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Hmmm…

February 29, 2016

February 29, 2016

There is strength in numbers for good and for evil. It is better to side with the Holy Trinity to overcome evil with good and secure life in peace, hope and blessing. Never go life alone!

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2136

February 28, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 6.6b,7, 12-13

“Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village. Calling the Twelve to Him, He began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Never alone. If Jesus knew anything about human nature, and He knew plenty as His Father was the author of all creation, it was that if we are alone we are susceptible to failure. Sometimes we are alone even when we are together; just ask Adam and Eve. But, the true failure in the Garden was that Adam forgot that he was never alone. He allowed Eve, his wife, to be separated from him in the conversation with Satan by forsaking the covenant God made with him. Adam was not familiar with the spiritual need for an accountability partner. He made his decision based on what he saw in nature which was a physical need. It would seem to be a similar understanding he must have had about God. God, for Adam, may have been as many people today consider Him- a provider when in need. After all, when Adam was in need of companionship he saw only the need for a person like himself- flesh of his flesh. He failed to see the companionship of God being spirit of His spirit. Jesus knew that alone the disciples were far more bound to stumble and fall short of the mission He was sending them on. But together they would be able to hold each other accountable to stay on point. His trust in them was exciting and powerful. The confidence He had in them and the Spirit which was given to them expanded His ministry and set in motion what would become the Church. United they stood, divided they would have fallen. It stands to reason, does it not, that a lion by himself is susceptible to failure and death. Only in tandem with other lions can he know success. It is a lesson from nature and scripture that each mighty man but learn and put into practice.

Let me share another thing I learned today from the story of the Garden and then what the Spirit reminded me as an humbling follow-up. When Adam and Eve both ate of the forbidden fruit they were ashamed and hid themselves from God. Never before had they known separation from God; nor God from man. It was God calling out to man “Where are you?” The pain that God and the heavenly hosts must have experienced in that moment which was rivaled only when Satan and his dark angels rebelled against God and were cast out of Heaven. There was only one other rivaling moment known in history and that was when Jesus bore the sins of the world. The burden was so great that Jesus lost view of God and cried out “My God, My God, where are you?” The answer came in total submission and faith. Jesus trusted that God would answer even if the answer was silence. God prevailed and raised Jesus from the dead. Sin that had separated God from man and man from God was defeated and the glad reunion is promised to everyone who will cry out “My God, My God, you have not forsaken me!” In that moment imagine the pain that Satan must feel when another soul is kept from him and adds to the defeat of his plan to hurt God. One day his defeat will be fully realized and only the unrepentant sinner will be separated from the love of God.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For the for the protection of our law enforcement officials under fire in the line of duty
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Liberia
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation has been lifted for a time; I am believing for a new work assignment for my wife and I that will serve God’s people well
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, thank You for sending us into this world not alone but with the presence of Your Presence by the power of the Holy Spirit and those You have given us to walk with in faith, hope and love through Jesus in whose Name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

Hmmm…

February 28, 2016

Do not let your lack of faith or fear to belief that Jesus is the True Christ, Son of the Only Living God keep you from receiving the greatest blessing you can ever be given. It can be given by none other than Jesus! No substitutes or pretenders prevail!

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HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 6.4-5

“Jesus said to them, ‘A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.’ He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

I pray this Word from God concerning Jesus literally, and not just literarily, hits home. We have already read where Jesus’ family comes to Capernaum to try and talk sense into Jesus and bring Him home with them. For all their best intentions, Jesus stay focused on His mission- to preach good news and put the Spirit of God to work for the improvement of the lives of others. But, it is how He said it that challenged all those who heard Him say “Those who do the will of My Heavenly Father are indeed My family.” His word passed back through the crowd gathered in His house to His mother, brothers and sisters. How did each person share this word? Was it with care, compassion, worry, fear, abruptness, confusion? And how was it received by Mary and her children? How did we receive it when we heard this shared dialogue between Jesus and His mother? What were our thoughts? What would we have been thinking if we were Mary or James or one of His other brothers or sisters? The gospel challenges our understanding of relationships and being in right relationship with God. It begs the question of “first things first.”

