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The Wedding Feast

Todays Reading: Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew Chapter 22 opens with the Parable of the Wedding Feast. The ESV translation text is included below.

22 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants[a] to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them. The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find.’ 10 And those servants went out into the roads and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good. So the wedding hall was filled with guests.

11 “But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. 12 And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”

As we read this text, we need to break down the metaphor within the parable. To start, let’s identify a few of the characters. The king represents the heavenly Father, God. The son for whom he is throwing the feast is Jesus himself.

The metaphor becomes slightly more complex when we start examining the wedding guests. The initial invitees, who decline to come to the wedding represent the Jews who did not choose to follow Christ. God pursues these guests through his servants, the prophets, and as we know, many of the prophets suffer at the hand of unfaithful Israel. When Israel doesn’t respond to his summons, God then sends his servants to those who were not initially invited, the Gentiles. The gentiles are represented by the guests who are invited in from the main roads.

We then see the king, God, challenge a guest at the wedding who does not have a wedding garment, and why should he? Wasn’t this person invited to a wedding from off the street? How could he be expected to be wearing wedding-appropriate attire if he was just going about his daily business? This confusion is understandable if we are taking this parable at face value. The wedding in question isn’t just any wedding, however. It’s the wedding of Christ and his bride, the Church, which will come at the end of the age when Christ returns. The wedding garment in this case, is our faith in Jesus Christ. If we accept Jesus Christ as our lord and savior, and acknowledge that he died for our sins, we have donned our wedding attire. This is cause for great celebration, and we should rejoice that the Lord has invited us to be with him in his Kingdom. It should also call us to be a witness and spread this word to others, so that they might be clothed in wedding garments as well when Christ comes to claim his bride.


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What We Put In Our Minds Matters

The one thing I do in the fast is that I limit all secular media and quite honestly, it is almost like a detox for my soul. One of the big parts of any fast is focusing on God.  There is a struggle that we have on a regular basis.  It is to be in the world but not “of” the world.  Jesus says this:

John 17:14-15 (ESV) I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.

Jesus is speaking of us to God, but it is a warning for us. It is one that we have not really taken seriously.  Today, we don’t mind being “of the world.” I’ll prove it.  What precautions have you taken outside of church to be separate from the world?  If we are honest, we allow the world in our lives in so many different ways.  What I believe is that the Church (capital C) has tried so hard to reach the world that we’ve become more like it in the process.  We lost the idea that we are not of the world.

So when I look at the individual, you and me, what does it mean to allow the world in? I believe that John sums it up in his first epistle and if we kept this verse in our hearts as a warning, we would be more careful about what we take in.

1 John 2:16 (ESV) For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.

When we think about this as a baseline for what we take in, almost all of this begins with what we see. The desires of the flesh could be lust, food, drink.  We see these things and we desire.  The desires of the eyes could be material possessions, conveniences or even luxury. Again, we desire these things.  Pride of life can be ambition, power, admiration, achievement and our desire of these sets the focus on ourselves.

The commonality here is desire.  Food isn’t bad. We need food to live, but what do we desire?  Having a home is not bad for example, but when we desire possessions, we will find ourselves worshiping at the altar of possessions.  The pride of life is an interesting one.  It is the most blatant attempt for us to worship ourselves.  We are literally living for our own glory in pride.  In the Young’s Literal Translation, the word is “ostentation of life.”  It is a pride that intends to impress or attract notice. All of this leads to some form of worship, even if we are worshiping ourselves.

Almost every unhealthy desire we take in begins with what we see, and we cannot escape worldly imagery. It’s right in front of us… every day. So, what do we do? We often can’t change what we see, but we can change how we see them. One of my favorite reminders comes from a poem by William Blake.  It goes as follows:

This life’s dim windows of the soul

Distorts the heavens from pole to pole

And leads you to be believe a lie

When you see with, not through, the eye.

~William Blake

The reminder is this: What we take in matters. We will see things in the world, but how we see these things determines who we become. Do we see the world “with” our eyes and allow the world to change us, or do we see “through” our eyes? Do we allow the Holy Spirit to interpret what we see and what we put in our mind? Our actions will be an indicator of the method of sight we live by.

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Reflecting Christ

Reflection means to look back on. We think of the reflection of ourselves in the mirror, or the reflection of the trees on the water at a lake. Maybe the reflection of love that we see in our spouses eyes. Reflection shows to us what everyone else sees, or shows who we truly are.

