I’m doing Friday with y’all! What a gift it is to do so! I’m anxious to jump into Dad’s Word again today and expand a little bit more on where we left off yesterday with Peter and his heart that loved Jesus and greatly wanted to be loyal to him and yet in his humanness, he ended up denying Jesus when the pressures of fear were upon him as he was standing in the courtyard of the place Jesus had been taken to be tried by religious leaders. Just as Jesus said would happen when the rooster crowed twice, Peter denied Jesus a third time. At that moment, the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Ouch! Knowing Jesus though, it was not a condemning look, but rather a look that identified with Peter – a unity that said I understand where you are at and I am with you in this experience. None the less, it broke Peter’s heart to think he had failed his beloved Jesus. Dad’s Word says that he broke down and wept. Poor Peter, I can relate to Peter’s heart and if you can, too, I would like to encourage you as Dad has encouraged my heart, in that Dad works good through our mistakes. Hindsight is 20/20 in that we learn from our mistakes and thus we grow and are conformed more and more to the image of Christ as we gain experience. It is appropriate that if we have hurt our Father or someone else, to acknowledge that sorrow over sin to them and then begin afresh to do different moving ahead. Dad says if we confess our sins before Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Bless Him! Grace is a good thing! We are all human and for the mistakes of all mankind, Christ sacrificed Himself to taste death in our place that the wages of our sin would be paid by Him. As a Savoir, He models what grace is to look like and as He forgives us, He says we are to forgive others. I don’t know about you, but when I am hurting because of my sin, it is a blessing to hear grace is extended to me. After Jesus’ resurrection, He sought to encourage Peter that He was still accepted. How wonderful this must have been to Peter’s heart that loved Jesus so much! That Jesus – He sure was sweet! After this scene in the courtyard, Jesus’ was turned over by the religious leaders to the Roman ruler Pilate for a civil trial. Pilate had been warned by his wife that he should have nothing to do with the innocent man Jesus as she had suffered much in a dream that day about Him. Hence Pilate was leary as a result and found no crime committed by Jesus. Pilate surmised that the religious leaders were just envious of Him. Therefore, he sought to see if the public would accept the release of Jesus over Barabbas as it was customary for a prisoner to be released at the time of the Passover Feast. The religious leaders were not about to let this happen and so they persuaded the crowd to ask for the release of Barabbas instead and to request crucifixion for Jesus. The crowd was easily led as they didn’t have a formed opinion about who Jesus was. This is of key importance in making good verses poor choices in life! Pilate was easily led in this choice as he feared public opinion that could affect him politically. If he truly knew who Jesus was, He would have feared Him even more! What the crowd said went with Pilate. Hence Jesus was handed over to be flogged and crucified as was prophesized. Rejection upon rejection – it must have been hard, but Jesus endured because Dad’s Word tells us He had His eyes fixed on the joy set before Him which was eternity and His Father’s great love and purpose for Him. With this in mind, He persevered and even amazed Pilate at His composure as cruel accusations were hurled at Him with an attitude of wanting to destroy Him. Jesus was a real trooper! Perhaps in His mind He could hear His Daddy’s Words that were spoken over Him as He was baptized by John “You are my Son whom I love and with you I am well pleased.” Maybe He heard His Dad reminding Him that He was fearfully and wonderfully made and that He knew the plans that His Dad had for Him – plans to prosper Him and not harm Him. He may have been focused on His great eternal reward upon completion of the hard work ahead and the blessing His work would bring to many. He may have been singing songs of worship in His heart to His Dad, giving thanks for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of His enemies by loving them or saying prayers for strength to keep on. Perhaps He was reminded of His Daddy singing a little song to Him like this one that I sometimes imagine my Daddy singing to me when I’m sitting on His lap in my mind “I love you, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck!” Why when my Daddy sings that song to me, it flat keeps me going – look out as all hands are on deck! Oh, with these thoughts in mind, it’s gonna be a great day I do suspect.
