What does Jesus do all day? Some suggestions

Esther's Petition

JesusPerhapsGod in human form appeared to people on earth even before Jesus was born as a tiny baby in Bethlehem. Is he still doing that today? I think so…

Here are a couple of reports from Operation Mobilization’s December 2012 Global Prayer Update.

Syrian Refugee God Encounter

A man from a Christian relief team recently delivered food to a Syrian widow living in a rural Muslim village near the border. When the anxious widow opened her door to him, the Christian explained he had come out of love for God. She told him about an encounter the previous day.

While sleeping during the night, she heard a knock on the door. She responded but no one was there. After a while she heard the same knocking and went to sit next to the door, where she eventually fell asleep.

While she was sleeping someone put His hand on her shoulder…

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Thomas was not the only doubter

Do you sometimes have doubts? Wondering, questioning your faith and then feeling guilty about it, those kinds of doubts?

You’re not alone.

“Doubting Thomas” is a familiar Bible character. One of Jesus’s original apostles, he had seen all the miracles.  He’d even participated in some of them!

And yet, “tch, tch, tch,” he declared he would have to see and feel Jesus alive again for himself, in order to believe he’d really been resurrected.

What a disappointment Thomas must have been. Jesus commented, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Did you know Thomas wasn’t the only one? Hundreds of people saw Jesus back from the dead, alive and well just as he had promised. “After that He appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep.” (1Cor 15:6)

And yet some of the apostles doubted! When they saw Jesus, “they worshiped him… but some doubted.” (Matthew 28:17) Amazing.

But doubting wasn’t a new sensation for them. Jesus had explained more than once that he would be killed — he had to be killed to fulfill prophecy — but don’t worry, he would rise again! And they just didn’t quite believe it.

He’d done many miracles along the way. Multiplied food, healed sick people, cleansed lepers, cast out demons, raised dead folks. The twelve hadn’t just seen it, they had done it too! So how could they doubt?

Well, the word doubt in Matthew 28 is “distazo,” meaning to waver; to believe two opposing things. “Yes, it’s true. No, it’s not true.”

Jesus spoke that word to Peter. Jesus said, “Come,” so Peter did, he left the boat to walk on the water like Jesus, but soon began to sink.

“Why did you doubt?” Jesus asked him. (Matthew 14:28-31) “Come” surely meant that Yes, Peter could do it, he could walk on the water too! And so he climbed out of the boat. But as his senses saw, heard and felt the storm, his resolve wavered. No, he couldn’t, all his senses said. Jesus could, but Peter couldn’t.

Chiding him, Jesus pointed out the problem: Peter’s wavering between belief and doubt; resulting in little faith. Peter called out for help, “Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, ‘O you of little faith, why did you doubt?’ (Mat 14:31 ESV)

One other thought: Jesus’s Why question means Peter could choose between two options: “Yes, I can do this,” or “No, I can’t do this.” He chose the right one first, but then switched to the wrong one.

After Jesus rose from the dead, his followers (men and women) still had problems with doubt. Maybe his promise wasn’t of a physical resurrection, they probably wondered; maybe it was only spiritual. But the tomb is empty — where is his body?

Jesus’s voice convinced Mary but she couldn’t convince the others. They all had to see him in person, hear his voice. Thankfully Jesus was understanding, and fulfilled their desire. (Mark 16:9-11)

Wavering is still a problem with Christians.

“But he must ask in faith without any doubting (wavering), for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that person ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord,  being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” (Jas 1:6-8 NASB20)

Doubt / waver here is the Greek word “diakrino,” meaning to examine all the facts in order to determine the truth, but never coming to a final decision. Yes, it’s true! No, it’s not true! Faith-nullifying wavering and doubting.

Paul also addressed this problem. “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1Cor 16:13 NASB20)

Do you have doubts sometimes? You’re not alone. So did the apostles! Just don’t stay there. Choose the right option.

 

Acceleration, happening now

18 October 2021

Last night the Lord quickly answered my prayer question, “What’s happening now, Lord?”

Acceleration, He said. More and more things are happening fast, and faster, and faster. Some are visible, some invisible.

Some people – believers and unbelievers – have been blase up to now, simply shaking off news of behaviors and actions of ungodly people. Now they have begun to feel uncomfortable. They wonder if perhaps they should pay closer attention to current events. Their discomfort is growing more intense by the day. Soon their discomfort will have to be addressed.

Some ungodly ones who thought their way of doing things would benefit them and their friends are noticing unplanned results instead. Their ideas have brought results they didn’t anticipate and don’t like. Things are worse for them today than yesterday and will be worse tomorrow than today. They’re wondering what to do, but none of their ideas will be better than their past ones. Indeed, they will be worse. Some will be much worse.

Yet things are better today for many who now have life. Yesterday they had death; they were working for the wages sin brings, and that is death. Yesterday they came to a decision, decided right, and today they have life. Today many others will come to that same decision, will decide right and also have life. Their numbers are increasing exponentially.

