Support For Our Rwanda Trip

Greetings folks!

We’ve been grateful for the support we’ve received so far for our trip to Rwanda. Please remember that the most important gift you can give to speed us on our way is your prayers. Some have found unique ways to help us. Our coffee company, ours as in “we love the people who run this company and won’t buy elsewhere,” is called Driftwood Coffee Company. Driftwood sources their coffee ethically through direct trade agreements and the coffee growers get paid reasonable rates for their work.

They have made a commitment to give us proceeds from sales from their website. The people who own Driftwood have a heart for the Lord and love to find ways to give. We’re grateful for their support. So, buy a coffee cup. Buy a T-shirt. Try their great coffee! Use the link above to order, or click on the pictures.

  

These same people run a company called “Two Tiny Coins” that makes jewelry. The proceeds go to support missions in Central Asia. (I’ve been to that area and can vouch for the work going on there.) Their jewelry is beautiful and I’ve bought gifts there – since I don’t wear jewelry myself. ::smile:: I should note that I’m supporting Two Tiny Coins because I support the work that they’re helping with this ministry. Proceeds from any purchase there will go to support work in Central Asia. I just want to help you buy with a purpose.

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Preparing For Rwanda Trip – 2018

Dear Friends,

I am thrilled to share with you that this June, Lucy (my wife) and I will be working with a team of educators in Rwanda through Africa New Life Ministries (ANLM) for our second time. Our trip will have three primary purposes.

We will:
1) Provide professional development for the teachers who work in the several ANLM schools,
2) Encourage the hardworking teachers and their amazing students.
3) Visit each sponsored child and family related to our group.

This trip is a very special opportunity for us since God has laid a burden on our hearts for the Rwandan people. Since our first trip God has only deepened our love for this country and its people. We are blessed to call many of these fellow educators and ministry leaders friends and brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re humbled by the opportunity to share, encourage and co-labor with these amazing people.

We’d like you to be part of this exciting ministry and would be grateful of your support. While you may not be traveling with us, we need your prayers. In addition, we would greatly appreciate any financial support you may contribute. The cost for this trip will be around $4,500 per person, and we must be fully funded by May. Please read below to find out how you can donate for our trip through ANLM.

Thank you for your support, especially through prayer. Our specific requests are for:

  • Travel mercies
  • Health
  • God’s use of us as His hands, feet, and heart in Rwanda
  • Faithfulness in sharing the gospel while we’re there

Blessings,

Bob James

Instructions for giving online:
□ Go to http://africanewlife.custhelp.com/app/donate
□ Scroll to the bottom and click Mission Team Members.
□ Click the drop down arrow and select Lucy & Bob James and the amount you would like to give.
□ You will then receive an email receipt for your donation.

In addition, if you’d like to get up to date information about our trip each day, you can fill out our sign up form to get a daily link to a blog post or an email that will tell you what we’ve been doing, and what our plans are.

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Bible Versions and Permissions

Up until January 1, 2018, verses used in each devotional were from the New International Version of the Bible.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I will be going back and adding this passage to each page that used an NIV quotation per their website

I will be using the New Century Version in 2018.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

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April 18 – Gaining Focus in the Middle of a Carnival

2 Samuel 3-5 Luke 14:25-35

“If anyone comes to me but loves his father, mother, wife, children, brothers, or sisters—or even life—more than me, he cannot be my follower.” (Luke 14:26 NCV)

Jesus became a Judean rock star. People gathered around, just wanting to be near Him. If cell phones and social media existed back then, the social media pages would’ve been filled with selfies taken with Jesus. People would talk about going to hear Jesus teach. They’d probably drop His name into the conversation to make their relationship seem to be bffs. “So I pulled out my sandwich around lunch time and Jesus said, ‘Man does not live by bread alone,’ and I laughed and said, ‘that’s right, that’s why I have the lamb meat in the sandwich.’ We both laughed.” A carnival-like atmosphere had grown up around Jesus. In the midst of the revelry, Jesus spoke hard truth to the people. “If you love anything more than me, don’t even bother trying to follow me.”

