February 22, 2021
John 14:12 “Most Assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also: and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (NKJV)
Destined for Greater!
God wants me to remind you that you are destined for greater. It is not because of where you grew up, who your parents are, your economic status, your vocation, your position, or your title as to why God has allowed you to be in the space that you are in now. It is because of the Divine plan that God has for your life. God put you in places to make room for the gifts that He has bestowed upon you. God knew you in your mother’s womb and set you apart to be used by Him. Just like God had a plan for Jesus, He has a plan for you and me. When Jesus walked this earth, he was able to heal the sick, raise the dead, give sight to the blind and walk on water. Greater is what God has in store for each of us. It all begins and ends with your belief system.
John 14:12 begins with clarifying whom Jesus is addressing. Jesus is talking to those who believe in Him. You must first be sure in whom and what you believe. It goes on to tell us that the work that Jesus did, those of us who trust in Him, will be able not only to do the same work but greater works. You and I are destined for greater because God has a plan for our lives.
As you go through your week, say this poem and believe God. Grab hold to the greatness you are destined for.
Before I was born, God, you knew what I was going to be.
But I did not know your plans would make me free.
Understanding no weapon formed against me will prosper,
God you helped me to discern every imposter.
Those who tried to make me believe that I was such a monster,
God you held me close daily so that my mind could foster.
All the things that I’ve done wrong on my life’s journey,
Forgetting sometimes that you are my attorney.
Pleading my case day in and day out
Reminding me no matter how I go all about.
Jesus died and paid the price for me.
I am redeemed and salvation is the key.
That will lead me through all these storms.
Preparing me for what will be my new norm.
Thanking God in advance for all the struggles that I go through.
Believing as I praise you God, I will always be true.
To the purpose and plans by activating the greater work
You have destined for me without a quirk.
Prayer: Gracious and loving God, we come to You as humbly as we know how. We give You thanks and praises for all the many blessings that You have bestowed upon us. God, we ask that You create in us a clean heart. God, renew the right spirit within us. Help us to remember that we are destined for greatness, not because of ourselves but because of the plan and purpose You have for each one of our lives. We invite Your Holy Spirit to guide and direct us in the way You would have us to go. As we progress through this week, the months, and years to come, grant us grace and mercy as we continue our life’s journey. God, keep our minds stayed on you. Cover, protect, and keep us from all hurt, harm and danger. It is in the matchless name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
Submitted by: Rev. Claudette President, Pastoral Associate at First Christian Church, Charleston, SC
On this week’s prayer list: First Christian, Aiken & Global Ministries
January 25, 2021
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.” And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Mark 1:17-18
If you were told to drop everything and follow – what would you leave behind? What would be important to you? My niece was in Charleston during Hurricane Hugo and had to leave. When I asked her what she brought that was important, she replied “I grabbed all my bills!” I don’t know that I would have thought about that!
The disciples were taking a risk. Why would they do it? They responded completely based on Jesus’ words “Follow me.” They left their old lives behind and followed to become “fishers of men.” They left everything because they believed Jesus’ word to be true. They literally took him at his word when he declared “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near, repent and believe in the good news.” (Mark 1:15) They believed.
The call of God in our lives may not be as radical, but it can be just as meaningful. Belief involves action on our part. We can leave the old behind and begin again as “new creatures in Jesus Christ” because we too can take Jesus at His word. His word is trustworthy. We receive the challenge to follow Jesus. Are we willing to follow Jesus as he calls us in the community-at-large? We are called into the world. He washed dusty dirty feet. He fed the hungry and healed broken limbs.
Are we willing to follow Jesus into the workplace and even our homes? It would be risky because it would bring an end to “life as usual.” It brings us to a new direction, a new sense of purpose, along with understanding and hope.
Are we willing to follow Jesus no matter where He leads us? Search your hearts and pray for guidance as we seek to follow! “And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me and I will make you become fishers of men” and immediately they left their nets and followed Him.”
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask that You take care of all Your children. Help us to look to you for guidance that can only come from You. Lead us in the way You would have us to go and give us the strength and will to follow. We ask this in the name of Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Submitted by: Rev Joan Daniels. Retired Disciples of Christ Pastor
January 18, 2021
Verily, Verily I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall he do, because I go to the Father. John 14:12
WHAT IN THE WORLD ARE WE DOING?
I can remember as a youngster, my grandmother would often ask me, "What in the world are you doing?" as it related to my academics, doing my expected chores, or many of the other responsibilities that were entrusted in my care. The question served as a personal assessment which was weighty and thought provoking within its intent. It was as though she had seen that which was not visible at the time, but yet she recognized its existence: the maximum potential, the capabilities, and the power that were awaiting me to recognize, to embrace, and utilize. Often resounding and rhetorical, the purpose was to stir up, to ignite, to illuminate, and to reassure that all I needed to do was to tap into that which was already there.
In this chapter, Jesus is warning His disciples that much trouble was to come, but He also reassures them, even in the midst of it all, in order for them to have an untroubled heart and to trust in God! And although the time has come that He would no longer be physically visible to them, He reassures them that He shall never leave them alone or helpless, for He shall send A Helper, Holy Spirit, an Indwelling Presence! While the God (the Son--Jesus Christ) was with them now physically, the God that is in them (and in us) is ever present! (Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 1 Cor.3:16)
Because HE LIVES IN US, His power dwells in us, enabling and empowering us to a greater work with greater opportunities, a greater sphere of influence, the submissive power to let God be God without limitations or reservations. (LORD LET THY WILL BE DONE in us and through us that we might be open, sensitive, and faithful to whatever that may entail).