And now, Jesus has taken His disciples to show them the old home place. They have left the seaside ministry for a time and gone from His home in Capernaum to His home in Nazareth. We do not know of His purpose for going to Nazareth but we certainly see His focus. The encounter records them going and when the Sabbath comes, Jesus is in the synagogue teaching. Was He invited to teach because of His reputation in Capernaum? Undoubtedly, there were people from Nazareth who had been to Capernaum. I believe that Jesus’ adoptive father, Joseph, probably had business in Capernaum and the house Jesus stayed in belonged to the family. So, while Jesus and the disciples enjoyed some home cooking and friendly fellowship how did the whole moment feel? Was there tension in the air because of the spiritual rebuff delivered previously? Was there real talk about what Jesus said? And what did people really know? I ask this for myself only because of the people’s response to Jesus’ teaching in the synagogue. They were amazed and astonished and almost ridiculed Jesus because His father was a carpenter and His family was not much different than their own. Of course, it is clear that they do not know, or at least do not understand, Jesus’ true Father is God and He is the Son of God and given to Joseph and Mary by a miracle for salvation.

Mighty men, take heed. We cannot become so comfortable with Jesus in our lives that we lose sight of who He truly is. He is not like a pair of comfortable shoes, worn soft jeans and our favorite shirt. He is not someone we just shoot the breeze with or have a few beers to forget the day. He is not our buddy. If we forget that He is the Son of the Living God, forget the evidence and proof of healings and miracles and resurrection, then we miss the opportunity to benefit greatly from His presence in our world and in our lives. Jesus isn’t just someone. Jesus is The ONE! The good news is that because of This ONE we get to be ONE, too. One with Him in spirit and in truth. One with God in love, faith and hope. One with another through the binding of the Holy Spirit. One in life- eternal and abundant. Without Him we are left in the dust to continue in our own way, our old way and our dying way. He could do no good work there not because it was His hometown. He could do no good work there because they didn’t have faith nor claim His to be God’s Son. Could it be through no fault of their own? Was His true identity still a guarded secret of His mother and a doubted truth of the rest of His family? Had they not opened their own home to share this good news and that challenging truth Jesus spoke to them through the crowd saying, “Those who do the will of My Heavenly Father are my mother, brothers and sisters.”

I suppose the challenging question for all of us is “What does our house, home and family say about Jesus and to whom?” Does this truth hit home for you? I think my comfortable shoes, jeans and shirt just got a little uncomfortable.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For the for the protection of our law enforcement officials under fire in the line of duty
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Lesotho
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation has been lifted for a time; I am believing for a new work assignment for my wife and I that will serve God’s people well
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, not only into our hearts, our mind and our spirit but through them into all our lives so that others may know of this Jesus in whose Name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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Hmmm…

February 26, 2016

February 26, 2016

Staying focused on your belief in Jesus and putting your faith in Him alone will get you to where you need to go. Let go of the “what do I want” and take hold of “what does God want for me.”

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HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 5.34-36

“He said to the woman with a long-term bleeding issue, ‘Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.’ While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. ‘Your daughter is dead,’ they said. ‘Why bother the teacher anymore?’ Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe!'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Can it still happen? Well, some may say that without Jesus there is no need. But, Jesus says “Faith and belief brings healing.” What do we have faith in? What do we believe in? And do we have great faith? Do we have focused belief? We have this tendency to keep Jesus in the picture of our lives but is He the center of our lives? As in the painting of the Last Supper where Jesus is the focal point, so must He be in our daily lives- moment by moment. Yes, there is plenty going around us that can easily divert our attention. Yes, there are other items on our agendas which must be tended to. Yet, in the midst of all these things we cannot lose sight of who we must be- mighty men in singular relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Don’t be confused by the parable of the farmer casting seed. It is not random nor haphazard. The seed may fall on a variety of soils but it is never double-seeded. He has a plan of attack to cover as much soil as possible knowing that in places there is fertile ground where the seed will be successful beyond measure. He stays focused on the broadcast. So, too, does a farmer who is tilling prepared soil stay focused. In order to cultivate the entire field for a maximum harvest, he plans to plow straight furrows in which to plant the seed. Keeping his eye on the goal allows him to achieve the goal and more. Mighty men of God, there is much to learn in these two stories of healings but if we do not keep our focus on the ultimate truth then the stories become recordings of coincidences. Instead, these are recordings of Christ-incidences. The woman KNEW that if she just touched the hem of Jesus’ robe she would be healed. Jairus KNEW that Jesus was the only hope for his daughter to live. Nothing stood in their way to get what they believed for- LIFE! And that life could only come in Jesus.