There were a lot of ways that I could have paraphrased what Jesus said, but so many of them would have lightened the mood of a harsh saying. Jesus needed to be that blunt, but it was still hard to take. It’s still hard for many to take today. We want to make following Jesus a fun thing to do, if it’s convenient. We’ll go to church if we don’t have any other obligations. We might pitch in a couple of bucks to help the church because they do some good things. We may occasionally read the Bible, or at least share some of our favorite verses that we’ve heard through the years. Two of my favorites are “God helps those who help themselves,” and “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” But we wouldn’t want to be fanatical and make church a weekly habit or talk to others about Jesus. We might go to Youth camp, but never a mission trip. If you think about it, this Christianity thing can be fun. Fun until these words of Jesus cut through the veneer of false faith as He tells us to forsake traditional family relationships and even our lives to follow Him. We’re called to proclaim the Kingdom of God. We’re called to bring the message of reconciliation between God and man. There’s nothing more important than that calling. My wife and I love each other a whole lot – but from before we were married, we both knew that Jesus came first. Because of that mutual commitment, we can serve together. For many, especially in the days of Jesus, family obligations could keep people from following Jesus completely. “Lord, I’ll follow You, but first…” is what people say when they think family obligations are more important than being sold out for Jesus. When we fail to be obedient to the call of Jesus because a family member might object, we’re showing that someone or something comes before God in our lives. Is God calling you to teach a class, minister to outcasts, or travel the world to share the gospel? No relationship is so important that you should reject His call. No sacrifice is too great to make to follow Jesus. Follow Him in His way, today.

Lord, there are so many distractions as I try to follow You. Help me keep my focus on You no matter what the cost may be. Let my life show others how much I love You.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 17 – Humble Pie is on the Menu

2 Samuel 1-2 Luke 14:1-24

“All who make themselves great will be made humble, but those who make themselves humble will be made great.” (Luke 14: 11 NCV)

I don’t know what kind of meal Jesus was attending when He saw the mad scramble for the best seats in the house, but He used that situation to teach an important lesson: stay back, be humble. His illustration was perfect and anyone who’s planned a wedding banquet then or now would understand the problem. Seating arrangements are worked out meticulously. “Uncle Bob can’t be seated anywhere near Cousin Lucy’s family because they don’t get along. If we place your boss at this table, we need to make sure we place my boss at a table equally as close or else I’ll get in trouble.” Thinking of these kinds of arrangements, Jesus tells the story of a guy who wanders into the wedding feast without looking at the name cards nor at the reserved seating signs and sits as close to the bride as possible, only to be embarrassed when the host calls him out because he took the seat of someone more important. By the time that happened, all the good general admission seating had been taken and the only seat left was in the back row by the air conditioner which was blowing full blast.

I know, Jesus didn’t mention the air conditioner issue. The point is that this guy tried to make himself look important, and he got a figurative kick in the teeth when the host moved him from that important seat. When someone tells you, “sorry, you’re not important enough” for any reason, it hurts. That may be why we don’t like waiting in line – my time is more important than to spend it waiting in line. What about when you arrive the required 15 minutes early for your doctor’s appointment only to be kept waiting an hour past appointment time. We all know what happens if we’re late for our appointment. We don’t like that because we’re treated as though we, and our time, is unimportant. Jesus’s suggestion to deal with situations like that: take the lowest seat at the wedding banquet. Let the host see you there and make a big deal about how you should be seated in a more important place. In short, don’t honor yourself, let others give you honor. When Jesus tells a story like this, He’s usually thinking of our relationship with God. How do we approach God? Do we want to make sure that He knows how great we are, or do we want to approach Him humbly? Jesus told another story about two people that went to pray: the important Pharisee and the unimportant publican. The Pharisee reminded God how great he was as he took a seat at the head table. The publican reminded God how great He was as he hoped for scraps. God exalted the publican and humbled the Pharisee. The key to this isn’t that we humble ourselves to be exalted, it’s that we humble ourselves because we recognize who we are in relationship to God. When we realize how great our sin is and what God did to bring forgiveness, the only way to approach him is in grateful humility.

Lord, it’s in my nature to want the most important places wherever I go. When I begin to seek them, remind me of what You did to bring me salvation. Let me walk in humility and may my life exalt and glorify You.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 16 – Forward the Light Brigade

1 Samuel 30-31 Luke 13:23-35

“Yet I must be on my way today and tomorrow and the next day. Surely it cannot be right for a prophet to be killed anywhere except in Jerusalem.” (Luke 13:33 NCV)

I’m not sure if the Pharisees were trying to get Jesus to leave Galilee, or if Herod was actually trying to kill Him, but the warning they gave seemed dire: Herod wants to kill you. I can almost see Jesus laughing at the threat as He told those warning Him, “There’s a time and a place for everything. Now is not the time for my death; this is not the place.” The mood might have changed when He noted that Jerusalem was the place for prophets to die, so it was time for Him to go to Jerusalem. He reminded the Pharisees, and all those listening, that He’d tried to minister to the people of Jerusalem, but His ministry had been rejected, time and time again.