We are called by Christ to model ourselves after Him. It is said many times throughout Scripture that we are to strive to be like Christ and that if we are following Christ we will look more like Him daily.


“For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.”

Romans 8:29 (ESV)

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

2 Corinthians 3:18 (ESV)

“You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Matthew 5:48 (ESV)


This does not mean we must be perfect in every way. The book of Proverbs tells us a righteous man falls seven times but rises up again. I have said many times that the difference between a sinner and a follower of Christ is what we do when we fall. Do we stand back up and continue to move towards perfection or do we lay in the pit of sin and filth and self pity. We strive for perfection. This is God working His process of sanctification in us. We are saved by grace alone, and this is justification. The rest of our journey through life is a process of sanctification becoming more like the image of our savior.

This is how you can truly tell if a believer is following after Christ, and though imperfect, trying to be perfect and work in sanctification. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 during the sermon on the mount that we will know who people are by their fruits. Are we exhibiting bad fruit in our lives that we would be compared to the diseased tree in Matthew 7 or are we seeing the fruits of the spirit that are spoken of in Galatians 5 developing and being seen in our lives. In this we would be compared to the healthy trees that Jesus refers to as producing good fruit in their season. The fruit of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Have we crucified and died to our flesh as Galatians 5:24 says, to reflect that we belong to Christ.

Are we showing an accurate reflection of Jesus to those we encounter every day. Is there something different people can see in our lives than what is seen in the rest of the world. This is why we reflect. Because to truly follow Christ is to be more like Him, and to be more like Him means to show the same love He showed us to other, and to show this love to others, we will be considered strange and different. What are we doing to show and reflect Christ in all we say, do, and think?


“There is nothing, surely, which exhorts us more than this Sermon on the Mount to be what we are meant to be, and to live as we are meant to live; to be like Christ by being a complete contrast to everyone who does not belong to Christ.”

-D. Martin Lloyd-Jones

“To be like Christ is to be a Christian”

-William Penn

God I pray that we would be more like you. That we would die to our flesh and the desires of this world, that our hearts would no longer be hearts of stone, cold to the things of Your Spirit, but that we would be given changed hearts that seek after Your will above our own in all things. That we would accurately reflect Christ in our lives to everyone we meet. That we would truly work towards sanctification and becoming more and more transformed into the image of Christ. I thank you that we are able to rest in Your mercy and Your grace, which cover us and forgive us, so that when we fall we can stand back up and walk forward in Your path and Your plan. In the precious name of Jesus. Amen

Soli Deo Gloria

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The Two Blind Men (Church Fast Day 11)

Todays Reading: Matthew 20:17 – 21:27

Have you ever begged for something? I’m sure you have. You may have even promised something in return.

I think a lot of us have asked Jesus for something in return for, perhaps, being good? Or to be more devout followers?

But what happened when Jesus provided and then the seasons changed? Did your relationship with Jesus strengthen or wither?

In my experience, I did not uphold my end of the deal. I let my selfish ambitions, my family, and my sins get in the way of my relationship with Jesus.

Matthew 20:29-34 displays a powerful image of two blind men who begged Jesus to be healed. Jesus heals the men and they immediately begin following Him. 

They followed Him immediately! And not just casually, but wholeheartedly. These two men began living for Jesus. Their whole lifestyle changed.

This passage serves as a metaphor for being a lost and hopeless sinner to becoming a found and hopeful follower of Jesus.

When prayers were answered in your life, how did you react? Did you put Jesus back on the shelf to collect dust, or did you make Him top priority and Lord of your life?

My challenge for you is simple: if you can see the blessings that Jesus has given you in your life, what is stopping you from living fully for Jesus?

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The Love of Christ (Church Fast Day 10)

Todays Reading: Matthew 19:13 – 20:16

The love that Christ has for us is unfathomable. What we see in these verses may be confusing for some just because parables can be confusing to understand and be taken in different understandings. So just know that this is what I take away from the reading of Matthew 19:13 – 20:16.

In these verses (and throughout the whole Bible of course) we can see Christ’s love, even thru the many parables that Christ teaches.

