Note: At church and in these Devotionals we are on an adventure called 90 Days with Jesus that will culminate at Easter. Throughout this adventure we are considering the amazing stories of the Master Teacher and Storyteller, Jesus Christ. This week’s Devotionals will not specifically deal with this week’s story. The story of the “Mustard Seed” helps us “picture the kingdom of God” in good and helpful ways through the image of the tiny mustard seed growing into a great tree that increasingly influences and blesses the world. Our mission is to bless the world with the kind of love and care God gives to us as His children. When the opportunity comes, we share the message of salvation with those God is using our lives to bless. What an exciting thing it is to be a part of a spiritual kingdom that is influencing and winning the world one person at a time as individual lives are touched and reclaimed for God. We hope this week’s Devotionals will serve to compliment the story of the “Mustard Seed” and be a blessing to you.
Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, of those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes; and they spoke to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, saying, “The land which we passed through to spy out is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD is pleased with us, then He will bring us into this land and give it to us--a land which flows with milk and honey.” Numbers 14:6-8
Now it came about after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, that the LORD spoke to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' servant, saying, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel.” Joshua 1:1-2
So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt …. Then God said, “Behold, I am going to make a covenant Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you. Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.” Exodus 3:8-10, 34:10-11
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?” …. “We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.” But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words. For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day” …. “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know -- this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power” … “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:5-8, 11B-15, 22-24, 36-38
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
The opposition team of ten through their impact of disobedience to God’s promise caused a delay in God’s people being established as the nation of Israel in the land. On the other hand the team of two through their impact of obedience to God’s promise was instrumental in eventually bringing God’s people into the land. In establishing His church on the day of Pentecost, God used a team of people to reach thousands of other people for His spiritual kingdom because they were obedient to God’s promises. God is wonderfully at work today clearly calling His people to join him in building His Kingdom. Wherever His people join together with Him as co-operative teams and engage in kingdom ways for building His Kingdom, great things take place. Unfortunately, many of God’s people are a part of opposition teams who are disobedient to God’s kingdom ways for building His kingdom, and the results are devastating.
Notice the last part of our Acts passage above. It speaks of repentance, baptism (in the name of Christ), and the Holy Spirit. The kingdom is all about teams of people (churches) who pursue together a lifestyle of (1) repentance where they consistently renounce sin and self, (2) being immersed (baptism) in Christ where they consistently do everything in the name of Christ, and (3) walking in the power and control of the Holy Spirit where they are consistently led and enabled to do God’s bidding instead of their own. Unfortunately, there are churches everywhere who have forgotten that this is what the kingdom is all about. They, instead, go forward selfishly pursuing their own ideas of the kingdom, desiring their own satisfaction, and relying on their own wisdom and strength. The book of Acts was all about what God was doing and his people joining him in the amazing adventure of kingdom building. This is still what it’s all about and what a wonderful thing it is join God in the building of his kingdom in the middle of the world today.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
Lord, thank you for your patience and for the opportunity to join you in what you are doing. Grant me a spirit of co-operation. Help me to renounce sin and self. Help me to be immersed in Christ. Help me to walk in the control and power of the Holy Spirit. Please surround me with others who are pursuing you and your kingdom in the same ways. Amen!
Posted on Wed, April 10, 2019
by Ken Hart