Prayers for Healing

Prepare by Knowing Jesus

Dear God – the only source of healing and hope and the one fountain of peace and hope – look down in pity and mercy on Your many children who are facing adversity and afflicted by the miseries that this world system is imposing.

Provide for the needs for all those that are called by Your name, who are facing financial hardships and health problems. Enrich them with Your heavenly hope; nourish them with all Your goodness and bring each of them safely into their promised home ,

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen

“And we have this command from Him: the one who loves God must also love his brother.”

Prayer of Thankfulness For Health And Strength Loving Father,

I just want to thanks You for the wonderful way that You have kept me in such good health, for so many years, and protected me from so many troublesome diseases.

You have lifted me up when I have been down; supported me through times of weakness and You have also healed me, when I have succumbed to a bed of sickness.

Keep me I pray in good health and strength – let me run and not grow weary and may I be used as a comfort and support to those that are not so fortunate as I.

Amen

“Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”

Dear Lord, I know that You are a God Who heals all manner of sickness and illness through the power of Your Holy Spirit. I ask that by His power You would send healing and wholeness to all who are afflicted at this time with illnesses and diseases.

Send comfort and strength at this time of difficulty – in Jesus’ precious name,

Amen

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will exist no longer; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away.”

Look down with compassion on our friend, who has been confined to a bed of sickness and is in such great physical pain. Send comfort and healing I pray and in Your gracious kindness please strengthen and heal, whatever the problem is, that has caused this illness in their body.

In Jesus name I pray,

Amen.

“For He crushes but also binds up; He strikes, but His hands also heal.”

Serve through love

Prepare by Knowing Jesus

“Serve each other through love”. Galatians 5:13 GW

It is always the work of God’s enemy to clog up our lives by introducing love of self or love of the world, and it needs ruthless determination to remove the accumulated rubbish and re-dig the well in purity of devotion to Christ.

It may well be, though, that the hindrances arise from lack of love to our fellow believers. We must remember that the Holy Spirit can never have free course in us and through us if we harbor unloving thoughts concerning other of God’s children, let alone put those thoughts into actions.

He is the Spirit of fellowship, so that if we fail in that realm then we fail in the matter of love.It is so easy to allow unworthy considerations to quench brotherly love, to be clogged up with resentment or to be wrongly influenced by our susceptibilities or hurt feelings.

We have to be active in positive cultivation of fellowship. To some it is quite natural to be independent. For them deference to others represents a major difficulty. Sometimes they may deliberately ignore or despise others, but sometimes they just prefer to do it alone and never seriously think of inter-relatedness and inter-dependence.

The Word of God, however, is most explicit in ordering us to esteem one another, to submit to one another and to live and work together. T

he Holy Spirit demands that the people of God live according to a team order of things, that they should be governed by a family spirit. Anything which is of an isolated or detached nature, which fails to recognize and fully accept the family thought of God, is a check on Him.

By failing to observe fellowship we quench the Spirit. It is not only a matter of avoiding giving offence but of active pursuit of fellowship. Some may be wondering why there is so little up-springing from the inner well, when they are sitting back in a wrong kind of modesty, failing to bring in their own personal contribution to fellowship life and ministry.

Unkindness is not the only obstacle in this realm. Shyness and diffidence can equally rest like a stone on the flow of Life.

The only thing to do is to dig it up and move it away. Get in, get right in, and let yourself go! Do not always choose the back seat because you like to be left alone, but come forward in the Lord’s name and give the Holy Spirit a free course in your lives.

He is well able to check you if you become too self-assertive, but there is little He can do if your well is all stopped up with fears and inhibitions.

My Seed is a Champion: Prayer Points from Mother’s Summit by Funke Felix Adejumo

  1. Oh earth, I speak to you, begin to yield your increase to my seeds.
    Let everything I put on this earth germinate.
  2. My seed will not be a servant to their enemy.
    I will not beg my enemy for my seed.
  3. My seed will not bring me shame!
  4. Father let the good things of this earth locate my seed!
    My seed will not borrow or beg.
  5. My seed will be a palace pillar in the kingdom of God.
  6. No evil, stray bullet, sickness will touch my seed!
  7. Father make me a wonder.
  8. Father let it be difficult for the devil and people to explain me.
  9. Father whatever it takes for a woman to have honour respect and dignity, put in me.
  10. Father, clothe me!
    I shall not be naked in Jesus Name.
  11. Father my children shall not be wasted.
  12. My seed will not be a victim of evil substitution! They will not die another’s death.
  13. Father reward me for my sacrifices as a mother and a wife
  14. My children will be kind enough to take care of me!
    They will marry into good homes.
  15. I crush the skull of every Abimelech (Alakoba) plotting against me.
  16. My feet and that of my seed shall not step into trouble!
  17. While I am young, I will not become a widow!
    Also, my husband will not bury me!
  18. My seat shall not be vacant!
    No one will represent me on the day of joy of my seed.
  19. I shall not be a victim of anyone’s error.
  20. When it is sweet for me, it will not suddenly finish.
  21. God fight for me and for my children.
  22. I will see, reap and eat my harvest!
  23. Lord, the three things that accompanied my seed when he came into the world will not accompany him when he is going (blood –that is, assassination, accident, crying/tears and nakedness).
  24. My children shall not be terrified in life.
  25. I curse every devourer over my children’s academics, health, finance, work, business and marriage.
  26. Lord deliver my children from group afflictions and corporate embargos!
  27. I receive and declare championship academically and mentally, maritally and financially over my children.
  28. My seed shall not stumble in Jesus’ name.

