Seeking God: When scoffers scoff

Seeking God: When scoffers scoff

Read: Psalm 129:1-8, Isaiah 53:2-3

Christ: Who has believed our message? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? I don’t come with clanging cymbals and flashing lights. Only those with discerning eye of faith can see Me in truth and Spirit. As my disciples you will not be treated with respect by everyone. You’ll encounter some persecution from time to time because no one likes to be told to loosen their grip on the world. Even so, do not let this upset or discourage you because I’m the only one whose opinion matters and I’m the one who holds your hand through everything.

they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me.jpg

Think: Jesus said “The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher” (Luke 6:40). Have I ever been mocked for following Jesus? How did I react? Sometimes the way we react by instinct does not match the way we want to react. Take a moment to pray for the next time we are persecuted. Ask the Holy Spirit to strengthen your resolve.

Pray: Jesus, you came to save the poor and weak in faith, not the ones who think they have it all together. We can see your beauty and glory. Help us to remain strong in our faith when it is challenged. We pray that seeds would be sown in these encounters. Amen.

Seeking God: Like an oasis

Seeking God: Like an oasis

Reading: Psalm 1-7, Isaiah 35:5-6

Christ: I have not left you alone. I am with you, My Father is with you. Haven’t I sent you the Holy Spirit the Advocate to live in your heart? And not only that, have I not given you a community of believers to rest upon? Like an oasis in the desert these are so that you would not lose hope until that day when I come to bring you to your permanent home. The blind will see and the lame will dance and you will see me face to face. For now, hope in Me and rest in fellowship of others I’ve called so that we are united together.

Springs will gush forth in the wilderness, and streams will water the wasteland.

Think: Through fellowship, we can know and be known. Connected to others and God through Jesus, we get to see God’s movement in ways we never thought possible. It may be awkward at first but through knowing and being known we get to see God’s work displayed in situations we may not otherwise come across. 1 John 1:3 says:

We proclaim to you what we ourselves have actually seen and heard so that you may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.

Am I a committed part of a fellowship group? What holds me back from fellowship?

Pray: Dear Lord, your will is perfect. Let us not avoid being known and knowing others through a believing fellowship community. Let us be strengthened in You as we hear others’ stories. May our fellowship be glorifying to You and serve to build each other up for work in Your kingdom. Amen.


 

Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Seeking God: Lost & Found

Seeking God: Lost & Found

Reading: Ezekiel 34:11-12, Psalm 11:1-7

Christ: Life gets so complicated and confusing when you do not know which one truth to stand upon. When I found you, you were wandering in circles with no idea which way was up. I made my presence known to you slowly but surely until you could not help but notice me, and finally you did acknowledge me. I love to see you look up to Heaven seeking Me and My will. Now that you are found, won’t you partner with me to reach the others who are lost?

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Think: As a son or daughter of God, what is my responsibility toward others who are still lost? I represent the household and reputation of my Father in Heaven. Who are the people in my life who need him, and what does it mean for me to love them?

Pray: Dear Lord, Thank you for granting me Yourself as a safe refuge. I pray for every soul that does not yet know you, that they would have ears to hear your call. I trust that you have placed me around the exact people. Let me partner with you to love those people and point them back to you with the example of my life.

 


Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

Love Notes Series: Prove it.

Love Notes Series: Prove it.
Do you recall the story of Peter denying Jesus  the night he was betrayed? Three times people asked Peter if he was associated with Jesus. The man he had followed and shared life with for 3 years prior as a close confidante. “I don’t know the man,” he had said, three times.
And how after Jesus was resurrected, he reappeared to the apostle Peter:
Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.”
He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you  love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.”
He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
John 21:15-17
Love is proven by our choice of action. It is not only to be lip-service, but a commitment. At work they look for measurable goals and judge my work by the results I bring, not by my self-evaluation.
This may seem obvious to the point of absurdity, but it is a point so easily missed. God is not looking for followers to click “Like” on his page and answer “Christian” in the text field next to “Religion”. He wants to see your heart so moved by his love for you that you will be deeply motivated to work for his cause.
And not just that – He wants the opportunity to work in and through you. He wants to work TOGETHER with you.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. Isaiah 1:17
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Thank you for reading! Please feel free to leave a comment below or send us feedback at purediscipleblog [at] gmail.com. We love to hear from you!