Mk 14:66-15:15, 16:7; Mt 27:19; Ro 6:23, 8:1, 28-29; Heb 4:15-16, 12:2; Col 3:13; Lk 3:21-22; Jer 29:11; Ps 139:14; 1 Co 3:10-15; Php 4:6; 1 Jn 1:9, Jn 3:16, 21:1-25;
Good morning to ya’s. Are ya risen? Wednesday is upon us and in our study of Mark, the disciples still haven’t slept enough and it looks like there is excitement in the works as Judas, Jesus betrayer brings all those recruited by the chief priests, teachers of the law and elders to arrest Him in the garden or orchard at Mount Olives. All of this is happening in a place that had been such a special setting for Jesus – a place where He had such fond memories. It is interesting that now the whole mood of the place has changed with the enemy now in the camp. If you have ever had the enemy in your camp, you know it is not a good time to be had and it calls for some strategy and tactics to deal with it in a Godly way. Here are some thoughts I’m pondering based on this passage of Scripture 1) One of the first things I see Jesus do in this situation is that He tells His disciples at the end of our study yesterday to rise up – to take a stand. When we are facing the enemy, it is important to be found standing with the Lord with His viewpoint and His plan in mind! 2) As we see in this story, the enemy is a deceiver – his kiss of Jesus was a lie or front to bring about his plan to destroy Jesus. Yikes!! The application of this for us is when the enemy is in our camp, it is important to recognize what lies he is telling us. Jesus dealt with this issue by pointing it out and speaking truth to the enemy’s lies. 3) One of the disciples, (it is thought to be Peter – our “superman”) drew his sword to fight, striking a servant of the high priest and cutting off his ear. This speaks to me that it isn’t a good idea to go for the blood when the enemy is in our camp! Rather, Jesus sought to bring healing to the hurts or wounds in the situation as evidenced by His reaching up and healing the ear. It is admirable that Peter’s heart desired to defend his beloved, but a different tactic in doing so was more appropriate than the one he used in this story. 4) Like Jesus, it is important when the enemy is in camp to not be found leading an undivine rebellion. Jesus was not rebelling against His Father’s will and He modeled being quick to listen and slow to speak. He displayed the fruit of the Spirit – love. When the enemy is coming at me with swords and clubs to capture me, I want to remain calm and seek to talk through matters calmly as Jesus did. He also encouraged them not to be hostile. Jesus had the foreknowledge that good would come from the situation in the end. 5) Everyone fled from Jesus even the dude who had been so excited and quick to be with Jesus that in haste he grabbed a wrap and that’s it as he decided to follow after Jesus. But when he saw the enemy had seized upon Jesus, he couldn’t get away from Him fast enough. Whoohoo! He just threw away all he had and ran off buck naked – free of it all, leaving behind what was a good thing and not thinking about down the road regretting his haste. Oops! I imagine he ended up thinking how olive leaves might help or “Where is there a healthy fig tree when you need it? Oh man, I wish I had a needle and some thread!” That is a mindset that goes back to the Garden of Eden in terms of Designer clothing! This man’s actions speak to me that he was a “good times only” kind of friend – when the going got tough, he got going as fast and care free as possible. Dad’s Word says a friend loves at all times. In my heart, I so want to be that kind of a friend that sticks or keeps trying and doesn’t give up out of fear and discouragement. It is to this end that we need to encourage one another when we see the enemy in camp. I so hope your camp is peaceful where you are. Let’s keep standing with Him! God bless ya’s!