 As a mother, pray this prayer with one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach.

  1. Every child that sucked these breasts and passed through my womb shall not be slaughtered by devil’s cohorts in Jesus’ name.
  2. I cover my children with the blood of Jesus.

They will always escape the traps of the enemies.

  1. I will not weep or bury any of my children.
  2. My children are my garment of honour, therefore they shall not be ripped off by the enemies.
  3. Blood of Jesus, avail and prevail over my children.

So shall it be In Jesus’ name. Amen.

From the Voice of the Prevailing Mother.

 

Kris Okotie, Sam Adeyemi, others guests on Season 1 of ‘Church Culture’, set to be launched on ChannelsTV

 By Ada Dike
A new television show focused on the mission of the Christian faith and the people, places and priorities that drive Christians in Nigeria and across Africa, ‘Church Culture’ is set to launch its first season on Saturday 8, July 2017 at 2:30pm on ChannelsTV.

Guests on the first season of the show include Sam Adeyemi, Kris Okotie, Ituah Ighodalo, Jumoke Adenowo, Tosin Martins, Obiwon Obiora, Toni Kan and Akah Nnani, amongst others.

 

The show is hosted by Funmbi Ogunbanwo and produced by Generation Y!, producers of Rubbin’ Minds, also on ChannelsTV and eXploring on ONTV. It is produced in conjunction with the church media company also called Church Culture.

 

The Senior Producer, ‘Church Culture’, ‘Seun Oluyemi, just as one of their cofounders had said, the church was the biggest, most well-resourced institution in Nigeria, outside of (or perhaps equal to, since it won’t be transparent about its numbers) business.

“With that much power, must come much responsibility. What this means is that, the church can and must pray for Nigeria, but the church must also work for Nigeria. Its revival of words must be matched with a revival of action,” he said.

 

“If faith is a key driver for our actions as a nation, then we must face that truth for what is and ask ourselves – now that we have this, what can we do with it? This show helps with that imperative, and our mission,” Oluyemi added.

 

 

A call, a gospel, and a task

Contributed by Dennis Davidson

In the preface to his commentary on Paul’s letter to the Romans, Martin Luther wrote: “This letter is truly the most important piece in the New Testament. It is purest Gospel. It is well worth a Christian’s while not only to memorize it word for word but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.”

The book of Romans is placed first in front of all the other letters of Paul because it is considered the most important. Not only is this his longest letter, it contains his longest greeting. Paul’s letter was to be received by a church which was situated in the greatest city in the greatest empire in the world. He was writing to a church who did not know him personally. Thus in his initial address in the letter he seeks to establish who he is and what he is about. He is God’s man and everything he is and does revolves around God (CIM).

The letter’s recipients will affirm who he is if they are those whom he addresses as; called of Jesus Christ, beloved of God, called Saints. What he is about is to bring men to obedience to the Good News through faith in Jesus Christ.

I. Set Apart By the Good News, 1:1.

II. The Meaning of the Good News ,1: 2-4.

III. The Reason for the Good News, 1: 5-7.

First, let’s look at verse one where Paul states that he is called by God and set apart for the Gospel. As is the custom in a scroll type letter the Apostle begins with a declaration of his name and office. It was his office of apostleship that gave him the right and responsibility to address every Christian every where with authority.

He announces that he is “Paul.” Paul is a Roman name. He is the only one of the biblical writers who uses his gentle name instead of his Hebrew name. Paul ( ), means little. His Hebrew name, Saul, of King Saul fame, means demanded (Acts 13:9).

He announces that he is “a bond-slave of Christ Jesus,” This word for slave ( ) is the most lowly humble term in the Greek language to denote a slave. It means one owned by another, one who has been purchased. It indicates a slave who will always be one.

Paul calls himself this kind of bond-slave of Jesus Christ (genitive of possession). He belongs to Jesus Christ. He even puts the designation that he is a slave of the King of kings ahead of his office of Apostleship.

Paul was born a slave of sin at his physical birth and became a bond slave of Christ through his regenerative second birth. The cords that bound him to his old master, Satan, were rent asunder by his taking Christ’s death on the cross for his own. And now Paul’s will, which was once dominated by Satan, is swallowed up in the cleansing will of Christ, and nothing will ever break that bond.

For a Roman citizen such as Paul, to choose to be a servant was unthinkable. Yet Paul chose to be completely dependent on and obedient to his beloved Master. What is you attitude toward Christ your Master? Our willingness to serve and obey Jesus enables us to be useful and usable servants to do work for Him, which is work that has eternal significance.

