Sunday December 3rd
A man had been sitting out in the cold all day, fishing through a hole in the ice with no luck, not even a nibble. He was frustrated, cold and tired, and he was about to leave, when another guy walked up, cut a hole in the ice beside him, and started catching fish as fast as he could drop his line in the water.
The first guy couldn’t believe it, so he yelled over, “What’s your secret?"
"woogatkakeptewrwm" the second man answered back.
"What did you say?"
“I can’t understand you. You’re mumbling”, said the first man. “Can you speak more clearly?”
The second man spit out a large ball of worms onto the ice and said, "You have to keep your worms warm".
Moses apparently had a mumbling problem too. At least we know that he tried to use that as an excuse to God!
Here in chapter 4 we pick right up in the middle of where Moses is arguing with God about why he can’t possibly go and lead the people of Israel to freedom:
Then Moses said, “What if they will not believe me or listen to what I say? For they may say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’” 2 The Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” And he said, “A staff.”3 Then He said, “Throw it on the ground.” So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 But the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand and grasp it by its tail”—so he stretched out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— 5 “that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”
As you may already know, that miracle of the staff turning into a snake is going to be used by Moses to demonstrate to Pharaoh that Moses has been sent by God.
Then God adds a couple more additional signs:
6 The Lord furthermore said to him, “Now put your hand into your bosom.” So he put his hand into his bosom, and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous like snow. 7 Then He said, “Put your hand into your bosom again.” So he put his hand into his bosom again, and when he took it out of his bosom, behold, it was restored like the rest of his flesh. 8 “If they will not believe you or heed the witness of the first sign, they may believe the witness of the last sign. 9 But if they will not believe even these two signs or heed what you say, then you shall take some water from the Nile and pour it on the dry ground; and the water which you take from the Nile will become blood on the dry ground.”
Those were some pretty powerful demonstrations, wouldn’t you agree? Now Moses is starting to run out of excuses why he can’t possibly be the man for the job. So he tries a new tactic:
10 Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”11 The Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes him mute or deaf, or seeing or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? 12 Now then go, and I, even I, will be with your mouth, and teach you what you are to say.” 13 But he said, “Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever You will.”
Moses says, “I’m just not a very good speaker.”
God says, “I made your mouth didn’t I? If I need you to speak I’ll give you the right words.”
Moses says, “Yeah, that’s true, but you know what, just send somebody else anyway.”
God says, “Now you’re getting on my nerves!”
14 Then the anger of the Lord burned against Moses, and He said, “Is there not your brother Aaron the Levite? I know that he speaks fluently. And moreover, behold, he is coming out to meet you; when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. 15 You are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth; and I, even I, will be with your mouth and his mouth, and I will teach you what you are to do. 16 Moreover, he shall speak for you to the people; and he will be as a mouth for you and you will be as God to him. 17 You shall take in your hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.”
So God essentially says, “Your brother Aaron is going to go with you, and I can assure you that he is very good with words. But you’re not going to worm your way out of this assignment! You are going back to Egypt!”
At this point Moses realizes that he needs to stop arguing and just do what God is telling him to do:
18 Then Moses departed and returned to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, “Please, let me go, that I may return to my brethren who are in Egypt, and see if they are still alive.” And Jethro said to Moses, “Go in peace.” 19 Now the Lord said to Moses in Midian, “Go back to Egypt, for all the men who were seeking your life are dead.” 20 So Moses took his wife and his sons and mounted them on a donkey, and returned to the land of Egypt. Moses also took the staff of God in his hand.
Moses gets a blessing from his father-in-law, and a reassurance from God that the pharaoh who had wanted to kill him has now died. So Moses will have to deal with the new Pharaoh. God then gives him these instructions:
21 The Lord said to Moses, “When you go back to Egypt see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders which I have put in your power; but I will harden his heart so that he will not let the people go.22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. 23 So I said to you, ‘Let My son go that he may serve Me’; but you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.”’”
This is a bit of a complicated passage, so let’s break it down into four parts:
Why would God have Moses perform the signs and then harden Pharaoh’s heart?
One commentary explains it this way:
“The Lord’s hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is a sovereign divine judgment on Pharaoh. God purpose is to display His power over the stubborn hostility of the king so that His people might know that He, the Lord, is their deliverer.”
We see this point emphasized in Romans 9:17
For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.”
Keep in mind that Pharaoh is also said to have hardened his own heart in Exodus 8:15
“But when Pharaoh saw that there was relief, he hardened his heart and did not listen to them, as the Lord had said.”
So who is ultimately responsible for the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart? Was it Pharaoh or was it God?
I think we can gain some insight into this puzzle from Romans chapter 1 verses 18-26
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them. 25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions
So who is responsible for the darkened hearts of these unbelievers? Clearly they are. They made choices. They chose not to recognize God as their creator. They chose to exchange the truth for a lie. They chose to worship creatures rather than the creator.
So what was God’s part in their downfall?
We see it clearly in verses 24 and 26:
God “gave them over” to their lusts.
God “gave them over” to their passions.
God said “Is that how you want to live? Then go for it. I gave you a free will. Is that how you want to use it? Then by all means, be my guest. Don’t let me stop you from fulfilling your fleshly pursuits.”
