The Great Commission
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
The most famous Bible verse on how to make a disciple. The Great Commission, is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his 11 disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world, baptizing them in “the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” The use of the word “the” before the proper names indicates that each “One” is a unique entity, to be used together, as a group, forming the “Trinity.” With Jesus’ promise, “I am always with you,” giving His warranty, “to the very end of the age,” His guarantee to the disciple. But we need to understand this passage was meant for the 11 disciples and the “missionary” people that would go after them. Not everyone is called for the Great Commission. Paul repeatedly asked those who sent him to pray for him (Rom15:30; 2 Cor 1:11; 1 Thess 5:25; 2 Thess 3:1; Heb 13:18). Those individuals who hear and obey the teaching of the gospel from the emissary are to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). The Great Commission is solely for the person sent on a special mission. We, the body of Christ, are to publicly support and love what Jesus is doing in our fellow brothers and sisters.
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” (John 13:34)
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/15/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
Where Is Your Focus?
A man went to his pastor before the Sunday service began and started complaining to him of why he had given up on the church and that he was planning on leaving. He complained about how there was too much pride, hate, jealously, gossip, division and lack of communication. He also admitted that the way certain people were dressing were giving him unclean thoughts and that they should not be dressing that way in church.
The pastor listened closely to him and after the man was done venting, the pastor filled a glass of water and asked the man to do one more thing for him before leaving the church. The pastor asked him to carry the full glass of water to every corner of the church during the worship service. The man agreed and after the worship service, the man went back to his pastor, wondering what it all meant. The pastor asked him if any of the water had spilled out? The man said, “No. Not a drop! I had my focus on the glass of water the whole time making sure that none of the water spilled out.” The pastor then replied, “This is how a Christian in the church and in the world at large should be living. Never be swayed by the things happening around you. Focus on your relationship with God. Focus on His principle laws of loving your neighbor. Always stay focused on God!
How many times do we get offended by the way someone acts or dresses? We might say, “I can’t believe they said that!” Or we might say, “I can’t believe she came to church dressed like that today!” (I am not saying that woman should dress in a provocative manner in church. That is not the message I am conveying here). We know that this is not the life of a Christian, that we should not be judging others in this manner. So why do we allow these types of behaviors to consume us? Maybe the problem is not all about them but all about us. Are we holding onto something that we need to let go of? Friends, we are born of sin. We can not escape what is all around us in this world. This is why it is so important to keep our focus on God at all times, guarding our hearts and minds (Proverbs 4:23). It is one thing to help your fellow brother or sister out of their sin, which is what we are called to do, but for one to hold it against another is just plain wrong! Remember, we all struggle with sin. We are all here to help one another, not tear each other apart by calling them out in public to others. There are two sides to every coin. So the next time you feel offended or are calling someone out because of their sin, please look within yourself. Go and seek help immediately. Ask the Lord or anyone that you can trust to help you with your problem (i.e. accountability partner). The story above reflects on how we put our focus on the people around us, being swayed, and easily losing our focus on God.
“Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2 1-3)
I ask you today then, “Where is your focus?”
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/13/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
The Disciple In You
We are all born to be made disciples of Christ. God created us in His image. We learn from an early age who are parents are because we know their voices. But something happens to us as we age. We begin to lose our hearing! We start listening not through our ears but seeing through ours eyes. We ignore what is written on our hearts. We slowly close the door on the Holy Spirit. We see the world like a large candy store with many different varieties of candy to choose from. We are cautioned by our parents to limit our intake or we will get sick. But do we listen? No, because we turn their voices down or tune them completely out. And so we begin to consume more than what we need and yes we end up getting sick.
Brothers and sisters, do you not see that this world has consumed you by your own over-induced appetites? You have brought on your own sickness. You have now allowed “candy” to disease you. By bringing it on yourselves and not following your parents advice, you have caused sin of this world to infect you. Am I making sense? God is our heavenly Father who gave His one and only son, Jesus Christ, for us (John 3:16). He knows us and we are to know His voice (John 10:27). Honestly, are we truly listening to Him? Are we really following Him? When we are ignoring His voice, we become lost to this world, we get diseased.
How are we to lead people on a journey of growth if we ourselves are sick? It begins by us emptying our cups, a pouring out of ourselves, to make room for Him, so that He can shine His glory and fill us with His power to be put to His good use. When we empty ourselves in our weakness, God fills our hollow space with Him. This pouring process is about self-denial, surrendering all, even our own brokenness. It is a lifestyle change. It is not going to easy. The mission of Jesus is overwhelmingly difficult. We need Jesus to help us! We all live busy lives and yes it is hard to balance everything between our job, the bills, the family needs, appointments, etc. and find time to fit God in between. But what if I told you, that you can follow the Lord and be the true disciple that is in you?
