READ: Matthew 10:1–23
THINK: Do you ever feel like everyone is in charge of you and you don't have authority over anything? The fact is that the God of all creation has given you authority, but not in the typical sense and not for frivolous or self-serving reasons. He's given you His authority to accomplish His work, bringing hope, healing and the message of new life through faith in Jesus Christ. With that in mind, consider the life, love and blessings that God has given you. How much of this are you passing on to others? Have you ever been worried about what you would say if confronted about your faith--particularly by someone in a position of authority? Consider Jesus promise in verses 19–20.
RESPOND: What authority did Jesus give His disciples and how were they to use it? (See 10:1 note.) What did it mean for them to preach, "The kingdom of heaven is near"? (See 10:7 note.) Do you think that the powerful signs and miracles mentioned in verse 8 are still necessary and available today? Why or why not? If so, why are these things not often evident in the lives of Christians? Why have Jesus' followers been so severely persecuted through the ages, and why will they face intense opposition in the days ahead? How do you prepare for spiritual opposition and how do you ensure that you can hear the Holy Spirit when He wants to speak through you? (See 10:19, note.)
PRAY: Ask God to work through you in whatever powerful ways He chooses to help others find the healing, joy and fulfillment of a personal relationship with Jesus. Ask Him to prepare you to face the opposition you will face in taking a stand for Christ. Pray that you will be sensitive to The Holy Spirit's voice.
ACT: Think of a specific way in which God has helped or blessed you. Now think of someone who needs similar help, healing, relief or inspiration. Go to that person today, or contact them, and follow the Holy Spirit's direction in sharing God's love and power with them. Perhaps you will simply offer to pray for them. But be prepared also to back your prayers and concern with practical action.
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