What happened? What did they do? What did they say they were going to do? How did you feel? How did you respond? Ever notice how hard it is to trust? Ever notice how hard it is to rebuild trust after a mess up? Do you trust God? Do you realize His plans for you are for good and not for evil? Do you need someone who has integrity? Are you looking for it in the right places? Are you finding that you are looking for it in the wrong places? Can you forgive? Forgiveness isn’t about them, it is about freeing yourself! Forgiveness is about taking back the freedom! Forgiveness is the key to true freedom! Don’t allow bitterness to take hold! Don’t give the devil a foothold to try and get into your head or into your life! Don’t allow depression to separate you from God! Forgive and be forgiven! As you forgive others, God will forgive you! We are all human and we all have weaknesses! We aren’t perfect, only God is perfect! So today, if it is hard to trust, first make sure there isn’t anything that is holding you back because you haven’t forgiven someone. Doesn’t mean you have to trust them or become best friends, but it does mean that you will stop giving control over your life to what was or did happen in the past. Forgiveness is the key to real freedom! Forgiveness thanks to Jesus broke the chains and the bondage! Forgiveness thanks to Jesus remove the power that the devil has over us! The only way sin can have power is if we allow it to and that just opens up the door for the devil to get a foothold and to start to try and manipulate us.
Let’s start by taking a look at today’s reading and what happens…
The Arrest of Jesus
(Matthew 26.47-56; Mark 14.43-50; Luke 22.47-53)
1After Jesus had said this prayer, he left with his disciples and went across Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place, and Jesus and his disciples went in. 2Judas, the traitor, knew where it was, because many times Jesus had met there with his disciples. 3So Judas went to the garden, taking with him a group of Roman soldiers, and some Temple guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees; they were armed and carried lanterns and torches. 4Jesus knew everything that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward and asked them, “Who is it you are looking for?” 5“Jesus of Nazareth,” they answered. “I am he,” he said. Judas, the traitor, was standing there with them. 6When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they moved back and fell to the ground. 7Again Jesus asked them, “Who is it you are looking for?” “Jesus of Nazareth,” they said. 8“I have already told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “If, then, you are looking for me, let these others go.” ( 9He said this so that what he had said might come true: “Father, I have not lost even one of those you gave me.”) 10Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the High Priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear. The name of the slave was Malchus. 11Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back in its place! Do you think that I will not drink the cup of suffering which my Father has given me?”
Jesus before Annas
12Then the Roman soldiers with their commanding officer and the Jewish guards arrested Jesus, tied him up, 13and took him first to Annas. He was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was High Priest that year. 14It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jewish authorities that it was better that one man should die for all the people.
Peter Denies Jesus
(Matthew 26.69, 70; Mark 14.66-68; Luke 22.55-57)
15Simon Peter and another disciple followed Jesus. That other disciple was well known to the High Priest, so he went with Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest’s house, 16while Peter stayed outside by the gate. Then the other disciple went back out, spoke to the girl at the gate, and brought Peter inside. 17The girl at the gate said to Peter, “Aren’t you also one of the disciples of that man?” “No, I am not,” answered Peter. 18It was cold, so the servants and guards had built a charcoal fire and were standing around it, warming themselves. So Peter went over and stood with them, warming himself.
–from John 18
How does it make you feel when you break a promise? How does it make you feel when you can’t keep up your end of the bargain? How does it make you feel when you don’t come through from someone else? Are you making promises you can’t keep? Are you making deals you can’t fulfill? Be aware of where you are at and the impact of your commitments, decisions, and their outcome! Do you want to build trust? Do you want to develop relationships? Then be careful and be sure of what you are saying and you are doing! Ever found that something may have been sweet in your mouth, but then soured in your gut? What does your conscience feel? How does your heart feel? What’s going on in your mind at those moments?