Is it possible that the only people who didn’t realize that Jesus was going to be killed were the disciples? The Pharisees in Galilee warned Jesus about Herod. They obviously hadn’t gotten the memo from the Pharisees in Jerusalem that Jesus needed to die. Jesus kept telling people that His death was getting closer and that it would come at the hands of the Jewish leaders. He wasn’t worried about Herod because He knew the schedule set by the Father. There was only one place fit for a prophet to be murdered – Jerusalem. His time was coming, so He knew He needed to head towards Jerusalem. I imagine that people who don’t believe in Jesus must wonder about Jesus and those of us who follow Him. We don’t fear danger. We don’t fear certain death. Jesus went to Jerusalem. Stephen kept preaching until he was stoned. Paul went to Jerusalem in spite of the warnings. Given opportunities to recant to save their lives, Christians through the ages have gladly proclaimed their faith in Jesus. Following Jesus is dangerous, because we don’t serve a tame God. We serve a God who sends us into danger, reminding us that He even cares for those who would persecute us. This is the nature of the love of God. If you’re looking for a God who makes life easy, who listens to you and does everything you tell…er…ask Him to do, then you probably don’t want to follow Jesus. There are a lot of people who throw His name around, but I don’t think our Heavenly Father knows anyone like the Jesus they describe.

I wish that following You led me to a life of ease and comfort, Lord. Remind me that any price I pay is small compared to the price You paid to show me Your love. Give me the strength to go to my Jerusalem and show love to those whom You died for, even though they might seek to kill me.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 15 – “But I’m So Much Better Than They Are”

1 Samuel 27-29 Luke 13:1-22

“What about those eighteen people who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them? Do you think they were more sinful than all the others who live in Jerusalem? No, I tell you. But unless you change your hearts and lives, you will all be destroyed too!” (Luke 13:4-5 NCV)

They had come to Jesus with a warning note about some worshipers in Galilee that Pilate had massacred. He’d killed them in the middle of their sacrifices and the blood of the worshipers mixed with the blood of the sacrifices. The question lingered about how bad these people must have been that God allowed Pilate to do this. Jesus reminded them of another disaster in Siloam. As He did so, He asked a question that must have caused those who’d approached Jesus to think. “Were they bigger sinners than the people living in Jerusalem?” These questioners were likely trying to get Jesus to agree with their belief that disasters were a sign of judgment from God and that those who suffered deserved it. Jesus replied with a message they didn’t want to hear. They were no worse than anyone in Jerusalem and unless you get right with God, judgment is coming to you, too.

We like to play the comparison game. It takes the form of “I’m not so bad. Look at that person over there,” as we point to someone who’s worse than we are – at least in our own eyes. We treat life like God’s a college professor who grades everything on the curve. We know we’re not perfect, but we’re a lot better than those other people. Or so we think. And that’s why God should let us into His Kingdom. Then, these words of Jesus disabuse us of that notion and we realize that God grades on a strict Pass/Fail system. The passing grade is perfection. 100%. And we ain’t there. No one’s there. Paul, in the book of Romans, recognized this dilemma as he cried out, “Oh wretched man that I am, who can deliver me from this body of death?” In the next breath, he answers his own question by pointing out that we can give thanks to God because He rescued us through Jesus. God’s standard is perfection. We can seek to achieve it ourselves or we can let Jesus take care of things for us. Since no one has ever achieved perfection, other than Jesus, the wise thing to do is repent of our sins and throw ourselves on the mercy of Jesus so that we can have eternal life in God’s Kingdom. That’s the only way to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, which means that we all get there the same way. We don’t need to compare ourselves to others; we need to share God’s mercy with them.