What is the true focus of your life, faith and belief? Is it a co-incidence where both Christ and the world is served? Or is it a Christ-incidence where Jesus is believed, sought after and trusted with the most precious gift of all- life?

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For those leading God’s people in worship, praise and service this weekend
* For the community of Hesston, Kansas, as they grieve from the shooting tragedy leaving dead and wounded in its wake
* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Lebanon
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* A work expectation has been lifted for a time; I am believing for a new work assignment for my wife and I that will serve God’s people well
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, how we want to be singularly focused on the truth that will set us free to be who You have called us to be. Grant to us the fullest understanding of this blessing revealed by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ in whose Name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.'”

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February 25, 2016

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 5. 1,2,6-8

“They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet Him. When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of Him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’ [He said this because] Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Of course, the rest of the story begun in chapter 4 was found here in the beginning of chapter 5 (and paralleled in Luke 8). This story, at its surface, serves as a reminder that all is not rosy upon our confession of sin and profession of faith leading to baptism and our new walk in Christ. The disciples saw the miracles and marveled with the people at the teachings of Jesus. This was a high time and one filled with wonder and promise for the onlooker. But, Jesus was not concerned about onlookers and spectators. They do not make for the Kingdom of God and this included His own personal family as we read previously. No, Jesus is looking for mighty men (and women) who will put the will of God on the line in the battle for truth! Why give a man faith if the faith is never to be used. Discipleship is not a museum ticket to observe what a few had risked to do in their belief for God. No, discipleship was becoming one of those who risked it all to live out their conviction being convicted in their belief. Just as Jesus walked to, into and through the Jordan to signify the beginning of His ministry in preparing us for ours, so the disciples were being led into a similar “baptismal” experience. Sadly, the encounter on the lake proved they were not yet ready for the encounter after the lake.

But, Jesus was prepared. He was prepared because the Word of God lived in Him. His authority caused the people to marvel, the temple leaders to commit to action and the demons to flee. Strange, is it not, that the demons never question Jesus’ word, commands or authority? They know. They fear. They obey. Makes you wonder about the rest of us as we hem, haw, question and delay our response to the call of Jesus, doesn’t it? There is some truth to the word in Revelation to the Churches “Be hot or cold but don’t you care be lukewarm lest I spew you from my mouth!” The disciples were lukewarm. “Haven’t you activated your faith, yet?” asked Jesus as they feared sinking in the very boat where Jesus was. Can you imagine that? What did they really believe about Him being the Son of God and Messiah? Of course, Mark does record their wonderment at the power over nature. So obviously they thought He had limits.

That brings us to this “rest of the story.” If they thought Jesus was limited to some physical ailments and philosophical gymnastics and had no power over nature, then imagine their surprise when He takes on a legion of demons with a simple “Come on out!” Yes, Mark hears Peter nearly forty years later trying to inspire and convince the next generation of Christ followers to take on the world at all levels with a faith that cannot be muted nor denied. Nero was roaring in Rome and railing throughout the empire against any power on earth that would dare challenge him. Little did he know that this Jesus movement was not any power on earth but power over heaven and earth and under the earth. Do we know it as well? It is the same for us if we would just believe and put our faith in action.

The disciples weren’t ready. Jesus was. But, if it took Jesus dying on the cross to get them ready then we have no excuse because He already died to get us ready. Ready or not, it’s time to call demons out and put them in their place…and watch pigs fly and swim and drown.

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Latvia
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* I am home from the hospital following tests and observation to determine the cause and treatment of chest and back pains (and seeking God’s wisdom to meet the needs of people and task without bringing harm to any)
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, may Your will be done in us even if our faith is small and well-intended through Jesus Christ in whose Name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.'”

