The Holy Spirit is a Big Deal

Romans 8:28 is a popular verse that most people are familiar with. It says “we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Everything ultimately works out for the good of believers. We quote it in hard-times when we need to feel encouraged about our present sufferings (which according to Romans 8:18 are not worth comparing to future glory that God will reveal in us… just fyi). I’m not at all about to contradict the fact that all things works out for our good because I totally believe in this verse and agree that they do. However, a lot of us who quote that verse have failed to read the previous verse where it tells us how exactly this almost un-comprehendable fact is even possible. It is all because of the Holy Spirit and if we don’t allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives I would dare to say that all things won’t in fact work our for our good.

"And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." - Romans 8:26-28

We don’t even know how to express to God what we need.. what we truly need that aligns with his will. We know how to ask for stuff for sure. But we can’t express in human words what we need that will bring all things to work out for our good. But the Holy Spirit does. And God understands the Holy Spirit. There are many christians that don’t acknowledge the Holy Spirit at all. There are even churches that won’t allow “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” to be said from pulpit. If we quench the Holy Spirit in our lives we are cutting ourselves off from much needed intercessory.

We need to knowingly and intentionally allow the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. By no means do we ever need to push Him aside in order to remain politically correct. Our minds should be totally set on the Holy Spirit, his thoughts, his opinions, his instruction. We need to actively and intentionally set our minds on Him.

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit." - Romans 8:5

Acknowledgement of the Holy Spirit is a big deal. If we rely on him, everything in our lives will (ultimately) work out for our good. He (according to Romans 8:16) even assures us of our own salvation. Without Him we not only will feel disconnected from God but we may even find ourselves doubting our salvation all together. We can’t do anything for the Kingdom of God without the Holy Spirit. If we don’t rely on him and especially if we deny his existence all together… well, that’s scary.


This all takes place right after where the last post left off.  Jesus has just gone into the wilderness very distressed to pray, the disciples fell asleep, etc.  In verse 46 he said “Rise, let us go. Here comes by betrayer.”   

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested (Matthew 26:47-56)

47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people.48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.”49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss.

50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.”

Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him.51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?”

55 Then Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day.56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.

*(same story found in Mark 14:43-52, Luke 22:47-53, and John 18:1-11.. I’d read all of them, especially John since it’s the most unique of the 4)*

Judas has led the crowd to Jesus in an area where there wouldn’t be any other people around. In the beginning of this chapter (verse 5), the high priests met and made a plot to kill Jesus. They knew that if they arrested him in public there would be a riot because the people loved him. They planned to wait till after passover (which was in a couple of days). Passover was a big celebration so they wanted to wait till afterward so it’d be a calmer atmosphere and less crowds I guess. However, that was before Judas went to them with the info of Jesus’ whereabouts. Since he was in a secluded place they decided to go ahead and arrest him. Still they did it at night because they were afraid of the crowds that followed Jesus during the day. 

In verse 34 Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times later on that night. Peter defended himself and said “Even if I have to die, I will never disown you.” At the point we are at, Peter still hasn’t denied Jesus.. however, according to John, the man who sliced the guy’s ear off in verse 51 was Peter. This shows how fickle and wavering we are as people. Peter is the one Jesus said he was going to build his church on and all that. Peter was one of the “rock star disciples” in many ways. Even so, earlier we see him tell Jesus he would die for him, then here we see him be the first to draw a sword in defense of Jesus and actually slice a guys ear off. He was ready to fight. Coming up in verse 69 though Peter does end up denying altogether that he even knows Jesus. He went from claiming he would die, to stepping up in defense ready to die for Jesus, to denying he knew Jesus at all… all in just a few hours. 