And I believe that’s what happened with Pharaoh too. God knew that Pharaoh would have a hard heart towards the people of Israel. After all, they were his slaves, his property. And Pharaoh didn’t want to hear about their God, because as far as Pharaoh was concerned, HE was God!
So God allowed Pharaoh to follow his hard heart. In fact God said, “I’ll help you have a hard heart if that’s what you choose, because then we can really find out who the true God is here, you or me!”
And I think we all need to be aware that if we set our hearts on a sinful path, God just might go ahead and let us take that path, just to find out where it leads!
Does he want us to come back to him? Of course he does!
But just like the father of the prodigal son, God will allow us to choose a path that leads away from him so that we can learn that being with our Father is so much better than eating the pig slop that the world has to offer.
And if you think that passage was a bit confusing…
Wait until you see this next one!
24 Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the Lord met him and sought to put him to death. 25 Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” 26 So He let him alone. At that time she said, “You are a bridegroom of blood”—because of the circumcision.
Huh? What? God was going to KILL Moses? Apparently so. But why? That’s the key question.
First of all, biblical scholars say that the Hebrew wording in verse 24 is unclear. These words follow verse 23 which says “Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn” and so they may actually be referring to killing Moses’ firstborn son Gershom, not Moses.
But why would God want to kill Gershom, or Moses?
Possibly because Moses had forgotten his Hebrew heritage and failed to circumcise his son.
Is this a logical interpretation? Probably so, because the next thing that happens is Zipporah jumps up and circumcises her son with a sharp piece of stone (Ouch!). And that seems to solve the problem.
Plus, the fact that she throws the circumcised skin at Moses’ feet and calls him a “bridegroom of blood” is a pretty clear indication that she is ticked at Moses for neglecting to fulfill this important ritual.
It’s like she is saying to Moses, “Duh! You’re supposed to be the leader of the Israelites and you didn’t even obey God’s command about circumcision with your own son!”
Let’s put it all in perspective with these two thoughts:
So now Moses, Zipporah, and their two sons can continue their journey back to Egypt, and just as God had told Moses, Aaron is going to come meet them along the way:
27 Now the Lord said to Aaron, “Go to meet Moses in the wilderness.” So he went and met him at the mountain of God and kissed him. 28 Moses told Aaron all the words of the Lord with which He had sent him, and all the signs that He had commanded him to do. 29 Then Moses and Aaron went and assembled all the elders of the sons of Israel; 30 and Aaron spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moses. He then performed the signs in the sight of the people. 31 So the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord was concerned about the sons of Israel and that He had seen their affliction, then they bowed low and worshiped.
Here is the final thing that we should take away from this chapter today:
Moses wasted a whole lot of time trying to convince God that this wasn’t a very good idea, and that he certainly wasn’t the right guy to do the job, and that the people probably wouldn’t even believe that God had sent him.
But none of that was true.
This WAS a good idea, and Moses WAS the right man for the job, and the people DID believe that God had sent him.
So why do we even bother trying to tell God why His plans for our lives won’t work, and we aren’t really capable of fulfilling His call on our lives, and nobody is really going to listen to us anyway?
Maybe we would be better off just trusting God, believing that He knows better than we do how to accomplish His purposes in us and through us.
It’s really true what God said in Isaiah 55:9
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Let’s try to allow the higher thoughts and the higher ways of God to direct our path in life, rather than relying on our own limited knowledge and resources.
I think if we do that, we can walk in greater peace, and waste less time worrying about things that will probably never happen the way we were so scared that they would.
Moses had desired to do right, to help his people, but it turned wrong. Now he was far away in the wilderness shepherding a flock.
As a young person I desired to do good, to make a positive difference, the problem though was I needed help myself. I was messed up because of sin.
Moses had a lot to learn, and as a husband, Father, and Shepherd, God was preparing Him but what He really needed was supernatural transformation.
Suddenly far in the wilderness at the mount of Sinai, Moses had a divine encounter. An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of the bush. This, of course, got Moses attention and he came closer. God now spoke to Him and revealed Himself personally.
Moses had known of God but did not know Him personally.
In August 1995, the spirit of God took a hold of me and brought me to a revival meeting 15 miles from my home. I could not leave my seat when people were asked to come forward, I did and God touched me, and I was never the same again.
A desire to do good is not enough, one must have a transformative encounter with God to be changed and in order to be a change agent. Nothing we do for God will amount to anything unless it is done through God.
What the church needs is the baptism of 🔥, as Psalms 104:4 says, "he makes His Messengers winds, his ministers a flaming 🔥." Like Moses, we need to encounter God and be transformed so others can encounter God through us, ask God now to set you on fire, in Jesus Name.
God saves us and calls us. We were not just saved to escape Hell, we were saved to save others.
The Lord spoke to Moses in the burning bush and revealed His calling. We are called out of the world for a divine purpose. All we have been through has been preparation for such a time as this.
There are people oppressed crying out for deliverance, God is looking for people willing to answer His call to come to the rescue. What God has taken us through He enables us with His power to take others through.
