Sunday, October 7, 2012

30 Day Challenge - Day 9

For an explanation of the challenge, please read Day 1.

Today is Sunday on a rainy, cold holiday weekend.  I was secretly praying I wouldn't have to help with the little kids during the 2nd service. By this point, my back was killing me and I didn't have time to ice my back before heading to church.  Praise Jesus, they didn’t have many kids and they released us!  We had a pager in case there was a major influx of children, so we had to stay in the service for a second time, but at least I was able to sit!  Thank you, Jesus!  It was a fabulous message that ties right into the 30 day challenge verses from John.

John 17:20-21 (NLT)
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

John chapter 17 provides Jesus’ last will and testament before being arrested and crucified.  
  1. Jesus prayed for himself.  He asked God the Father to glorify Him, so that He in turn could glorify the Father. 
  2. Jesus prayed for his disciples. He asked God the Father to protect them from the evil one.  He had protected them while he was on earth, but he asked for God to step in and maintain their protection after Jesus joined his Father in heaven.
  3. His last prayer before paying the brutal punishment for OUR sin was to pray for “all who will ever believe in me through their message.”  When Jesus prayed for all believers, he prayed for unity.  The unity he requested was not only among all believers, but also unity with Jesus and God the Father.

What if all believers world-wide created a united front and only focused on what will glorify God? It would make all our petty disagreements look small and insignificant.  As the pastor stated, one of the biggest dangers churches face is disunity.

Satan will use any tactic possible to make the church unappealing to those who don’t know God.  If non-believers look at us and see hypocrisy, back-stabbing and gossip, what would make them want what we have?  They experience that every day.  Why would they want to know God if it’s more of the same chaos?

Our unity can be a catalyst for surrender.  Our disunity can be a roadblock. 

John 13: 34-35 (NLT) So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.  Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Jesus commanded us to love each other - just as he loved us.  Our love and unity will the differentiating factor to lead others to Jesus.  

Acts 2:42-47
42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders. 44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. 45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need. 46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosity— 47 all the while praising God and enjoying the goodwill of all the people. And each day the Lord added to their fellowship those who were being saved. 
God, please use me to prove your love.  May I draw others to you and not push them away.  May your love for me fill me up to overflowing so it is passed to everyone I meet.  

1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 (The Message)
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. 

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