Matthew 18:15

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.”

In this verse Jesus is telling His disciples how they ought to go about dealing with trouble between brethren. He makes it very clear that if someone is to sin against you, you are to go tell him in private. If they listen, them you have won your brother back. This is so applicable to my life because it’s impossible to avoid conflict with others if I’m going to be living with them for the next 7 months. I’ve had instances of this back in Florida where people have wronged me or said something rude and instead of going to them and addressing the problem, I let it fester inside my heart and I turn bitter towards them. I see now how unhealthy and wrong this is, because in the end who is it really hurting? I either need to give that up to the Lord and be at peace or go to that person and address the problem. How much closer can I become with that person if we work those problems out and get a better understanding of each other? No one is perfect, and problems will arise. That’s why its so important to establish a healthy way to approach these issues so we can go about living a healthy, Christ-like life.

I must first go to them alone and address the problem, but if they will not hear me then I am to take one or two more people to witness. If they will still not listen, I am to take that issue to the church. Even then if they will not listen, then the fault is not upon myself and Jesus says to treat them as a stranger, a heathen.

Application:

Today I will pray that the Lord continues to work in my heart and guide me in these areas.

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2 Corinthians 13:11

“Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.”

In this farewell that Paul writes to the Corinthians, he summaries his letter up, telling them to be complete, of good comfort, of one mind, living in peace, and through these things God will be with them. I look at this verse as if Paul were writing it directly to me and the rest of my team. As we set out on this journey ahead of us, we must take these words to our hearts and hold onto them for the next 6 months. First, I am urged to become complete which I know only comes from abiding in Jesus Christ. “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect word, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” (James 1:2) As Austin put it, we as people are constantly going through trials. Either we are going into a trial, in a trial, or coming out of one. But this is often times what God uses in our lives to grow us, to help us lean on Him and finally understand that it is through our brokenness that He is made strong.”

Next Paul urges them to be of good comfort. But where does this comfort from, In the midst of the waves and storms of life? “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul.” (Psalm 94:19) The Lord is my comfort, through Him I can find peace if I allow Him that place in my life. He is good to His children and will uplift them with His righteous right hand.

Next Paul says to be of one mind and live in peace. For me I think immediately of my team in Guatemala and how important it is for us to be of one mind, working together in unison. We may not have a lot in common but we are all separate parts of the body, working together to achieve glory to the Father. We must live in peace with each other, and when those times come where something needs to be worked out within our team, we must go about it in a manner of peacemaking.

In all these things, our God is with us. “As the Father loves Me, I also have loved you, abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:9)

“Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will hep you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Application:

Today I will pray that the Lord continues to work in my heart, to help me abide in Him and find comfort in Him alone.

Romans 12:6

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;”

This verse speaks of making use of what gifts have been given to us by the grace of God for his good pleasure. But how does this personally relate to my life? I see that in my life I have been given certain gifts by God, just as my teammates have other gifts. Many times I find myself struggling and purposely putting all the weight of the team on my shoulders. Many times it’s just a matter of my mind, but I have a tendency to over stress just by thinking about what needs to be done and believing that it all has to be done by me. “For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” The Lord has been speaking to me a lot lately about learning to just let go, and to work as a team. Imagine the glory that will be brought to Him as my team works to its full potential, each of us working according to our gifts.

Week 9: unity

1 John 1:5-7

“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Fellowship with one another: its a lot easier said than done. At first it can seem simple and fun as I first get to know people, but as time progresses we begin to step on each other’s toes and annoy each other. In my life I have a track record of running when things get tough, but that’s no longer an option here. I see the fault in my ways as I continue to grow closer and closer to Jesus, revealing more of His light in my life. No longer am I one foot in the darkness and the other in the light, I’m all in. No matter the storm around me, my eyes are fixed on Jesus. I’m looking to Him in all things and He is faithful to guide me in His will. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy, but these things such as team unity are a natural response to walking in the light. I can’t force team unity, but as each one of us continues to seek Jesus we will have grace with each other. There is victory in vulnerability and i want to have discipline with my team:praying together, encouraging and building each other upland talking about struggles. None of us are perfect, in fact we are all quite different in personality, but we have been placed together to be a testimony of what God can do through people who love Him. and I am eager to watch Him work through us as we abide in Him.

Luke 12: 37- 40

Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the third would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

In this verse, Jesus is speaking to his disciples in a parable about a servant. This servant is to be diligent in his master’s business at all times, and when the master comes home to find him watching and prepared, he will be blessed. I’ve heard the saying before, “There’s never a day off in ministry” and it really is true in all aspects. I am to be about my Father’s business, being faithful and a good steward of what He has given me to do. I must take every opportunity that I am given and put my all into everything. I can only receive as much as I put into my work. What good is it going to do me to sit around all day when I’ve been called to serve. I want to be faithful to Him who is beyond faithful to me and has given His all to me. Whether it be through preparing lesson plans and teaching students, or even something as simple as working on the garden or doing the dishes I want to do it with a servant’s heart full of joy and thankfulness, giving my all.

Application:

Today I want to make sure that my team prays together tonight before bed, and personally that I ask God to help give me strength through Him as I’m running on empty in my own strength.

John 15:15

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that i heard from My Father I have made known to you.

I am Christ’s bondservant, but I have also been made His friend. The only logical response for everything He has done for me is, “Here I am Jesus, use me.” But He doesn’t just want robots that serve Him without emotion or feeling, He wants us to love Him with all of our hearts because He is love. He desires relationship, to be my friend as well. Jesus tells the disciples that they have become more than servants to Him because everything God has told Jesus, He has told the disciples. It’s a deeper relationship build off faith and deep love for our Saviour, who wishes to call us friend. How amazing is that? It’s so hard for my mind to wrap around the magnitude of Jesus’s perfect character, that He became the sacrifice that reconciled us to the Father. As I truly begin to understand these things and just who God is I’m left I’m absolute awe and thanks. Even the fact that He wants us to draw closer to Him, that He desires for us to rely on Him, that He has created us beforehand for good works, that He calls me friend.

Application

Today I will pray and thank God for His goodness and His faithfulness to me, and to help me remember the things that He has been faithful to me for, that I might not forget just how much he cares for me.

Matthew 20: 26-28

Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave -just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a random for many.

In the verses right before this passage, Jesus tells his disciples that the rulers of the Gentiles are great and exercise authority over them, “yet it shall not be so among you” While the world has it’s own way of thinking, and system of how things are to be done, so do we Christians who live for Christ. We don’t operate according to what the world thinks, nor do we count ourselves as one of them. I am set apart in Christ and to serve Him. My desire is to reflect the character of Christ, to be formed into His image so that others may see the light that is within me. Jesus came not be served, but to serve, He gave his life as a ransom for many. If I were to even dream of becoming someone great among the people I am with, I am to be their servant, not just because I am striving to attain a goal, but because it is what God has asked of me. In everything I do, I want to do it unto the Lord. To serve and be made available, obey God, and be a blessing to others in my service.

Application:

Today I will pray with my team fro Guatemala, and that God will use us to be servants to the people and give us opportunities to minister and shed the light of Christ.