Granted Peter was very confused and didn’t know why Jesus was allowing them to lead him away. All the disciple thought Jesus was going to physically take over the government and set up an actual physical kingdom on earth. So he was likely confused, frustrated, etc. Jesus has told them several times what would have to happen though and they never listened. We would think that Peter was doing what was right when he claimed he would die for Jesus and when he drew the sword, and then he was being disobedient when he denied Him. But actually he was out of God’s will the whole time. Jesus had told him what had to happen and even still, Peter tried to fight when the crowd came to arrest Him. Right after he cut the guys ear off Jesus reprimanded him, healed the guys ear (according to Luke), and made the statement that all of it was happening as it was suppose to, to fulfill scriptures of the prophets. 

Peter was only trying to defend Jesus and keep his word by fighting, but that’s not what Jesus wanted. Sometimes our flesh tells us to do things that, in every way possible, seems right. But sometimes it’s not what Jesus wants. Peter got all bent out of shape and immediately reacted in the flesh with no word from Jesus saying to do so. Then at the end of the passage Peter ends up deserting Jesus altogether by fleeing alongside all the other disciples. I would assume they mainly fled out of fear. The Mark account talks about a young man being seized and running off naked after his garment was torn off of him. So that tells us that the crowd would have tried to capture all of them even though, according to John 18:8, Jesus asked the crowd to let them go. 

We have to stay on our guard to make sure that we aren’t doing seemingly Godly things solely out of fear or in reaction to something. It’s easy to cross the line between spirit and flesh when we just react. Especially out of fear. We have to make sure we hold onto everything Jesus said in the bible, everything he says to us individually, and everything he has done for us and gotten us through. Before we have a single thought about any particular situation, we should refer back to those things to see what God has told us in the past. We can’t harshly react to hard times when God has already proven to us that He will get us through them. We can’t draw back in fear when God has already told us He has a plan. Unlike the disciples, we need to listen to God the first time he tells us things… then when things happen we have to trust Him and stand on the fact the knows what’s going on and will get us through it.

Face It

Context: This happens after the Last Supper. The shared the last supper, Jesus told Judas he was going to betray him, and tells the other 11 that they will all fall away from him later that night (including telling Peter he would deny Him three times).  Right after this passage, Judas shows up with a crowd to take Jesus off to be crucified. 

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-45)

36 Then Jesus went with them (the disciples) to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” 37 He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed.38 He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

39 He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”

40 Then he returned to the disciples and found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour? 41 Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”

42 Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 43 When he returned to them again, he found them sleeping, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open.

44 So he went to pray a third time, saying the same things again. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said, “Go ahead and sleep. Have your rest. But look—the time has come. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