Moses problem to God was the "who me," syndrome. He didn't feel qualified, he felt insignificant, He felt ill prepared. We need to understand whom God calls, He qualifies.
When we feel not able we just got to realize He is able. As Moses protested God said, "I will be with you." This is all that matters. Since God is with us, all things are possible. God would not call us if He knew we couldn't do it.
Worship is the key for it envokes God's presence. As long as we remain in worship God is at work.
It is not wrong to question God! God would rather us be honest with Him than not share how we feel. He understands our humanity and that because of our fallen state we have fear, doubt, and insecurities. He wants to answer our questions, He wants to reassure us our call and His ability to enable us to do His will.
The children of Israel were so far from the days of Joseph they didn’t even know God. Moses protested to God, “who am I to say you are? God replied, say I Am Who I Am, and I Am has sent me to you.”
The Egyptians had many gods, so who was this God. Moses was to reveal the one and only God, the I Am, Meaning He is it, the one true God, who proves Himself by His works.
God now instructs Moses on more of what He is to say. We got to remember we are God’s messengers. Our job is to just give His Message it is not our job to make people believe it. We are just the mailmen, to deliver it, and go. When people reject the message, we are not to take it personally, they are really rejecting God.
God prepares Moses by revealing the struggle that will go on between Pharoah and God’s word, that His mighty hand will first need to be revealed to Egypt before he lets the people of Israel go. Yet, eventually, Egypt will let them go with all kinds of gifts as well.
What we learn from Moses is as we answer the call, which is always much bigger than ourselves, it is okay to question God, in so doing He answers and prepares us, reminding us that we are just the vessel, and as we trust Him and simply follow orders, He will perform and do what He can do.
Sunday November 12th
Here’s a note that a little boy wrote to his mother:
Dear Mom, Sometimes you get mad at me for not acting my age, and then you start crying because I'm “growing up too fast.” Please pick one or the other. You’re confusing me!
Speaking of growing up too fast, did you ever know someone who went from being a baby to a full grown man within eleven verses? Well, that’s what Moses did in Exodus chapter 2!
Let’s read about baby Moses first:
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a daughter of Levi. 2 The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was beautiful, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got him a wicker basket and covered it over with tar and pitch. Then she put the child into it and set it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to find out what would happen to him.
So we know a little bit about the baby Moses’ family:
Moses had an older sister (Miriam) and a brother (Aaron). What you may not have known is that his parents, Amram and Jochebed, were actually nephew and aunt.
We see this in Exodus 6:20
“Amram married his father’s sister Jochebed, and she bore him Aaron and Moses.”
What made Moses’ birth different from his brother and sister was that he was born at the exact time when the Egyptians were trying to kill all of the male Hebrew babies.
So to keep him from being discovered and killed, his mother placed him in a wicker basket made of bulrushes, which was then covered with tar to make it watertight.
And after they set the basket afloat in the water, Miriam walked along the bank to keep an eye on her baby brother.
And this is what she saw:
5 The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the Nile, with her maidens walking alongside the Nile; and she saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid, and she brought it to her. 6 When she opened it, she saw the child, and behold, the boy was crying. And she had pity on him and said, “This is one of the Hebrews’ children.” 7 Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and call a nurse for you from the Hebrew women that she may nurse the child for you?” 8 Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go ahead.” So the girl went and called the child’s mother. 9 Then Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this child away and nurse him for me and I will give you your wages.” So the woman took the child and nursed him. 10 The child grew, and she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. And she named him Moses, and said, “Because I drew him out of the water.”
This particular daughter of the Pharaoh was supposedly Princess Hatshepsut, who later became the queen of Pharaoh Thutmose II.
Even though she knew that Moses was a Hebrew child, she decided to let him live and so Moses was educated as an Egyptian nobleman.
Acts 7:22 says:
“Moses was educated in all the learning of the Egyptians, and he was a man of power in words and deeds.”
But of course Miriam was no dummy either. She arranged for her own mother to get paid by Pharaoh’s daughter to nurse her own baby. A pretty sweet deal, don’t you think?
Now get ready, because we are about to hit the fast forward button!
11 Now it came about in those days, when Moses had grown up, that he went out to his brethren and looked on their hard labors; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12 So he looked this way and that, and when he saw there was no one around, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. 13 He went out the next day, and behold, two Hebrews were fighting with each other; and he said to the offender, “Why are you striking your companion?” 14 But he said, “Who made you a prince or a judge over us? Are you intending to kill me as you killed the Egyptian?” Then Moses was afraid and said, “Surely the matter has become known.”
15 When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he tried to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the presence of Pharaoh and settled in the land of Midian, and he sat down by a well.
Surprise! All of the sudden baby Moses is forty years old!
Acts 7:23 says:
“But when he was approaching the age of forty, it entered his mind to visit his brethren, the sons of Israel.”
So possibly Moses was having a mid-life crisis, because he suddenly decided that he didn’t feel like an Egyptian anymore and he now identified himself with God’s people, the Hebrews.
And in the book of Hebrews 11:24-25 we see that:
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.”
That last phrase is important to remember. Sin can actually bring pleasure, but it always passes away. And the passing pleasure of sin is replaced by the pain of sin.