“Paul, a bond-slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle.” An apostle ( ) is one sent out on a commission, an official representative sent for a purpose [Moulton & Milligan]. Paul is designating himself as a divinely summoned ambassador. [His credentials were his miracles.]

He was called to assume that office. Paul was called in the sense that God summoned him to that position and placed him in it. The office conferred upon him responsibility and the authority to carry it out.

“Paul, a bond slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” Paul defines his apostleship by the words separate unto the Gospel of God. [Apo “out from” & hoizo – “to mark off by boundaries, to limit, separate, appoint area or service.”] This compound word means “to mark off from others with boundaries, to set apart and place within limits.”

The limits of his Apostleship were the “Gospel of God.” The word “gospel” is good news. The good news that Paul is set apart with is the good news which is of and from God. Paul was Christ’s chosen vessel set apart for God’s Good News.

Graffiti from the 1800s was recently discovered by workers renovating the WASHINGTON MONUMENT. The inscription reads: “Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduring than this.”

There is no greater glory than a single soul won for the Lord. And there is no greater example of missionary soulwinning than the Apostle Paul. A large portion of the New Testament is a

monument to his passion for the lost. He was an interesting mix of profound theologian and tent-revival evangelist. But no matter where he went, who he encountered, or what subject he tackled, he never lost his passion for the individual soul.

Today, we face many of the same issues Paul addressed in his letters – doctrinal hair-splitting, church conflict, Christian liberties. Yet in all of this, we must remain undeterred from the goal of evangelism. The greatest monument that could ever be constructed is the eternal monument of one converted soul.

[“To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. – Ephesians 3:8]

Moses’ mission with Pharaoh

By Sharla Guenther

When Moses and his brother Aaron got to Egypt the Lord told them what to do. He said, “Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Israelites go. He will be very stubborn and it will take many signs and miracles before he will let you go; but everyone will know that I am God when he finally frees the Israelites.”

So they did what God asked and they went to see Pharaoh. In front of Pharaoh Aaron threw down his staff and it became a snake (just as God told Moses it would).

Pharaoh didn’t look surprised at all, he actually just smiled at Moses and Aaron. Without a word he snapped his fingers and a minute later three men walked in. Pharaoh whispered in one of the men’s ears, and he nodded and spoke quietly to the others.

All at the same time they threw the staffs they were carrying to the ground and they became snakes, just like Moses and Aaron’s. They turned and looked at each other with disappointment. They realized that these men were Pharaoh’s magicians.

Just as Moses was feeling defeated his snake swallowed up all of the other snakes. This made Moses smile, surely Pharaoh would let them go now. But Pharaoh didn’t seem to care, he shook his head and said, “Nice try, but the Israelites belong to me, and they work for Egypt I will not let them go.”

Moses left disappointed, but excited to talk to God about what they would do next. After all God told them that it wouldn’t be easy. So when God spoke next, they listened well, “Pharaoh’s heart is hard, he’s still not going to change his mind. Go see him tomorrow morning, he didn’t listen today but I will continue to show him that I am God.”

With their instructions from God, Moses and Aaron met Pharaoh the next morning. Aaron explained to Pharaoh, “Because you still won’t listen God is going to change all the water in Egypt into blood. The fish will die, the river will stink, and none of the Egyptians will be able to drink it.”

The Story of Moses and the PharaohPharaoh smiled and said, “Go ahead.” So Aaron did what the Lord told him and put his staff into the water and it turned to blood. Pharaoh seemed a little surprised but he summoned his magicians and they also turned the water into blood. With that, Pharaoh’s heart became hard, and he turned and walked back to his palace.

All the fish died, and the water smelled so bad, no matter where you were you could smell it. Can you imagine turning on your tap at home and having blood come out, what about having a bath, or even the water in your toilet. Of course the Egyptians didn’t have sinks and toilets back then, but they still used water to drink, to make food, and to clean with.

After a whole week of this Pharaoh still wouldn’t let the people go. But his magicians couldn’t turn the blood back into water either. The Lord instructed Aaron and Moses to go see Pharaoh once again and He told them, “Tell Pharaoh to let my people go. If he refuses to let them go, I will plague the whole country with frogs.”

They did as God asked and Pharaoh once again refused to let the people go. So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt and the frogs came up and covered everything. They really were everywhere! In the stoves where they cooked, in their beds, and they even jumped on the people.

The magicians could also make frogs appear – but this would be the last time that their magic would work. After a day of this Pharaoh couldn’t take it anymore and he called for Moses and Aaron. (He probably didn’t get any sleep with frogs jumping all over him!)

He begged Moses, “Pray to the Lord to take the frogs away from me and my people, and I will let your people go.” So Moses prayed to the Lord, and all the frogs died. But when Pharaoh saw that all the frogs were dead, he was relieved and he hardened his heart and changed his mind.

There were many other plagues that followed: Gnats and flies, all the livestock got sick and died, the Egyptians were covered in sores, hail came down and killed all the crops, locusts came and ate all the grass and everything green, and then there was complete darkness. Nobody left their homes because they couldn’t even see where they were going.

With each of these plagues Pharaoh said he’d let the Israelites go if God put things back to normal, but then he kept changing his mind. You’d think he would’ve learned his lesson and let the Israelites go. God doesn’t give up.