Mk 14:43-52; Mt 10:22; 2 Th 2:15; Ja 1:19, 5:7-8; 1 Jn 1:6, 2:4; Lk 22:48, 51; Jn 8:44; Pr 17:17;
Ge 3:7; Ro 8:28-29
Good Tuesday morning by dear brothers and sisters! I’m excited to share with you these thoughts that our Dad has laid on my heart regarding a passage of Scripture that I have read many times before. I’m pretty gabby today. Dad’s Words spoken to me can move me to action like nothing else. He definitely knows how to motivate me and get me all excited. He rocks! Today, we find that Jesus and His disciples have arrived at Gethsemane – one of His favorite places that He frequently visited which was an olive orchard on the lower slope of Mount Olives. I can so relate to His desire to be in God’s creation as I love being in the midst of it as well. In this setting, Jesus told His disciples “Sit here while I pray.” He was deeply distressed and troubled. He took with Him three of His closest disciples, Peter, James and John. Like Jesus, we all have lots of brothers and sisters in the family of God, but each of us usually have a small close circle of relationships of support that we tend to relate well to, feel confident in sharing with and tend to include in our troubled times. But given that, Jesus sets a good example, in that He broke away from His loved ones in His life for times of solitude with His Dad. Jesus confided in those close to Him by sharing His troubled heart when He said “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” He then told them “Stay here and keep watch.” In spiritual application of this, I see Him saying to those close to Him at this time when He needed solitude to please stay here (a place of physical distance, but with Him in thought or heart) and watch for the Lord’s guidance and also the enemies’ actions. It is always nice to know we are not alone in our battles in life even if those close to us are physically apart from us, but keeping us close in their thoughts. As the story continues, Jesus then fell to the ground, placing Himself in a lowly (humble) position before His Dad and He prayed, sharing His heart’s desire and asking His Dad to carry out His will for His life. When He returned to His disciples, He found them asleep and He ask them “Could you not even keep watch for one hour?” Jesus told His disciples to watch and pray so that they would not fall into temptation. Jesus went away a second time to pray and when He returned, He found His disciples sleeping again which left them not knowing what to say to Him. It is always hard when we realize that in going through life, we have overlooked someone’s needs. It is encouraging to know that we are not alone in this. This story points out there were three of them that did the same thing in overlooking Jesus’ request due to their tiredness. They had had a full day already. Again Jesus prayed and the third time He returned to His disciples, He said to them “Are you still sleeping and resting. Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. “Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” This plants upon my heart the seeds that we as Christians have close ones in our life that are often going through troubling times and they need us to not be asleep (unalert) in life, but to be alert for how the enemy is at work in their life. It is easy for us to get so absorbed in our own lives that we don’t take the time to pray for them and we can miss the opportunity to fight the battle with them. Dad’s Words spoken here are a good reminder that we also need to not be sleeping as to what the enemy is doing in our own lives as well. We need to pray for ourselves that we do not fall into temptations in life. In Spirit, we may think that we are strong, but our flesh is weak; we are vulnerable to attack and we can easily fall. I think that one of the ways that the enemy works on us is to distract us from the real issues of importance in our lives – our relationships. It is in this way that he gains victory. So I ask you and I ask myself, what is happening in the lives of those closest to me that I need to be praying for them about so that the enemy doesn’t weaken them to the point of giving up on our Father’s will for them? For example: I have seen many times when the Devil works to betray people by crucifying them mentally for sins that they have fallen into for which Jesus bore the cup for and He has forgiven them for. This begs the question and challenge that if the God of the Universe forgives us and is for us, who can really stand against us or how can we rightly give someone else, the Devil or our self a stand against our Dad to say we are not worth forgiving? To do so is to say “Oh, huh” to the wisest of all!” It is to place our self above our Father in a position that we are not worthy to be in and when I do this to myself, I as a cowgirl see this as a high horse I need to say “whoa” to and get off of or it will take me on a ride that is a living H E double LL! YIKES!!! Just as Jesus needed, our loved ones need us to pray for them and encourage them to carry out our Father’s will. Are ya with me in these thoughts? I’m thinking it is important to rise and go for the sake of others by carving aside a specific time for prayer when I am not tired and falling asleep to pray for myself and others. Dad tells us that the prayers of a righteous man or woman are powerful and effective! When I look at the prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane, I see that Jesus was unique and the call on His life was different from ours. It was our Father’s will that the enemy’s plot to crucify Jesus be carried out. This meant that Jesus would take the cup of wrath, pay the wages of sin that gave Him the taste of death for all of mankind’s past, present and future sin once and for all. But then, the Father gave Jesus victory over the cup that brought death! This was an answer to what Jesus had prayed to have removed. Death could not hold Him! The Father honored His prayer and gave Him a risen life again. Whoohoo! Our Dad is so good! I just love Him for His kindness and sweetness to us in rescuing us from our sins! It is sweet victory in sweet Jesus – ya gotta love it! There is one poor sport, however, the Devil, the enemy (betrayer) who wants people today to be asleep in remembering that their sins are forgiven. When I don’t remember Jesus’ victory over my sin and His acceptance of me, the enemy can make me feel defeated, alone and wanting to give up. This cowgirl is fighting to the end and I am not going to let the enemy win in my life or the lives of my loved ones. So I’ve decided I am going to implement the following: 1) If I’m deeply distressed and troubled in life, I need to find someone close to talk with about it and ask them to pray for me. 2) I need to be alert to the needs of my loved ones and what it is that I need to be praying for them. 3) I need to pray often as Jesus did with His Dad, about what it is troubling me for others and myself and ask Him for strength and help to carry out His will, knowing He loves us and His will is the very best in the end. A part of that will is that I need to listen to what my Dad is telling me and not say “Oh, huh, I’ll believe my own way of thinking.” As I realize in my life, so I encourage you – we are not alone in life. There is one named Jesus who is stayed here with us in Spirit, yet seated at the right hand of God and is watching and praying for us; He never sleeps. He lives His life to make intercession for me and for you to help us choose the right and defeat the enemy, the Devil so that we can have victory in life. Why the thought of Him doing that for me and you makes me just want to do a little victory dance to kick off this day! Are ya with me? Yeehaw!
