Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The road to what we want is often difficult. Have you ever wanted something so badly you never thought it would happen? I recently experienced such a thing. I have been thinking and dreaming of going on vacation for a very long time. I specifically wanted to go to Walt Disney World in Florida, my last real vacation was in 2012 and it had been at WDW. I had a lot of doubts that it would happen but through planning and saving and sacrifice it happened. So, now the vacation has come and gone, what a blessing to be able to go and I was able to go with friends, it was truly magical! I was able to rest, relax and enjoy all four parks and reminisce about previous visits. In order for this trip to come to fruition I had to be willing to have self-awareness of my money and my vacation time at work, I had to make sacrifices regarding my spending practices, this all took intentionality. And, wonderful moral support from friends and family, reminding me of the benefits of the sacrifices I was making. Seven years is a long time in between planned vacations, but it was so worth the sacrifices. This all reminds me of the reading for today from Juan Huertas and the scripture verse telling us that to be followers of Jesus we must say no to ourselves, take up our cross. In our humanity, we are very selfish individuals! I remember a time in my own life where I made a lot of really bad financial decisions because of pride, pride of self and pride of trying to give others what “I” thought they needed, wanted and desired. It’s true what they say, money can’t buy happiness or love! Following Jesus means that we become like Jesus, we care for others, we love others and we make sacrifices. When we read about Jesus and His life, he did not have a full wardrobe of the latest fashions coming out of Rome and Jerusalem. He did not have sandals made from the softest leather in the land. He did not dine on the finest culinary delights in elite clubs or lodge in elegant bed and breakfast inns. No, Jesus was most often found with the lowly, the average and the forgotten people, people with little to no money and little food but hungry souls for truth and hearts of generosity. Following Jesus is accepting a life of discipleship, saying no to self and yes to our brothers and sisters. It is true, life is short but eternity is waiting for us with open arms. Saying no to our selves does not mean gloom, its saying yes to community and a shared life with other believers, its participating in the common good of all people, and it’s a communal vision to life everlasting with our Heaven Father.

Following Jesus means letting go of many things but your return in accepting Jesus and the life he has for you is boundless! Go ahead and LET GO!

My prayer is that you will see and feel God in a very special and real way today! You are special and uniquely created by God and you are so very loved by God! ~Shalom

Breath Prayer: Help me let go…so I can live.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

Thank you!!! #400 (#401)

Friends, I just want to take this opportunity to say “THANK YOU!” for your support of my blog space. It’s truly a dream come true to share my thoughts with you. I appreciate everyone’s likes, comments and subscription to follow.

“Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” ~John 14:27

~Peace~

Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

“Look, I’m sending you as sheep among wolves. Therefore, be wise as snakes and innocent as doves.” ~Matthew 10:16

The life of discipleship can be difficult and dangerous. Being like Jesus; loving, forgiving, including and reconciling are often seen as a threat to those who are not yet believers and those in powerful positions. Just like in Jesus’ day, he was viewed as a threat because he brought a new way of life and a new way of thinking to the people. The leaders of the city certainly did not want to see an end to their extravagant way of life. The city leaders of Jerusalem and of religious leaders of the Temple knew that they needed to put a stop to Jesus and His ministry, if they were to succeed in keeping their way of life prosperous. As they devised a plan to rid themselves of Jesus and His followers, Jesus was preparing his disciples for a life that was anything but comfortable. Jesus did not soften his words or paint a pretty picture of life here on earth, he told them straight, they would be like sheep among wolves.

Luke 10:3, “Go you way; behold, I am sending you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.” 

Acts 20:29, (Paul speaking)“I know that, after my departure, savage wolves will come in among you and won’t spare the flock.”

As believers and followers of Jesus Christ, we must not be naive to the world and the ways in which satan will attempt to distract us. To be wise means to be purposeful, discerning, attentive, thoughtful and with regards to innocence, we must not use the same tactics that satan uses, like violence, coercion, manipulation, envy or jealousy to get our way. The easy thing to do is to react and strike back, as in an eye for an eye but what did Jesus tell us to do? “You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well.” ~Matthew 5:38-39. Jesus tells us to act differently, not to REACT, but to LOVE.

Our preparation, our discipleship is rooted in community, relationship and connection to ourselves, our neighbors, our church, our friends, and most importantly, God!