You may have felt sorry for the Israelites during all these plagues, but God made sure they were not touched by them. Only the Pharaoh and ‘his people’ the Egyptians went through these terrible times. The Israelites lived a little ways away, and God kept them safe, and put a pretend wall around them so none of the plagues could come to them.

If you thought all the other plagues were bad, there was one last plague (the tenth plague) that was way worse than any of the others. The Lord told them, “This will be the last plague on Pharaoh and Egypt, after this they will let you go. Around midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, even the son of Pharaoh, and there will be great sadness.” Moses and Aaron warned Pharaoh, but he refused to listen.

The Lord had special instructions for Moses and Aaron, so that the Israelites would be sure to stay safe during this last plague. He told them, “The Israelites must kill their best sheep or goat. Then they are to take some of the blood and smear it on the sides and tops of the doors on their houses.

On that same night I will pass through Egypt like a ghost and take the life from every first born. If I see blood on the doorway that will be a sign for me to pass over the house and keep all who are inside safe.

This day will always be known as the Passover, because you were passed over and kept safe by God. You will continue to celebrate this day for many years.” (Some people still celebrate it today!) They were also to eat unleavened bread (bread that is flat, not fluffy like we eat it). This would always remind them of the hurry that they left Egypt in.

Now you have to remember Pharaoh could have stopped all this a long time ago. God gave him many opportunities to let the Israelites go, but he would not listen. Unfortunately God had to teach Pharaoh a lesson and He did what He said He would do.

After Pharaoh realized what happened in Egypt he called for Moses and Aaron just after midnight and he said, “Leave my people, you and all the Israelites! Go worship the Lord as you wanted, take all your animals and get out of here!” The Israelites gathered up gold and silver from the Egyptians who were glad to see them leave and they left with Moses.

You won’t believe what happened next! When Pharaoh heard that the Israelites had left he changed his mind- again! He decided to gather an army of more than 600 people and go after Moses, Aaron and all the Israelites.

So as the Israelites were on their way, they noticed in the distance that Pharaoh was coming after them. They started to get worried and questioned Moses why he would lead them out in the desert to die. Moses knew what to say, and he told them, “Do not be afraid, God has protected you before, He will protect you again.”

When the Israelites reached the Red Sea they were trapped with the Sea in front of them and Pharaoh behind them. But God told Moses to reach out his staff into the water, and when he did an amazing thing happened. The water split into two! The water lifted itself and made huge walls of water (they couldn’t even see over it, it was higher than a house). They would walk on dry ground, which was actually the bottom the Sea.

Pharaoh’s army followed them into the Sea, even though some of the Egyptians were afraid, and knew God was with them. When the Israelites had finally made it through safe God told Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the water goes back to normal, and it will swallow up Pharaoh and his army.”

Moses did as God had told him and he reached his staff over the water. There was a loud crash as the water came back together, and covered the Egyptians.

That was the day the Lord saved the Israelites from the Egyptians. When the Israelites saw what God had done for them they trusted Him, and they knew that Moses would be a good leader for them as they traveled to the land flowing with milk and honey.

Ambode felicitates with RCCG world overseer, Adeboye, at 75

By Newsdesk

The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has showered encomium on General Overseer of Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) Worldwide, Enoch Adeboye, as he clock 75 tomorrow.

In a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Habib Aruna, the governor described him as a minister of God who has over years exhibited an unrivalled passion to expand work of God and humanity at large.

Ambode said aside fact that Adeboye has distinguished himself as one of most revered clerics in Nigeria’s Christendom, he is a father figure to millions of people across the world due to his virtues of honesty, peace, patience, contentment, humility and diligence.

According to him, Adeboye is no doubt a man of many parts. His simple life of transparency, openness, truth and grace make him one outstanding personality worthy of reference.

“He is indeed God’s precious gift to the nation and indeed mercies of God has kept him waxing stronger and aging with grace.

“For many of us who had privilege of being taught and nurtured by Pastor Adeboye, we were always motivated by the way he delivered Words in his unique and eloquent manner. Even at 75, he is still carrying on strong and spreading gospel of Christ at every given opportunity,” the governor said.

Ambode, while wishing him a happy 75th birthday, prayed Almighty God would grant the cleric long life and more strength to continue to be a role model to body of Christ.

Jesus last words to disciples

Prepared by SundayDesk

Jesus’ last words to His disciples are recorded in Luke 24:36-49:

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’

“They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’

“When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.

“He said to them, ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’

“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’”

Jesus’ last words to his disciples – His Ascension
After Jesus said His last words to His disciples, He ascended into heaven. “When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God” (Luke 24:50-53).

The article was first published by jesuscentral.com

1st Peter chapter

Prepared by Jack Wellman

First Peter 4:1-3 “Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry.”
The Apostle Peter is telling us that we are no longer to live in the flesh because this only brings death (Rom 6:23b), and the former times when we lived in “sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” are history for us. Of course we still fall into sin, but we don’t sit there and bask in it. We get up and repent, and so the days of living in in these evil ways are behind us. That explains why “they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead” (1st Pet 4:4-5).