*(same story in Mark 14:32-42 and Luke 22:39-46  |  Reading all three gives a more rounded understanding I think)*
Pic of modern day Gethsemane.
Jesus knew that in a few hours he would be taken away by Judas and a crowd “armed with swords and clubs” to be crucified.  Even though he was Jesus and he was perfect, he still was in “great anguish.”  The Greek words used in verse 37 that describe his state of anguish are Λυπεισθαι and αδημονειν.  The english translations fall real short of what these words really meant. 
Λυπεισθαι - “to dissolve - exquisite sorrow, such as dissolves the natural vigor, and threatens to separate soul and body.”
αδημονειν - “used by the Greeks to denote the most Extreme anguish which the soul can feel - excruciating anxiety and Torture of spirit.”
So he wasn’t just “anguished and distressed.”  He was so upset that his soul was literally being tortured.  His soul was “dissolved” in sorrow.  In Luke it actually says an Angel had to appear and strengthen him and his sweat fell like great drops of blood.  Some say that means he actually did sweat blood.  Most translations say “like blood”… so even if it wasn’t actually blood, it was huge drops of perfuse sweat.  
Apparently back then it was normal to put your head between your knees and your forehead touching the ground (verse 39) when you were begging someone for something. It was humiliating to do it and, I’d assume, pretty painful. The cup may also refer to an ancient method of punishing criminals. They would be made to drink a cup of poison.  The famous philosopher Socrates, for instance, was given Hemlock to drink as a forced suicide after being found guilty of ”refusing to recognize the gods recognized by the state.” 
In verse 41 he told them disciples pray that they will not fall into temptation. They had just fallen asleep because of a little fatigue, when Jesus had asked them to watch for him while he prayed.  I would think the persecution they would receive later on (that night even) would be much harder to endure than fighting fatigue.  ”The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”  So even though our Spirit’s are willing and really desire to do God’s will, our flesh is weak and will constantly fatigue us and try to get us to fall asleep. He did not say that the flesh would ever get stronger… it is a constant fight.  We can however, make our Spirit stronger (Psalm 119:28 NAS - “My soul weeps because of grief; Strengthen me according to Your word”). 
In verse 42 Jesus prays again after reprimanding his Disciples for falling asleep and basically says “I know now that you won’t let this cup pass form me, and I have to go through with this. Since that’s your will, I will do it.”  He saluted the fact that he had to suffer unspeakably and walked head first into it willingly.  I think people brush it off more easily cuz it was Jesus.. but he felt all the pain, anguish, worry, anxiety, etc that any of us would feel.  I would say that it was worse than anything any of us would ever experience.  And he faced it willingly cuz he knew it was God’s will.  Infact the Mark account says that Jesus said “up, let’s be going. Look my betrayer is here.”  So they didn’t even wait for Judas and the crowd to get all the way there. They went and met them. He literally walked directly into his crucifixion.
There are tons of things that can come out of all that.  Stuff about the Disciple’s falling asleep.  The fact that the very last moments they spent with Jesus before he was taken away.. they were in disobedience and were asleep.  There’s all kinds of stuff going on that we can learn from.  But one of the biggest things for me is how Jesus faced what he knew was going to be the worst experience of his life, head on.  He was in deep anguish but it never said he was afraid.  He boldy and willingly walked into it.  I think mainly he was driven by what he knew came afterward.  He would be raised, reign, etc.  Ryan has had a lot of messages lately on the North Gate podcasts about Eternal Rewards.  Eternal Rewards should be what drives us, just as Jesus was driven by what would reward Him.  Even though our lives may be awful at times.. and for some people their lives may be really hard until death.. what should drive us to face things head on is not the fact that our life will get better, our finances will improve, etc… but the fact that our endurance, boldness, and perseverance will be rewarded in eternity.  To do that, we have to build up our Spirit to be stronger than our flesh.  We also have to realize that what Jesus went through is infinitely worse than anything we are dealing with and He sympathizes with us.  
"This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin." - Hebrews 4:15 NLT


Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids (Matthew 25:1-13 NLT)

25 “Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

 Traditional Palestinian weddings lasted sometimes up to a week.  The first thing that happened was the groom would go to the bride’s house for the ceremony, then the entire procession would go to the groom’s house to basically have a party with a huge feast.  The bridesmaids were pretty much waiting on the groom to come to the bride’s house and get the procession.  Apparently most wedding processions from the bride’s to the groom’s house normally happened at night and required light. The lamps could have either been some sort of ancient oil based jar type thing or sticks wrapped with oiled rags (torches).  So pretty much the lamps they had would light the way of the procession. So even though the oil represented the Holy Spirit and the story is partly about being solely responsible for your own actions… the girls who brought extra oil were not only thinking of themselves and their own sight in the dark… but also making sure that the procession to the groom’s house had light.  If they would have let the “fool” girls borrow oil then not only would they have all ran out of oil.. but the entire procession might have had to walk in the dark.  All of them knew that the groom was coming and waited with their lamps burning, but only half were prepared and planned ahead incase the groom was delayed. 

 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matthew 24:13 NLT)


Jews in Jesus’ day would never forgive anyone for something more than 3 times. Peter, in Matt 18:21, asks Jesus how many times we should forgive people when they sin against us. He asks “up to 7 times?”
7 times is more than double what the Jews lived by, so Peter probabaly thought “yea, Jesus is gonna be proud of me for being so forgiving.”
Then Jesus in Matthew 18:22 says “nope, 7 times 70.”

This is a reminder that we can’t use our own standards to measure how closely we are living to Gods standards. Comparing ourselves to people falling shorter than us does nothing for us. Regardless of how well we think we’re doing, God wants more. More forgiveness, more grace, more holiness, etc etc. There is always more.