Moving forward, we shed our old self and put on newness of life in Jesus, being Jesus in the world. Lord, help us to be attentive and allow the challenges and struggles of discipleship to made us more like Jesus.

Breath Prayer: In struggle,…make me wise and innocent.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

https://deltastatement.com/4113/archives/fall-2017/taking-road-less-traveled/

Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

“I begged your disciples to throw [the Spirit seizing his son] out, but they couldn’t.” ~Luke 9:40

Greetings! Today’s verse is taken from the Book of Luke, chapter nine. The story starts at verse thirty-seven, when a man from the crowd shouts, in verse 38, “Teacher, I beg you to take a look at my son, my only child” and then in verse 40, “I begged your disciples to throw it (spirit that causes my son to seize) out, but they couldn’t.” Luke does not say who the disciples were, we only know that they were followers of Jesus and that they had failed to remove the spirit within his son that causes him to seize. FAILURE!

I love the quote by Henry Ford, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Biblically speaking failure is similar in that we get the opportunity to begin again, renewed by the GRACE of Jesus Christ! 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, “ But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines failure as:

omission of occurrence or performance

• a state of inability to perform a normal function

• an abrupt cessation of normal functioning

• a fracturing or giving way under stress

lack of success

• a falling short

In the reading for today, Juan Huertas talks about toddlers and how they are always wanting to do things on their own, “Me do it!” If you’ve ever spent any time around small children I’m sure you have heard those words more than once! It can be frustrating to watch them try to do something knowing they are going to fail. The natural instinct is to help, help because it will be easier and help because it will be faster! Both are true yet, they can also hinder learning. Easier and faster are not always the best choice. Much like a child learning new skills, the life of discipleship can be challenging and a reminder that we still have areas in our lives that need cultivating and development. Failure does not mean that God will give up on us or that we should give up on ourselves. No Not At All…repent, taking our mistakes and sins to Jesus in prayer asking for forgiveness and grace to start anew. God knows we are not perfect, he does not require perfection. God wants us to love Him with all our hearts and let our obedience stem from a heartfelt desire to be pleasing in His sight.

Every day we are faced with challenges that test our faith, we stumble and we get sucked into thoughts and conversations that are less than Godly, Do Not Despair, remember you are human just like everyone else, what matters is how we deal with it. As in the story today, the disciples were unable to cast out the demon spirit, Jesus was able to do it. Luke does not go into great detail, I researched the commentaries and what I found was that this specific healing required a bit more than the usual casting out. Failure nonetheless by the disciples because there was still more that they needed to learn. Juan Huertas tells us that this one required a different approach, prayer and fasting. Look for ways to develop your discipleship like gathering with other believers to continue to grow, encourage, ask questions and practice the ways of Jesus. It is in failure and disappointment, we grow in God’s love.

Today is a new day, a new opportunity to be Jesus in the world.

~Peace~

Breath Prayer: Loving God,…teach me in my failure.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

Bible Gateway by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. Bible Gateway by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/bible-gateway/id506512797?mt=8

[biblegateway app for apple: The IVP New Testament Commentary Series]

Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Monday, April 8, 2019

“When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables.” ~Mark 4:10

*Photo courtesy of: http://www.davidlose.net

Hello and Good Morning! I just loved this picture, it is exactly how I sometimes feel when reading things in the Bible. Trying to make sense of the text and how to apply it to my life. In many ways it’s comforting to know that even the disciples who spent time with Jesus during his ministry also had questions. For me, the key is to never give up the search for truth and just as important, do not stop moving forward because of a lack of knowledge. Keep the faith and move forward because the time of the Lord is now. Our author, Juan Huertas reminds us that it’s important to share “OUR” stories of along with the biblical stories. The Bible is filled with “God Moments” what about the “God Moments” in your life(?). We need to be telling our faith stories along with biblical faith stories, this will bring realism to those you are sharing with. As I mentioned a few days ago, actions are bigger than all our words. People, right or wrong, tend to believe what they can see, smell, touch, taste and hear. If I say that I believe cursing and cussing is wrong and tell others not to do it yet I continue using such language what message am I really presenting? [It’s okay to cuss and curse, it’s ok to lie, do as I say not as I do] none of these acceptable. Remember, we are representatives of Jesus Christ, we are witnessing for His Kingdom to come. We are His Ambassadors.

