Tag Archives: Daily God Walk

We Need Times of Rest and Solitude

 DGW-140804

Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After leaving them, he went up on a mountain to pray.  – Mark 6:45-46

Earlier, when the disciples returned from their mission trip fired up with enthusiasm Jesus told them they needed to get away to rest. He was guarding their emotional well being as well as calling them to solitude and prayer.

They weren’t able to rest because when they arrived at the place of rest the people who saw where they were going ran fast and beat them there. Moved with compassion they ministered among the people with Jesus until it was late in the day. Then the miracle of the loaves and fishes was performed and all were fed.

After the feeding Jesus immediately sent the disciples away on a boat. He knew they needed rest so he sent them away while he dismissed the crowd. Jesus knew they needed the rest and he needed to get away for his “spiritual” rest also.

There are several times recorded in the gospels when Jesus got away to pray. It was usually on a mountain and he usually prayed in solitude. Have you ever wondered why Jesus needed to pray? If in fact he was God, then why would he need to pray? Yes, he was God, but he was God robed in flesh. As a human he had all of the emotional and spiritual needs that humans have. As a human he needed to pray.

The message Jesus seems to be conveying in this episode is that as humans we need times of rest and that is why he sent the disciples away in a boat. He is also saying that as citizens of the kingdom and servants of the king we need spiritual refreshing to guard against emotional and spiritual weariness. We need physical rest and we need spiritual refreshing. We need to pray.

If you do not have a time and a place to shut yourself away for spiritual refreshing I challenge you to do so. You will find the world much less troublesome and the walk of faith much easier when you pray.

Prayer:  Lord, grant me the wisdom to know when I need to rest and help me to establish a regular pattern prayer. In Jesus name, amen. 

Principle: As citizens of the kingdom and servants of the king we need spiritual refreshing to guard against emotional and spiritual weariness. We need physical rest and we need spiritual refreshing. We need to pray.

Affirmation: I am committed to guarding myself against spiritual weariness by making time for periods of solitude, prayer and reflection upon the word of God and the teachings of Jesus. 

Reflection: In another place Jesus made the point that God did not make the Sabbath for himself but for man. God knows we need times of sabbath (rest). Have you established times of rest and refreshing in your life?

There is a Time to Rest

Listen to the audio of the Daily God Walk devotion for today:

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

– Mark 6:30-31

 When a person is involved in ministry there seems to be no stopping place. There is always something else which needs to be done and there is never enough help. And besides that, ministry is so fulfilling it can almost become addictive.

Jesus realized this when his disciples returned from their short missionary journey into their homeland. They had healed the sick and cast out demons as they proclaimed the message of the kingdom. They were excited about all that had happened and came to give Jesus a report. But he could tell they were getting tired.

Their reputation was growing along with the popularity of Jesus among the people and everywhere they went people were constantly coming and going. In fact, Jesus observed that they were giving so much attention to the people around them that they hadn’t even taken the time to eat or rest.

Then Jesus gave an order which gives insight to the principle of rest in ministry. He saw the tiredness in his disciples and he knew that prolonged physical tiredness leads to emotional and spiritual weariness and he called them away to rest.

Jesus knew that their effect in the kingdom would be limited if they were tired and weary so he called his disciples aside to rest. There are pastors and ministry leaders that have left serving in the ministry because they have grown too weary; they had given so much there was nothing left to give.

We are not called to kill ourselves for Christ, we are called to live for him. If we aren’t conscious of our need for rest and respite we will work ourselves into a place where we are ineffective in the kingdom, with our family and with other relationships.

Prayer:  Lord, give me the wisdom to know when it’s time to stop and give me the grace to allow you to give me rest. In Jesus name. Amen.

Principle: We are not called to kill ourselves for Christ, we are called to live for him. If we aren’t conscious of our need for rest and respite we will work ourselves into a place where we are ineffective in the kingdom, with our family and with other relationships.

Affirmation:  I will follow the example given us by Christ and set aside times for rest and refreshing so that I will not become weary in doing the work of the kingdom.