Eternal Perspective

"Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must DENY THEMSELVES and take up their cross and follow me.’" - Matthew 16:24 

So many times I’ve made excuses to myself by saying things like “well that’s just who I am” or “that’s just the way I am.” I was just born timid, terrified of confrontation, and void of self-confidence. How can I ever tell people about or show people Jesus when I am who I am? By realizing that’s not who I am. That’s not who God created me to be. That’s me “in the flesh” and I have to deny that part of me.

Just before this verse, in verse 22, Peter reacted to Jesus predicting his own death by basically saying “no way! They will have to go through me first!” This seems to be a very noble reaction that shows how devoted he is to Jesus. But Jesus responds with “get behind me Satan.” Satan. That’s harsh. Basically a demon had gotten Peter to react how he did. Tho his reaction seemed right, moral, loving, etc.. it was straight up demonic. Because it was Peter reacting with a mind of man, not God. Which resisted God’s plan.

Following Jesus sometimes means throwing out your human instinct, reasoning and intellect. Sometimes your flesh will fight you with everything it’s got to keep you thinking like a man. I mean who in the world would hear Jesus say “I’m gonna suffer and die at the hand of these people” and respond with “oh yea, sounds great! I’m ready to see your plan come to full fruition by way of your slaughtering!” Apparently someone closer to God than Peter… and myself.

Thinking like God and not like man can prove very difficult. But that doesnt change the fact that we are called to do it.

Matthew 10:37 is one of the hardest scriptures to grasp for me.
“Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

I love my daughter more than anything, but if I put her even slightly above (or equal to) Jesus, then I am not worthy of Jesus. To love my daughter more than Jesus is sin and is me thinking like a man.

Starting today I’m going to double check every thought. I’m going to take every thought captive (2 Cor 10:5) and make sure it is from the mind of God and not my own. I will do my best to have an eternal perspective. Everything I do, say and think will only be done, said or thought if it impacts eternity and my eternal reward.

"For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done." - Matthew 16:27

By denying myself and thinking like God (from an eternal perspective) I will not only be more effective for God on earth but I will also be storing up more rewards in heaven. I don’t want to just get there. I want God to be happy with me when I do get there.

Here’s to getting a “well done” and not just a “well… you made it.”

Neither Here Nor There

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said.
- Matthew 14:28, 29 (NIV)

There has been many times in my life where I have thought to myself “God if this is you, show me” or “let me know” or “show me a sign” or “make it obvious to me” etc. Most of the time it hinges on God doing something. God if this is you… I need you to do _(fill in the blank)_ to let me know. What does that tell me about myself? I don’t know God enough and I don’t believe fully that he can do “all things” through me. If I did… I would be more like Peter. I would say “God, even though my sight of you is vague, I know your voice… and I know that I can accomplish the impossible with you.. so if this you.. tell me to come to you.” Then, like Peter, I would actually have the boldness to go for it.

Matthew says the disciples were rowed out a “considerable distance.” John says “three or three and a half miles.” Mark says “the boat was in the middle of the lake.” The disciples had gone out, without Jesus, on rough waters, battling the waves in a row boat… and we find them right smack in the middle of the lake. As far from either shore as possible. Neither here nor there. Stuck in the middle of nowhere.

Mark 6:48-49 says “He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out because they all saw him and were terrified.”

Jesus saw them struggling. It doesn’t say how long he let them struggle but we at least know He allowed them to for a little bit. Then, when the time was right, he “went out to them.” Funny thing about the Mark account.. it says Jesus was about to pass them by. But I thought he was going out to aid them?! Well, he was going out to be with them… which results in the aid. But he was about to pass them by?!

“But when they saw him.” He wanted to be seen. He wanted them to take notice. To realize they needed help and to see it coming.

God will come to us when we need him. However he might not be waving banners, flashing neon lights or screaming for our attention. He will likely come in the most unexpected way, half hidden by wind and waves, and cloaked in the chaos of a storm. To see him, we have to be looking. Jesus WILL come when we need him, but it IS possible for us to miss him.