Unfortunately for Moses, his first effort to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian oppression proved to be a mistake because he ended up killing a man and then realized there were a couple of witnesses.
Not only that, but word of the murder had gotten back to Pharaoh, and Moses realized that it was time to get out of town, so he headed east towards a place called Midian in the Arabian Desert. And when you’re in the desert you are constantly looking for water. So Moses finds a well. But there are others already there when he arrives:
16 Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters; and they came to draw water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. 17 Then the shepherds came and drove them away, but Moses stood up and helped them and watered their flock. 18 When they came to Reuel their father, he said, “Why have you come back so soon today?” 19 So they said, “An Egyptian delivered us from the hand of the shepherds, and what is more, he even drew the water for us and watered the flock.” 20 He said to his daughters, “Where is he then? Why is it that you have left the man behind? Invite him to have something to eat.” 21 Moses was willing to dwell with the man, and he gave his daughter Zipporah to Moses. 22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”
What a heroic guy! Moses chases away the shepherds who are harassing the daughters of Jethro, and then helps them water their sheep.
Moses’ father-in-law was actually known by two names: Reuel and Jethro. The name Reuel means “Friend of God.” And he not only becomes Moses’ friend, he becomes part of his family.
I think it’s significant that Moses named his firstborn son Gershom, which meant, “sojourner in a foreign land.”
This would seem to indicate that Moses know that he was not intended to stay in Midian. And he was quite correct.
23 Now it came about in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died. And the sons of Israel sighed because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry for help because of their bondage rose up to God. 24 So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 25 God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.
Israel’s cry for help goes up to God and God’s response is reflected in these four verbs: God “heard . . . remembered . . . saw . . . and took notice
And God is going to follow up with several more verbs involving Moses. He is going to call him, send him, and use him to set his people free!
Keep in mind that when it says that “God remembered His covenant” with the nation of Israel, it doesn’t mean that he had actually forgotten about them. In this context, the word remembered simply indicates that God now recognized that it was time to put a plan in motion that He had already started working on long before they ever cried out to Him.
When slavery and oppression began to happen to the Israelites, God already had a plan in His mind. God was preparing a man called Moses to bring about the deliverance of His people. Consider the fact that Moses wasn’t born after the Israelites cried to God, he was born forty years before that. And Moses was born at a time when Hebrew baby boys were not allowed to live. But, because God had a plan for His people, He protected and prepared Moses for the freeing of His people from slavery. Even when Moses was walking among the people, seeing their suffering and bungling his first attempt at protecting them, they never knew that he was the man God was preparing to bring the deliverance they were crying out for.
So, what does this have to do with us?
Well, according to the New Testament, you and I are now God’s chosen people. The Apostle Peter calls us a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's very own people called for a purpose. (1 Peter 2:9).
We are the people of God and God is our father. And we have a Father who does not wait for our problems to overtake us. Before things ever start going wrong in our lives, our loving heavenly Father already has a plan in place to get us out of our mess and ensure a good future for us!
God has said in his word, “For I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
God is working in ways that we cannot always see. But the work He is doing is always moving His people towards His goals that He has ordained for them before the foundation of the world.
Think about how Moses was being prepared for the work that God had in store for him. Pharaoh’s daughter actually looked after and took care of Moses without ever knowing that Moses will lead God’s people out of Egypt.
In other words Moses, who was the answer to Israel’s cry for help, was actually raised up and trained by the enemies and slave-masters of the Hebrew people!
This shows us just how much God is really in control of our lives. Even when we are under stress or in pain, disappointed by things that aren’t going our way, we should always remember that God is able to make all things work together for the good of those who love Him. (Romans 8:28). So, we don’t need to worry, God is already working on it.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
Let me emphasize this for you today - The answers to our prayers are found in the very nature and character of God. They are not dependent upon us doing all the right things so that we can earn God’s favor and convince Him to give us what we need!
He already WANTS to meet your needs!
That’s why sometimes God just blesses us and does wonderful things for us when we haven’t even prayed about them - because He wants to be true to his character, true to His nature, true to who He is.
God did not deliver the Israelites from slavery because they were such good people or because they had earned their freedom! They were just like all of us. They all had their own issues and problems that they were struggling with.
When God delivers us from our difficulties we should always remember that it had nothing to do with how good we were or how much we deserved it, or even how great we prayed. God does things for us, not because of who we are, but because of who He is.
God reminded the Israelites of this when He said in Deuteronomy 9:5,
“It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the LORD your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”
God had made a promise and He intended to keep it, regardless of what the Israelites did or didn’t do.
And it’s the same way in our lives.
You have a heavenly Father who is indescribably caring and loving and fully able to meet your needs. As the Apostle Paul assured us in Philippians 4:19
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
DELIVERED FROM OPPRESSION (EXODUS 1)
Series: Movement of God's People
Reading: Exodus 1
God used Joseph to spare Israel from starvation and now in Egypt, they multiplied and grew in strength. Joseph died and under new Egyptian rule what he did was forgotten and Pharaoh saw the Israelites as a threat and made them slaves treating them brutally.
As human beings, we are a threat to Satan. We have been called to replace him as chief worshippers, destroying all his works, and enforcing the eternal reign of Christ throughout the earth.