The Angel and the Little Scroll
1Then I saw another mighty angel coming down out of heaven. He was wrapped in a cloud and had a rainbow around his head; his face was like the sun, and his legs were like columns of fire. 2He had a small scroll open in his hand. He put his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, 3and called out in a loud voice that sounded like the roar of lions. After he had called out, the seven thunders answered with a roar. 4As soon as they spoke, I was about to write. But I heard a voice speak from heaven, “Keep secret what the seven thunders have said; do not write it down!” 5Then the angel that I saw standing on the sea and on the land raised his right hand to heaven 6and took a vow in the name of God, who lives forever and ever, who created heaven, earth, and the sea, and everything in them. The angel said, “There will be no more delay! 7But when the seventh angel blows his trumpet, then God will accomplish his secret plan, as he announced to his servants, the prophets.” 8Then the voice that I had heard speaking from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go and take the open scroll which is in the hand of the angel standing on the sea and on the land.” 9I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it; it will turn sour in your stomach, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” 10I took the little scroll from his hand and ate it, and it tasted sweet as honey in my mouth. But after I swallowed it, it turned sour in my stomach. 11Then I was told, “Once again you must proclaim God’s message about many nations, races, languages, and kings.”
–from Revelation 10
Words have meaning! Words have power! Don’t just throw them out there like darts or arrows at people! Consider the words you are going to use! Consider the meaning of what you are trying to say! A misspoken word can tear someone up! A misspoken word can break someone apart! A properly chosen word can build up! A properly chosen word can correct! A properly chosen word can instruct and direct! Use your words wisely!
1-2You men are so wise, so clever; listen now to what I am saying. 3You know good food when you taste it, but not wise words when you hear them. 4It is up to us to decide the case. 5Job claims that he is innocent, that God refuses to give him justice. 6He asks, “How could I lie and say I am wrong? I am fatally wounded, but I am sinless.” 7Have you ever seen anyone like this man Job? He never shows respect for God. 8He likes the company of evil people and goes around with sinners. 9He says that it never does any good to try to follow God’s will. 10Listen to me, you men who understand! Will Almighty God do what is wrong? 11He rewards people for what they do and treats them as they deserve. 12Almighty God does not do evil; he is never unjust to anyone. 13Did God get his power from someone else? Did someone put him in charge of the world? 14If God took back the breath of life, 15then everyone living would die and turn into dust again. 16Now listen to me, if you are wise. 17Are you condemning the righteous God? Do you think that he hates justice? 18God condemns kings and rulers when they are worthless or wicked. 19He does not take the side of rulers nor favor the rich over the poor, for he created everyone. 20We may suddenly die at night. God strikes us down and we perish; he kills the mighty with no effort at all.
–from Job 34
There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus! The devil will try to shame you in order to keep you from turning to God and being set free! The devil will try to shame you so that you may feel that you can’t forgive them! But the reality is that while we were yet sinners Jesus died for us! He didn’t wait for us to get our heads on straight! He didn’t wait till we had it all together to call us and ask us to come along side Him and His plans! He saw our potential! He saw the plan He has for us and the destiny for our lives and is calling each of us to that point! He knows what He is doing! We may not think we are good enough or qualified enough, but God doesn’t call the qualified, He calls the obedient! All things are possible for those who believe! We know that He works all things for good for those who love God and who are called according to His purposes!
So don’t worry! Don’t be afraid! Don’t runaway! Take the hand of God and do what He is calling you to do! If He calls you to it, He will get you through it!
Jonah Disobeys the Lord
1One day the Lord spoke to Jonah son of Amittai. 2He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and speak out against it; I am aware of how wicked its people are.” 3Jonah, however, set out in the opposite direction in order to get away from the Lord. He went to Joppa, where he found a ship about to go to Spain. He paid his fare and went aboard with the crew to sail to Spain, where he would be away from the Lord. 4But the Lord sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up. 5The sailors were terrified and cried out for help, each one to his own god. Then, in order to lessen the danger, they threw the cargo overboard. Meanwhile, Jonah had gone below and was lying in the ship’s hold, sound asleep. 6The captain found him there and said to him, “What are you doing asleep? Get up and pray to your god for help. Maybe he will feel sorry for us and spare our lives.” 7The sailors said to each other, “Let’s draw lots and find out who is to blame for getting us into this danger.” They did so, and Jonah’s name was drawn. 8So they said to him, “Now, then, tell us! Who is to blame for this? What are you doing here? What country do you come from? What is your nationality?” 9“I am a Hebrew,” Jonah answered. “I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made land and sea.” 10Jonah went on to tell them that he was running away from the Lord. The sailors were terrified, and said to him, “That was an awful thing to do!” 11The storm was getting worse all the time, so the sailors asked him, “What should we do to you to stop the storm?” 12Jonah answered, “Throw me into the sea, and it will calm down. I know it is my fault that you are caught in this violent storm.” 13Instead, the sailors tried to get the ship to shore, rowing with all their might. But the storm was becoming worse and worse, and they got nowhere. 14So they cried out to the Lord, “O Lord, we pray, don’t punish us with death for taking this man’s life! You, O Lord, are responsible for all this; it is your doing.” 15Then they picked Jonah up and threw him into the sea, and it calmed down at once. 16This made the sailors so afraid of the Lord that they offered a sacrifice and promised to serve him. 17At the Lord’s command a large fish swallowed Jonah, and he was inside the fish for three days and three nights.