In the first of the verses, we read of Jesus blessing the children. As we see in other parts of the New Testament, Jesus loves children. He sees them as what they are, still spiritually immature and still learning. But, in that, they have so much hope, faith, and love they are showing and learning in Jesus and God the Father. What we also can see in these verses is that Jesus still loves us no matter what. No matter how spiritually immature we may be if we keep reading the word, keep trusting in Him, and put our faith, hope, and love in Him, He loves us!

In the next verses (Matthew 19:16 – 22), we read the parable of the rich young ruler. In reading this, my understanding is that this young ruler seemed to want the easy way to get into heaven. He was asking Jesus what else can I do to make sure I get into heaven, however, when Jesus told him to give up his worldly possessions to follow Him, the ruler could not. Jesus is trying to show us, that even though we may “look” like the “perfect” Christian by following all the commandments, reading the word, etc. But, if we don’t truly believe, trust, love, and have faith in Him, then what are we? We must not be of the world and worldly things. We must trust in God that He will provide everything we need! In this parable, we see that the ruler could not give up his possessions to follow Jesus because of his LOVE for his worldly possessions. He had more love for them than he did for Christ.

In the next verses (19:23-30), where he explains possessions and the Kingdom, He states, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven!”

I don’t take it as ALL rich people cannot enter heaven. I truly believe that there are some great truly God-loving “rich” people. However, what I believe Jesus may be saying is the people or “rich” people that will not enter heaven are the ones that have more LOVE of their worldly things, riches, and possessions than they do for our Father in Heaven. But the disciples saw that well… truly as humans we struggle with this every day. So, they ask, “who can be saved?”

“With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matt 19:26

Once again, He is stating that humans are sinners no matter what. We will have struggles, tribulations, and everything in this life. But, when we trust in God, all things are possible. God is loving and will forgive us.

Jesus moves onto another parable, The Vineyard Workers. Now with this parable, I truthfully had to read it a couple of times. I wanted to make sure I really grasped what it is saying. We read about the owner of the vineyard going out many times the same day to the marketplace to hire workers. When he goes to pay them, all of them get paid the same, no matter how long they worked. The vineyard owner says, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” – Matt 20:16

We also read earlier in the passage Jesus tells the disciples, “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” – Matt 19:30

I believe what Jesus is trying to teach is that those who are last are those who have given up the world and worldly things for the Kingdom. They may be last in this world, but in the Kingdom of Heaven they will be first. God is just, merciful, fair, and forgiving. Even the person who has been sinning their whole life, if at the last moment they give their everything to God, He will be there. He will forgive. He loves no matter what.

In taking all this, there is still so much more to unpack from just these few verses. From what I have read in these verses (and hope you see as well) God’s love is in all of this.


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How We Treat Others (Church Fast Day 9)

Today’s Reading: Matthew 18:15 – 19:12

Today in our reading, we see several examples of how Jesus expects us to treat each other when “sin” or a disagreement happens in our relationships. We are shown here that we should be respectful, kind, quick to forgive, and merciful. We are also shown to uphold healthy boundaries and principles. This can be a tough balancing act for many of us.

Matthew 18: 15-17 –When a brother or sister sins

We see here that Jesus instructs us to first approach our fellow brother/sister privately. If they listen to you, that is as far as it needs to go. This is showing respect to that person and the sensitivity of the matter. If they continue in their sin, then you are to take one or two others with you to discuss with them. This is still showing respect and kindness, however now we are bringing in a couple of others to agree to pointing out the sin or fault in hopes that the person will stop whatever it is they are doing. If they continue to do the wrong thing, you then take it before the church. This is a more severe way to try and hold someone accountable by exposing their sin.

Notice that we aren’t going straight to the last step. We are to be gentle, yet firm. We give that person an opportunity for change before the more severe action is taken. This is an example of grace. We also see where the boundary is laid and that we do not allow our brother or sister to continue in their sin and pretend it is OK.


Matthew 18: 21-35 – The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Here we see Peter asking Jesus how many times we are to forgive someone who has wronged him. Peter, like many of us, is looking at this question through the eyes of the world and not through the eyes of Jesus.

Jesus then tells us a parable of a servant who owed the king a lot of money. More than he could ever pay back in his lifetime. So the king ordered that the servant, his wife, his children, and everything he possessed be sold in order to repay the debt. But then the servant cried out in desperation. The king showed him mercy and forgave the debt altogether!

