Wesley was born Sunday, June 6 at about 11:00 am to Mary Beth and Dale Potts. It amazes me how a little guy who basically eats, sleeps, and gets his diaper changed can steal your heart. Perhaps that is why they are called grandchildren — because it is grand to be with them. Leslie and I have enjoyed our first days with him. It is neat watching a daughter fill the role of young mother. It seems like only yesterday Leslie was the young mother and Mary Beth the baby. Time passes quickly and little girls grow up to be mothers.
Psalm 78:4 gives a great parental challenge:
We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.
The truths of God found in the Bible are taught to us in Sunday School and worship. We should pass these along to the next generation with enthusiasm.
Are you a part of the next generation of leaders that God is raising up? At our church we have a long spiritual family line of those faithful in service and in lifestyle. These men and women of God were well aware of the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord. Several in our list of faithful are young adults. They are in the process of presenting to their families the truths of God.
We can’t do it alone. God’s plan for us must be accomplished. Let’s join hands and challenge not just the next generation but this generation as well.
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”
One of the best-known women of the Bible is Mary the mother of Jesus. She found favor with God and was blessed above all women while suffering some of the deepest heartaches a mother could experience. The Bible says that she hid in her heart all the things Jesus did as he grew. The story begins though with the appearance of an angel. Mary is told she will be a mother. Her son would have all of the ancient titles reserved for the expected Messiah. In fact the angel predicted, “His kingdom will never end.” What Mary did not know was that the way to the kingdom is always by the way of the cross. To see her son as King of Kings she first had to see him as the Savior on the cross.
A principle for our Christian lives is that we will only reach the glorious promises of God by the way of the cross. We may be chosen by God, but we still must travel by the way of the cross.
Has God chosen you for a purpose? Do you follow Jesus by way of the cross to do His purpose? Write about how God speaks in your life.
- Pray to hear God’s call clearly.
- Pray for the people on your prayer list.
We are entering the final few weeks of our devotions. The written part of the devotions will get shorter and shorter while the room for open response will get larger. The ultimate goal is to encourage believers to ask the right type of questions in their personal studies and devotions. God bless you as you enter this final phase together.
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Be perfect! Who – me?”
That might be a response man would make. The whole idea of being perfect seems foreign. It seems easier to relate to the verse, “All have sinned and come sort of the glory of God.” Recognizing ourselves as sinners is easy. The passage doesn’t just say be perfect. It says be perfect “as your heavenly Father is perfect.” This takes it another step. We are not just to be perfect by human standards. We are told to be perfect like God Himself. How do we do this?
First, we need to look at the word “perfect.” The Greek word literally means mature or complete. Jesus has just made a series of statements using “You have heard it said …, but I say to you ….” Jesus takes the strict obedience passages of the Old Testament and leads the listeners behind them to the intent of God. From the context verse 48 appears to be a summary statement saying (paraphrased), “From what we have said, you then should take God’s view and be mature, complete in your approach to life as God is complete.”
Second, we may also interpret the word “perfect” as a moral imperative telling us to be holy as God is holy. The meaning mature or complete could be interpreted in the ethical sense. We then have the measuring stick for our lives compared to God Himself. We are not just to view things as God would. We are to life as He would.
Two thoughts emerge from this passage: 1) We are to have God’s mature, complete view of the way to live. 2) We are to live mature, holy lives (perfect) as God would live. God gave us the example for how to do both in Jesus. He was God among us. Looking at is life we see how we should think and live. Christ in us is God perfecting His saints.
- How important is being “perfect” to you?
- What do we need to give up as we grow to be like Christ?
- What do we need to add in our lives as we grow to be like Christ?
- Pray for the perfecting of the saints by Christ.
- Pray that Christ will be in you in strength.
- Pray for the people on your prayer list.
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Yesterday we discussed the lordship of Christ. As we follow Christ, we want to be more like him. The admonition of Matthew 6:1 is good guidance. It guides us to have the humility of Jesus. Note the admonition is not “Don’t do public acts of righteousness,” but rather “Don’t do them to be seen by people.” This is a warning to keep the motive pure that Jesus challenged us with in Matthew 5:16, “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” There is a difference between being seen by the public and bringing praise to the Lord.
What are acts of righteousness? Everyone will have a personal definition. For me acts of righteousness are things we do that bring glory to God by meeting the needs of others. This would include physical needs, emotional needs, and spiritual needs. Christ can be glorified through our working in any of these areas of need. We should not do them for praise, but if others publicly recognize our acts we should give praise to God.
I would insert a personal opinion if I may. We have assumed that we live in a Christian nation. Because we have religious liberty that is changing. I do not want to withhold liberty from other faiths; I just think it is time for Christians to be vocal about what we believe. We should exercise our freedom to speak our faith and minister in the name of Christ. The next generations depend on us acting now – publicly to the glory of God.
- Name acts of righteousness you have seen in others that bring glory to God.
- How are you glorifying God with acts of righteousness?
- Why do you think more Christians are not public with their faith?
- Pray for boldness for Christians to be public with our faith.
- Pray that we may truly perform acts of righteousness that bring glory to God.
- Pray for those on your prayer list.
28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Some will ask, “What is a yoke?” You may not have a history with agricultural tools. A yoke was a device, often made of wood, which fit over the neck of an animal. Lines were attached to the yoke so the animal could pull heavy loads or pull plows. In fact Jesus may have built yokes for farmers in his father’s carpenter shop.
A yoke many times would be designed to tie two animals together to pull in the same direction. Taking the yoke of another person upon oneself was symbolic language of submitting as a disciple to that person.
Note whom the passage says the message is for: “all you who are weary and burdened.” What does Jesus promise: “you will find rest for your souls.” How is Jesus’ role described: “I am gentle and humble in heart,” and “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
We all are guided by some ideal or conviction. We are privileged as Christians to have the offer from Christ himself to be our mentor and guide. He wants to be Lord of our lives. Through his guidance we learn to live and act in the center of God’s will.
Even though we have accepted him as Savior, have we surrendered to him as Lord? This is one of the biggest questions facing Christians today. How will you respond?
- Have you surrendered to Jesus as Lord of your life?
- What does it mean to you to take his “yoke” upon yourself?
- What happens when you surrender to Jesus?
- Pray for a better understanding of Jesus as your Lord.
- Pray that more and more believers understand the lordship of Christ.
- Pray for those on your Prayer List.
“Recognizing the Importance of Rest and Renewal”
I. The Importance of Purposeful Labor
II. The Importance of Scheduled Rest
III. The Importance of Regular Worship
IV. God’s Plan for Physical and Spiritual Renewal
16 This is what the Lord says:
“Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,
‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’
But you said, ‘We will not listen.’
“I appointed watchmen over you.” God is always looking after us. He wants to lead us into His paths. He appoints people to be “watchmen” over us. A watchman is person grounded in the faith (ancient paths) but open to God’s leadership (the good way) and is there to help guide you. Your watchman may be a pastor, a Sunday School teacher, a fellow church member, a friend, or a family member. Your watchmen may change from one person to another in different periods of your life. Another term for watchman could be “mentor.”
God uses others as watchmen to mentor us. His plan is that we grow into the role of watchman or mentor for others. Who would God appoint you to watch over? We should study God’s Word not just for ourselves but also for others. We should learn to follow God’s leadership for ourselves but also to show others how to follow. As we mature in Christ, God wants to use us to shape others.
- Name people who have been watchmen or mentors for you.
- Write the names of people God has used you to mentor and those he might want to bring your way for future mentoring.
- Thank God for the people who have helped shape your faith.
- Pray for all those in your prayer list