Satan is not going to bow down and surrender, he is going to try to keep us oppressed by wearing us down, crushing our will, where we lose all hope. Rather than turning to God we instead blame God becoming bitter wishing we were dead.
To reduce the population Pharaoh gave orders to Hebrew midwives to kill all baby boys that were born. But, because the midwives feared God they didn’t follow His orders and the Israelites continued to multiply. So, Pharaoh gave orders to his people to throw all newborns into the Nile river.
Satan wants to reduce the population, he loves birth control, pro-choice, infanticide, suicide, terrorism, and war. He hates humans inspiring them to kill, steal, and destroy.
God desires His children to be fruitful and to multiply. He wants us to partner with Him to spread life and to destroy the works of darkness.
If you are under oppression cry out for deliverance, and it will come. If you have been delivered like Moses you are called to now deliver others. You have the anointing to destroy yokes, remove burdens, setting the captives free, releasing the oppressed from bondage.
Pastor Josh, Pastor Jonathan, and Pastor Steve teamed up to answer Q & A questions from our teens. Stay tuned for the video!
Sunday October 22nd
Mark 16 (Baptism)
I guess you’ve noticed that the Rolling Stones aren't as young as they used to be.
Rumor has it that they're working on a new album.
The tracks include:
Hey! You! Get Offa My Lawn!
Let’s Take a Nap Together
I Can’t Get No Circulation
I know it’s Only Dulcolax but I Like It
Limpin' Jack Flash, he has gas, gas, gas
You Can't Always Chew What You Want
But of course we know that the most important rolling stone was the stone that was rolled away when Jesus rose from the grave! Let’s look at that story today as we wrap up the Gospel of Mark with chapter 16:
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. 2 Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. 3 They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
The Sabbath was technically over at sunset on Saturday evening, which meant that buying and selling things was allowed again. That’s when the women went to buy the spices to anoint Jesus’ body, but actually they didn’t go to visit the tomb until early on Sunday morning.
They were wondering how they were going to roll away the stone to get to his body, because they had been there when he was buried and they had seen the large stone put in place to seal the tomb.
But they didn’t have to worry about that for long!
4 Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. 5 Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; behold, here is the place where they laid Him. 7 But go, tell His disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see Him, just as He told you.’” 8 They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
When they approached the tomb and saw that the stone had been moved, they entered the burial chamber, and they saw the slab or bench where Jesus’ body had been laid.
Mark says that they saw a young man dressed in white sitting there. Matthew 28:2 identifies the young man as an angel. And this angel informs them that he knows why they are there, but that they shouldn’t be alarmed or even surprised. Because although they saw Jesus crucified and buried…
He has risen.
He says, “You can see for yourself that this is where his body was placed, but he is no longer here!”
Then he gives them some instructions:
Go tell the disciples, and in particular tell Peter that Jesus is alive again (because Peter is still probably upset about denying knowing Jesus). And tell them to go to Galilee because Jesus is going to meet them there.
So that’s their orders – directly from an angel!
But do they follow their orders?
Verse 8 says “They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
What was their job? Tell Peter and the other disciples the good news, and that they need to head to Galilee to see him alive again.
What was their reaction? They said nothing to anyone!
Now obviously at some point somebody told someone something or we wouldn’t be reading this today.
In fact, verses 9 through 20 are considered by many bible scholars to be verses that were added later, possibly as a way of completing the story. Because if somebody doesn’t tell someone else that Jesus is alive, how will anyone ever get saved?
That’s what the Apostle Paul was talking about in Romans 10:13-14
13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?
So let’s look at these last verses to see how the gospel began to spread:
9 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
So of all of the ladies who went to the tomb, it seems as though Mary Magdalene was the one who felt compelled to share the good news, even though nobody believed her!
12 After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country. 13 They went away and reported it to the others, but they did not believe them either.
This is a reference to the two men who were walking on the road to Emmaus when Jesus started walking along with them. The story is told in Luke 24:13–35.
Finally Jesus appears to the disciples directly:
14 Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. 15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.
The instruction to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” is essentially the same Great Commission that is found in Matthew 28:19. And here in Mark 16:20 it says that “they went out and preached everywhere”.
So here’s what it all comes down to – the angel tells the women to go spread the good news, but they are afraid so they don’t tell anyone, at least not at first. Then Jesus tells the disciples to go into the world and preach the gospel, and they do it.
Those are the same two possible choices that each one of us can make – tell people about Jesus or keep it to ourselves.
The people who are getting baptized today are making the choice to let the world know what Jesus has done for them.
They understand what Paul meant in Romans 6:3-5
“Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection”
Let’s celebrate with these brothers and sisters today!
In The End, We Win (Mark 15:1-15)
In this world, doing wrong will at times be rewarded and doing right will at times be punished. Those who break the law will on occasion get away with it, while those who obey the law will be occasionally wrongfully accused. Injustice will seem to prevail.
Jesus had done nothing wrong, Barabbas was a murderer, yet Jesus is the one going to be crucified while Barabbas goes free. Not fair, not right, but that is the way it is for many in this unjust fallen world.