Lord, the comparison game can be a lot of fun. I can find people that I think I’m better than and look down on them while trying to convince You I should be with You. Remind me each day that while my sins may be different, I’m not perfect and I need Your grace to enter Your kingdom. Humble me and use me to share Your love and grace with others.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 14 – Searching For Real Treasure

1 Samuel 25-26 Luke 12:32-59

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Get for yourselves purses that will not wear out, the treasure in heaven that never runs out, where thieves can’t steal and moths can’t destroy. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” (Luke 12:33-34 NCV)

When Jesus told His followers to sell what they had and give to the poor, they didn’t have much. Compared to the material possessions we have now, they had nothing, yet they were in danger of being consumed by their possessions back then. When He told them to use what they had to take care of others, He made an important point. Our heart follows our treasure. When Jesus told His followers to sell their possessions and give to the poor, He was telling us to have a treasure shift. If our treasure is found in our possessions, we’ll love them before anything or anyone else. By getting rid of our possessions and giving to the poor, we’re showing that our treasure has shifted and now we treasure His people. Jesus showed that He treasured people above things, by going to the cross.

I don’t know how Jesus would put it today. We have so much stuff around us that we do everything we can to protect it. Some have fences or walls around their property. Armed guards or armed patrols give many people peace of mind. We wire our houses with an alarm system, or perhaps use a wireless system. I think Jesus would say that it’s obvious where our treasure, and our heart is. We’re afflicted with stuffitis and we try to find more space in the house or apartment to put the latest junk we’ve bought. When our stuff gets out of control, we rent a storage unit to keep our stuff, since we don’t build bigger barns in the city. We’ve worked hard to get the money so we could buy all this stuff, so we deserve every single piece of stuff we get. And we tell ourselves that as we see people living in poverty scratching for a piece of bread to survive, or the single mother working two jobs to keep her family fed, or the family whose breadwinner has just been laid off wondering how long they’ll be able to pay rent and eat. We may try to ignore the suffering, but, if we truly are followers of Jesus, these words haunt us as we look at our stuff. Maybe we can follow Jesus but start small. Have a garage sale and sell some of our possessions. Do that and find a way to help those in poverty. Put your treasure into people and you’ll find that your heart will follow. The message of Jesus is simple: people are more important than stuff, so get rid of the stuff to help people. When you do that, you’ll understand the heart of Jesus.

Lord, remind me that all the stuff I have is unimportant when compared to caring for people that You love. Help me to put my treasure to work helping those people and getting a heart like Yours.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 13 – Living Genuinely

1 Samuel 22-24 Luke 12:1-31

“Everything that is hidden will be shown, and everything that is secret will be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in an inner room will be shouted from the housetops.” (Luke 12:2-3 NCV)

The more Jesus began to be surrounded by crowds, the lonelier He must have felt as He headed towards the cross. In this instance, people were trampling each other to get close to Jesus and hear His teaching on how to love their fellow human beings. Think about that irony. He talked about the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, but then reminded His disciples that there were no secrets. The truth will come out, so they needed to be genuine in their faith. If you try to hide things, if you try to keep things just between you and another person, someone will find out. If our lives don’t match what we say we believe, people will find out. That’s why we should be genuine about our faith in words and in deeds.

I don’t think Jesus was prophesying about the coming of Facebook or any other form of social media when He spoke these words. People don’t even try to keep secrets there. We know everything about them from their posts. I do think Jesus would laugh at the conspiracy theories of today, though. Charles Colson noted the inability of conspiracies to keep secrets when he pointed out that from the time that John Dean told President Nixon what was happening with Watergate, two weeks passed before the information made it to the public arena. This happened among some of the most powerful people in the world as they “‘fessed up” to save their own skins. He noted this as he talked about the power of the disciples after the Resurrection and the fact that all they never changed their story even under extreme pressure. The overall point is that we won’t keep secrets. Someone will tell what happened. Someone will “share a prayer request.” Our lives must reflect the Christ we follow. If people are surprised at the stories that others tell about us, let that surprise be that we lived what we believed and said. If our secret words are broadcast to the world, may they always be encouraging and uplifting.

Lord, the world needs genuine Christians to share Your mercy and grace. As I seek to share Your love with others, may others see me as a genuine follower of Jesus and be drawn to You.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 12 – Is Jesus Calling You Out?

1 Samuel 19-21 Luke 11:29-54

“One of the experts on the law said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, when you say these things, you are insulting us, too.’” (Luke 11:45 NCV)

Jesus had started in on the Pharisees. He’d just noted their hypocrisy in the way they washed their utensils but didn’t cleanse their hearts and then how meticulously they counted the seeds to tithe their cumin, but didn’t worry about justice and mercy, when one of the teachers of the Law interrupted Him. He complained that Jesus insulted them when He insulted the Pharisees. Maybe it’s just the mood I’m in, but I can imagine Jesus thinking, “Oh, you want your own insults, eh? I got this.” Then He focused His pronouncements of woe on the teachers of the Law specifically. He mentioned that they created strict laws for others to follow while they wouldn’t even try to follow them. He noted their complicity in killing the prophets. Then He accused them of destroying learning. The moral of the story is, “don’t give Jesus a motive to start talking about your sins.”

