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Marching Orders!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson

Cecil Thompson

Matthew 28:18b-20

"...All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, and teaching them everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

During His earthly ministry, Jesus told parables about servants who were unfaithful to their master. It is one thing to read these parables, but how often do we apply the teachings and principles to our own life? In other words, would we be considered faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ?

The area of discipleship is often talked about, but all too often neglected. We go to seminars to learn about it, and then return home to do nothing about it. We hear sermons on the necessity of being true disciples and teaching discipleship, but after saying our Amens! Shaking hands with the preacher, we do little about it.

The disciples of Jesus had been under His ministry for about three years. Except for a few rare instances, He had done the ministry while they observed. But now He had been crucified and resurrected and was about to leave them to carry out God's plan and purpose.

In today's Scripture we have what is known as the "Great Commission!" It is the MARCHING ORDERS for the army of the Lord. That is us! It is all too easy to be content with watching and listening, but fail to accept the order to make disciples.

Becoming disciplers is best described as spiritual parenting. I have learned that discipleship becomes meaningful if it is done without appearing preachy, stilted or pompous. I guess if I tried to act pompous I would quickly blow it. I would probably grin and have chives stuck between my teeth. I just have to be me!

When our oldest daughter, Brenda, passed away, it was as though the Lord gave us spiritual children to fill the void that her passing left. I always lovingly think of my own spiritual father, Dr. John Hall, and my spiritual grandfather, Mr. Jack Dedman. They freely and naturally shared Christ in their own way.

Some of the best spiritual insights that I received from these two spiritual parents, was while we were fishing for bass. But at other times it may be after a meal with one of their families. Jack Dedman was in his seventies and still working. He shared his tender insights while having us listen to his wonderful collection of sermon tapes.

I can still recall him sitting in his easy chair, falling asleep, snoring, then waking with words like, "Thank you Jesus!" "Praise the Lord!" He then would slip back into his sleep of the redeemed. Each of these men taught me deep truths in their own way. That is what I desire to do for those around me.

The apostle Paul had a son in the faith by the name of Timothy. In II Timothy 2:1-2, he gives valuable insights and instructions for Timothy as well as for all of us: "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."

Our spiritual life is like a relay race. We pick up the Word that has been passed to us by those who are our spiritual parents and then pass it along to those who are our spiritual children. It was never intended that we keep it to ourselves. It must be shared!

Two questions we must ask ourselves: 1. Who is our spiritual parent? Who is it that is able to take the precious Word of God and break it into small enough pieces that we can digest it, but always urge us to prepare our own food. Pre-digested food is only for babies. It is never intended that we remain in the spiritual highchair. We need to grow and mature, and we can only do that as we learn to feed ourselves. We must seek out our parents.

The second question is even more thought provoking. 2. Who are your spiritual children? Who looks to you for spiritual nourishment? Here is the way it works---we must get our own noses in our own Bibles, with a notebook beside us and be in an attitude of learning. Expect to find new insights and guess what? If you cannot think of anyone get on your knees and ask the Lord to lead us to a spiritual child to share it with. It may be a member of your own family, a fellow worker, a neighbor---only the Lord knows?

Good spiritual parents will move their spiritual children out of the nest as soon as possible. It is not healthy to foster dependence on themselves. It should be the Word that is the food for their children. Teach them to share with others who in turn will share with others! That is discipleship!

Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today. Trust Him completely and be a blessing.

--- Pastor Cecil


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