iChurch - iBelong Daily Devotionals
Monday, June 18
And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
Upon reading today’s scripture reference, you will find that Jesus method of reaching those around Him contrasts greatly with the way the church today tries to reach people. It’s important to notice that Jesus didn’t just look for those who already seemed to have things in order, or those who had a strong working knowledge of the scriptures. He wasn’t concerned with their current occupation or social status, rather, He was seeking those who displayed the greatest need and who weren’t very high up on the social ladder. He wasn’t concerned with who they were presently, He wanted those who needed a place to belong. He wasn’t concerned with behavior modification, He was looking for those who could live life with Him in sincerity. If the church today would follow Jesus example of evangelism and discipleship, it’s growth, both in number and holiness would be unprecedented. When the emphasis is placed on giving people a place to belong rather than making sure that they’re ‘behaving’, that acceptance alone will win them to Christ. As you go through this week, watch your actions toward those around you. Are you displaying God’s love and acceptance, or are others seeing you as judgmental and harsh. As simple shift in your actions will make a marked difference in the life of those needing to experience the love and acceptance of Christ.
Tuesday, June 19
18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. 19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets. 20 And immediately he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants and followed him.
Have you ever read this scripture and gotten caught up in how these men could just up and leave everything they knew to follow someone they had never met? Did Jesus really have that commanding and magnetic of a personality? Were these men especially gullible? Did they just sense the power and draw of God upon Jesus? While some of the previous questions may be answered in the affirmative, what is more likely is the fact that Jesus would have already had a high quality reputation before He approached them. Even though at this time in His life He had not performed any miracles or delivered any life altering sermons, His reputation as a Rabbi and that of His family would have been known. After all, He was already 30 years old when this was taking place. He had worked with His father Joseph as carpenter up to this point. Do you think if Jesus had a reputation of doing poor work or was known for ripping people off that these men would have been eager to jump on His band wagon? Not likely. If you expect to be someone that others want to follow, your reputation and character are vitally important. How you as a believer, operate in your daily life, has a direct impact on your ministry. Being a Christian doesn’t mean you just believe in Him, it means that you understand how important your reputation is with those who don’t know Him.
Wednesday, June 20
And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts.
Fellowship with other believers is vital to your Christian walk. Today’s verse shows us that in the time when the church was experiencing the greatest growth and impact the believers were gathering daily. They understood that in order to remain strong and steadfast in a society which was directly opposed to them they needed one another. They didn’t just need a once a week church service, they needed the encouragement that came from sitting down over a meal and talking about their struggles and fears. Think about the impact that this would have on your life today. In a society that has tried to limit the scope of a relationship to social media and texting, how good would it be to meet someone for a cup of coffee or a meal. To enjoy shaking someone’s hand means that it can’t be holding onto a cell phone or a tablet. Physical contact with an actual person is much more encouraging and comforting than a just hearing a voice through an electronic device. Real conversations about real issues only come with real contact. Don’t fall for the lie that you can or have to do life all by yourself. God created you with a need for both Divine and human companionship. There is someone out there who needs the Jesus in you just like you need the Jesus in them. Being a strong believer means having strong relationships in your life that will encourage you along the way.
Thursday, June 21
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Today’s text shows that there is a direct connection between believers having favor and seeing people being born again. Think about it. It should be pretty obvious that if someone doesn’t like you then your chances of getting an opportunity to share Jesus with them are pretty slim. But where does this favor come from? The answer lies in the previous verse. The church didn’t limit their gathering to an hour time slot once a week in a big intimidating building. They were meeting regularly in their homes, eating and fellowshipping together. Think about it. If your next door neighbor started having three or four vehicles show up in their driveway a couple times a week, wouldn’t that spark your curiosity? When you saw them in the back yard laughing and having a good time together around the grill and playing horse shoes, wouldn’t you get a little envious? This is exactly why the church was growing the way it was. Those in the community were seeing them outside of the four walls of the synagog. They witnessed the fellowship and camaraderie of the Christians and wanted to be a part. What would happen if you and a few of your friends started meeting regularly at local restaurant? What if others saw you encouraging each other and praying for one another? When the church gets serious about being the Church and not just going ‘to church’, it will see itself gaining favor with people once again…and the salvations will be quick to follow.
Friday, June 22
19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
There is no greater reason to seek out fellowship with other believers than today’s verse. This is one of the greatest benefits of New Covenant living. God Himself promises that when believers gather together in His Name that He, God, Jehovah, the Alpha and Omega, Almighty Creator would be there as well. It doesn’t require the abilities of a pastor or some other authority figure who has the proper formula or method. No. It simply takes you and one or two of your fellow believers gathering with the purpose of doing life with one another with Him as the focus. Nowhere in this verse does it say that you have to spend the time praying, singing, or reading your Bibles. While this can and may happen, the only prerequisite is the desire is to enjoy the Jesus in those you’ve gathered with. You may play a board game, eat a meal, or just enjoy an edifying conversation with those who share your love for Christ. Gathering in His Name means He is the common thread the binds you together. Your life will be enriched and empowered by that fact that you’ve spent time in His presence and in the presence of those who you choose to do life with.
Saturday, June 23
Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.
When is last time you stopped and took a look around, both literally and figuratively. Who around you is in need of being saved? Not just the lost, those who haven’t been born again, but your fellow believers who may be struggling in different areas of their lives. God doesn’t direct His attention away from those who receive Him as Savior. He has every intention of nurturing and growing them into mature and victorious believers. When you look around see the harvest that is waiting to be gathered don’t neglect to pay attention to those who may already be in fold but are still in need of some healing and help. The church will not be successful in the harvest if they do not properly care for and train up the harvesters. Who do you know that needs saving, either from hell or from a struggle such an addiction or depression. When you’re a part of the Kingdom you’re in the saving business. Whether the person needing the saving has been born again or not.
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