After they saw him it says they were terrified. Sometimes the way God reveals himself to us can be scary. Maybe not haunted house scary but scary nonetheless. When God shows himself we often end up either experiencing change, finding things out about ourselves that we don’t like or being told to follow him somewhere we don’t understand. All pretty terrifying.

Luckily he says “take courage, it is I. Do not be afraid.” So basically “hey, it’s me.. I got this.”

Then, Peter tests both Jesus and himself. He proves that it is indeed Jesus while simultaneously proving to himself that nothing is impossible with Jesus. “If its you, tell me to come to you.” Jesus could have just climbed in the boat and said “tadaaa!” But he only got close enough to the boat for the disciples to barely see him and for Peter to be courageous enough to come to him.

Jesus comes to us often expecting us to meet him. He will come just close enough for us to vaguely see him there. But we will have to step out and meet him. Which requires faith and courage. The key thing here is after Jesus said “come”.. Peter actually went.

We cant just camp out in fear and uncertainty and expect God to jump in the boat with us and save the day. He has to first be acknowledged.. then he must be pursued. Why is it so hard to do the pursuit part? Cuz he walks on the dad gum water during crazy storms! He doesn’t make it much of a habit to hang out in fields of flowers and call us to lay with him on a pillow top mattress. How much would we have to trust him to do that?! He wants us to rely fully on him. Which means we first must be helpless, broken, lost, confused, uncomfortable, etc etc.

Peter of course doubted and started to sink. Jesus immediately saves him and they climb into the boat. After that, the winds died down and according to John 6:21, “immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.” They were in the middle of a 6 or 7 mile wide lake, during a crazy storm. The minute Jesus steps foot inside the boat, the wind stops and they miraculously reach their destination on the other side. It just took recognition, boldness and faith (from Peter) to go out and meet him.

Thanks + Trust > Asking

"And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people."
- Matthew 14:19 (NIV)

We all probably know this story. Actually I’ve heard it so much, when I came to it this morning I was going to skip over it and go straight to reading Matthew 15. But God thumped me in the forehead.. so I read it again. Of course this time I noticed something particular.

Jesus didn’t say “Lord, make this little plenty” or “provide food for thousands with this amount for few.” He just gave thanks. Which tells me that apparently Jesus knew that the Power of giving thanks plus trusting God to provide is greater than the results that come from begging God for help or answers. If asking were greater, he would’ve asked. I mean come on, he’s Jesus.

Thanks + Trust > Asking

Yes “Ask and you shall receive” (Matt 7:7). However, if you fully trust God and if you are really seeking God so much that you know how he works and what kind of things he wants.. you don’t even have to ask. For instance, I don’t have to ask God to provide my family with what we need to live cuz I know God and I KNOW he wants that for us. So I don’t ask to receive that. I just trust him for it and I thank him for it.

There is a quote floating around a lot lately that I like. “What if you woke up today with only what you thanked God for yesterday?” Well put anonymous stranger!

In Matthew 14:19 God provided food for the thousands after Jesus thanked God for the small amount they had. The following is what happened the next day after Jesus had walked on water and all that:

"The next day the crowd that had stayed on the opposite shore of the lake realized that only one boat had been there, and that Jesus had not entered it with his disciples, but that they had gone away alone. Then some boats from Tiberias landed near the place where the people had eaten the bread AFTER the Lord had GIVEN THANKS."
- John 6:22, 23 (NIV)

John made sure to mention again that the place they were near was the place where a miracle happened After Jesus gave thanks. A lot of the times we say things like “Where is God now? I don’t understand why he hasn’t given me ___. I need it!” or “I’ve been asking God forever for ____ and He hasn’t given it to me yet!” Then we quote “ask and you shall receive.”

We accompany our dissatisfaction and frustration at God with complaining, whining, and the good old scripture quote. As if we are calling God out on his screw up. “Did you forget about This scripture God?!”

