Lord, is the Fear of Being Labeled Judgmental is Silencing the Church? —John 12:37-43

images-4Today’s Scripture Reading: John 12:37-50, Mark 11:12-14, Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, Mark 11:20-33, Matthew 21:23-27, Luke 20:1-8

Jesus, I know that John was describing Your time on earth in these verses but they have an uncanny resemblance to our current times.

But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted:

“Lord, who has believed our message?
To whom has the Lord revealed his powerful arm?”
But the people couldn’t believe, for as Isaiah also said,

“The Lord has blinded their eyes
and hardened their hearts—
so that their eyes cannot see,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and have me heal them.”

Isaiah was referring to Jesus when he said this, because he saw the future and spoke of the Messiah’s glory. Many people did believe in him, however, including some of the Jewish leaders. But they wouldn’t admit it for fear that the Pharisees would expel them from the synagogue.* For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. —John 12:37-43

Lord, pages could be written about this passage but the thoughts that are consuming my mind today are around *the people who loved human praise and acceptance so much that they kept their belief in Jesus quiet for fear of being expelled from their synagogue. For the Jews their synagogue wasn’t just their church, it was their family, friends, school, religion, ethnicity, and political affiliation. Today’s sociological challenges of peer pressure and bullying were also alive and well in those days.

Jesus, it seems to me that peer pressure progresses to bullying and when not addressed it leads to persecution. It’s ironic that the very reason the believing Jews kept quiet was to avoid persecution, yet over the years they have been severely persecuted. Is this what is going to happen to today’s church?

Lord, Christian persecution has arrived in America, a country founded on religious freedom is now a place where Christians are beginning to keep quiet about their convictions for fear of peer pressure, bullying, and persecution. Fear of being labeled “judgmental” is silencing the boldest and largest Christian voices in our country.

Lord, I really don’t know how to react. I’m confused and feel this desire to pull away and keep my mouth shut. I see the world pulling one or two scriptures out of Your Word and using it to silence the church. I’m afraid it’s beginning to silence me as well. Holy Spirit, please speak loudly. Give me supernatural boldness. My heart is racing as I title this post, fearing that I will be misunderstood. I do not want to succumb to the enemy’s tactics. I do not want to desire human praise and acceptance more that Yours. It scares me to read in Matthew 24:20-24 that in the last days the very elect will be deceived. Holy Spirit, I don’t want to be deceived.

Lord, give our pastors, teachers, prophets, and Christian leaders supernatural discernment, wisdom, and boldness to lead Your people in these difficult times.

Lord, judging is a delicate subject. I know I’ve judged when I shouldn’t and haven’t judged when I should. I know we don’t win the lost by judging them but “not judging” within the church is dumbing down the gospel. We have adapted the same philosophy as the world, “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Holy Spirit, without Your help  we will get it wrong every time. Show the church when and how to judge today’s complicated world.

Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. Instead, be very glad—for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.

If you are insulted because you bear the name of Christ, you will be blessed, for the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you. If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other people’s affairs. But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name! For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also,

“If the righteous are barely saved,
what will happen to godless sinners?”

So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you. —1 Peter 4:12-19

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 21:28-32, Mark 12:1-12, Matthew 21:33-46, Luke 20:9-19, Matthew 22:1-14, Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 22:15-22, Luke 20:20-26, Mark 12:18-27, Matthew 22:23-33, Luke 20:27-40

Lord, I Want to Walk in Your Light—John 12:35-36

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19, Luke 19:41-44, John 12:20-36

Jesus, as evil and darkness roll in like fog, fear is so overwhelming that many see suicide as the only way out. These statistics from The Jason Foundation speak loudly and clearly to the darkness that is overtaking our culture. Sadly, our children are the ones who are suffering the most.

  • Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24. (2010 CDC WISQARS)
  • Suicide is the THIRD leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18. (2010 CDC WISQARS)
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, COMBINED.
  • Each day in our nation there are an average of over 5,400 attempts by young people grades 7-12.