We are told in Isaiah 41:10,” He is always with us.” This is His finished promise to us. If He is always with us, them don’t you think that in everything that we do throughout our busy day that He is there leading us? When we talk to our friends, family, neighbors or even strangers, we are lifting them up with the words that are being put on our hearts. Our job is to discern what we are being fed; that it lines up with God’s word before we speak it or receive it from the other person. In order to know this, a disciple must know the word of God! To truly be a disciple means to take up your cross daily and die to self. Praying to God throughout your day to strengthen and to help you, praying for others, reading and obeying His word, denying your own desires, to be willing to suffer for His name, and to actively pursue His will (John 8:31; Luke 9:23). It is listening for His voice and knowing who comes first in your life. It is about commitment, obedience, and sacrifice. Discipleship is costly.
We learn from one another. It is not about competition. It is humbling ourselves to help edify others in their journey in this life. There are lessons to be learned, hardships, heartaches, joys, celebrations and special moments that will lead us into our understanding of the teachings of Christ and who He is forming us to be like. It is a domino effect. When we are fully committed to God in our faith, we pour out what He has given to us into others causing them to be moved by His light, for His glory, which will cause others to pass on what they have received and willingly spread it to many more people. This chain reaction continues as long as you are truly being the disciple in which you have been called to be. It is about continuing the cycle of redemption, passing on the faith that was passed to you. It is sharing the gospel because someone shared it with you.
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation’ (Mark 16:15).”
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/12/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
The Bible Will Endure Forever
The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis (1:1) that God is our Creator. God’s precious gift to us, the Bible, is an “owner’s manual” on life. The Bible answers our questions of who God is really like, why we are here and what happens after this life. It was “…written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). The Bible is unique, influencing mankind from the Ten Commandments to the teachings of Jesus Christ. We use the Bible in every aspect of our everyday lives.
The Bible and it’s teachings were founded in Western civilization including the United States. When Paul started his second missionary, he journeyed toward Europe which caused the Bible to spread throughout England, and eventually to the U.S.A.. During Christopher Columbus’ time, people believed the earth was flat. Did you know that Christopher Columbus testified that it was certain verses in the Book of Isaiah that caused him to set sail in 1942. Later writing, “In the name of the most Holy Trinity who inspired me with the idea and afterwards made it perfectly clear to me that I could go to the Indies from Spain by traveling the ocean westwardly.” Maybe he read Isaiah 40:22 which quotes, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.” If it were not for the Bible, Columbus may have never discovered America!
This country is based on religious freedom. The Pilgrims reason for coming to America was so that they could read their Bibles and worship according to the precepts. During the American Revolution in 1777, the British cut off shipments of Bibles to America. Congress ordered Bibles imported to the colonies from other European sources because the Bible was that important to our founding father’s. Abraham Lincoln stated, “I believe the Bible is the best gift God has given man.” George Washington said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” John Quincy Adams said, ” I have for many years made it a practice to read through the Bible once a year.” Andrew Jackson said, “That Book sir, (the Bible) is the rock on which our republic rests.” And other famous people have also been influenced by the Bible such as Benjamin Franklin, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, George Washington Carver, Charles Dickens, Sir Isaac Newton, Napoleon, Woodrow Wilson, and Douglas MacArthur and many more others just to name a few.
The inscription on the Liberty Bell reads, “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all inhabitants thereof ” (Leviticus 25:10). The three branches of our government, could have been inspired by the Bible. Isaiah 33:22 For the Lord is our judge, (Judicial branch) the Lord is our lawgiver, (Legislative branch) the Lord is our king; (Executive branch) it is he who will save us. President Lincoln understood the importance of the Bible. He said, “All the good from the Savior of the world is communicated through this Book. But for the Book, we could not know right from wrong. All things desirable to man are contained in it.”
Our true history will always line up with the Bible. In fact, history has repeatedly confirmed the accuracy of the Bible. In the aftermath of 911, St.Paul’s Chapel, named after Saul of Tarsus, located just steps away from Ground Zero, was still standing without one broken window. In 1789, after George Washington took the oath of the first President of the United States, he and members of the United States Congress then went to St. Paul’s Chapel to worship and pray. It is evident that our founding father’s must have been praying for peace, strength, protection, and reconciliation (rendered atonement Romans 5:11) for our country. The papers reported on the first inaugural activity, “On the morning of the day on which our illustrious President will be invested with his office, the bells will ring at nine o’clock, when the people may go up to the house of God and in a solemn manner commit the new government, with its important train of consequences, to the holy protection and blessing of the Most High. An early hour is prudently fixed for this peculiar act of devotion and . . . is designed wholly for prayer.” Over the decades, there has been much bloodshed and tears on our soil, but there is one thing that will never cease to exist, the Bible.