First Peter 4:7-9 “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.”
Most of the Christians living in the days of the apostles thought that the end of the age was near, and maybe that’s why Peter wrote that “The end of all things is at hand.” In a way, he is still right because no one knows what tomorrow may bring, and no one has any guarantee of living beyond today, so today is the day of salvation (2nd Cor 6:2). Judgement comes after death (Heb 9:27), so today is the day to be saved. We are to focus on “loving one another earnestly” or sincerely, and not just with words. Hospitality includes the fact that we don’t grumble but give thanks to God, and this should compel us to “be self-controlled and sober-minded.”

First Peter 4:10-11 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
God have given each of us spiritual gifts, but these gifts are not for us but for the church and they are also intended to glorify God, therefore we must be good stewards of the gifts God has given us, meaning we must use these gifts and not simply bury them like the unwise steward did (Matt 25:18). Whatever we do, we are to do everything so that “God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,” and the Father desires that His Son be glorified.
What are the gifts that Peter is mentioning here?

First Peter 4:12-14 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.”
You don’t have to be surprised when persecution or trials come. In fact, we’re to rejoice over these persecutions? Why? Because the “Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you,” just as Jesus promised “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10), but also “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:11-12). Don’t you want that blessing? I am sure I will receive many from this article. Just read the comments and you’ll see why persecution is a blessed thing. Thank you to my persecutors…you have just blessed me.

First Peter 4:15-17 “But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”
Persecution is one thing, but suffering for doing evil is another. There is no blessing in suffering for our own sins, but if we suffer for being a Christian, “let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.” Judgment starts in the church, meaning we don’t judge the world. That is God’s job and He will do it perfectly, as the Apostle Paul wrote, “Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Rom 12:19). Today, unbelievers are simply storing up God’s wrath but for the Christian, God’s wrath on account of our sins has been placed on Jesus Christ. Do you still reject Christ? If so, it is “because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:4) and that’s when “He will render to each one according to his works” (Rom 2:6).
Why does Peter separate suffering for doing good and suffering for doing evil?

First Peter 4:18-19 “And If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.”
It is interesting that even the righteous are “scarcely saved,” and since that is true, how much worse will it be for “the ungodly and the sinner?” The author of Hebrews answers this question by telling us that it is “a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries” (Heb 10:27), and again warning unbelievers, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).
Why does Peter say Christians are “scarcely saved?”
Why does Peter ask, “what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

Chapter four of 1st Peter is a call to live a holy life, to separate ourselves from sin, to ponder how we are scarcely saved, and to use God’s gifts to glorify Him through Jesus Christ. Peter ties in our calling and suffering and tells us that it is to be expected, so we shouldn’t be surprised by it when it comes. The real surprise would be if we’re never persecuted. It that’s the case, I suggest a person examines themselves to see if they truly are in the faith, because the fact is, “all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2nd Tim 3:12), and “all” in the Greek means exactly the same thing in English: all!

Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren church in Mulvane Kansas.

The 12 disciples of Jesus

The names of the twelve disciples of Jesus are Peter, James (the son of Zebedee), John, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, James (the son of Alphaeus), Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot. (Matthew 10:1-4 and Luke 6:12-16) [1]

According to historians records the 12 apostles of Jesus includes: Peter, James, John, Andrew, Bartholomew or, Nathanael, James, the Lesser or Younger, Judas, Jude or Thaddeus, Matthew or Levi, Philip, Simon the Zealot, Thomas

The 12 disciplesor apostles of Jesus were the foundation stones of His church, several even wrote portions of the Bible. In Revelation 21:14 we are told that the twelve foundations of the wall of the New Jerusalem will have in them the names of the twelve disciples/apostles. It is evident, therefore, that God attaches great importance to these 12 men.

As we study these courageous first-century lives, and what discipleship meant in the time of Jesus, we may expect to be aided in developing a Spirit-directed twenty-first century discipleship as Christ must have meant it to be.

The following biographical information about the 12 original disciples of Jesus uses the New Testament accounts along with the most respected legends and traditions. We do not mean to infer, that legend and tradition constitute historical fact. We do feel, however, that they do have value in the study of the lives of these men who “…turned the world upside down…”

Andrew
Andrew was the brother of Peter, and a son of Jonas. He lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum and was a fisherman before Jesus called him. Originally he was a disciple of John the Baptist (Mark 1:16-18). Andrew brought his brother, Peter, to Jesus (John 1:40). He is the first to have the title of Home and Foreign Missionary. He is claimed by three countries as their Patron Saint-Russia, Scotland and Greece. Many scholars say that he preached in Scythia, Greece and Asia Minor.

Andrew introduced others to Jesus. Although circumstances placed him in a position where it would have been easy for him to become jealous and resentful, he was optimistic and well content in second place. His main purpose in life was to bring others to the master.