All the while God is sitting there saying “Um.. I’ve given you all kinds of stuff. I’ve given you every single good thing you have and have ever had. Did You forget about That? And I’ve got no sort of a thank you for any of it.”

How would you feel if you poured your love and wealth out on someone daily.. and all you got in return was complaints about what you have yet to give them. You’d probably stop giving completely right? Well, considering ALL good things come from God (James 1:17) including life, breath, etc… it’s a good thing God doesn’t react to us the way we would. Cuz we’d be dead.

With all that said… yes, ask God for things but do not fail to recognize what he has already given you. Take time to thank God for all those things. And remember that a lot of the time, thanking God and trusting God will go a lot farther than constantly asking things of him. He is after all God. He knows what you need, what is best for you, the desires of your heart, etc. He is good and he has your best interest in mind at all times. So trust him for that.

"Gve thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (NIV)

A Prophet Without Honor

Ever wondered why you can more effectively get your point (especially about spiritual things) across to a complete stranger or just an acquaintance? Someone outside your camp has no idea where you’ve been, what you’ve done, etc. They don’t know your mom and dad or what kind of grades you got in high school. They’re unaware of your achievements or the fact that you haven’t ever really achieved much worthy of mention. All they know is, you bring them truth that they need to hear.

Maybe you never really get outside your circle much. Well then, who would you take more seriously when they offer you an encouraging word from scripture or revelation they’ve had? They guy you grew up with and know everything about, or a well respected pastor from a other town who’s great spiritual reputation precedes him? Or even a stranger who comes out of nowhere and hits you with a timely and much needed word?

Jesus said “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” (Mark 6:4 NIV)

So with all that said, lots of us have family and close friends who either are nonbelievers or just struggling in whatever way. We often get frustrated, anxious, or guilt-tripped cuz we can’t seem to say or do the right things to help them or lead them to the right place. Yes we should live rightly in front of them and yes we should take every opportunity to speak truth into them. However, maybe even more fervently we should pray that God would send them someone outside of their circle to reach a part of the that we can’t.

Sometimes (a LOT of times) that means letting go. You can’t hold someone down and force feed them scripture or headlock them into submission to God. Not letting them out of your sight won’t help either. Your influence is good, but your constant presence and watchful eye may not be so much. Trust God to do to it his way. He wants to see our family members and close friends do a 180 more than we do, and He is actually capable of making it happen… If we will just stay out of his way.

So, live right in front of them, remain a positive influence and be willing to be a refuge. But sometimes you gotta get out of their face, quit breathing down their necks, and trust God through prayer that he will send someone who can truly make an impact. You play a part, just maybe not the main role.

- Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked. “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?” And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith (Matthew 13:54-58 NIV)

- Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, (Luke 18:1 NKJV)

We’ve Struck Gold

Imagine you come across a gold mine. A literal mine full of gold that has yet to be tapped into. This mine however is in a field owned by someone else. What do you do? Considering the contents of the mine is worth infinitely more than every single thing you own, it would make sense to keep knowledge of it to yourself long enough to sell everything you currently have and buy the entire field from it’s owner. Then, you get to work on mining the treasure.

Mining for gold by yourself in a mine previously undiscovered could possibly be the most labor-some thing you could ever do. And obtaining the mine will cost you literally everything. But, the treasure found deep within it and the possibility of what it could produce in your life is too great to leave hidden.

That treasure and those possibilities would even be enough to make you not only willingly but Joyfully go completely broke to work your butt off.

“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field. (Matthew 13:44 NIV)

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand (Matt 3:2), however in order to reach out and grab it, you have to let go of everything else. Salvation is a free gift. All the things of God and the Kingdom however require work, sacrifice and ultimately everything you have. The good news is once the free gift of salvation has truly been accepted, you will joyfully give up everything. Once you truly recognize what lies in the gold mine, you see how worthless all your stuff is in comparison.

Next to the things of the Kingdom.. your pride, dreams, ambitions, intentions, security, comfort, etc all turn into complete garbage.