“The grass withers, the flower fades; but the word of our God endures forever” (Isaiah 40:8).
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/07/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)
The Lord is my rock.
I will stand firm in His Word.
The Lord is my shield.
I will stand and defend Him.
The Lord is always with me, believing in me.
I am His vessel.
He uses me in His plan.
I am His instrument.
I am His blueprint for His glory.
The Lord watches over me, for He loves His child.
He gives me great comfort and peace.
I live for Christ because He lives for me.
©?Lorraine Goodwin 10/07/2018
Victory Is Ours Through Christ
I once heard a story about a wealthy man who owned a ten bedroom mansion. One day there was a knock at his door and to his surprise, there standing before him, was Jesus. The man was so excited to see Jesus that he invited Him in to stay for the night. Jesus took his kind offer. The wealthy man gave Jesus the best room in his house. The room was upstairs at the end of the hall. The man told Jesus that he could stay as long as he liked and that He could do whatever He wanted in that room. That night, there was a knock at the man’s door.
When he opened the door, to his surprise, there standing before him was the devil himself. As the man quickly went to shut the door, it was too late. The devil had his toe in the door and he made his way into the man’s house. The man wrestled with the devil all that night, crying out to Jesus, but Jesus did not come. When morning came the devil fled. When Jesus came downstairs that morning, the wealthy man, being tired, asked Jesus, “Did you not hear me last night fighting the devil? Why did you not come to my rescue?” Jesus replied, “I am a guest in your house and you have only given me permission to one room. The man thought about it for a bit and then replied, “Oh, I get it. I will give you two more rooms. Then you will come to my rescue!” Jesus being a gentleman said, “thank you” and went back upstairs.
That night there was a knock at the man’s door again. When he opened the door, it was the devil. And again, the wealthy man wrestled the devil all night, crying out to Jesus, but Jesus did not come. When morning came the devil fled. When Jesus came down the stairs in the morning, again the man, very tired, asked him, “Jesus why did you not come help me last night?” Jesus replied, “You have this mansion with ten rooms and you have only given me access to three of them.” So again the man thought for a while. When he suddenly says to Jesus, “Oh, I get it. I will give you all nine rooms in my house but this room over here, this is mine. It is where I keep all of my private things. I have things in here that no one is to ever see. No one can enter this room. So Jesus being the gentleman that he is said, “thank you very much,” and went back upstairs. Now the wealthy man thought he had covered all his bases. He had given Jesus every room in his house except for one.
Well that night again there was a knock at the man’s door. As he went to the door he thought, “No not again!” And sure enough, it was the devil. He wrestled with that devil all night long, crying out to Jesus but he did not come. When morning came, the devil fled. Now the wealthy man was very upset and exhausted. When Jesus came down the stairs, the angry and exhausted man confronted Jesus and asked him, “Jesus, why did you not come to my rescue last night? I don’t understand. I gave you nine rooms of my house. Don’t you care about me? What more do I have to do?” Jesus looked at him and in a soft voice said, “Yes I do love and care for you. I protect everything that you have authorized to me, to care for. But you have given me all but one room in your house. I am only a guest in your home, this is why I could not come to help you.” The wealthy man, still confused, thought for a while. Then he finally said to Jesus,” Fine! Take my room! I will give you total control of my house!” And with that, Jesus said, “thank you very much,” and went back upstairs. Now when night time came, there was a knock at the man’s door again. This time the man was perplexed as he walked to the door. “I just don’t understand? I have given Jesus everything of mine.” So as the man was about to open the door this time, all of a sudden, he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Jesus’. Jesus told the man to step aside and let the Master of this house deal with him.
When Jesus opened the door and the devil saw him, the devil was confused. Bowing down to the Lord, the devil said,” I think I am at the wrong house,” but Jesus made it clear to him that he did not go to the wrong the house, that this house now belonged to the Lord!” And with that the devil fled.
Friends, Jesus wants all of you, not just part of you. He will only take what you give him, nothing more. Are you keeping a part of your heart from the Lord? Are you being attacked on a daily basis? Let the Lord fight for you. Ask for his forgiveness and surrender 100% of yourselves to Him. Give thanks to God for He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Corinthians 15:57)
©Lorraine Goodwin 10/04/2018 (Inspired through the Holy Spirit)