The good news is, just as Jesus crucified became Jesus resurrected, "God works all things for good to those who love Him." Eternal judgment will take place, Justice will ultimately be served. In the end, God wins. Satan and his followers will forever be punished, while the followers of Christ will be forever rewarded.
So be encouraged what is wrong will be made right. What is evil will be removed. The blood of the martyrs will be avenged on the enemies of God.
Mock Worship (Mark 15:16-20)
The Roman soldiers added insult to injury towards the Son of God, dressing Him up as a King, placing a crown of thorns on His head, and saluting Him “Hail! King of the Jews!” They then kneeled before Him mocking Him in worship until they got tired of it. How cruel and wicked and yet how powerful Jesus was to withstand this treatment and not command His angels to stop it.
The entire history of this fallen world proves how evil mankind is separate from God. It is the only amount of days before another senseless attack is on the news, the latest being the killing of at least 58 people at a concert in Las Vegas. It makes me sick we think how can anyone do such a thing but we have seen it throughout history since the fall of Adam and Eve.
Mock Worship takes place when people gather and claim to know God, even worshipping Him, but their hearts are far from Him, doing all kind of evil acts with no thought of repentance. That is why we are to examine our hearts before taking communion. It is a mockery to claim to be in communion with God when one’s life is not at all committed to Christ.
Let us ask God as we worship Him to purify our hearts so that we are truly worshipping Him in Spirit and in Truth.
The Crucified Life (Mark 15:21-32)
Remember when you lived without any thought of God. You passed by churches and met Christians but you did not even consider your need for God.
A man named Simon is just passing by coming from the countryside and he is grabbed and forced by the soldiers to carry Jesus’ cross.
We each were chosen by God to carry the cross. To leave the self-indulgent path we once were on and go down the path of self-sacrifice. We can sit around and complain but it really makes no sense because it is the only path though it is small, narrow, and difficult, that leads to the resurrection and eternal life.
Galatians 2:20 says “I am crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live but He who lives within me.” We must choose to live the crucified life before we can walk in resurrection power. Just like Jesus, we will be rejected, mocked, and ridiculed but isn’t it a price well worth it considering being saved from sin and having the power to partner with God to help save others.
The Sacrifice (Mark 15:33-47)
Jesus Christ the Son of God freely gave His life that others could be saved. This is the ultimate act of love.
Brave soldiers, 👮, firemen, risk their lives daily for the better good of others. Courageous individuals such as a husband in Las Vegas died sacrificing his life by laying on top of his wife to shield her from the bullet's being shot in the crowd at a concert. When the most horrific evil is displayed often the most beautiful acts of love are countered in contrast.
When it seems like God has abandoned you, just know one cry and He will come near. He has a way of turning the worst experiences into something good to those that love Him.
Jesus was tortured to death, the worst form of suffering. Yet through it, the veil was torn in two, sin no longer has to separate mankind from God. Those who accept what Jesus has done experience the forgiveness of sins, their guilt is removed, shame is gone, and a new identity is given, as sons and daughters of God, their heavenly Father.
True power, true love, has no greater act than the laying down of one's life for others.
Sunday October 8th
There were these two Country Boys who were best friends, Cletus and Bubba. One day Cletus walked into Bubba's barn and caught him dancing around buck naked in front of his tractor.
Cletus said, "Bubba, what the heck are ya doing?"
Bubba said, "Well you know that girl Mary Lou who lives over by Zeke’s farm?”
Cletus said, “Yeah, what about her?”
Bubba said, “Well, I kinda like her.”
Cletus said, “Okay, but what’s that have to do with you dancing around the barn in your birthday suit?”
Bubba said, “Well, I was watching one of those relationship shows on TV and they said that if you like a girl, and you want her to like you back…
You have to act sexy to a tractor."
Speaking of running around naked – we see a bit of naked running here in Mark chapter 14, verses 51 and 52.
This happens right after Jesus has been arrested:
51 A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him. 52 But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.
This is the only time in any of the Gospels that this incident is mentioned.
The question is: why? Why is this only mentioned by Mark?
Well, the general consensus among scholars is that this naked young man… is Mark - the same Mark that wrote this book.
This kind of thing, where the author of a book puts himself anonymously into the story, was quite common. For example John did the same thing in the Gospel of John. John always speaks of himself as “the disciple whom Jesus loved”. He NEVER uses his own name.
So what is Mark telling us here?
He’s telling us he ran away.
And why is he telling us this?
In order to understand that we need to consider another interesting thing about Mark. Some scholars believe that Mark was possibly Peter’s son, which might explain why he was in the Garden of Gethsemane in the first place.
If so, he might be admitting his own cowardice before pointing out Peter’s cowardice later in the chapter. That way Peter (his father) doesn’t look so bad.
So let’s see how this all leads to Peter’s moment of shame:
53 They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together. 54 Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire.
Even though Peter, along with the rest of the disciples, had run away, at least he chose to tag along into the courtyard of the high priest. This supposed trial took place in the high priest’s residence rather than at court. There were a lot of rules that the Jewish leaders broke in order to rush this trial through. Not only was the setting improper, they had also tried to gather up false witnesses against Jesus:
55 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any. 56 For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent. 57 Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying, 58 “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.