Jesus doesn’t go out of His way to talk about our sins. If He did, He could wake me in the middle of the night and start attacking me – keeping me up for days.  He does keep molding us to be conformed to His image, though, so He brings our sins to mind as He helps us to conquer them. Jesus does have a motive for making us confront our sins. He wants us to draw close to Him so that our sin is as abhorrent to us as it is to Him. Even though we know that God forgives our sins, we should never live as though we’re presuming on that forgiveness. When our sins are called to mind, we should be sorrowful about them, and repent of the actions and the attitudes that led to the sin. Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount that the attitudes led to the actions. I may not have committed adultery, but did I have lust in my heart? I may not have committed murder, but did I have hate in my heart? Admit it, when I mentioned those two areas, you thought about yourself, didn’t you? You should have, and not because I’m insulting you, but because those sins are part of the human condition. Unless you’re perfect, you’ll struggle with one sin or another. When Jesus calls them to mind, however He does it, He does so to help us cast off the sin that so easily entangles us so that we can run the race He’s called us to.

Lord, sin sidetracks us so easily, and like the lawyers You dealt with, we get offended easily when our sin is called to mind. Remind me that Your goal is to draw me closer to You. Please forgive me, and give me the strength to overcome my sin.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 11 – With Him or Against Him: The Choice is Yours

1 Samuel 17-18 Luke 11:1-28

“Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not work with me is working against me.” (Luke 11:23 NCV)

“God is God, and I am not.” This passage from Luke is an example of why that statement’s a good quote. Were I to be in the situation Jesus was, I might have said “Forget this!” and destroyed the world. He’d just cast out a demon that made a man mute. Some were, rightfully, amazed. Others accused Him of having power over demons because His power came from Beelzebul himself. Then they demanded a sign that Jesus was from God and not the devil. That would have been enough to drive me to destruction – especially after all He’d already done. Jesus, instead, explained why their attacks were ludicrous and how what they were attributing to Beelzebul was actually the sign from Heaven they were looking for. Then, Jesus let His disciples know that anyone not with Him is against Him. It’s a small picture of how things have turned because Jesus had said earlier, anyone who isn’t against Him is for Him. (Luke 9:50)

Some have noted that this seems to be a contradiction. I think it’s a reminder that things were getting harder for Jesus as He approached the cross. At the same time, the situation that engendered those words involved someone who was working for Jesus, while today’s verse deals with people who were working against Jesus. As Jesus approached the cross, there could be no neutrality. When you think about the Kingdom of God today, neutrality still isn’t an option. You either accept the gospel message or you reject it. That seems like a harsh statement. Many people want to think about the message. They want to come to a decision about whether or not the gospel is true. That’s understandable. Until they decide to repent of their sin and seek forgiveness through the grace of Jesus Christ, they aren’t part of the Kingdom of God. Jesus looked at each of His critics in this encounter, desiring that they’d turn to Him. Those who didn’t needed to know the consequences. Jesus still calls people to follow Him and promises citizenship in the Kingdom of God. The entrance requirement is still the same: a relationship with Jesus. You can’t enter without having that relationship, but God offers every person the chance to turn to Him through Jesus. If I could expand the original verse, I think it fits with Scripture to say, “Anyone who is not with me is against me, and anyone who does not work with me is working against me.” (Luke 11:23 NCV) ‘And I want everyone to be with me.’

Lord, thank You for including me in Your Kingdom. Remind me as I go through life today, that as Your ambassador, I should promote Your kingdom and tell others how great it is.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 10 – Be a Neighbor…But Wait! There’s More!

1 Samuel 15-16 Luke 10:25-42

“But the man, wanting to show the importance of his question, said to Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’” (Luke 10:29 NCV)

You would have thought that the Pharisees had learned this truth early on in Jesus’s ministry. If you’re in a verbal sparring match with Jesus, you lose. No matter how tricky the question; no matter how important the question, if you’re trying to make yourself look good, or Jesus look bad, you lose. The Scribes and Pharisees were at it again, trying to pin Jesus down. First, they asked Him about getting eternal life. When Jesus asked what the Law said, they parroted what Jesus had answered when He was asked about the greatest commandment. If they’d just stopped there, they’d’ve had a draw. Instead they tried to pin Him down. “Ok, I’m supposed to love my neighbor. Define my neighbor.” I can imagine the disciples smiling at that question thinking, “OK, now he’s really gonna get it.”