Mk 14:32-42; 1 Pe 5:6-11; Ja 4:7, 5:13-16; 1 Jn 1:9; Pr 3:5; Ro 6:23, 8:26-29; Jn 3:16, 5:24;
Ps 121:4; He 7:23-25;
Wednesday is upon us and as I open the treasure chest of our Daddy’s Word today, we see Jesus reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the leper. While Scripture doesn’t tell us for sure, Simon was probably a leper healed by Jesus. Jesus’ act of mercy, love and devotion towards him may have compelled the man to invite Jesus to his home out of a heart of thanks and a desire to give back to Jesus who had greatly blessed His life. Jesus is like that. Once you have been touched by His love, you desire more of Him and you desire to serve Him. The Gospel of John tells us this dinner was in Bethany where Lazarus lived whom Jesus had raised from the dead. It was a dinner held in honor of Jesus and it was served by Martha, while her brother Lazarus reclined at the table with Jesus. It sounds they were relaxing and enjoying the moment when Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha took an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume and broke it, pouring the perfume on Jesus’ head to anoint Him out of her great devotion to Him. She was doing what she could beforehand to prepare Him for what was to come (His burial). Many balked at the expense of her sacrifice as they saw many other needs, but Jesus saw the value of her choice. John’s Gospel says that what she did for Him was intended and He said that her act of love and devotion would be remembered throughout the world as the Gospel was preached. In application of all of this, I would like to encourage each of you brothers and sisters that the sacrifices you make for Jesus out of your love and devotion to Him will not be forgotten. He greatly appreciates what we do for Him. I’m resting in His love this day. Dad bless ya! ~Sheila~
Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8; He 6:10
It’s Monday, but no ordinary Monday. Our Dad has exciting things in store for us all today! As I peek inside His Word today, it is kind of embarrassing for the Jews because as we will see, their hearts have been exposed with impure motives. Ouch!!! The story points out that their hearts were revealing their religion (what they believed). They put forth an outward show of niceties to please the people that they feared, but inside their hearts there was a mess, a falling short of righteousness as evidenced by their words to Jesus. If their hearts only matched their words, how precious it would have been to Jesus. It is admirable and Biblical to encourage others and to focus on good qualities. At first glance, it looks like that is the case towards Jesus as they called Jesus “teacher” implying that they saw Him as worth listening to and a man of integrity. They pointed out a good quality in Jesus in that they said He was not swayed by men and He paid no attention to who they were, but rather He taught the way of God in accordance with Truth. What a great way to be! This was a great compliment to Jesus and in that way of being, He sets a great example for all of us. Sadly though, the Jews kind words were spoken to cover over the true intent of their heart that was made obvious when they asked Jesus “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” Well, I never would have thought of Jesus as a tax expert, but why not? He knows all. But knowing all, Jesus saw through the hearts of the religious leaders who sent the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him and He saw the intent behind their question. They were trying to put Him in an awkward position in order to catch Him in His Words. They placed Him in the middle of religion and politics. Ya see, the Pharisees hated having to pay taxes to the Romans and the Herodians favored the payment of taxes to the Romans. So here was Jesus right in the middle. Yikes!!! Either side of the coin to which Jesus leaned, He could have ended up dead as a result of having the religious people angry because He thought they should pay taxes and having the Herodians angry at Him if He said the Jews shouldn’t have to pay taxes. He responded by calling their motive to their attention by saying “Why are you trying to trap me?” He told them to bring Him a denarius or the coin used for paying the taxes. When they presented it to Him, He asked them whose picture was on it and they said “Caesar” (the Roman head). He then said to them “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God, what is God’s.” This was Jesus’ way of saying our faith doesn’t teach disloyalty to government, but it also doesn’t give government divine deity that deprives God. There are both sides on our coin of Christian faith. At this, the religious leaders were amazed at Jesus. Here they had set out to stump Jesus and they ended up the stumped chumps once again. Sometimes we reap what we sow! If we sow to the flesh or wickedness, we will reap destruction or trouble and if we sow to righteousness, Dad says we will reap a sure reward. I can imagine the Jews thinking like “Drat, our plans have been foiled again!” Ya know, I don’t think a person can get up early enough in the morning to pull one over on the God of the Universe who is not mocked, but He is a long-suffering, loving God who desires that none perish. He gently corrects us and out of His great love, we are not consumed. His mercies are new every morning when we are honest with Him about our hearts. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I’m so glad my Daddy loves me and doesn’t give up on me even when I have a mixed up heart! The Jews knew what they were doing, but I don’t think we always know the errors of our heart and hence to pray “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast (fixed or secure in faith) spirit within me” is a good prayer for us all as we seek to live out honest lives as His kids. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be found a chump to dear old Dad! I’m seeking to abide in Him with ya’s. ~ Sheila
Mk 12:13-17; Pr 11:18, 20:27, 21:2, 22:8; Lk 16:15; Ga 6:7-8; 2 Pe 3:9; La 3:22-23; He 12:1-13; Php 2:3-7, 4:8; Ro 13:1-7; Ex 20:3; 1 Th 2:3-5
There have been many times that I wanted to be in charge of my own life. I was so proud as to think I could come up with a greater plan than what my Father in heaven had for me. It is foolishness to think this way. This past weekend of service brought me to a new level of appreciation that my life has been caught up in the vision that our eternal God has for me. My dreams and aspirations have been so far exceeded that I no longer even consider them as real options.
Over the course of my five days of travel, I had seven scheduled occasions where I was to serve people in organized events. Each of these scheduled occasions provided me with unique opportunity to speak and demonstrate the Gospel of the Kingdom. Hundreds of people had personal encounters with God and the name of Jesus was lifted up. I broke three different horses (one of which started as a predator), I sat in the living room of a broken-hearted mother whom I desperately wanted to help and I had very little to say and I personally was able to visit with dozens of people whose encounter had led them to decisions to align their lives with the will of God. It was all very good.
What I am about to say is not to minimize the significance of public ministry or the impact of the events we participate in. But, as I reflect on the highlights of the week, I keep thinking about the hug I got from a young bull rider. He is a man that is surrounded by thousands of fans and temptations that most will never have to face. When he told me what my friendship has meant to him, everything became simple again. Life and ministry is about relationships. It’s those people who we do life with and allow ourselves to become vulnerable with that helps us see our significance. The Bible says that if we say we love God, but don’t love people then we are liars. I have many people commend and encourage us as a ministry for the public work we are a part of and I agree that it is significant. But the greatest work I will ever do is to fall deeper in love with Jesus and deeper in love with people. The same is true for you. Your ministry awaits you. What a joy to serve a King who values the little people.
In service of the King,
>The Inside Look by Todd Pierce
Hi, Family ~
I am on my way home from our event in the Dallas Stadium where the men competed in front of 34,000 fans. It was a great success for the PBR and another confirmation of why our Father continues to do such a mighty work through the men within the sport. Although the fans see what is happening in the arena and they roar with applause, I get to see more of what is happening behind the scenes and in the hearts of these men. When the pressure is on, I see what comes out. I am proud to say that when the pressure was on these men of faith, I saw the evidence of great fruit. They showed love, support and compassion for each other, yet demanded that they gave the task at hand their greatest effort. I witnessed one man come to the brother who just put him out of competition and slapped him on the back and told him “Go win this thing!” One man who was competing for a $100,000.00 prize and facing great danger, stood behind the chutes and chose to express to the men around him what God is doing in his life. I am always encouraged to see what our Father does through us as we press on to give the Gospel to the world around us, but sometimes I need to see what is happening within us. These are the same men, who just days ago, were playing in the dirt with the children of Guatemala and giving them the message that can save them. They shared their own fears that they have to face and told them how to deal with those fears through Jesus. These are great men in a great position to encourage millions with the message they contain. Thank you for making this work possible.
In service of the King,