Deuteronomy 19:15 required that for someone to be declared guilty there must be corroborating witnesses.
“A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.”
If someone was found to be a false witnesses, they would receive the same punishment that the accused person was threatened with. Obviously, these standards were not applied in the case of Jesus.
What’s interesting is that one of the accusations had some truth to it. They claim that Jesus said, “I will destroy this temple that is made with hands.” In John 2:19 Jesus actually tells them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” But he isn’t talking about the Jewish temple. He is talking about the temple of his own body, which he will raise back up in three days.
Eventually the high priest grows tired of waiting for the false witnesses to get their stories straight, so he asks Jesus a direct question:
60 The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 61 But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”
The word Christ means the “anointed one.” “Messiah” is the Hebrew word with the same meaning. When the High Priest asks are you the “Son of the Blessed One”, that phrase is simply a substitute for “God”.
This is important for two reasons:
62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Instead of just answering yes, Jesus says “I am”, which is the name that God used for himself when Moses asked him what to call him.
Then Jesus repeats the phrase that he used in Mark 13:26 “Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.”
At this point the High Priest goes ballistic:
63 Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death. 65 Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.
Okay, a couple of things here. Why did the High Priest tear his garments? In Jewish culture this was a symbolic gesture expressing great sorrow or horror.
In Ezra 9:3 we see Ezra doing the same thing:
“When I heard about this matter, I tore my garment and my robe.”
The High Priest declares that they don’t need any more witnesses, because the whole Sanhedrin has just witnessed Jesus’ blasphemy.
The punishment for blasphemy was death by stoning.
Leviticus 24:16 “Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him.”
But since Israel was a conquered nation, only a Roman court could order capital punishment, so Jesus would have to die by a Roman punishment of death by crucifixion rather than by stoning.
There is also a reason why some of the Sanhedrin members began to spit on him. Spitting in the face indicated that a person was being excluded from the group. And they wanted no association with Jesus.
Numbers 12:14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again.”
All of this leads us back to our friend Peter:
66 As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came, 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Nazarene.” 68 But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are talking about.” And he went out onto the porch. 69 The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, “This is one of them!” 70 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.”71 But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!” 72 Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he began to weep.
For a proper perspective on this shocking turn of events, let’s go back to Luke 22:31-34 where Jesus tells Peter:
"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."
Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."
I don't know about you, but if I had been warned by Jesus that Satan was asking to sift me like wheat, I hope that I would listen carefully to that warning.
But as we know, Peter was just a little bit prideful, so he didn’t exactly heed the warning.
In fact, instead of being on guard against Satan’s attack, Peter ended up taking a nap! We saw that last week in Mark 14:32-38:
They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."
Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. "Abba, Father," he said, "everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will."
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. "Simon," he said to Peter, "are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."
There’s a second warning! “Watch and pray, Peter, or you are going to fall!”
Does Peter heed this second warning? Absolutely not! Look at verses 39 and 40
39 Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.
So Peter ignores the warning at the last supper, then he ignores the warning in the Garden of Gethsemane. And as can be expected when we ignore God’s warnings, he stumbles into denying that he even knows Jesus – not once, but three times!
Keep in mind that in Luke 22:32 Jesus told Peter, “And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
Which means that Jesus knew that Peter would fall, but he also knew that by God’s grace Peter would get back up again! And NOW Peter has learned a little about the devil! So look what he writes in 1 Peter 5:8 –
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
Peter finally learned that you can’t take the devil lightly. You can’t ignore the reality that Satan desires to devour you and destroy your Christian walk. But you also don’t have to let him defeat you!
Listen to this interesting story that I found:
In the United States, mountain lions are actually regarded as the number one human predator. More people are attacked by mountain lions than by any other wild animal.
This is a true story. A man was doing research on the mountain lions in the Arizona Wilderness. As he approached a water hole from downwind, he spotted a mountain lion drinking water. The lion didn’t notice him. When it had finished drinking, it walked away slowly into a cluster of trees.
After a few minutes, the man walked down to the water hole to identify the lion’s tracks in the mud. Just before he bent down to look closer, he scanned the perimeter, and there among the trees, 30 feet away, he saw a pair of eyes. He expected the lion to turn and run away, but it walked straight into the sunlight toward him. He pulled out his knife and stared into the eyes of the lion. He knew what he had to do. More importantly, he knew what not to do. He knew that mountain lions are able to take down animals seven or eight times their size. Their method is always the same - attack from behind, clamp down onto the spine at the base of the prey's skull, and snap the spinal cord.
The man wrote this in his own words:
I held firm to my ground and did not indicate that I would back off. If I ran, it was certain death. I would have a mountain lion all over me. If I gave it my back, I would only briefly feel its weight on me against the ground. Then its teeth would rip open my vertebrae from behind.
The mountain lion begins to move to my left, and I turn, keeping my face on it, my knife at my right side. It paces to my right, trying to get around on my other side, to get behind me. I turn right, staring at it….My stare is about the only defense I have.
I maintained that defense as the mountain lion continued to try to provoke me to run, turning left, then right, back and forth again and again, until he was just ten feet away. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the standoff ended. The lion simply turned and walked away.