That question really cuts to the division between Law and Grace. Under Law, we’d sit down and define neighbor. For the Jews of that day, the definition of a neighbor might begin with, “Well, he’s Jewish.” This scribe wanted to limit the number of people he showed love to. He would love his neighbors if only he knew the right ones to love. Jesus exploded that attitude. His answer put Jews, and later Christians, on alert: “you be the neighbor. You act neighborly.” The Law seeks limitations. “Who is my neighbor? How much should I give? What’s the minimum I need to do?” Grace breaks down barriers. “I’m to be a neighbor to all. Everything belongs to God. How can I do more?” Following Jesus isn’t a religion where we do the minimum to stay in good standing; following Jesus is a love relationship where we give all we have and all we are because of the joy in that relationship. I don’t show love for my wife by trying to get by doing the least amount possible. I get excited about being able to be with her, to help her, to work with her. In my relationship with Jesus, I’m excited that I get to go to church and worship Him with fellow believers. Overtime on Sunday morning? Awesome! Sunday night? Wednesday night? Other opportunities to serve? All of those are great because I get to be with my Lord and act out of my love for Him. Should the tithe on my check be $85.53? or should I round it up and make it $90? Or $100? When I realize that all that I give goes to further the work of the Kingdom of God, I get excited at the opportunity to give more. All I have comes from God. Do I work? Yes, because He gave me the ability. Do I earn the money I get? Yes, because God enabled me to be healthy enough to work. Life itself is a gift from God. Jesus taught us to be a neighbor to those we meet. Sometimes that ain’t easy, but then again, the guy who lives next door to me might think it isn’t easy to be a neighbor to me. We should rejoice in the opportunity to be a neighbor to others and find ways to minister to our neighbors in need.

Lord, You’re amazing! Make my life so full that it would be ridiculous to let religious rules and regulations limit me. Give me a heart willing to care for my neighbor, to give to support others, and to spend time with You.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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April 9 – You Can Be An Answer to Prayer

1 Samuel 13-14 Luke 10:1-24

“He said to them, “There are a great many people to harvest, but there are only a few workers. So pray to God, who owns the harvest, that he will send more workers to help gather his harvest.” (Luke 10:2 NCV)

Jesus didn’t ask people to pray often. He commanded people to pray. He prayed Himself. We don’t see many instances of Jesus saying, “Would you pray about this?” When He makes that kind of request, that must be an important concern. As Jesus got ready to send seventy-two evangelists out as advance teams to prepare the way for His ministry He realized that so many more workers were needed. His request came as He prepared them for the work ahead. These were the first to go out, and they began being an answer to His prayer. Jesus knew that He had a world to reach and these seventy-two weren’t enough to change Jerusalem. More were needed.

Times haven’t changed. There are still people ready to hear the good news about Jesus. They don’t realize what they need, or else they’d seek Jesus out. It’s not that the message of Jesus doesn’t speak to people in the world today. The message of grace, of forgiveness, of hope is always relevant to those who are wandering in the darkness of their own minds thinking that there’s no hope for them. Jesus bring peace to those who are troubled. How can you look at the world and not recognize that people need the love, the forgiveness, the peace that Jesus brings? Jesus calls us to go out with the same message that He sent the seventy-two out with: “The Kingdom of God is near you.” His prayer request hasn’t changed either. The harvest is plentiful. There are many people ready to hear the good news about the Kingdom of God. Pray that the Lord of the Harvest, God, will send more workers out into the harvest. Unless your church is different, I don’t know about any church that wouldn’t say “Amen” to that prayer. We need more workers sharing the good news of Jesus. The fun thing about this is that when we respond to Jesus’s call, we’re an answer to His prayer. It’s a nice turn around from always asking Him to answer our prayers. Make today a day you share the love of Jesus with someone else; make today the day you’re an answer to Jesus’s prayer.

Oh Lord, the harvest before us is still overwhelming. We have a whole world that needs to know Your love and grace, and so few workers to share it. Let me be an answer to Your prayer. Let me encourage others to be an answer to Your prayer also.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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