Hmmm…

February 25, 2016

It would seem that wherever we go in this world there will be a conflict that challenges our peace. Regardless, we must be at peace in all things at all times and speak the truth in love. Love casts out all fears and the demons who want to share fears with us as some sort of gift. By the gift of faith in Jesus Christ alone do we have life and have it abundantly. What Jesus wants of us is to believe in Him and live life to its fullest.

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Hmmm…

February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016

There is a vast difference between a life saver and a life preserver. A life preserver merely enables one to maintain life, good or bad, as it is without change being it loss or gain. Little is different other than bob, bob, bobbing along. A life saver empowers a change in life from where it was to where it can be so that one life that failed is replaced with another life than cannot fail. Sometimes, our worldly saving takes many attempts. But, with God it only takes once and He is called Jesus Christ!

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2132

HIS WORD for TODAY:

Mark 4.39-40

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, ‘Quiet! Be still!’ Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. He said to His disciples, ‘Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?'”

REFLECTIONS ON HIS WORD:

Working on this one: “Which comes first? Convicted or conviction.” As Christ followers, we do have a certain conviction of doing what is right and good. We are glad to have the scriptures to help outline the path of righteousness for His Name’s Sake. We are also glad for the testimony of scripture to show us the roller coaster ride of those who desired to have faith and be faithful. We are glad for the blessing of the Holy Spirit of God which assists us in seeing more in His Word than meets the eye and deepens our conviction while affirming our faith. Most of all, we are glad to have Jesus of Nazareth, God’s Only Begotten Son from Heaven, to be our Christ- the Savior of the World and our Lord. I pause to ask a question at this point, however. Are we glad to have Jesus along for the ride or are we truly committed to be on the ride of Jesus’ life? I only ask this as my means of reflecting on the call and the acceptance of the call of the disciples to follow Jesus.

In the previous chapter we see Jesus calling twelve men from among many men and women who were following Him in His journey through Galilee from Nazareth to Capernaum. Remember, Jesus has not yet been to Jerusalem in His ministry. He met John in the Jordan to the east of Jerusalem to demonstrate His conviction to be a true follower of His Heavenly Father’s will and was baptized. He went from there into the wilderness to be convicted of His resolve to be a God’s Word follower. Then, with John’s arrest, Jesus goes to Galilee to begin His disciple training school and start the mission of accomplishing God’s perfect will of saving the world. In Galilee, He found many people who had a conviction, a resolve for the truth, who desired peace and freedom and healing in their lives. They wanted lives of purpose and meaning. They wanted to have lives that made a difference. But, in order to make a difference (conviction) they actually had to become different (convicted). It is one thing to face the jail looking from the outside in and quite another to face the jail looking from the inside out. The disciples, and other followers, had conviction- they wanted to follow Jesus because He was making a difference. But, that didn’t necessarily take great faith just some faith. Even leaving jobs and families behind was not a great act of faith because they could be recaptured if all else failed. But, Jesus knew that His own conviction changed to being convicted when He crossed into the Jordan as the son of Mary and Joseph, the begotten of God; stood in the Jordan as the son of God to fulfill all righteousness as God’s Beloved Son with immersion to the cause; and then through the Jordan to the other side to become the Satan and Sin fighter with full faith in God’s Word written on His heart, mind and ultimately His body.

God is showing me this story recorded in the fourth chapter of Mark as that transformation opportunity for the disciples. We have not heard of their baptism to be Christ followers through the confession of their sins and profession of their faith. Is this it? Are they moving from conviction (I will be a follower because His Word agrees with my desire and hope) to being convicted (I am a follower because His Word is my desire and my hope.) See if you don’t see it as well:

1) Verse 35 “Let us go over to the other side.” The disciples have just experienced mighty learning opportunities. Without a doubt there had been miracles performed along with the lessons learned. Matthew reveals the healing of the leper, the centurion’s son and Peter’s mother-in-law as preceding this story in his telling. But, immediately preceding in the gospels is the lesson on discipleship. True to Mark, no sooner is the discipleship question asked than it is tested. The disciples, with conviction to marvel and go with Jesus to marvel some more, go into the water.