Later on the same servant came across a man that owed him money. Instead of showing mercy and kindness towards him, he had him thrown in jail. When hearing of this, the king became very angry with the servant whom he forgave saying “Shouldn’t you have mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” He then punished the servant severely.

Who are we to put limits on forgiveness and mercy? I for one, am so thankful that God does not count the times he shows me grace, forgiveness, and mercy!

Matthew 19: 1-12 – Concerning Divorce

The Pharisees approach Jesus here asking if it is lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason. Jesus responds by reciting Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 which pretty much explains why when you make the commitment of marriage, you should not divorce. They then ask him if that is so, “why did Moses say that a man can simply write a certificate of divorce and send his wife away?”

Jesus responds beautifully here in telling them that Moses permitted this because of the hardness in their hearts, but that this was never the way God intended. When you make a commitment to someone in marriage, you should make every effort possible to stay together. We should be slow to anger, forgiving, compassionate and loving to our spouse.


In our culture today we see the opposite of what Jesus is teaching us. People treat each other with disrespect, anger, and hatred. We hold grudges and have nothing to do with people who have wronged us in the past. For others, there seem to be no boundaries at all. Anything goes – as long as it doesn’t affect me.  Marriage commitments are not taken seriously.

Jesus teaches us how to be balanced and mature in our thought processes and ways that we treat each other. I am thankful that He shows us a better way to live and to be. I pray today that we all put aside the darkness in our hearts when we respond the way the world does. That we would strive to live and treat each other as Jesus has instructed us to.

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Transforming (Church Fast Day 8)

Todays Reading: Matthew 17:1 – 18:14



In the beginning of today’s reading we are given the account of the Transfiguration of Jesus. Verse 2 reads ‘’He was transformed in front of them, and His face shone like the sun. Even His clothes became as white as the light.” This is a small glimpse of to the revealing of His glory to Peter, James, and John.

Then it goes on to say in Verse 5 that suddenly a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him!” Of course, the disciples were terrified by this and fell on their faces. But then Jesus touches them and says “Rise and have no fear.” To me, these passages show us that we are to follow Jesus, confirmed by God the Father. Not in fear, but in faith.

While we may not transfigure as Jesus did, we do have transforming moments in our lives. God’s glory can be revealed in us if we allow it to.

Much like Jesus and the disciples climbed a mountain where God’s glory was revealed, Jesus will help us to climb “mountains” in our own lives. Think about what it would take to actually climb a mountain. It is hard and often dangerous! But once you are there at the top, the feeling of climbing the mountain and the view is like nothing else.

Another example of transforming we are given in today’s reading is in Matthew 18. The disciples were busy discussing amongst themselves (in another place in scripture it even says that they were arguing) who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus uses a child among them and says “Unless you turn and become like children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” He goes on to further explain that whoever humbles themselves like a child would be considered the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. He is trying to teach us here that we must transform ourselves from the ways of this world.

We see in the world that people are often prideful, arrogant, and want everyone to know about their “accomplishments”. They consider themselves to be great. Jesus flips this way of thinking upside down. In contrast to the world’s view of what greatness is, we see that God desires us to be humble, willing to learn, and to be dependent on Him.

This type of transformation in our lives can only come from God. When you accept Jesus as your savior and decide to follow Him, you are also agreeing to allow Him to transform you. Whether it be helping us to climb the mountains in our lives, or by teaching us to look at life through the eyes of a child, Jesus transforms us to be more like Him so that we too can allow God’s glory shine through.

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Who do You say Jesus Is? (Church Fast Day 7)

Daily Reading – Matthew 16

The Pharisees and Sadducees Demand Signs


As modern believers of Jesus, it’s often easy to question the Jews of Jesus day and Monday morning quarterback their unbelief.  But just as today, the Jews of Jesus day had diverse beliefs.  The two most significant Jewish sects, the Pharisees and Sadducees, did not see things that same way, nor did the Samaritans or the Herodians or the Essenes, or even the disciples of John the Baptist.  The leaders of these two major groups were united in their unbelief about Jesus as Messiah.  Jesus takes them to task in no small way, calling them an “evil and adulterous generation” just as He had when He encountered the Pharisees according to Matthews report in chapter 12 (v. 38-42), where he said, “For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mat 12:40)


The Pharisees and Sadducees are demanding a sign of their own choosing, ignoring the prophets and their own eyes.  How often I think back on a situation where it should have been so plain to me that there was some work of God to be accomplished, but I didn’t see it because I wanted God to do something different.  How often I think of how my prayers to God are for some sign showing me that he agrees with what I’m asking for, and not praying that God would show me if I’m wrong.  Jesus’ use of the Jonah illustration is twofold.  On one hand, he is prophetically pointing to his own burial and resurrection, but on the other hand, he’s reminding the Jews of the consequence of their own willful ignorance of God’s charge to them.