According to tradition, it was in Achaia, Greece, in the town of Patra that Andrew died a martyr. When Governor Aepeas’ wife was healed and converted to the Christian faith, and shortly after that the Governor’s brother became a Christian. Aepeas was enraged. He arrested Andrew and condemned him to die on the cross. Andrew, feeling unworthy to be crucified on the same-shaped cross as his Master, begged that his be different. So, he was crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is still called Saint Andrew’s cross and which is one of his apostolic symbols. A symbol of two crossed fish has also been applied to Andrew, because he was formerly a fisherman.

Bartholomew or Nathanael
Bartholomew Nathanael, son of Talmai, lived in Cana of Galilee. His apostolic symbol is three parallel knives. Tradition says he was a missionary in Armenia. A number of scholars believe that he was the only one of the 12 disciples who came from royal blood, or noble birth. His name means Son of Tolmai or Talmai(2 Samuel 3:3). Talmai was king of Geshur whose daughter, Maacah, was the wife of David, mother of Absolom.

Disciples of Jesus sitting down

Bartholomew’s name appears with every list of the disciples (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). This was not a first name, however; it was his second name. His first name probably was Nathanael, whom Jesus called “An Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile” (John 1:47).

The New Testament gives us very little information about him. Tradition indicates he was a great searcher of the Scripture and a scholar in the law and the prophets. He developed into a man of complete surrender to the Carpenter of Nazareth, and one of the Church’s most adventurous missionaries. He is said to have preached with Philip in Phrygia and Hierapolis; also in Armenia. The Armenian Church claims him as its founder and martyr. However, tradition says that he preached in India, and his death seems to have taken place there. He died as a martyr for his Lord. He was flayed alive with knives.

James the Elder
James, the Elder, Boanerges, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of John the Apostle; a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem. He preached in Jerusalem and Judea and was beheaded by Herod, AD 44 (Acts 12:1,2). He was a member of the Inner Circle, so called because they were accorded special privileges. The New Testament tells us very little about James. His name never appears apart from that of his brother, John. They were an inseparable pair (Mark 1:19-20; Matthew 4:21; Luke 5:1-11).

He was a man of courage and forgiveness, a man without jealousy, living in the shadow of John, a man of extraordinary faith. He was the first of the twelve to become a martyr. His symbol is three shells, the sign of his pilgrimage by the sea.

James the Lesser or the Younger
James, the Lesser or Younger, son of Alpheus, or Cleophas and Mary, lived in Galilee. He was the brother of the Apostle Jude.

According to tradition he wrote the Epistle of James, preached in Palestine and Egypt and was crucified in Egypt. James was one of the little-known disciples. Some scholars believe he was the brother of Matthew, the tax collector. James was a man of strong character and one of the most fiery type. Still another tradition says that he died as a martyr and his body was sawed in pieces. The saw became his apostolic symbol.

John
John Boanerges, son of Zebedee and Salome, brother of James, the Apostle. He was known as the Beloved Disciple. A fisherman who lived in Bethsaida, Capernaum and Jerusalem, he was a member of the Inner Circle. He wrote the Gospel of John, I John, II John, III John and Revelation. He preached among the churches of Asia Minor. Banished to the isle of Patmos, he was later freed and died a natural death. John was one of the prominent Apostles. He is mentioned in many places in the New Testament. He was a man of action; he was very ambitious; and a man with an explosive temper and an intolerant heart. His second name was Boanerges, which means son of Thunder. He and his brother, James, came from a more well-to-do family than the rest of the 12 Apostles. Since his father had hired servants in his fishing business (Mark 1:20) he may have felt himself above the rest. He was close to Peter. They were acting together in the ministry. Peter, however, was always the spokesman for the band.

John mellowed with time. At the latter part of his life, he had forgotten everything, including his ambition and explosive temper, except his Lord’s command of love.

It is said that an attempt was made on his life by giving him a chalice of poison from which God spared him. He died of natural causes. A chalice with a snake in it is his symbol.

Judas
Judas Iscariot, the traitor, was the son of Simon who lived in Kerioth of Judah. He betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver and afterwards hanged himself (Matthew 26:14,16).

Judas, the man who became the traitor, is the supreme enigma of the New Testament because it is so hard to see how anyone who was so close to Jesus, who saw so many miracles and heard so much of the Master’s teaching could ever betray him into the hands of his enemies.

His name appears in three lists of the 12 Apostles (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:19). It is said that Judas came from Judah near Jericho. He was a Judean and the rest of the disciples were Galileans. He was the treasurer of the band and among the outspoken leaders.

It is said that Judas was a violent Jewish Nationalist who had followed Jesus in hope that through Him his nationalistic flame and dreams might be realized. No one can deny that Judas was a covetous man and at times he used his position as treasurer of the band to pilfer from the common purse. There is no certain reason as to why Judas betrayed his master; but it is not his betrayal that put Jesus on the cross-it was our sins. His apostolic symbol is a hangman’s noose, or a money purse with pieces of silver falling from it.

Jude or Thaddeus
Jude, Thaddeus, or Lebbeus, son of Alpheus or Cleophas and Mary. He was a brother of James the Younger. He was one of the very little-known Apostles and lived in Galilee. Tradition says he preached in Assyria and Persia and died a martyr in Persia.