 Reflection: The greatest cause of “burn out” is not the task but the way a person goes about the task. Question: How does a person eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time. How does a person complete a great task? By doing one small task at a time. Think about it

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I Will Make You Fishers of Men

As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him. – Mark 1:16-18

 Was Jesus out for a casual stroll along the shores of Galilee, or was he on a mission to build his team? It appears that he was on a mission to build his team. In fact, in his account of this event Luke gives a few more details. Luke tells us that Jesus was ministering on the shore and people were crowding around him.

Being pressed by the people he looked and saw two boats on the shore near him. He stepped into one of the boats and continued teaching. When he had finished teaching to told Simon, the owner of the boat, to launch out into the deep water and put out their nets for a good catch.

Simon argued that they had fished all night and had caught nothing, but he relented and cast off. To his surprise, when he and his brother Andrew cast the nets into the water they caught so many fish that they needed help to get them in the boat. They called to some friends, James and John, who were nearby to come and help.

When all of the fish were put in the boats both boats were so full they nearly sank. Simon was so overwhelmed he fell to his knees before Jesus and cried, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man.” Jesus replied, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.”

How did they respond? They put their boats ashore, left them there, and followed Jesus (Luke 5:1-11). Jesus had his first four disciples; Simon, Andrew, James and John.

Jesus still calls men and women to follow him and to be fishers of men. The method God has ordained for the kingdom of God to spread is through the witness of believers. These four soon became twelve and Jesus sent them out two by two to fish for men. God is still looking for fishermen to be fishers of men.

Prayer:  Lord, there are people around me who need to hear about you, help me to be  a faithful fisherman. In Jesus name, amen.

Principle: Jesus still calls men and women to follow him and to be fishers of men. The method God has ordained for the kingdom of God to spread is through the witness of believers.

Affirmation: I have heard the call to be a fisher of men and I am committed to spreading the message of the kingdom of God and faith in Christ.

 Reflection: Look at this story very carefully to see how many applications you can get from it. First, they were working, even though their labor produced no results. Then, though they were tired, they obeyed. Dig deeper into this parable and you will find other applications.

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I Will Put You In Charge of Many Things

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!     – Matthew 25:21

 Most of us have heard sermons preached on the three servants of Matthew 25. Each one received a certain amount of money to use for their master while he was away. Two of the three used the money wisely and doubled it in commerce. The third servant was fearful that he would lose the money he was given so he simply hid it so he would still have it when his master returned.

The passage for today is dealing with the servant who doubled the money his master left him. In this parable Jesus is addressing the concepts of responsibility, accountability and rewards for faithfulness.

We know that the master in this parable expected that these three servants would use his money wisely and have a profit waiting for him when he returned. He had not only given them money, but there was a certain responsibility attached to receiving the money.

It is evident that the master expected a return on his investment because he rewards the faithful servants, and we read the plight of the fearful servant in verses 24-30.  Jesus called that servant lazy and worthless. This unfaithful servant received a severe judgment.

The message seems to be that we are given God’s grace as a free gift, but we are responsible for how we use that gift and we will give an accounting as to how we used the gift we were given.

The faithful servants received a reward that was much greater than the profit they gave their master. It is interesting that their reward was not measured by the amount of profit returned on what they had received but by how they used what they received. The one who received five measures of money was given the same reward as the one who had received two measures of money, even though he returned much more profit.

God doesn’t reward based on the results he rewards according to our faithfulness.  Have you been faithful with what you have been given?

 Prayer:  Lord, I thank you for the gift of salvation you have given me. Give me wisdom to use wisely what you have given me. Amen.

Principle: We are given God’s grace as a free gift, but we are responsible for how we use that gift and we will give an accounting as to how we used the gift we were given.

Affirmation: I am careful that I do not misuse God’s gift of grace as a license to do as I please, but rather I realize the value of his gift and realize that I will be held accountable for how I use it.

 Reflection: The parable from which this devotion is taken contrasts the rewards for faithful service and the consequence of being unfaithful in service. How do you see this parable being worked out in our daily life?

