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Women World Leaders' Podcast

Mar 23, 2022

Do you ever feel like you are up against a brick wall and nobody knows? That nobody sees or cares what you are going through? Jesus knows, and Jesus cares! He sent you on a mission and gave you a purpose. And He knew it wouldn’t be easy. That’s why He assured us of His presence and told us not to be afraid! (Matthew 10:16-42)


Dear Heavenly Father. Thank you for loving us and for guiding us through this study today. Father, we confess that we are flawed and sinful, and we ask you now to cleanse us of any sin, that there may not be a barrier between us as you teach and guide us. Lord, we want to hear from you! And we thank you for always meeting us where we are. I ask you to take over this teaching and allow us to hear directly from you. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.

If you were with us last week, you might remember that we saw Jesus entrust His disciples with His authority as He sent them out into the world to cast out evil spirits, heal diseases and illness, and tell the world of the Kingdom of God.

We learned that Jesus had a plan – for His disciples then and for us today.

And although His disciples might have walked away sure-footed and ready to bless the world, Jesus knew that they would have days when that feeling of empowerment waned, and the world came against them. And He wanted to prepare them for those rough times…the times they were tired…weary even…and for those times when they wondered if they were, indeed, doing the right thing.

Who of us hasn’t asked, even if not out loud, “If I’m doing what God wants me to, why is this so hard? And why do all the cards seem stacked against me?” If you have been walking with Jesus for more than a single season, you have, no doubt, had ups and downs in your faith life. There are days when I feel like I can conquer the world in Jesus’ name, and there are days when it feels like no matter how hard I work, the world seems to crash against me, and no one seems to notice. I bet you can relate.

If you are in one of those rough times – then today’s scripture lesson is for you! And if you happen to be standing on the mountaintop today…listen anyway. And as you listen, I encourage you to think about those people in your life who may be battling and need an encouraging word. If God puts someone on your heart, perhaps you are being called to send them a link to this podcast or to where they can find this podcast. You might just be the answer to someone’s prayer today.

So, Jesus gave instructions for his disciples to go into the world, but even as He did, He knew what was ahead for them.

Jesus knows that when we step out to follow Him, we will have troubles…BUT He also knows there is a light at the end brighter than we can imagine.

Jesus knows the going will be rough, BUT he knows that glimmers of bright light will shine through along the way…

He knows that there is wickedness in the world, BUT He also knows that God’s glory will outshine the darkness.

So Jesus warned His disciples, gave them instructions, and reminded them to look for the roses, even when there was an abundance of thorns.

Today’s teaching comes from Matthew chapter 10, verses 16-42…let’s begin with verse 16 from the New Living Translation…Jesus said…

16 “Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves.

…there’s the warning…Jesus knew what His disciples would be up against…and He makes no apologies…but He does give instruction as to how to take those wolves head on…He says…

 So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves. 

…but even when we follow His instructions, Jesus warns us…

17 But beware! For you WILL be handed over to the courts and WILL be flogged with whips in the synagogues. 18 You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers.

It’s not starting off so good is it? Jesus says go…but be prepared…because you ARE going to be among wolves and you will be persecuted by the government and even by established religion. That’s NOT good news.

Enter a ray of sunshine…Jesus’ first “but” for us…verse 18…

But THIS will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about me.[a] 19 When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time. 20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

When we become followers of God and have a relationship with Jesus Christ, we WILL be persecuted…in all walks of life.

Now…this teaching and guidance was given directly to the disciples, but like many of Jesus’ teachings, it can be extrapolated to us today, and even to the end times. The disciples didn’t step into their calling and immediately become persecuted by the government and the religious establishment. And neither will we necessarily. But over the course of history, true followers of Christ have been and WILL be persecuted for speaking the name of Jesus … they have been and will be persecuted by the government AND by established religion.

So we need to be prepared by ALWAYS seeking that PERSONAL one-on-one relationship with Jesus. We can NOT depend on even preachers and teachers to be dialed into the heart of Jesus, but we must test everything we learn by being dialed into Jesus ourselves.