Discipleship is not easy, the hard work and labor is so worth it. Nothing will ever compare to the joys of spending eternity with our Creator, Savior of the World, Our Redeemer…Amen!

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” ~2 Corinthians 5:17

Breath Prayer: Help me tell…your story, Lord.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/

http://www.davidlose.net/2012/05/mark-4-10-12/

Fifth Sunday in Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Sunday, April 7, 2019

“Then the Spirit led Jesus up into the wilderness so that the devil might tempt him.” ~Matthew 4:1

The Meaning of Temptation:

• a strong urge or desire to have or do something

• something that causes a strong urge or desire to have or do something and especially something that is bad, wrong, or unwise

• the act of considering or causing to consider doing something wrong or unwise

• a cause or occasion of enticement

Our author, Juan Huertas points out in today’s reading that no one really likes talking about temptation. On the rare occasions that we do have conversations about temptation, we clump them in the following categories: uncomfortable, judgmental, denial. My personal opinion and observation is that some of us sway in and out of the categories at different stages in our lives, not to mention where we are spiritually. We should be able to talk about temptation without being judgmental of others, the truth is we all experience temptation including Jesus. Our scripture verse is story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness. No one is exempt from it, and just because we give into a temptation all is not lost! We are covered by the “GRACE” of Jesus Christ. To all those pointing fingers and talking about how awful it is to be drug down into temptation, please take a deep breath and remember, “all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus.” ~Romans 3:23-24

Temptation comes in a wide variety of things, alcoholism, gambling, gaming, eating too much, working too much, spending too much, gossiping, perfectionism…anything that one does in excess that keeps one from doing priority things in life. Anything that separates you from a fulfilled life in Christ Jesus. Talking about the things that are tempting to us makes us feel vulnerable. We need to be supportive of one another and not judgmental, we are instructed to love one another. Discipleship is difficult and only through the power of the Spirit can we live into its tough seasons.

Friends, as we begin a new week let’s concentrate the journey ahead of us and remember we are to support and encourage our brothers and sisters.

“DISCIPLESHIP IS NOT EASY”

“TRUST IN GOD”


Breath Prayer: Do not let me fall…into temptation.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Matthew%204:1&version=CEB

Lent – 2019: What Happens When We Go?

April 6, 2019

“You are witnesses of these things.” ~Luke 24:48

The dictionary tells us the meaning of witness is:

attestation of a fact or event

• one who has personalknowledge of something

something serving as evidence or proof

• to testify to

• to furnish proof of

• to have personal or direct cognizance of

see for oneself

to take note of

• to constitute the scene or time of 

IF BEING A DISCIPLE MEANS TO WITNESS, WHAT ARE WE WITNESSES TO?

As Christians, we are to share the story and love of Jesus Christ. Juan Huertas offers a great suggestion for increasing our knowledge of Jesus and His teachings but reading through the Gospels. If we were to read one chapter per day, we will have read all of them in 90 days! (Total-=89 chapters/89=days)

Matthew 28

Mark 16

Luke 24

John 21

As believers, we are all called to be witnesses and that witness can be done in many ways. One of the most obvious and expected ways to witness is by preaching, but not everyone is called to be ministers preaching from the pulpit. But, clearly we are all called to witness. Just as I mentioned several times this past week, we all have gifts and talents for sharing the “good news” of Jesus Christ…actions and words either together or separately. Pray and seek the will of the Holy Spirit to lead you to witness for Jesus. We are Jesus’ hands and feet, even his voice as we journey through life treating others with compassion and love.

Thank you all for your continued support especially throughout this past week, as my posts have been very sporadic. Hopefully, I’ll be back on a regular schedule soon.

Today, marks the end of another week, specifically “The Fourth Week of Lent 2019” and I’m so looking forward to continuing our study and meditation on our Lenten Journey!

~Peace~

Breath Prayer: Help me to be a witness…to your love, Jesus.

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/witness

Lent – 2019: What Happens When We Go?

April 5, 2019

“The seventy-two returned joyously, saying, “Lord, even the demons submit themselves to us in your name.” ~Luke 10:17

Greetings friends – Shalom!

Happy Friday!