Jesus replied, “My light will shine for you just a little longer. Walk in the light while you can, so the darkness will not overtake you. Those who walk in the darkness cannot see where they are going. Put your trust in the light while there is still time; then you will become children of the light.”

After saying these things, Jesus went away and was hidden from them. —John 12:35-36

Lord, Your light is more powerful than the darkness but some days I feel the darkness trying to pull me in. I put my trust in Your light. Holy Spirit, help me stay to close to Your light. Help me to carry Your light to those who are overwhelmed by the darkness.

You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. —Matthew 5:13-15

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 12:37-50, Mark 11:12-14, Matthew 21:18-22, Mark 11:15-19, Matthew 21:12-17, Luke 19:45-48, Mark 11:20-33, Matthew 21:23-27, Luke 20:1-8

Lord, I Want to Be Different—Matthew 20:25-28

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:1–16, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27

Heavenly Father,  it’s so easy to get caught up in the world’s way of thinking.

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:25-28

Lord, as I go about my day help me to choose to be different. Help me to make a conscious choice to serve others rather than be served. Holy Spirit, point out these opportunities and speak loudly, because my selfish voice is very loud.

Jesus, I want to serve You and others today. I want to be different.

 

In Your great and mighty name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 
Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:6-13, John 12:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Matthew 21:1-11, Luke 19:28-40, John 12:12-19, Luke 19:41-44, John 12:20-36

Lord, Humanly Speaking, It Looks Impossible—Mark 10:27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14, Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10:13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, Mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Jesus, if You lived in today’s world this story most likely would have made it to many social networking sites and this verse may have been the suggested tweet:

Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But not with God. Everything is possible with God.” —Mark 10:27

What was the impossible situation?

In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” —Mark 10:25

Lord, this explains a lot. America is one of the richest countries in the world. These statistics are from 2012 but if a person makes $34,000 a year they are in the global élite, the top 1% of income earners in the world! Half of the world’s richest people live in the United States.

Jesus, it’s definitely getting harder and harder for the average person to make a decision to serve You. Statistics from Barna show that if a person doesn’t accept You as their Savior by the age of 14 there’s only a 14% chance of them making that decision later in life. I wonder if the prosperity of our country is affecting these numbers?

Lord, as I watch the events of each day unfold, our situation seems impossible. Becoming a Christ follower and living a life that names You as our Savior is getting harder and harder.

But Jesus, You said NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!

I choose to believe You. I choose to believe that You will make a way for the rich to be saved and You will make a way for me to live a life that honors You and causes others to know You.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Matthew 20:1-16, Mark 10:32-34, Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34, Mark 10:35-45, Matthew 20:20-34, Mark 10:46-52, Luke 18:35-19:27

Lord, I Long to See You Return—Luke 17:22

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 11:38-57, Luke 17:11-18:8

Heavenly Father, this time has arrived in my life:

Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see the day when the Son of Man returns, but you won’t see it. —Luke 17:22

Jesus, I long to see the day when You return. I’ve spent my life getting to know You through Your Word. The expectancy of seeing You face-to-face is building as each day passes!

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.

“And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”

“Where will this happen, Lord?” the disciples asked.

Jesus replied, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.” —Luke 17:26-37

Lord, it’s definitely “business as usual” in today’s world but the signs of Your return are everywhere.

Holy Spirit, draw those who are lost to Jesus.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 18:9-14, Mark 10:1-12, Matthew 19:1-12, Mark 10: 13-16, Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17, mark 10:17-31, Matthew 19:16-30, Luke 18:18-30

Lord, I Want to Be Your Disciple—Luke 14:25-27

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-17:20, John 11:1-37

Heavenly Father, if You compare my love and devotion for my family and my own life to my love and devotion to You it probably seems like I hate You.

A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them, “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. —Luke 14:25-27

Lord, I want to be Your disciple. I want my love for anyone or anything to pale in comparison to my love for You. Teach me to carry my cross and follow You.