~The PD Team

[Book Review] Not a fan. Kyle Idleman

[Book Review] Not a fan. Kyle Idleman

Fans are people who cheer someone on from the stadium, but who you’d never see out sweating on the field. They maybe own jerseys of their favorite players, know all the stats, and never miss a game. But when the team has a bad season they are quick to jump the bandwagon and support a team having a more successful season.

Sadly, it’s how we see many fellow Christians. Maybe instead of jerseys they have t-shirts that say “Jesus is my Homeboy”, or sport one of those snazzy WWJD bracelets. They might go to church but then from Monday morning to Saturday night, there’s no evidence of spiritual fruit or that Jesus is indeed their homeboy. For this type of person, it’s more of a hobby than a lifestyle.

Our church most definitely has a disease. It’s not a new one, and in fact it’s been around ever since the days that Jesus still walked around attracting large crowds. It’s called Fandom and I’m guilty as charged of it.

Up until reading this book I would have told you with proud confidence (red flag #1) that I am most certainly a devoted follower of Jesus, not just a “creaster” (which is what he calls people that only attend church on Christmas and Easter). If you are reading this, I’m guessing you consider yourself a follower of Jesus too. But just sit back and imagine with me for a moment that every assurance of your being on the right path to salvation … is wrong. Just, what if – this whole time I’ve been thinking I was right with God but really was confusing my religion for true relationship with Jesus.

That is the premise of his well-written book – centered around the section in Matthew 7 when Jesus, frustrated with the opportunist attitude of the large crowds following him tells them plainly, “Look, you’re all calling me ‘Lord, Lord’, but the day is going to come when the truth will come out and I’m going to say, I never knew you, away from me!”

Whenever I need a slightly louder version to hammer a verse through my thick head, I turn to the MSG version. Just read Jesus in this translation:

13-14 “Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

. . .

21-23 “Knowing the correct password—saying ‘Master, Master,’ for instance—isn’t going to get you anywhere with me. What is required is serious obedience—doing what my Father wills. I can see it now—at the Final Judgment thousands strutting up to me and saying, ‘Master, we preached the Message, we bashed the demons, our God-sponsored projects had everyone talking.’ And do you know what I am going to say? ‘You missed the boat. All you did was use me to make yourselves important. You don’t impress me one bit. You’re out of here.’

Lukewarmness in faith is actually the same as being stone cold in faith. Or as Revelation 3:16 puts it succinctly, “So, because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth”. Jesus didn’t just want people to “like” his fanpage on facebook, he isn’t interested in your memorized scripture or impressed in how many charity events you coordinate. He wants your whole heart, soul, mind and life, to transform you until you are so much like him you gleam in perfection.

Although please understand, we don’t earn our salvation. Rather, we are expected to recognize ourselves as desperate and empty-handed and wholly in need of an overhaul, and then to allow God to change us through faith in Jesus and the Holy Spirit who gives us the power to work in God’s will for our good and the good of those around us.

He offers a very helpful set of questions to diagnose fandom, and help separate it from the outward “doing” part of religion. Each section should be read thoughtfully, and soberly. I definitely want to go back with a pen and spend more time answering his questions. Not only does Mr. Idleman address the state of the lukewarm Christian today, his writing style is enjoyable and easy to read. I have to be honest, I initially picked this book up because it was on sale for $2, expecting some punchy and quick encouragement to what I already thought I knew. What I found was a response to the disease of assuming. (you know what happens…) The answer: Don’t assume you’re good to go to Heaven holding your badge collection. The process of sanctification is far sweeter and far more worth the trouble.

You can get Not a fan. at Amazon here or at his site where he has small group studies and an accompanying journal.