I Will Build My Church

On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.  – Matthew 16:18

 There are several ideas about this rock that Jesus said he would build his church upon. Most evangelical Christians believe that the rock of which Jesus was speaking was the rock of truth that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. Others believe that the rock Jesus was referring to was Peter, whose name means “rock.” There is another view that I would like to share.

We should note the place where Jesus and the disciples were when he made this declaration. He was in Caesarea Philippi an area about 25 miles north of the lake of Galilee.

The first thing we should notice about this place is that there weren’t even enough Jews in that area to have a synagogue. Next, there is no record of Jesus actually entering the city, he was just in the area near the city. He did no works there and did no teaching among the local people. So, why was he there?

A common name for the region was Panion and was named after the Greek god Pan. Pan is the god who was half horse and half man. The region was known as a center of idolatrous worship. The city was founded on or near a cliff like stone wall and worshippers were known to carve out niches in the stone face of the wall and put articles of worship in them. Many pagan gods were worshipped in this area.

With that in mind we may be able to see the purpose of Jesus making this historic statement at this place. Perhaps he was standing on the top of this rock which was the home of many pagan gods. It seems he was standing at the very gates of hell itself declaring, “Indeed! I am the Christ, the son of God and I have come to build my church right here, on this rock, at the very gates of hell.”

We have seen his church being built at the gates of hell. At the places where demonic power is most prevalent the power of God is released most effectively and the prison gates of sin cannot stand against the forward progress of the kingdom of God.

 

Prayer: Lord, grant me the courage to stand against the powers of darkness and declare the freedom that is in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Principle: At the places where demonic power is most prevalent the power of God is released most effectively and the prison gates of sin cannot stand against the forward progress of the kingdom of God.

 Affirmation: I have broken free of the prison of sin because the gates of that prison could not stand against God of my salvation.

Reflection: This devotion presents three views of the “rock” Jesus referred to that he would build his church upon. How do you view that rock? Was it the truth of the Christ? Was it Peter as a founder of the church? Was it the actual rock of the enemy’s camp that his Church would invade and build upon? Or, is there an application of all three views?

I Am The Way, The Truth and The Life

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”     – John 14:6

 

Far too many Christians do not fully realize the hope that we have in Christ. Casual Christians look at other belief systems and conclude that if it works for others that is OK, but they are Christians. It’s almost as if they think that any path of faith leads to God, but they have just chosen Christianity as their path.

 

Have you ever made an appointment to meet someone at a shopping mall at a particular store and they misunderstood and thought you were to meet at a different store? You then walked the mall for hours trying to find someone who was in an entirely different place. You may have done a lot of shopping along the way, and you may even have seen other friends to visit, but you didn’t find the friend you were supposed to meet.

 

That is also true of religion. We may be on a path of discovery and we may meet some wonderful people along the way; we may even find some wisdom and enlightenment, but in the end, if we haven’t found Christ we haven’t found the one who would actually guide us to God.

 

Jesus was spending his last evening before his trial giving some very important final instructions to his disciples. Among his teaching that evening was this; “I am the way, the truth and the life – there is no other way to God except through me.”

 

As beautiful, and filled with wisdom, other religious cultures may be they will not lead us to God. There is no other way to be birthed into the kingdom of God than through faith in Jesus as the Christ of God.

 

Judaism looks for a Messiah that has already come. Islam looks for a Messiah to redeem them. Buddhism looks to a succession of reincarnations that perfect one. Only Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

 

Truth and life are released to those who trust Jesus the Christ.

 

 

 

Prayer:  Lord, I pray that you will open the eyes of honest seekers so that they may see Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. Amen.

 

Principle: Judaism looks for a Messiah that has already come. Islam looks for a Messiah to redeem them. Buddhism looks to a succession of reincarnations that perfect one. Only Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.”

Affirmation: Jesus is the logos of God, the very truth of God made manifest among men. And, he is the way which leads to life. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. 

 

Reflection: Think about the analogy of meeting someone at a shopping mall. How do you see that relating to well intentioned people who are on a religious quest but never quite coming to the truth of Christ?