Oops, you forgot your Faith


I love that the Bible is full of humor and embarrassing moments.  There are 12 disciples and an untold number of others in Jesus’ entourage, and every single one of them forgets to bring bread.  Then they get into a mild argument about it.  (The ESV says they “began discussing it”, but the greek word is dialogizomai, which can also mean “debating”).  Jesus interrupts them and chastises them with a not-so-subtle reminder that they were just witnesses to him miraculously feeding four thousand people.  Jesus is trying to get them to refocus from the carnal to the spiritual when he tells them, “beware the leaven of the Pharisees.”


I am grateful, during this time of fasting, that Jesus is drawing our attention away from the carnal cares of this world and back to the spiritual things of God.  He can accomplish anything according to his purposes in the material world, but he wants us drawn out from debates and disputings (and arguments on social media), and re-focused on accomplishing the work of the Kingdom of God.

Who do you say I am?


Jesus wants to know you, and he wants you to know him.  He asks his disciples “who do people say the Son of Man is?” and then he asks them who they think he is.  I love this exchange as an evangelical model.  A friend asked me a couple of weeks ago, “How do you have a conversation with people about Jesus?”  My answer to him was that I simply ask people “what do you think other people think about Jesus in 2022?”  Which of course, is simply a way to solicit their opinion about other peoples’ opinions in a very non-threatening way.  People are almost universally willing to talk about other people.  But the real goal of my initial question, just like the goal of Jesus, when he asked, “But who do YOU say I am?” is to ask people what they personally think about Jesus.


Peter answered Jesus and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”  And Jesus acknowledges, in a way that again reminds his disciples that the greatest truths we can know are not derived from the intellect of our flesh, but of the Spirit of God, saying, “flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” (v.17). There’s a theme here, as Jesus keeps pointing his disciples towards a greater dependence on spiritual discernment.  Lord, make that so with me, too!

Get behind me, Satan!


Having allowed his disciples to experience the revelation that he is the Messiah, the Christ, the Lord’s anointed; Jesus pops their balloon.  He reveals to them that he is going to be killed (He also reveals to them that he is going to be raised again, but somehow this part is lost on them).


Peter, having missed the importance of all the lessons Jesus has been trying to impart about being heavenly minded and leaving behind the desires of the flesh, is determined to stop Jesus from dying.  “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you,” says Peter, as he is determined to have Jesus do what Peter thinks Jesus should do.


Jesus has his own path, and Peter can’t see it.  And Jesus’ path isn’t even his own, but that of his Father.  Jesus knows that he must be obedient to that path, and he rebukes the one who would tempt him away from it.


Peter is a tempter, just as Satan had been in the wilderness at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. The word satan means “adversary”.  Peter, even in his zeal to see Jesus live, is an adversary to the mission of Christ.  He puts his own desires ahead of the missional work that Jesus was sent to accomplish.


Jesus rebukes Peter, “You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”  It’s a reminder that God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways. (Isaiah 55:8-9)


Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus


I’ve heard this phrase preached many times as a sort of call to suffering for the cause of Christ.  But I have a somewhat different take on it in light of the immediate context in which Jesus said this to his disciples.


He’s just finished punching hard at the idea that they need to be heavenly minded and not worry about their earthly desires so much.  He’s got a spiritual mission and we are supposed to be part of it.  To do that, we need to unburden ourselves of the cares of this world.


Jesus also said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)


If we believe him in that, then bearing our cross is not something that we can do on our own, but only if we let Jesus bear the burden with us.  And when we’re yoked to Jesus, we’re not going to go astray.  Our followership is easy.


Lord Jesus, help me to stay yoked to you so that I can walk in your way and not my own.