Jerome called Jude “Trinomious” which means “a man with three names.” In Mark 3:18 he is called Thaddeus. In Matthew 10:3 he is called Lebbeus. His surname was Thaddeus. In Luke 6:16 and Acts 1:13 he is called Judas the brother of James. Judas Thaddeus also was called Judas the Zealot.

By character he was an intense and violent Nationalist with the dream of world power and domination by the Chosen People. In the New Testament records (John 14:22 NIV) he asked Jesus at the Last Supper, “But Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?” Judas Thaddeus was interested in making Christ known to the world. Not as a suffering Saviour, however, but as ruling King. We can see plainly from the answer Jesus gave him, that the way of power can never be substituted for the way of love.

It is said that Jude went to preach the gospel in Edessa near the Euphrates River. There he healed many and many believed in the name of the Master. Jude went from there to preach the Gospel in other places. He was killed with arrows at Ararat. The chosen symbol for him is the ship because he was a missionary thought to be a fisherman.

Matthew or Levi
Matthew, or Levi, son of Alpheus, lived in Capernaum. He was a publican or tax collector. He wrote the Gospel that bears his name. He died a martyr in Ethiopia.

The call of Matthew to the apostolic band is mentioned in Mark 2:14, Matthew 9:9 and Luke 5:27-28. From these passages, we learn that Matthew also was called Levi. It was a common custom in the Middle East at the time of Christ for men to have two names. Matthew’s names mean “a gift of God.” The name Levi could have been given to him by Jesus. It is likely that James the lesser, who was one of the twelve Apostles, was Matthew’s brother, also the son of Alpheus. Although we know little about Matthew personally, the outstanding fact about him is that he was a tax collector. The King James Version calls him a publican, which in Latin is Publicanus, meaning engaged in public service, a man who handled public money, or a tax gatherer.

Of all the nations in the world, the Jews were the most vigorous haters of tax gatherers. To the devout Jew, God was the only one to whom it was right to pay tribute in taxes. To pay it to anyone else was to infringe on the rights of God. The tax collectors were hated not on religious grounds only but because most of them were notoriously unjust.

In the minds of many honest, Jewish men, these tax collectors were regarded as criminals. In New Testament times they were classified with harlots, Gentiles and sinners (Matthew 18:17; Matthew 21:31, 33; Matthew 9;10; Mark 2:15,16; Luke 5:30). Tax collectors had been known to assess duty payable at impossible sums and then offer to lend the money to travelers at a high rate of interest. Such was Matthew. Yet, Jesus chose a man all men hated and made him one of His men. It took Jesus Christ to see the potential in the tax collector of Capernaum.

Matthew was unlike the other Apostles, who were mostly fishermen. He could use a pen, and by his pen he became the first man to present to the world, in the Hebrew language, an account of the teaching of Jesus. It is clearly impossible to estimate the debt that Christianity owes to this despised tax gatherer. The average man would have thought it impossible to reform Matthew, but to God all things are possible. Matthew became the first man to write down the teachings of Jesus. He was a missionary of the Gospel, who laid down his life for the faith of his Master. The apostolic symbol of Matthew is three money bags which reminds us that he was a tax collector before Jesus called him.

Peter
Simon Peter, son of Jonas, was a fisherman who lived in Bethsaida and Capernaum. He did evangelistic and missionary work among the Jews, going as far as Babylon. He was a member of the Inner Circle and authored the two New Testament epistles which bear his name. Tradition says he was crucified, head downward, in Rome.

In every apostolic list, the name Peter is mentioned first. However, Peter had other names. At the time of Christ, the common language was Greek and the family language was Hebrew. So his Greek name was Simon (Mark 1:16; John 1:40, 41). His Hebrew name was Cephas (1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 9:5 and Galatians 2:9). The Greek meaning of Simon is rock. The Arabic meaning of Cephas is also rock.

By trade, Peter was a fisherman. He was a married man (1 Corinthians 9:5) and his home was Capernaum. Jesus probably made His headquarters there when He visited Capernaum. Peter was also a Galilean as was typical of many of the other disciples. Josephus described the Galileans this way, “They were ever fond of innovation and by nature disposed to change and delighted in sedition. They were ever ready to follow the leader and to begin an insurrection. They were quick in temper and given to quarreling and they were very chivalrous men.” The Talmud says this of the Galileans, “They were more anxious for honor than for gain, quick-tempered, impulsive, emotional, easily aroused by an appeal to adventure, loyal to the end.”

Peter was a typical Galilean. Among the twelve, Peter was the leader. He stands out as a spokesman for all the twleve Apostles. It is he who asked the meaning of the difficult saying in Matthew 15:15. It is he who asked how often he must forgive. It is he who inquired about the reward for all of those who follow Jesus. It is he who first confessed Jesus and declared Him as the Son of the Living God. It is he who was at the Mount of Transfiguration. It is he who saw Jairus’ daughter raised to life. Yet, it is he who denied Christ before a maiden. He was an Apostle and a missionary who laid down his life for his Lord. It is true, Peter had many faults, but he had always the saving grace of the loving heart. No matter how many times he had fallen and failed, he always recovered his courage and integrity.