 

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Forgive Us Our Debts

This, then, is how you should pray… Forgive us our debts. – Matthew 6:9,12

 We used to sing a chorus some years ago that went like this, “I owed a debt I could not pay and he paid a debt he did not owe.” That is the case for all of us who have come to faith in Christ.

I like the way Luke recorded this part of the prayer. He writes, “Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us” (Luke 11:4). He clarifies the point that the debt for which we are asking forgiveness is our sins and the debts we forgive are the sins, or offences, others have committed against us.

Most of us have never robbed or caused great bodily harm to come to another, but we have all sinned. Sin is a part of the human condition and God has made a way for us to deal with our sinfulness through faith in Christ. The following is excerpted from “The Lord’s Prayer Directive,” an examination of this prayer:

            “Forgive us our debts…”

We have sinned, and if we say we haven’t we are lying. Before you become upset with me for saying that, take note; it wasn’t me who said it. 1 John 1:8 says that very thing. But verse 9 of that same chapter says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

God has made provision in Jesus Christ to forgive all our sins, but we have to ask him. In fact, every day when we pray through this prayer we should spend some time thinking through the previous day and ask God to bring to our mind anything we did, or            thought about doing that we need to be cleansed of.

Then we should ask God to forgive us of those things. And he      will because, “He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins.”

Prayer: I know I have sinned, and I need your forgiveness. Grant me repentance for all my sins and wash me clean of every wrong desire. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Principle: 1 John 1:9 tells us, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” So we pray, “Forgive us our debts.”

Affirmation:  I confess my sins and He is faithful to forgive me and He is purifying me from all unrighteousness.

 Reflection: You and I have owed a debt we could not pay and He paid that debt for us. Is there anything we must do to be beneficiary of his gracious gift? When we ask, “Forgive us our debts,” is He obligated to do that? Reflect on grace and forgiveness and what that means to you personally.

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Pray… Our Father in Heaven

This, then, is how you should pray: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as be also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one, for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.” – Matthew 6:9-13

Jesus gave us this concise prayer in rebuttal to the babbling of many words like pagans who think they will be heard because of their many words (v7). He did not expect his followers to just recite this prayer, but he was giving them a pattern by which to pray. We will look at this pattern over the next few days.

He begins this prayer, which I call the Lord’s prayer directive, with

“Our Father who is in heaven.” Now, if you want to be proper, using the King James version, you would say, “Our Father which art in heaven.” Personally, I like the more friendly tone of the NIV.

We aren’t too sure where, or what, heaven is, but most of us believe it is the spirit realm where God, our Father, dwells. We recognize him as the Father of creation and the initiator of relationship with man. It is he who has planned from the beginning to show himself to be our Father who is in heaven.

Our Father in heaven is truly father to us in ways that no one else

can be. Many of us had good and healthy relationship with our father,

but others of us do not have pleasant memories of that personage.

Whatever our memory of father in our past, our Lord, as our heavenly Father, is good to us beyond what any human could be. He will comfort us when we are hurting, forgive us when we are in disobedience, console us when we are mourning and deliver us when we are in bondage. He is everything to us that a father is supposed to be, but more. He is everything to us that an earthly father cannot be.

The fact that he is our “Heavenly Father” puts him in a realm that no earthly father could reach. When we pray it is right to give homage to He who is the father of fathers and worship him.

Prayer: Thank you for being my eternal Father in heaven. And thank you for being more than any other father could be. Amen. 

Principle: Jesus gave us this concise prayer in rebuttal to the babbling of many words like pagans who think they will be heard because of their many words (v7). He did not expect his followers to just recite this prayer, but he was giving them a pattern by which to pray.

Affirmation:  I have learned to use this prayer Jesus gave us as a pattern to use when approaching God. 

Reflection: Give some thought to the pattern Jesus gives us in this prayer. First, adoration of the Father and the revelation of himself through his name. Then committing to do his will followed by petitioning him for our daily needs and seeking his strength and courage to resist temptation. The conclusion of the prayer is praise and worship. Follow this pattern in prayer and you will be blessed.

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