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Inward life Worship Discipleship

How to have peace in a world with trouble.

Scripture

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33

Consideration

How can we have peace?

  • Through listening to the words of Jesus.

Why is peace so important?

  • Because this world is filled with trouble.

How do we know that we can trust Jesus?

  • He has overcome the world.

Reflection

  • Where do I put my peace? Is it internal (e.g. my ability), external (e.g. praise from others), or is it eternal (Christ alone)?
  • How easily is my peace stolen? When is my peace most threatened?
  • Who, in my world, is facing trouble from the world and needs support?
  • How can I listen more to the words of Jesus?
Categories
Grow Spiritually

How to be cut back so you aren’t cut off.

Reflections from John 15

Would you rather be cut off or cut back?

Cut back.

What has Jesus called us to do?

Remain in him. 

How do we remain?

Make sure his word is in us and obey his commands.

What is his command?

To love one another. 

What is love?

Love is sacrifice, it is the opposite of selfishness.

What happens when we love like Jesus?

We have complete joy and our prayers are answered. 

Why are we now friends with Jesus?

We are no longer called “servants” because we know the full plan of God: to love others as Jesus loved.

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Grow Spiritually

Breaking Through Frustration and Failure

Jesus said: “Very truly I tell you: No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they have been born of water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” John 3:5-6

The kingdom of God is open to everyone, but there is only one opening: being born of the Spirit.

What is true about the beginning of life in the kingdom is also true as we continue in life

What is true about ENTERING life in the Kingdom is also true about ON-GOING life in the Kingdom. We BEGIN through the Spirit, let us also CONTINUE in the Spirit.

The flesh does some things, and they are important. But the Spirit does things the flesh can not, and these are the most important things.

When we are faced with repeated frustration and failure, this can be an indicator from God that we are working too much on our own power. We need to work differently, through the power of the Spirit. This begins with confession and a renewed commitment to trust God. In this humility, we wait for God to make our convictions clear. Then we obey.

God has given us great gifts–the flesh can accomplish much, as long as it’s submitted to the power of the Spirit.

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Inward life Discipleship

Are You Spiritually Healthy?

What does it mean to be spiritually healthy? Let’s get a little more specific: Were you spiritually healthy yesterday?

Answering this question is easy. Sure, it’s a little personal, but coming up with an honest answer is something most of us could do without much effort.

The next question goes a little deeper:  Why did you give that answer? How do you gage your spiritual health?

Answering this question is tough. You could skip it by thinking, “My spiritual health is based on how I feel.” It takes courage and hard work to come up with a wise answer that’s based on scripture.

The first 10 verses of John 15 uses the word “REMAIN” 11 times–that’s a lot! And it’s not like John lost his Jerusalem Thesaurus, he was intentional with his language. It’s clear that remaining in Jesus is important. But what does it actually mean to remain in him? According to Jesus, there are clear evidences of maintaining a healthy connection with him. We can move beyond guessing about our spiritual health, we can know with confidence. In this passage, we find at least four evidences:

Bearing Fruit — “Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me” (v. 4).
A healthy vine bears fruit, that is it’s purpose. In this passage, Jesus doesn’t specifically describe what fruit looks like. The Bible has a lot to say about bearing fruit, Galatians 5:22-23 is a popular passage. Sticking with this text, we can know we are remaining in Jesus when we do what he created us to do.

Jesus’ Words In Us — “If you remain in me, and my words remain in you” (v.7).
We are spiritually healthy when God’s Word is on our minds. This could be reading (or listening to) the Bible, memorizing a scripture, or meditating on a verse. If we go a whole day or a week without thinking about Jesus’ words, we are missing the mark.

Answered Prayers — “Ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (v.7).
Remember, context is always important when understanding scripture. This promise assumes that we are remaining in Jesus, bearing fruit and keeping Jesus’ words in us. Answered prayer is also evidence of remaining in Jesus. When was the last time you asked for something from God and received it? This is one way you can know you are remaining in him.

Obedience — “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love” (v.10)
Obedience is the foundation for remaining in Jesus, everything in the spiritual life begins and ends with obedience. This is not a matter of earning God’s favor, as Jesus say earlier in this passage, “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (v. 3).  We can know if we are remaining in Jesus if we do what he tells us to do.

 

Consider your yesterday: Did you bear fruit? Did you keep Jesus’ words close? Were any of your prayers answered? Ultimately, did you obey Jesus?

 

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Discipleship Downloads

His Name is Jesus

TEACHING NOTES (PDF)

OUTLINE (PDF)

My wife and I have had five children, all boys. Before each one was born, we had lengthy discussions about their name. For every child, I made an argument to name him MAGNUS. It’s unique. It’s Latin for magnificent. His nickname could be Gnus (pronounced, Guh-nus) and everything would be awesome.

Needless to say, I never got my way.

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Inward life THIRST

THIRST, day 32

Scripture: Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, satisfy my soul’s thirst. Only you can fill my needs, forgive me when I settle for imperfect substitutes.

Reflection: Why do we seek fulfillment from the things of this world? The world’s promises are attractive, but they never deliver. The rewards are instant, but the happiness doesn’t last. Live for money or things or influence or people and you will be disappointed. Unsatisfied. Empty. And swallowed by guilt. Only God knows what we need, and he offers it freely.

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Fellowship

What good comes from telling the TRUTH?

[Jesus] is a man of truth. (John 7:18)

Why should we tell the truth, what good comes from it?

When we tell the truth, we follow Jesus’ example. He is our model, the shape our souls ought to take is his. The spiritual life is about becoming more like Jesus. This means fighting off the powerful temptation to bend the truth, even just bend it a “little.”

When we tell the truth, we keep our integrity. All the money in the world cannot buy back a shattered integrity. Telling the truth keeps our conscience clean and our sleep constant.

When we tell the truth, we earn trust from others. Without trust, true community is impossible. Without trust, influence is shallow. We are not called to live isolated, powerless lives. To connect and live with impact, we must live authentically.

When we tell the truth, we deserve trust from others. In our broken world, appearances are powerful. The force of some personalities naturally gain trust from others The triumph of people skills and charisma is this: like-ability gathers false support. Not only should we earn trust from others, we ought to actually deserve their trust.

We we tell the truth, we help others grow. It’s easy to play it safe and it’s common to avoid conflict. I’m not suggesting we look to start up confrontations every chance we get, but how many people are missing out because we lack the courage to say the tough thing?

When we tell the truth, in situations where we are tempted to cover up our errors, we face the true consequences of our actions. In these painful moments, especially when we choose to face them, we learn powerful lessons.

 

Let us commit to telling the truth, in all things, so that we might become more like Jesus and grow into the person God has designed for us to be.