Today we still witness the evidence of trouble, trials and tribulations and we also have been forewarned to not be troubled. Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore is faithful and His blood never loses it power and His power never loses it Strength! Jesus says upon this rock--and this rock is Jesus-- I shall build My Church and the gates of Hell (the devil in all his ploys, plots, pandemics, devises, and worldly troubles) shall not prevail against God's church! It is evident! For when the brick and mortar--the buildings--where we gather close as many have, the church still stands! The blood bought, born again, faithful and committed believer still shows up and is accounted for!
We the church continue to be led by Holy Spirit and shall continue to see the hand of God, for we are His hands. We shall continue to hear Him speak, for we are His voice. We shall continue to not only see but willingly participate in the greater works that this troubled world is so desperately in need of.
May we be reminded and reassured of the power of God that we as followers of Christ possess in order to fulfill this great assignment for WE have. Let us be reminded that we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. (2 Cor. 4:7)
Prayer: Father in the name of Jesus, we thank You for You are truly the Lover of our souls and the Forgiver of our sins. Thank You for reminding us that we are never alone. May Your Holy Spirit trim our lamps that we may be illuminated in a world so dark. Allow Holy Spirit to stir us, encourage us, lead us, and strengthen us for this journey, in Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.
Thought of the day: Greater things to come for Greater is He that is in you (church) than he that is in this world!
Submitted by: Pastor Cynthia Johnson, Magdalene Christian Church
January 11, 2021
16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Matthew 28: 16-20
Jesus’ ascension marks the beginning of a new era. He leaves his earthly ministry, having been crucified and resurrected. For the disciples, it means accepting the new mantle of teachers and prophets. It is graduation day.
As Elijah passed his mantle to Elisha, and is then taken up to heaven, Jesus spreads his mantle on the disciples. The difference is that as Jesus commands his disciples to go and teach all that he has taught them, he reassures them that they do not go alone. He will be with them forever, no matter where they go or where they find themselves. He will be with them giving them power and encouragement and grace that are more than sufficient for the day.
We have just ended one year and celebrated the beginning of another. We are looking back and looking forward, like the goddess Janus from whom the name of the first month of the year gets its name. Looking forward brings new hopes, new dreams, and a sense of both excitement and angst as we see the tasks before us. Looking back may bring celebration at a significant milestone, grief for what was lost, hope for what was begun, regret for what could have been done or done better, and inspiration for the journey forward. But in it all, the words of Jesus echo, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
2020 brought with it the pandemic, social isolation, loss, physical distance, face masks, lost jobs, and many other trying events. It had a vitriolic campaign and election, social unrest, and Americans pitted against Americans. But, it also had acts of bravery, heroism, creativity, and generosity that often got lost in the noise of the moment. Yet, Jesus was with us.
2021 opens before us with opportunities for feeding the hungry, visiting the sick and imprisoned, clothing the naked, seeing the marginalized, seeking social justice, and bringing grace to all we meet. Our opportunities present themselves every day. All we must do is accept our commission and know that Jesus is with us.
Prayer: God of mercy, love, and justice, open us to Your direction and power. Open our eyes to the needs that each of us can meet. Give us voices and actions to follow Your commission. And remind us constantly that You are with us. Amen.
Submitted by: Rev. Susan Galasso, Chaplain at St. Joseph Hospice North Augusta
January 4, 2021
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. John 14:12
This is one of the most astonishing promises in the scriptures. Notice the reason Jesus gives for these greater works. It is because He goes to the Father and when He goes to the Father, He will send the Holy Ghost. He says in John 16:1b, “Unless I go away, the counselor will not come to you.” He is referring to the coming of the Holy Spirit. For as the Spirit of God comes into human hearts and dwells in them, these things will happen. The Spirit is releasing to us the life of Jesus, so that it is still Jesus who is doing these things. Some people read this passage and think that we, ordinary humans, are somehow so capable that we can do greater things than the Son of God himself did when he was on earth in the flesh.
Jesus goes on to say: “And greater works than these will you do." What are these greater works? We can't perform greater miracles. Can we do anything greater than opening the eyes of those born blind, or speaking a word and the lame man walks, or raising the dead? The only answer that makes sense is that the works are greater in their significance and importance. They are spiritual accomplishments not physical. Anything done to the spirit of a person is far more significant than something done to the body.
As you read the account of Jesus’s ministry, take note of how crowds followed him when he did the amazing wonders. When Jesus was in a city, they would gather to hear his message. Yet when Jesus is hanging on the cross just before the end of his life surrounded by two others on the cross, the crowds were not there to support him. His miracles did not completely change people. Instead, they merely touched the surface of their lives. Isn't it interesting that the ones whom Jesus healed would not stand with him through the test of the cross, but when these disciples went out and preached in the power of the Holy Spirit, they won converts by the thousands? When presented with the test, these men and women were willing to face lions, to be pulled apart on the rock, and to be burned as living torches rather than deny Jesus.
You may remember that Jesus said to his disciples, “You did not choose me, but I have chosen and appointed you go and bear fruit. Fruit that will last," John 15:16b. That is what they did. They bore fruit. They did greater miracles. Anything done to the spirit of a person is permanent and that which is done to the flesh is temporary. All those whom Jesus healed and raised from the dead died again. Therefore, what is done to the spirit of a person is far greater, and this is what Jesus means by "greater works.”
Prayer: Thank you, God, for the miracles You are doing in and through me. Only You can change my heart, O Lord! Only You can make me more like Jesus.
Submitted by: Rev. Freddie Lawton, Regional Moderator