2) Verse 38 “[a great squall arose and nearly swamped their boat] The disciples woke the soundly sleeping Jesus and asked with panic and anxiety “Don’t you care if we drown?” Ah, where is their conviction now? They are not followers but fearful seekers. They are not colleagues in determined ministry with Jesus but frightened and seasick, dare I say sin-sick, men. They have surrendered their conviction to do what Jesus said do “Go to the other side,” for survival which says “forget about the future, take care of right now.” Jesus is not their spiritual guide but their life preserver. Conviction says “I will follow in the good times and believe when all things are well that God is good and His Way is perfect.” Survival says “Why do bad things happen to good people and doesn’t God care about me or is it just lip service?” The waters of baptism are troubled waters because sin is taken in with the sinner and faith must scrub the sin away and wrest it from the captor’s snare with truth. Going into the water is one thing. Coming out is something altogether different.

3) Verse 40 “Why are you afraid? Do you still not have faith?” Busted! Convicted! Ouch! And what is interesting here is the simple truth that having a conviction is an indicator of having faith. But, faith as an unused, unopened and untested gift is essential useless, closed and questionable. Jesus went into the waters of the Jordan with the intention of coming out of them on the other side ready for whatever would come. He knew what would come: testing, trial, tribulation, death and resurrection. And He knew it would be the same for those who exercised their conviction to seek and follow Him alone. But, here are the disciples, and how many of us, still fearing the deep water while clutching to their biblical life preserver and looking to the life guard of the world to swim for them. Okay, so they weren’t ready. But, maybe that was Jesus’ point. Until they were truly convicted of the need to exercise the faith Jesus had in them then they were just disciples and not yet apostles. But, the test had to be given. Better tested by Jesus than Satan. But, the day would come when they would be the ones who were looked to as they looked to Jesus in that moment. Would others see the Jesus in them who had seen Jesus in the boat at rest, peace and with conviction? Or would they see men at unrest, without peace and only a calm and clear day conviction?

For those who would desire to go deeper and see what may have been on the other side according to Luke, then read chapter 8 and see how he tells this “baptismal” transformation event. Powerful!

“Let HIM be seen in the mighty men of 2016.”

PRAYER CONCERNS: (Needs of God’s mighty men that will be answered out of faith, hope and love)

* For God’s definitive word on this country’s political agenda and future being transformed into a godly mandate that glorifies God and meets the needs of others
* For the end of the ISIS regime and the spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ into all the nations of the earth
* For the homeless, including the innocent refugees from Syria, and destitute as the season definitely changes and challenges all
* For family and friends battling cancer and dementia at all stages of life and those seeking to be their caregivers and those who are their families
* For wisdom among the world’s leaders as wars and rumors of wars rise up; earthquakes, floods, great winds and fire abound; and civil unrest reaches out across all secular and non-secular lines and to lead God’s people into the truth concerning judgment, the end of days and Jesus’ return for we are moving closer to it each day.
* For those who are seeking to put an end to human trafficking that their success would be overwhelming so that the healing may be equally so
* For Louisville, Kentuckiana, Goodwill and the people of Laos
* For the needs of my family near and far and our friends healing, reconciliation and wisdom; for needs on my family now that far exceed our ability to handle on our own and comfort to our parents who are struggling with their new realities; freedom for a family member struggling with a current job; wisdom to know truth and relate it adequately; the needs of my coalition

PRAYER CELEBRATIONS (where we see Him at work in the world):

* I am home from the hospital following tests and observation to determine the cause and treatment of chest and back pains (and seeking God’s wisdom to meet the needs of people and task without bringing harm to any)
* Continuing to survive challenges placed before us at work knowing God has something more in store for us for His glory; abundant harvest now ready to receive the harvesters
* God is preparing us for our next ministry with current conditions
* God is good all the time and all the time God is good- even when we cannot see it!

ABIDING IN PRAYER: Father, through Jesus Christ in whose Name we live, serve and pray. AMEN.

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