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INSPIRATIONAL Blog

Weekly inspirations from Aurora Colony Vineyard's owner, John Moore.
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John Moore
 
August 29, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – The Right Way to Pray (Part Four)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:39

1. Real Prayers Expressing Hope for the Future. My Father, if it is possible, let this cup be taken from me. This prayer of Jesus is almost beyond comprehension. AS God, He knew full well the unavoidable necessity of the cross. It was the whole redemptive purpose, from Genesis to Revelation. Yet this prayer says to us – first, God is our heavenly Father. Go to him when in a dilemma. Second, make your request known to Him. Don’t hold back.  Ask and you shall receive. The Luke 18 widow who never stopped asking the judge for relief. And her prayer was answered! And the parable taught us, we should always pray. As fully man, Jesus was devastated – my soul is overwhelmed. And in that state and dilemma, he brought his request back before God the Father.

2. Real Prayers Kneeling in Submission to God’s Will. Yet not as I will, but as you will. Regardless of the dilemma, the confusion, the fear, the doubt, a true disciple kneels at the throne of God and says, not my will but yours be done. Every true saint has the regular course and pattern of, in the midst of a crisis, trusting and leaving the results to God.  

Two passages well summarize the lessons of what is true prayer in the Bible. 

First, the instruction to lay your request before God:

 2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-5.

Second, to leave the results to God:

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Matthew 6:9-13

We can’t improve on the life and model of Jesus in this third stage of preparation for His suffering and death on the cross. Blessings to you this week. Fourth stage next week.

Time Posted: Aug 29, 2022 at 8:57 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – The Right Way to Pray (Part Four) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 22, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Failures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Three)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matthew 26:40-41.

1. Patterns of Failure in Life. Could you men not keep watch with me?  In one sense, the disciples did not disappoint. They consistently missed some if not most of Jesus’ teachings on his death and resurrection, they deserted him at his trial and after, and though he predicted Pete’s failure while clearly troubled and distressed (Matt 26:37), even so, they lost any message about vigilance.

2. Guarding against Failure. Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. In Jesus’ final hours, he still instructs on spiritual life and being a disciple and follower. The warning is that vigilance and prayer are the guards against failure and temptation. Lessons not learned now, but later, by the disciples.  

3. Explaining the Life of a Disciple. The spirit is willing but the body is weak. In one sentence Jesus summarizes the spiritual life – the writings of Paul in Romans 7.  Thee is for every disciple the draw of God through the Spirit and the resistance which comes from the flesh, from our sinful nature.  We will never be relieved from this spiritual conflict on this planet; hence, watch and pray.

The spiritual life of a disciple begins with believing in and receiving the offer of salvation in Jesus. 

10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. John 1:10-13.

That spiritual life continues with the commitment and vigilance of right decisions and spiritual growth, regular asking God for wisdom for right living and perseverance during hard times.  

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:2-5.

The spiritual life is as simple and as profound as that. Best to you this week. 

Time Posted: Aug 22, 2022 at 11:57 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Failures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Three) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 16, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – Overwhelmed with Sorrow (Part One)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week. Now the cross is in full view and we see Jesus in preparation for his death.

36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”  39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Matthew 26:36-39.

1. Jesus preparing for the cross with prayer. After the prediction of Peter’s denial, Jesus took his disciples into the garden of Gethsemane. Leaving them, he moved to a different place nearby and began to pray to his Father.  This is a moving and touching picture of the relationship of God the Father and God the Son. Three persons yet one. Jesus as fully man and fully God

6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it [a]robbery to be equal with God, 7 but [b]made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.  Philippians 2:6-8.

2. The Humanity of Jesus Before his Death. Rarely have the Scriptures been more honest in the life of Jesus ‘my soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death'. This poignant picture of Jesus was shared with his disciples. Yet, they would not hear this and did not stay vigilant. More on that next week.

3. Jesus’ prayer despite the Inevitability of the Cross – ‘if possible, may this cup be taken from me, yet not as I will, but as you will.’  Again, an incredible glimpse into the trauma of the One who would bear the sins of the world on his Righteous being, and moreover, his submission to the will of the Father.

Huge lessons here about life, about prayer, and about trusting God for our future, even contrary to what we want.  God’s blessing to you this week as you meditate on these concepts. They are worth some quiet time between you and your God. Best.

Time Posted: Aug 16, 2022 at 11:52 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Jesus’ Preparation for Suffering – Overwhelmed with Sorrow (Part One) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 8, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Filures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Two)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”  33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”  Luke 22:31-34.

15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  16 Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.  17 The third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my sheep. 18 Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, “Follow me!” John 21:15-19.