 

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: John 11:38-57, Luke 17:11-18:8

Lord, I Sometimes Forget—John 10:10

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

 

Heavenly Father, I sometimes forget that You said …

 

The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. –John 10:10

 

Lord, life on this earth feels like a tug of war. It’s funny, Satan’s entices us with promises of a rich and satisfying life, yet a life of serving him ends in poverty, death, and destruction. You tell us to take up our cross and follow You…

 

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?  For the Son of Man will come with his angels in the glory of his Father and will judge all people according to their deeds. –Matthew 16:24-27

 

…And offer us a rich and satisfying life.

 

Jesus, I want Your best life, a rich and satisfying life. Give me discernment to recognize the deceptive tools of the enemy of my soul. Thank You for reminding me that nothing is worth more than my soul.

 

In Your great and powerful Name! Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
 

 

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 14:25-17:10, John 11:1-37

Lord, Teach Me How to Interpret the Present Times—8 Things to Do–Luke 12:54-56

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41

Heavenly Father, I have no idea how to interpret the present times. Yes, it seems like the signs You mentioned in Your Word are happening but I feel as lost as the crowd You were addressing in these verses.

Then Jesus turned to the crowd and said, “When you see clouds beginning to form in the west, you say, ‘Here comes a shower.’ And you are right. When the south wind blows, you say, ‘Today will be a scorcher.’ And it is. You fools! You know how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times. —Luke 12:54-56

Lord, I’m only one person. What should I do? Should I get on a soapbox and shout it to the world? Should I store up food to help my family and neighbors? Should I pray against the “signs” that cause me to be afraid?

I think they’re some answers in these verses:

As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?”

Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

“Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come.

“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.

“So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes.  Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.

“Immediately after the anguish of those days,

the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.

“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.

“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.

“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. —Matthew 24:1-44

Jesus, here’s what I saw in Matthew 24–8 things You tell us to do in these turbulent times:

1. Don’t let anyone mislead you

2. Don’t panic

3. Endure to the end

4. Preach the good news throughout the world

5. Don’t believe rumors that You are here—no one will know the day or hour of Your return

6. Learn a lesson from the fig tree

7. Keep watch

8. Be ready all the time

Holy Spirit, remind me of these eight things. Help me to see them as my “to-do” list for the rest of my life on this earth. Help me to embrace these signs with excitement. Remind me each morning that today could be the day You return!

Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Amen and Amen!

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller
Tomorrow’s Scripture ReadingL John 10:1-42, Luke 13:22-14:24

Lord, I Want a Good Eye—Luke 11:33-36

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Today’s Scripture Reading: Luke 11:14-12:34

Heavenly Father, today’s world is a dark and scary place. Few things are black or white, light or dark. Varying shades of grey seem to be the most popular colors. Every day it gets harder and harder to discern light from darkness.

“No one lights a lamp and then hides it or puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where its light can be seen by all who enter the house.

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”—Luke 11:33-36

Lord, help me to make sure that the light I think I have is not actually darkness. Shine Your light on my dark corners so that my whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling me with light!

Lord, I want my eyes to be pleasing to You!

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

 

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 12:35-13:21, John 9:1-41

Lord, Teach Me to Have Shameless Persistence—Luke 11:5-13

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Today’s Scripture Reading: John 8:21-59, Luke 10:1-11:13

Heavenly Father, when discouragement and doubt come remind me of this story. Remind me to have shameless persistence.

Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

“You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Father, once again I bring my desperate needs to You. Lord, hear my prayer.

The days have long since passed of me trying to tell You how to fix the people and situations that cause my heart to break. I have no answers but my shameless prayer is please don’t leave us or forget us. Please don’t leave us the way we are. Please work everything out for Your Glory and our good (Romans 8:28).

Lord, we have so many needs but my greatest desire is that my future generations know You, REALLY know You and spend their days sharing Your good news with the world.

Jesus, I will keep knocking and asking until I breath my last breath.

In Jesus Name. Amen and Amen!

 

 

 

©2014, Dianne Guthmuller

Tomorrow’s Scripture Reading: Luke 11:14-12:34

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