It had been defeated by a man who knew what never to do in its presence.
Do you see what this tells us about fighting our adversary, the devil?
We can’t turn our backs on him. We can’t turn and run. We have to stand firm and be ready to fight.
James 4:7 tells us to:
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Just like that mountain lion, the devil will back down if you face him head on and resist his temptations. But if you turn your back, he’ll pounce.
You can take Peter’s word for it. He found out the hard way!
Have you ever had people out against you, looking for an opportunity to take you down?
This is how it was for Jesus, but He never let it distract Him from His divine purpose. He did not always ignore them, confronting them when necessary but He continued to be about His Father's will.
We need to stop being put on the ring just trying to defend ourselves all the time. God wants His children aggressive not passive, throwing punches against the enemy not retreating. We must remember we are not fighting against flesh and blood....
Jesus while eating at Simon's home is anointed by expensive perfume over the head by a woman. Some of those at the table are indignant and yell at the woman that this oil should have been sold and the money given to the poor.
We must be cautious not to stand between God and His will because of our views. We are to acknowledge God in everything to assure what we are thinking is correct.
God's ways are above our ways. There is a bigger picture we miss if we look at a situation in our own limited perspective. This woman was Prophetically attuned to what was about to come while those at the table were not. She was preparing Jesus for His death.
Jesus told them that what this woman did will never be forgotten. God may lead us in a way that others will not accept and even highly oppose, but we must be obedient for we live to please God not man.
Betrayal (Mark 14:10-26)
Those who have power often experience betrayal. People will come alongside someone for a time but due to jealousy and greed will desire the power they have, and turn against them. Power can corrupt the most faithful followers. We must all stand guard and walk in discernment because it can be the people closest to us that betray us.
The religious leaders were plotting against Jesus trying to find a way to trap Him, and then Judas shows up willing to betray His Master. These leaders are thrilled, they have a spy now, someone within Jesus circle that can take Him down.
Jesus always knew Judas would betray Him but also He knew His heavenly Father would use it all for His divine purpose. When we discern evil intentions in another we need to ask God how to deal with it. Exposing it right away seems right but it might not fit God's plan.
Jesus was human, He felt what we feel, it could not have been easy to be at supper with Judas knowing what he just had done. Jesus though does bring it to light, He says in Mark 14:18 that "someone at this table will betray me." He then explains how "terrible it will be for the one who betrays the Son of God. That it would be better if he had never been born." This act cursed the name of Judas, nobody could have that name again and not be thought of as a betrayer.
Jesus has communion with His disciples which is our highest purpose to be in continual fellowship with God, partaking in the life of Christ through the shedding of His blood.
If we try to be a Christian without being in communion with Christ we will betray Him. For apart from Him we can do nothing. What we try to do will misrepresent Christ and be used as an excuse for people to turn against Him.
Deserted (Mark 14:27-31)
We have all heard the cliche "It's lonely at the top." People strive to get to the top and often those who help them get there are now the ones that try to get them down. Power often corrupts the individuals who have it and those around them that want it.
When people's expectations are not met and decisions made are not what others desire the people begin to desert the leaders they once followed.
Jesus says the prophecy "God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered," is about to be fulfilled. Peter says "if everyone deserts you, I never will." Later, Peter does deny Jesus three times as Jesus had proclaimed. These disciples were only willing to follow Jesus as far as it was good for them when it was possible that they may die for following Jesus they were like forget you.
How far are you willing to follow Jesus? The Bible says if you are not willing to deny yourself and pick up the cross, you are not worthy of Him.
As leaders, we must choose to obey God even if it means losing family and friends. Our decisions may not be popular and cause persecution, but nevertheless, "not my will but yours oh Lord, my God, my Redeemer."
WAKE UP (Mark 14:32-52)
Spirit led prayer is what infuses our being with God’s heart. As we see here at the garden of Gethsemane this will at times lead us to experience great grief as we feel His pain for the lost and dying world.
God often calls us to be the answer to what we pray which may mean experiencing great suffering. Jesus Himself asked if the suffering of the cross could be taken away. Since we are human like Christ we should never expect to want to suffer, yet through the power of Jesus we can say, “nevertheless not my will, but your will be done, Father.”
The disciple's way of handling all that was going on was by sleeping. Many believers are asleep and not in prayer, they don’t carry the heart of God and therefore are unwilling to carry the cross. They desire an easy, comfortable, self-gratifying way to Heaven. But the Word of God says “wide is the path to destruction and many are those that follow, but narrow is the way to everlasting life and few are those that find it.”
Most Christians are not interested in prayer and evangelism but they sure love the prophetic, healing, and the supernatural. God’s heart is centered on the first two, and the miracles rarely come unless one is prayed up and evangelizing others. So what happens is people are out chasing the supernatural going from conference to conference rather than following the great commission where signs and wonders become a regular occurence.
Why do believers give into temptation so easy? The answer is Mark 14:38. Lack of prayer; “the spirit is willing but the body is weak.”
Because of the disciple's spiritual weakness, they were not ready to handle the betrayal and arrest of Jesus but rather reacted in anger not seeing the bigger picture and then in fear deserting Jesus.