All the change we need

Today, we commit to doing our part. (Matthew 17:22-27) Jesus now tells His disciples He’ll soon be delivered, Matthew 17:22~Now while they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, (ESV) Matthew 17:23~and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up. And they were exceedingly sorrowful. (ESV) Here in the middle of the Gospel Jesus is sharing the order of events coming because He doesn’t want this to take them by surprise. He wants them to know He is in control; however, the disciples are deeply distressed. They understand He will die, but resurrection? 

That must have been hard for the disciples to believe. Returning to His operational home base for the last time, prior to His death, Jesus and the disciples arrive at Capernaum. There it must have been April 15th because the temple tax collectors ask Pete if his Teacher pays the tax. Exodus 30:13~Each person who is counted must give a small piece of silver as a sacred offering to the LORD. (This payment is half a shekel, based on the sanctuary shekel, which equals twenty gerahs. (NLT) Every male between 20 and 50 had to pay the two days’ wages of an average laborer, to help maintain the temple. Well, Pete says of course. 

Matthew 17:25b-26~And when he had come into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take customs or taxes, from their sons or from strangers?” (ESV) Therefore, Jesus is technically exempt from taxes His Father imposed. Matthew 17:27~Nevertheless, lest we offend them, go to the sea, cast in a hook, and take the fish that comes up first. And when you have opened its mouth, you will find a piece of money; take that and give it to them for Me and you.” (ESV) 

I know some of you are thinking about going fishing for a big payday. Psalm 24:1~The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. (NLT) You belong to God. You, your life, your family, and all that you have, belongs to God. He gave you everything. It is important to understand this, for even though Jesus supplies the money, Pete still has to go and get it. This is a wonderful example of how God supplies all of our needs, but we must be willing to do our part. (Philippians 4:19) 

As you reflect on the week and the 21-Days, what has God empowered you for? If our deep desire is to utilize Jesus’ power, we must Comprehend Jesus is all we need, Connect with His power through faith, and Commit to doing our part. Let me encourage you to keep growing in the Lord. Philippians 1:6~For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. (NASB) May the Lord bless and keep you.

Christ Alone

The way that we connect with Christ’s power is through faith. (Matthew 17:14-21) When Jesus, Pete, James, and John return from their mountain top retreat, a crowd is waiting for them. One man in particular comes and kneels before Jesus. He calls Jesus Lord and asks Him to have mercy on his son, an epileptic who is suffering terribly. He also tells Jesus his son often falls into the fire and water (17:14-15). The symptoms described by the boy’s father are similar to epilepsy, but his behavior makes it clear he is under the influence of a demon. Matthew 17:16~So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him. (ESV)

Matthew 17:17~Jesus answered, O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me. (ESV) Jesus is frustrated with His faithless disciples, as well as the lot of this generation. The disciples cannot cast out the demon because Jesus says they are faithless. Remember the disciples were previously given the power to cast out demons back in Mark 6:13, but apparently they think they can do this without depending on the Lord. 

Spiritual power must be continually renewed by faith. That means we must get in the Lord’s presence, allowing the Holy Spirit to continually flow on, in, and through our lives. In Psalm 105, we find a hymn sung as the Ark of the Covenant is carried from Obed-Edom’s house, who must have been really sad to see the Ark go. After all of the blessing, it had brought him. Psalm 105:4~Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. (NIV) 

I bet you just asked yourself, how often is always? By definition, it means all of the time, or on every occasion. Turning to the Holy Scripture we find an answer for what that looks like in the daily life of Daniel. Daniel 6:10 says he prays three times a day so He can remain in the anointing and strength of God. It takes a whole lot of prayer to remain strong in the Lord. Again Jesus reiterates the power of a seed planted. Matthew 17:20~For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you. (ESV) 

Without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), without faith in Jesus Christ’s power their words, and ours, are powerless. The point is: the amount of our faith does not matter; it is the source of our faith. They have a lot of faith in themselves but are placing no faith in the power of Jesus alone. If we have faith the size of a mustard seed in the power of Jesus, nothing will be impossible. I think that scares many believers to be that close to Christ and walk in His anointing. 

Matthew 17:21~However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (NKJ) In the book of Acts, believers often fasted and prayed before major decisions. For example, the church in Antioch fasted and prayed in Acts 13:3~So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. (NIV) Fasting is about realigning our hearts and lives with God so that we can better listen to what He is saying to us. 

So, what is the Lord saying in your life? We have been on the 21-Day journey for 19 days of the three-week journey of 21-Days and I know that by now you are starting to hear the Lord much more clearly. This is the time when we connect with Christ’s power through faith, and begin to truly respond to what He is asking of and from us. Today, write down what the Lord is saying so you can begin to take the steps He has laid out for you. And if you did not know, this is going to be amazing in your life.

David —Confessions of a King — Life Is Hard — 1Samuel 18-20…Handout

Sometimes, if we’re not careful we can be overwhelmed by our __________ or people who can make things all the more. Romans 12:18~If it is__________, as far as it depends on____, live at peace with everyone. (NIV) We are to walk in God’s power and__________. John 14 v27~I am leaving you with a ______—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or ______. (NLT) After David’s success, he becomes best friends with _______. Saul’s oldest son. 1 Samuel 18:7~And the women sang to one another…Saul has struck down his __________, and David his ____ thousands. (ESV) Life Is Hard: Awareness, ___________, and Refusal.

1) Be aware as to why people are_______ (18:8-30) Let’s consider three reasons why some people can be difficult 1—_______ As a result of David’s success & popularity Saul becomes very angry, or wroth. 1 Samuel 18:8~ Saul was very angry (חָרָה charah), and this saying ________ him…(ESV) Ephesians 4:31~Get rid of _____ bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. (NIV) Saul becomes a very _______ person because of his own _________. Who made Saul king? _____ So, let God be in control. 2—________. From that time David became successful. 1 Samuel 18:9~And Saul _____ David from that day on. (ESV) Saul becomes so jealous that while playing lyre he ______ his spear at David. (18:10-11) 3—________. Insecurity, jealousy & fear undermines Saul’s leadership. While David does everything under God’s favor. His great success causes Saul to be ______ because all Israel loves David who just keeps ________(18:12-16) Psalm 27:1~The LORD is my light and my salvation, ______ shall I fear? The LORD is the _________ of my life, of whom shall I be afraid? (NIV)

2) Retain a sense of ______ (19:1-24) Psalm 17:22~A joyful heart is good ________, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (ESV) Michal warns her hubby to leave surreptitiously. Even deceiving her own father. 1 Samuel 19:9-17~Michal took an ______ and laid it on the bed…Why have you deceived me…(ESV) As David flees for Samuel’s, Saul sends _____ different groups of men to capture him. Each time a group enters Samuel’s presence, the____________ comes over them and they prophesy. Finally, Saul goes in 1 Samuel 19:24~And he too stripped off his clothes, and…prophesied before Samuel…(ESV) Psalm 2:4~The One enthroned in heaven _______; the Lord scoffs at them. (NIV) 

3) Refuse to be ________ (20:1-42) Like all of us, David wonders what he has done to earn the scorn of others.  (1 Samuel 20:1) Realizing David’s concern, Jonathan agrees to help. 1 Samuel 20:16-17~And Jonathan made a __________ with the house of David, saying, May the Lord take vengeance on David’s enemies…(ESV) This part of our passage reveals a wonderful example of fraternal friendship and trust. 1 Corinthians 9:24~Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the ______. (NIV) Take-A-Step: _____________________________