–from Jonah 1
Do you want to get thrown overboard? Do you want to bring a storm upon those around you? Do you want to be the cause of the stress and concerns and pain? Do you want to end up in the belly of a giant fish? Imagine being there for 3 days to think about what you were going to do! Imagine the decision you will make coming out of there! Obedience to God is always better than having to deal with the consequences of disobedience. Hearing and listening for the still quiet voice is always the better option! Walk in alignment and obedience to the calling God has put into your life! Put your hope and trust in Him and be a part of His team! Did you mess up? Ask for forgiveness! Confess what you did and start to rebuild that relationship! God’s Word tells us about His response and His character! If we ask Him for forgiveness, He will forgive you! He will put it as far away as the east is from the west! He won’t hold it against you! If someone hurts you, forgive them! Continue to forgive them! You may stop allowing certain activity or situations to protect yourself! The key though is to forgive because unforgiveness (which isn’t a word) is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die! It just works to take you out! God’s plan is so much bigger and better than anything we could try to do in our own power!
1From deep inside the fish Jonah prayed to the Lord his God: 2“In my distress, O Lord, I called to you, and you answered me. From deep in the world of the dead I cried for help, and you heard me. 3You threw me down into the depths, to the very bottom of the sea, where the waters were all around me, and all your mighty waves rolled over me. 4I thought I had been banished from your presence and would never see your holy Temple again. 5The water came over me and choked me; the sea covered me completely, and seaweed wrapped around my head. 6I went down to the very roots of the mountains, into the land whose gates lock shut forever. But you, O Lord my God, brought me back from the depths alive. 7When I felt my life slipping away, then, O Lord, I prayed to you, and in your holy Temple you heard me. 8Those who worship worthless idols have abandoned their loyalty to you. 9But I will sing praises to you; I will offer you a sacrifice and do what I have promised. Salvation comes from the Lord!” 10Then the Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah up on the beach, and it did.
–from Jonah 2
Ever heard someone say in describing a situation where people were being troubled or challenged that they ended up having a “come to Jesus” moment? It’s a moment where the truth is realized, the truth is accepted, and lives are changed! Have you ever had such a time? Was it with Jesus? Have you been reconciled to God? Obedience can make things better! Obedience can save lives! Obedience makes a difference!
Jonah Obeys the Lord
1Once again the Lord spoke to Jonah. 2He said, “Go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to the people the message I have given you.” 3So Jonah obeyed the Lord and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to walk through it. 4Jonah started through the city, and after walking a whole day, he proclaimed, “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed!” 5The people of Nineveh believed God’s message. So they decided that everyone should fast, and all the people, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth to show that they had repented. 6When the king of Nineveh heard about it, he got up from his throne, took off his robe, put on sackcloth, and sat down in ashes. 7He sent out a proclamation to the people of Nineveh: “This is an order from the king and his officials: No one is to eat anything; all persons, cattle, and sheep are forbidden to eat or drink. 8All persons and animals must wear sackcloth. Everyone must pray earnestly to God and must give up their wicked behavior and their evil actions. 9Perhaps God will change his mind; perhaps he will stop being angry, and we will not die!” 10God saw what they did; he saw that they had given up their wicked behavior. So he changed his mind and did not punish them as he had said he would.
–from Jonah 3