Our author, Juan Huertas in the pamphlet “The Sanctuary for Lent 2019” shares a verse from Luke chapter 10 about “The Seventy-Two.” The entire chapter provides five separate stories/lessons for us to ponder. The first is called, “Seventy-two Sent Out” verse 1 – 12; the second is, “Judgment against cities that reject Jesusverses 13 -16; the third one is about, “The Seventy-two Return” verse 17 – 24; the fourth is about, “Loving You’re Neighbor” verses 25 – 37; and the final section of the chapter is called, “Jesus Visits Martha and Mary” verses 38 – 42.

Believe it or Not! We’ve probably all heard that statement once or twice in our lives. It’s a catch phrase for “Ripley’s Believe-It Not.”

When it comes to the Bible and it’s stories are you a “Believer(?)”. In today’s text, we read that Jesus sent out 72 individuals side by side in pairs to every city and place, giving specific instructions. As in verse 2, “He said to them, “The harvest is bigger than you can imagine, but there are few workers. Therefore, plead with the Lord of the harvest to send out workers for his harvest.” This truth remains today friends, the harvest is indeed is bigger day by day and the workers are truly too few. In an age of, “me-ism” and the I can’t believe in something I can’t see and touch and test for certainty. God’s Word is filled with promises and blessings, all we need to do is believe, have faith. Sounds too easy to be true, right. It really isn’t, trust God, the one who will never leave you. God and Jesus, both know that in our humanness we are weak. Even Thomas doubted that Jesus had risen from the dead, he needed proof!

“Thomas, the one called Didymus, one of the Twelve, wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We’ve seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, put my finger in the wounds left by the nails, and put my hand into his side, I won’t believe.” After eight days his disciples were again in a house and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus entered and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here. Look at my hands. Put your hand into my side. No more disbelief. Believe!” Thomas responded to Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus replied, “Do you believe because you see me? Happy are those who don’t see and yet believe.” Then Jesus did many other miraculous signs in his disciples’ presence, signs that aren’t recorded in this scroll. But these things are written so that you will believe that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, and that believing, you will have life in his name.” ~John 20:24-31

The life of Discipleship is and will most likely be challenging at times but the rewards far outweigh any troubles that come our way. All of Heaven rejoices when a single lost soul returns to Jesus. Sharing the live of Jesus makes my heart joyful and my dances when I can share my faith. When we live and treat others as Jesus would we are doing His work. No matter how small an act my seem to you, it could mean the world, and even more importantly…SALVATION to another. I wore a shirt yesterday that said, “My LIFE GUARD walks on waterthat small act was spreading the message of Jesus, people smiled at me and commented about it, opening doors to share my story. Kind acts like holding a door or picking up trash may seem insignificant and wasteful but friends, they are NOT! Don’t let Satan convince you of that falsehood. Be the hands and feet of Jesus, the Holy Spirit will guide and direct your steps and your voice! Amen!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” ~Philippians 4:13

~Peace to you as you step out in faith, knowing that in Christ ALL things are possible!~

Breath Peace: With God,…all things are possible.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+11&version=CEB

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Philippians%204:13&version=KJV

Lent – 2019: What Happens When We Go?

April 4, 2019

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.” They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.” ~Mark 10:49

I am wishing you all a beautiful day, today! My you be supplied with all you need to make it through the day! I am again reminded today just how blessed and fortunate I am! Today’s reading tells us about a man who desperately wanted to see Jesus but others around him thought they were more deserving, and wanted to push him aside, as if the were ashamed of him. But, Jesus hears the man and in doing so teaches us the importance of each person’s value.  We are all God’s children and none of us are more deserving over another, in fact, we are all undeserving because of Our sinfulness.   It is only because of God’s grace and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice that we are make clean and holy before God.

Most of us create “To Do Lists” whether physical notes or mental ones. As for my life, I use both. These lists are a good idea because they help us stay on track and hopefully keep us from forgetting things; however, a note of caution, lists can also make us narrow-minded and cause us to miss opportunities right in front of us because we are too focused on our list, the emphasis on “OUR” list.  Just like the blind man wanting to see Jesus, we must ask ourselves, “Have I ever ignored someone in need?”  or “Have I not helped someone even though I knew that I was more than capable of helping , but didn’t because I thought I was more deserving(?).

Friends, we are called into “Discipleship” and we are called to be “Jesus” in the world.  In order to do these things, we MUST be open to the Holy Spirit guiding and leading us. Don’t become so rigid in your daily lists of things to do that we miss the opportunities and chances to be Jesus to someone who really wants to see him.

Breath Prayer: Help me say,…”He’s calling you!”

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com/