The Power & The Glory

Jesus performs some of His most powerful miracles when He is alone with His disciples. We’ve seen Him walk on water and twice calm a storm on the high Seas. Through all the tests and life lessons, Christ Jesus is teaching them to utilize His power after He leaves. Every believer needs to know how to utilize Christ’s power. The Power and The Glory of God is found in and through Jesus Christ alone. If our desire to be used of God and utilize His power, then we must Comprehend that Jesus is all you need. (Matthew 17:1-13) 

The disciples are beginning to understand Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, so they are ready for the next level. Jesus has been telling them He must suffer and die. They now need to understand death will not be the end for Him. Therefore, Jesus says some of the disciples won’t experience death until they see Him coming in His kingdom Matthew 16:28~Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. (ESV) Six days later, Jesus takes Peter, James, and John up a high mountain Matthew 17:1~Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; (ESV). Then, as the disciples watch, Matthew 17:2~and He was transfigured (μεταμορφόω metamorphoō) before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. (ESV) 

(μεταμορφόω metamorphoō) in Greek is translated transfigured and gives us metamorphosis. It is how we describe the transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. It refers to an outward change that comes from within. This is the same word translated transformed in Romans 12:2~Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. (NIV) JB Philips says don’t get squeezed, rather transform. We are to change from the inside out by renewing our minds. How do we do that? By reading the Bible, hearing it taught and spoken over our lives as it is preached. Then we can better apply it to the daily living of our lives. 

Where in life are you being squeezed? I bet that it is near an area of change that God wants for your life. Today, take time to unpack your pressure in prayer until you are empty. It is only when we are empty that we can then be filled by God. So, instead of feeling the sweet cathartic release of tension and pressure and leaving, stay to listen to what the Lord is speaking. Then just respond. Later when the pressure begins to mount. Repeat.



Meditations of the Heart

Did you know, we can all quickly move from the heights of spirituality, plummeting to the depths of calamity. Acting like angels at church, while some act like demons at home. Pete demonstrates this as He attempts to circumvent the way of the cross. It reminds us that we don’t always understand where Jesus is leading us. So Christ Jesus shares with us in Matthew 16:24~If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. (ESV) Grasp that our cross is whatever makes it difficult for us to follow Jesus Christ. It may be a job, a fear, a relationship, even our pride. But, if we decide to follow Jesus Christ, by faith and walk out the scriptures we’ll have a cross to bear. In the Roman Empire, a convicted criminal was forced to carry his own cross through public streets to the place of execution as a sign of total submission to Roman rule. Christ Jesus takes this visual and says it is even more true for His followers.

Following Christ Jesus means we must totally submit giving up our selfish ambitions even our whole lives, to follow after Jesus Christ. Matthew 16:25~For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (ESV) Born once, die twice, but if we are born again we will only die once. Did You know, on average in the U.S., every two minutes someone succeeds at suicide? Almost 50,000 people take their lives each year. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers, and these numbers continue to trend upwards. Why, Why does this happen in the most affluent society on earth? I submit to you the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. ~ Life isn’t worth living until you have found something worth dying for. Saints, that something, is a somebody because Jesus Christ is worth dying for. Paul writes it this way in Philippians 1:21~For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (NIV) 

Living in Christ Jesus is to live on in the fruitful labor and service of our Lord. If our heart’s desire is to get the most out of life, then we must Get Connected so we can answer the Messiah’s question in Matthew 16:26~For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (ESV) Many people spend their lives trying to gain stuff, status, or standing. Some gain it all, but they’re the walking dead, spiritually lifeless, and one day, they’ll lose it all, but most tragic of all, spiritually bankrupt, they’ll lose their souls forever. Understand Jesus died on the cross to claim us as our Lord and He lives to lead us as Lord over all. 

Who are you following? The only way that we can truly follow after Jesus Christ is to make Him Lord over our whole life. Our spiritual life, our thought life, our secret life, our living breathing every day walking around life. That means we must get connected to Jesus who is our source. To do this we must realize who Jesus is and what He has done for us, even having the Father send us the Holy Spirit. Moreover, we must learn to visualize His purpose for our lives and who we fit into the plan that He has created for us. Then as we journey with Jesus, we must take time to analyze how we are following after our Lord. Romans 1:16~…the gospel…it is the power of God that brings salvation…(NIV) Why not take time today to examine how you are following Jesus. After all, it’s at the heart of our 21-Days.



Revealing God’s Plan

Today let’s analyze what following is not. (16:21-28) Jesus is pretty clear about what His call means. Now that Jesus has verified who He is, and taught a great deal on living, now He turns towards Calvary. Matthew 16:20~Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (ESV) As the disciples begin to realize who Jesus truly is, He says boys listen up, then explains how He’s bound for Jerusalem to suffer, be killed, and on the third day be raised. Matthew 16:21~From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. (ESV) There’s the shift. This time from the prophet preaching to the Lamb in our stead. 

However, the disciples still think Messiah is a political reformer who will defeat Rome and re-establish the kingdom of Israel. So, Pete takes Christ Jesus aside and rebukes Him. (Matthew 16:22) Have you ever tried to rebuke the Lord? I bet it didn’t go very well, never does. C.S. Lewis~Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world. 

Jesus responds to Pete in Matthew 16:23~Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man. (ESV) No, Pete hasn’t gone from saint to Satan in the matter of a few verses. Christ Jesus calls Pete Satan because he is trying to circumvent God’s plan of salvation. It’s vital we grasp this. God has one plan of salvation, it is Jesus Christ crucified in our stead and we must confess Jesus Christ is Lord and believe God raised Him, else we’re to using Satan’s strategy. Some of us need to move out of the way in our kid’s lives, our spouse’s life, or a friend’s life. God has a plan for each and we must fall in line. 

Pastor how can you be so sure. Because Pete later unpacks this for us in 2 Peter 3:9~The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. (NIV) God has a plan for your life, and one of the best things about 21-Days is moving out of God’s way, find ourselves broken and empty, ready to be filled and fueled by His amazing grace. Christ Jesus says insert your name here ___ don’t be an offense Pete, don’t be a hindrance, go with God, be the rock He has purposed.