And when we ARE dialed into Jesus, even though we may be persecuted, WE will have the opportunity to tell and teach truth. To those in our government, and even to those in our churches. But, Jesus says it is not just the government and established religion that will turn against truth…it is also our own families… verse 21…

21 “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. 22 And all nations will hate you because you are my followers.[b] But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. 

Another ray of hope…another rose among the thorns…When we stay strongly connected to Jesus…He will give us the strength to endure in relationship with Him to the end. And it is that relationship with Jesus that will save us and outlast any earthly relationship. So, Jesus instructs…

23 When you are persecuted in one town, flee to the next. I tell you the truth, the Son of Man[c] will return before you have reached all the towns of Israel.

In other words…the light will come, even while the followers of Jesus are still battling persecution to shout His name. The fight will go on…and Jesus will win!

Jesus goes on to teach that He knows and understands our persecution, our exhaustion, our just plain bad days. Because He Himself has gone through them…verse 24…

24 “Students[d] are not greater than their teacher, and slaves are not greater than their master. 25 Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons,[e] the members of my household will be called by even worse names!

Yet another warning… but also another ray of light…

26 “But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when everything that is covered will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. 

Jesus instructs us to NOT be afraid, but to take the “secret” of who He is and what a relationship with Him means, and share it with the world…

27 What I tell you now in the darkness, shout abroad when daybreak comes. What I whisper in your ear, shout from the housetops for all to hear!

28 “Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell

WE have the privilege and honor of sharing what a relationship with Jesus means, and we can do so in total confidence that nothing can ever harm our eternal life and relationship with the God of the Universe.

Jesus then encourages us by sharing how very important WE are to GOD…He has numbered every hair on our heads…and when we acknowledge Jesus on earth, HE will acknowledge us in heaven.

Jesus loves US more than anything! And He wants us to love HIM more than anything…more than our own father and mother, more than our own sons and daughters, and CERTAINLY more than ourselves and our own comforts…saying in verse 38…

 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; BUT if you give up your life for me, you will find it.

There are many “buts” to being a Christian!

We will walk as sheep among wolves and we will stand trial before kings and governors…BUT as we do, the Holy Spirit will be with us and will give us the words to speak on behalf of Jesus.

We will be betrayed by family and hated by nations, BUT God will be with us and will give us the strength to endure, and He will save us.

We will be called names and threatened, BUT God will be with us and will give us the secret that enables us to walk through the darkness.

We will be forced to choose between those we love and God…BUT, God will be with us, and when we acknowledge God, He will acknowledge us.

There IS going to be a fight and there will be struggles, whether we stand for ourselves or we stand with God. BUT…if we stand with God, in the end HE will overcome our struggles. HE will fight ahead of us. And HE will win.

If we are going to have to be in a battle anyway, we might as well be on the winning team and allow God to fight for us.

Beginning in verse 40, Jesus leaves behind the “buts” and switches to the “ands”…


40 “Anyone who receives you receives me, and anyone who receives me receives the Father who sent me. 41 If you receive a prophet as one who speaks for God,[i] you will be given the same reward as a prophet. And if you receive righteous people because of their righteousness, you will be given a reward like theirs. 42 And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded.”

As followers of Christ, we WILL have troubles. But EVERYONE has troubles! The difference we have when we are obedient to Christ is that we are GUARRANTEED to be shown the right path. We are GUARRANTEED that the battles we fight will be WORTHWHILE. We are GUARRANTEED that God is fighting for us. And we are GUARRANTEED to win. Because God wins.

There will be thorns…but when we follow Christ…we are guaranteed the roses.

There will be darkness…but when we follow Christ…we are guaranteed the light!

Let’s pray…

Dear God…thank you for choosing us to be on your team. Thank you for your warnings, your wisdom, your guidance, and your protection. And thank you for giving us the HONOR to fight alongside you. God, I am sorry for those times when I have complained that MY load is too heavy and that I am tired. Thank you for always giving me another chance to serve you with all my heart, mind, and soul. I DO give you this day – lead me where you will. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.