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Jesus Says Go (Church Fast Day 6)

In Matthew 28:19, right before Jesus ascends to Heaven, He tells the disciples 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is commonly known as “The Great Commission” and is used at just about any missions service you will ever go to. We tend to take this commission and only think of it in a more global concept instead of a local concept as well.

Have we ever thought that we are all called to missions? We think of missions as going overseas and helping build orphanages or bring clean water to people while telling them about Christ, but these are just side effects of people carrying out missions. True missions is to share the Gospel. John Wesley said, “You have one business on earth – to save souls.” This should be our foremost thought and goal.

I remember when I was much younger one of the churches, we attended had signs above all the doors to the sanctuary. As you were exiting these signs said, “You are now entering the mission field.” Missions does not require travel or going to some far-off place. Missions is here and now. Charles Spurgeon said, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an impostor.”

Too often I think we find ourselves as imposters. We will donate to foreign missions and talk about how much we wish we could go share the Gospel, but we ignore the mission field right in front of us. Whether it be in your job, your school, your neighborhood, or community that is your mission field. Wherever you live is where God has called you to do missions.

We are to share the Gospel. That is what the Great Commission entails and what should be the focus of every church. We share Christ and Him crucified and raised to life. This is the Gospel. Not to love our neighbor or to take care of widows and orphans. These are good and are commanded by scripture, but they are not the Gospel. The Gospel message is much too precious to share space with anything else. The fact that the sovereign God of all creation, came down to earth and walked and talked and experienced everything we experience. Then died in the most humiliating, painful method of execution, satisfying the wrath of God for all that would believe on Him. Then He rose and conquered death and the grave and has now gone to prepare a place for us. This is the Gospel. This is the Good News. This is the core of the Great Commission.

If you have the opportunity, and feel God leading you to it, go on a short-term mission’s trip. I promise you it will change your life if you allow it to. Go fellowship and share the Gospel with other brothers and sisters around the world, but don’t ignore your own mission field. Don’t think that because you are not able to go to somewhere far away from where you live you cannot be involved in missions. Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.” Go and be that light to your friends, to your co-workers, to those you consider your enemies. Let the light of Christ shine from within you to all that you encounter. Show others Jesus through your actions and your words. This is your missions’ field. Jesus simply says go.

“God is pursuing with omnipotent passion a worldwide purpose of gathering joyful worshipers for Himself from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. He has an inexhaustible enthusiasm for the supremacy of His Name among the nations. Therefore, let us bring our affections into line with His, and, for the sake of His name, let us renounce the quest for worldly comforts and join His global purpose.” — John Piper

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Why Do Christians Fast (Church Fast Day 5)

There are more answers to this question than one devotion could ever afford.  The believers fasted in decisions, they fasted in concern, they fasted as they mourned, they fasted as they performed ministry and even more.  However in covering fasting in one devotion, there is a general point of fasting.

Joel 2:12 ESV  “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning;

Life, from the perspective of the believer, is the return of God’s people to their God.  With that, in all aspects of life, we turn to Him.  Fasting is one of the signs of our return to God.  It is why all these occasions exist as to why a person fasts.  In mourning, decisions, concerns, ministry, requests and even repentance among other reasons, we set our hearts back towards God when we fast.

Paul furthers this idea when he declares that every person is in a flesh vs. spirit battle in their daily lives.

Romans 8:13 ESV For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Fasting is one way we physically choose to deny the very flesh we are at war with.  There is a mandate for us to win this battle within with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 ESV But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.

The lesson here is incredibly important because we often believe the greatest battles are around us or in front of us, but the most important battle before any other is to win the battle within.  We are the first enemy we must conquer in life and we cannot defeat this enemy without the help of the Holy Spirit.

In the end, Satan may be the father of lies, but we are the liars.  The most cringe-worthy thing I hear from Hollywood these days is “Follow your heart!”  The Bible says this:

Jeremiah 17:9 ESV The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Fasting is one of a number of ways that we respond to the Spirit’s work within us to transform our hearts from deceit to truth, from sick to well, from death to life.

Often when we fast, we want God to do something, or we want answers, or maybe we just want God to change the situations we are in.  However, in the full reality of fasting, the reminder is not that God will change our situation, but that He will change us.

In the end, the goal of fasting is not that you are hungry.  It is the reminder that even in physical hunger, you can be satisfied in Christ.  As we fast, we surrender our flesh to the work of the Spirit and we pray that God would make us new.