1. How to Handle Inevitable Personal Failure – Making Too Much of It. It is the catastrophic final week of Jesus’ life. Everything seems to be coming apart. A sham trial. A wrongful conviction, and now Peter and ALL the disciples desert Jesus. Never have men been given so much and responded more poorly. First, life after failure.  In the midst of the prediction of Peter’s denial, he PREFACES this prediction with the words ‘when you have recovered, go and strengthen your brethren.’ Do you see this! Do you see life after failure?  Jesus, while praying for Peter, and knowing of his betrayal, reminds him of two things: (1) First, you will recover! Do you see that? What an amazing promise. And (2) second, there is life after failure. There is ministry, there is service, and there is a life that is pleasing to God. Don’t be harder on yourself than God is! With repentance comes forgiveness.

2. Handling Failure – Making Too Little of It. There are consequences for sin, every time.  13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15. Jesus, in asking Peter three times if he loved Him, was reminding him of his past failure. Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?"  Peter knew it.  But that was not the last chapter.

3. Learning Life’s Lessons in the Crucible of Faith. As predicted by Jesus, Peter’s life would end in martyrdom, and we know, historically, that he was crucified in death. But until then, and so it happened, he had a task at hand.  Serve others. Feed the sheep. Make the most of the time that he had.

No better lesson can be learned in life. We all have feet of clay. No one is perfect. In life, with our children and families, and with others, in work situations, we fail. Matthew 5 reminds us that, against the standard of the righteousness of God, we are guilty of murder, adultery, theft, greed, and other life consequences. But to the disciples, and to us, the final chapter is this. Strengthen yourself, recover, repent as needed, and reach out to others. The task is still ahead. Do you see it? Your God-ordained design is to do good works. 

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8-10.

Next week. The four stages of preparation of Jesus for suffering, death and the cross. Stay well.

Time Posted: Aug 8, 2022 at 11:51 AM Permalink to The Week of the Cross – Life’s Biggest Filures – Getting Into and Out of Trouble – Forgiveness and Service (Part Two) Permalink
John Moore
 
August 1, 2022 | John Moore

The Week of the Cross - Life’s Biggest Failures - Getting Into and Out of Trouble (Part One)

We are now in the last week of Jesus’ life. His entry into Jerusalem, his final instructions to the crowds and to the disciples. In this final week, Jesus predicts his death by crucifixion in two days. This is followed by the details of the sham trial to be conducted by the religious leaders to trap and murder Jesus. Now Jesus makes two shocking predictions – the one who will betray Him, and the one who will deny knowing him! If ever a spiritual movement looked destined for failure, it would be this last week of Jesus – the leader killed, the followings betraying Him or denying him as they scatter. Three shock waves in this final week.

33 Peter replied, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”  34 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.  35 But Peter declared, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the other disciples said the same.  Matthew 26:33-35.

1. Failure and Collapse Among the Disciples. Jesus correctly predicted that Peter would soon desert him – would deny any knowledge or association with Jesus – and this during this most critical of times where Jesus’ life hung in the balance, humanly speaking. But all of the disciples reaffirmed Peter’s pledge. They would never disown Jesus.  Yet the following narrative is clear.  Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.  Matt 26:56.

2. Understanding the Nature of Spiritual Failure. Certainly, we all fail. How does that happen? At its core, failure and sin in the life of the believer is rooted in our sinful nature, which comes from our continuing humanity marked out as fallen from the garden of Eden.

13 When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14 but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. 15 Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:13-15.

Though redeemed, such that the sting of death is defeated, the struggle to do what is right, what is the bidding of the Spirit of God, remains.  And James is clear: by [our] own evil desire.

3. The Encouragement that Failures are Followed by Success. Certainly was true of Peter and the disciples.  They did not let their wholesale denial and desertion of Jesus mark the last chapter of their lives.  They recovered, gathered together, and went out preaching Jesus and the Resurrection. And this is consistent with what Jesus wanted for Peter.

31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32.

Do you see it? The words that should burn themselves into our souls, stamped over and covering the fears and struggle of our failures, are twofold: (1) But I have prayed for you, and (2) when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. Our divine advocate is not only the Holy Spirit but Jesus himself, praying for us, believing in us and the work we do for the Kingdom. And failure is not the end of our lives. There are needs in the world and opportunities to reach out to others. Don’t let your legacy end in failure. Every great man and woman in the Bible was marked not by failure, but by getting back up after their failures, and committing themselves to faith and obedience – to serving others. God’s best to you this week. Make this a core theme in your life. It is in my life.

Time Posted: Aug 1, 2022 at 12:08 PM Permalink to The Week of the Cross - Life’s Biggest Failures - Getting Into and Out of Trouble (Part One) Permalink