Peter was martyred on a cross. Peter requested that he might be crucified head downward for he was not worthy to die as his Lord had died. His apostolic symbol is a cross upside down with crossed keys.

Philip
Tradition says that disciple Philip preached in Phrygia and died a martyr at Hierapolis. Philip came from Bethsaida, the town from which Peter and Andrew came (John 1:44). The likelihood is that he, too, was a fisherman. Although the first three Gospels record his name (Matthew 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13), it is in the Gospel of John that Philip becomes a living personality.

Scholars disagree on Philip. In Acts 6:5, we have Philip as one of the seven ordained deacons. Some say this is a different Philip. Some believe this is the Apostle. If this is the same Philip, then his personality came more to life because he had a successful campaign in Samaria. He led the Ethiopian eunuch to Christ (Acts 8:26). He also stayed with Paul in Ceasarea (Acts 21:8) and was one of the major figures in the missionary enterprise of the early church.

The Gospel of John shows Philip as one of the first to whom Jesus addressed the words, “Follow Me.” When Philip met Christ, he immediately found Nathanael and told him that “we have found him, of whom Moses … and the prophets, did write.” Nathanael was skeptical. But Philip did not argue with him; he simply answered, “Come and see.” This story tells us two important things about Philip. First, it shows his right approach to the skeptic and his simple faith in Christ. Second, it shows that he had a missionary instinct.

Philip was a man with a warm heart and a pessimistic head. He was one who would very much like to do something for others, but who did not see how it could be done. Yet, this simple Galilean gave all he had. In return God used him. It is said that he died by hanging. While he was dying, he requested that his body be wrapped not in linen but in papyrus for he was not worthy that even his dead body should be treated as the body of Jesus had been treated. The symbol of Philip is a basket, because of his part in feeding of the five thousand. It is he that stressed the cross as a sign of Christianity and victory.

Simon the Zealot
Simon, the Zealot, one of the little-known followers called the Canaanite or Zelotes, lived in Galilee. Tradition says he was crucified.

In two places in the King James Version he is called a Canaanite (Matthew 10:4; Mark 3:18). However in the other two places he is called Simon Zelotes (Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13).

The New Testament gives us practically nothing on him personally except that it says he was a Zealot. The Zealots were fanatical Jewish Nationalists who had heroic disregard for the suffering involved and the struggle for what they regarded as the purity of their faith. The Zealots were crazed with hatred for the Romans. It was this hate for Rome that destroyed the city of Jerusalem. Josephus says the Zealots were reckless persons, zealous in good practices and extravagant and reckless in the worst kind of actions.

From this background, we see that Simon was a fanatical Nationalist, a man devoted to the Law, a man with bitter hatred for anyone who dared to compromise with Rome. Yet, Simon clearly emerged as a man of faith. He abandoned all his hatred for the faith that he showed toward his Master and the love that he was willing to share with the rest of the disciples and especially Matthew, the Roman tax collector.

Simon, the Zealot, the man who once would have killed in loyalty to Israel, became the man who saw that God will have no forced service. Tradition says he died as a martyr. His apostolic symbol is a fish lying on a Bible, which indicates he was a former fisherman who became a fisher of men through preaching.

Thomas Didymus
Thomas Didymus lived in Galilee. Tradition says he labored in Parthia, Persia, and India, suffering martyrdom near Madras, at Mt. St. Thomas, India.

Thomas was his Hebrew name and Didymus was his Greek name. At times he was called Judas. Matthew, Mark and Luke tell us nothing about Thomas except his name. However, John defines him more clearly in his Gospel. Thomas appeared in the raising of Lazarus (John 11:2-16), in the Upper Room (John 14:1-6) where he wanted to know how to know the way where Jesus was going. In John 20:25, we see him saying unless he sees the nailprints in Jesus’ hand and the gash of the spear in His side he will not believe. That’s why Thomas became known as Doubting Thomas.

By nature, Thomas was a pessimist. He was a bewildered man. Yet, he was a man of courage. He was a man who could not believe until he had seen. He was a man of devotion and of faith. When Jesus rose, he came back and invited Thomas to put his finger in the nail prints in his hands and in his side. Here, we see Thomas making the greatest confession of faith, “My Lord and my God.” Thomas’ doubts were transformed into faith. By this very fact Thomas’ faith became great, intense and convincing. It is said that he was commissioned to build a palace for the king of India, and he was killed with a spear as a martyr for his Lord. His symbol is a group of spears, stones and arrows.

Matthias replaced Judas Iscariot
Matthias was selected to replace Judas as recorded in Acts 1:15-26. The other man who was also in consideration was named Joseph or Barsabas, and surnamed Justus. Lots were cast and eventually Matthias was chosen. Acts 1:24-26 records the following, “And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.” The Bible is sparse on additional details relating to Matthias, but it does say that Matthias was with Jesus since His baptism until his resurrection. Besides the book of Acts, Matthias isn’t mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. According to historical sources Matthias lived til 80 A.D. and spread the gospel on the shores of the Caspian and Cappadocia.

From Andrew to Thomas, according to historians, were reported to have been killed at various their enemies.

The article is prepared by bibleinfo.com