The acceleration is working both ways. Watch for it. Pray about it.

In, it’s such a little word

Esther's Petition

What was the plan, exactly?

Let’s talk about words some more. Words are describers:

Short, tall. Long, short.
Strong, weak. Simple, complicated.
Ideas, plans… Plans?

Remember this for later: “No word of God is void of power.” (Luke 1:37)

I was meditating on that verse one evening. It’s the angel Gabriel’s answer to Mary that day. He had told her something amazing, something wonderful, something absolutely dumbfounding. And she had asked him, How?

I gave that a bit more thought, then asked – “NO word, Lord? No word of God is void of power?”

“Have you considered the word in?” He replied. “As in, In the beginning?”

“Hmmm. I know several verses begin that way. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1.” I could almost feel him nod his head and wait, as I continued to think.

I had to admit that I’d never really considered that little word, in

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Unbelief can kill you

Esther's Petition

Hindrances to successful prayer

Living here and now, believers in Christ have God the Holy Spirit living inside of them, interested in their daily activities, their thoughts and wishes. Instructing, explaining, giving out assignments and directions, including what to pray.

If we are inhabited by God himself, and if we are praying what God desires for us to pray, then what might hinder us from getting those prayers answered?

Unbelief, which can come from (1) a willful refusal to believe, or (2) ignorance of who God is, his character, his love, his grace, and his will. The result is the same, a lack of active, energized faith. Faith and belief are from the same Greek word, pistis.

  • Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5-6 – Jesus could do no mighty works in Nazareth because of unbelief.
  • Matthew 9:25, Mark 5:40 – Jesus put unbelievers out of the room (case of the ruler’s…

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Unlimited potential, unlimited capacity

Seeds, continued… (again)

Esther's Petition

CornKernelsCornEars CornStalksWithEars

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21 NIV)

“In me… in you… in us…” Really? In – from the Greek preposition “en,” meaning inside the interior of something. Not a complicated, mysterious word at all. This was Jesus’ prayer, just before being killed.

I’m a life-long fan of murder mysteries. Hercule Poirot. Sherlock Holmes. Nero Wolfe. When trying to figure out “who dunnit,” the wiley detective always asks, Who benefits?

Thinking back to the events leading up to Easter, the cruelty, the overwhelming horror and anger and grief of the helpless disciples as their leader was assassinated, an…

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What’s so special about mustard seed?

Seeds, more… again…

Esther's Petition

BirdInMustardTree“Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.” (Matt. 13:31-32 KJV)

“And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.” (Luke 17:6)

Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed. He also said, if you had faith as a grain of mustard seed you could do miracles.

Why did he use mustard seed to compare those things?

Mustard…

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Seeds

Seeds, more…

Esther's Petition

Reading through Luke Chapter 8, I came to the parable of the sower and the seeds. Curious, I researched “seeds” online and found some new-to-me information.

A seed contains a live plant embryo — a new baby plant, female and male plant cells having combined in the parent plant. The scientific description of this process is fascinating, to say the least.

In order for the baby plant to grow and break free of its container it needs light, water and oxygen, and soil in which to find those things. In Genesis chapter 1, God created the earth (soil), light, water and sky (oxygen) first, and separated the seas from dry land.

In 1:11, “Then God said, ‘Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.’ And it was so.”

The soil came complete with the…

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Don’t eat the seed corn

Seeds, continued…

Esther's Petition

seed-cornSeed corn: don’t eat it, plant it.

Back when most people grew their own food, that didn’t have to be explained.

When I was a little girl spending my summers on my grandparents’ farm, I learned that you didn’t eat the seed corn. I helped my grandmother pick over a big basket of seed corn that was being put aside for the next year, cleaning the trash and dead bugs out of it.

A seed has life built in, no matter whether it’s corn, or butterbeans, or sunflowers. It doesn’t have to wonder what to do, it “knows” to grow. The faith for growing is entertwined in the life…

But there is something else about seeds. They need stuff. Like soil, food, water, fertilizer, and protection from pests. Today, vegetable and flower seeds are sold in stores with a coating of plant food and/or bug killer surrounding them, so you…

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So, how do we take advantage? (of the nature of seeds…)

Seeds, continued…

Esther's Petition

Prepared fieldPrepare the field. Remove the stones, the briars and weeds, plow up the soil and fertilize. Then sow the seeds. Follow-up with proper cultivation. Okay, that’s how a farmer does it. But how does the word-sower do it? Let’s look at how Jesus did it.

Pray first, find out where Father wants you to go and what he wants you to do.

Love people and help them. Turn water into wine. Feed hungry people. Heal sick people. Return a dead son to his mother. Return a healed sick boy to his father. Drive demons out when necessary. Whatever shows the Father’s mercy, compassion and practical help, do that. Then, when you speak they will listen.

Teach in easy to understand ways. Use understandable examples. Use the weather. Carpentry. Farming. Housework. Business. Warfare. Scripture, where the people are familiar with scripture. Be practical, useful, helpful. Build up, not tear down. Encourage…

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