorry for any confusion this may cause.