Day 40

  • John 17

As a study during this Lenten season I have been reading John 17 daily – looking for new insights in this most earnest prayer of Jesus during his last day.  Having been to Israel I can imagine His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane with much intensity.  These are just some of the things I have learned: 

It was His time – He had walked away from threats before but knew that this was the time ordained for Him to suffer and die for us.  His greatest desire was to be obedient to His Father and to glorify His Father in that. 

Jesus details the tasks that the Father gave Him – 

I accomplished the work You gave Me to do 

I manifested Your name to the people You gave Me 

I gave them the words You gave Me 

I am praying for them 

I am no longer in the world 

I am coming to You 

I kept them in Your name 

I guarded them 

I made known to them Your name 

I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world.  The “word” was Jesus’ own teaching and His whole life – the revelation of Himself as the Word of God.  “Not of the world” is a different nature, different goals, and different heart desires. 

Being “not of this world” – what does this mean for us today?  If we are believers, then we should embrace this and not be “in the world”.  We must ask ourselves these questions: 

What are the differences from the world in my nature? 

What are the differences from the world in my heart’s desires? 

What are the differences from the world in my fundamental life goals? 

MARY ANN SMITH, BMTS BOARD OF TRUSTEES

I pray daily for the obedience to God’s plan for my life and that my life will be lived in a way that is truly different from the world around me.    If Jesus loved me enough to suffer and die for me in such an awful way then He will also give me strength to reflect that love to others.  Halleluiah – Easter is coming!   

Day 39

  • Luke 1:38

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it happen to me
according to your word.” Then the angel left her.…
(BSB)

Mary is left with unbelievable message to contemplate. She is willing to follow the Lord. Angel has left and she has
to act in faith according to the message she has receive. The time to act upon faith is now. For all of us this year has been unwillingly influenced and marked by wuhan virus and ongoing consequences of fight against it. Governments and churches are trying to cope. Every individual is somehow swayed by it. As I am looking at myself, perhaps I am doing so and so, even I have Christ as my source of Life and Rock of Salvation. This time is complicated and the often syrreal forms of isolation have restarted the ignited desire for deeper meaning and sense of belonging.

As I am in a void of real connection and fellowships of the church people (exept my own family), I now value even the stalling screens of Zoom or thankful sounds of people over conference calls by phone. Human contact becomes rare comodity and we even don’t know what to do with it when we suddenly have it…


God has taught me to be more focused and faithful in my spiritual disciplines and care for my own wellbeing. Habitual reading and regular phone calls to my closed ones and church members are helping to keep in touch. As I have often seen, amazing miracles of healing and joyful presence of Holy Spirit could come, change can happen even over the internet videochats, over weirdly freezing connections and phone audio streams.

KAUPO KANT,
BMTS ALUMNUS,
GUEST-SPEAKER

God has allowed us to be part of the season for a reason. I have realized, it is not our task just to wait for better times (or another miracle vaccines, technology etc.) but to share Gospel of Christ with sincerity, power and love of the Holy Spirit. May God fill us with His presence and wisdom to use this time wisely!

Day 38

  • Mark 16: 6-7  

Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.

The disciple Simon was named Peter by Jesus at their first meeting. Peter 

can be translated as “rock” from the Aramaic word kefa. Among the disciples, Peter is the leader. He is also one of the three apostles closest to Jesus. The scriptures present Peter as being temperamental and hot tempered but also very sincere. He can be characterized as being hasty and sometimes acts recklessly. He is the disciple who famously confessed his faith and also, the one who expressed doubt. 

The contradiction of his character becomes apparent most sharply in the Scriptures when it described the time of Jesus’ suffering. Peter confessed, in his own words, that he was willing to follow Jesus even if it costs him his own life, but still denied his teacher.  

Despite this denial, Jesus sent a personal invitation to Peter when He invited His disciples to Galilee. He also appeared to Peter, while he was with John, casting a net into the sea. One can only assume how much Peter regretted that he had denied Jesus three times especially when Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved him.  

The current pandemic has come unexpectedly and has disrupted many lives. Also, 

the consequences of this disease may have collapsed some plans that were in place with the best of intentions. Relieved that the disease has passed, there may be a desire 

to make life-changing decisions in the euphoria of liberation. However, the reality may be  that the disease has had consequences and left behind medical complications. Such collapse of plans and broken dreams can also bring regret and despair to the heart.  

This may feel similar to what Peter felt when he realized that he had acted according to Jesus’ words,“ Verily, I say unto you, tonight, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times. ” (Matthew 26:34).  

Just as Jesus called Peter back into His presence, He can call back into His presence every child of God. Learning that we are powerless and fail, may cause a desire to return to the former life, as Peter returned to fishing. But Jesus can send a messenger to the repentant person who will explain and help them to understand human vulnerability in this world. 

MAIU MEDRI,
BMTS ALUMNA

In His presence, we can be healed and encouraged to move forward again and carry the call of love in our hearts. 

Day 37

  • Luke 4:25-27

I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.

Covid crises has brought us into a new season. The life as we have known changes drastically. The normal freedom of mobility has ceased and all of a sudden we are talking about noticing people next to us. We are called to sacrifice our moving abouts for the sake of others. Media brings to us worse and worse news about the infected or the dying. Just like in the days of Elijah and Elisha so many are in need around us. Thousands every day fight either the disease or lonliness and depression.

In the middle of this, different thoughts hit us. If so many people are in need around us, how come God would have time for me? When the world suffers, does God hear my prayers? My personal problems seem nothing when put next to the global matters.

But God did take notice of the widow from Zarepath and heard the prayers of Naaman the Syrian.

During Covid I have experienced many answers to prayers, both small and great ones. Through these God has manifested his Grace and care. I love to read and have been able to find books, which are told to be sold out already, and my heart has rejoiced. Even through the small answered prayers God has revealed his love.

The Bible says that Elijah was a simple human being like us, but he prayed earnestly (James 5:17).

MAARJA MÄND,
BMTS ALUMNA

God also hears your prayers and is ready to respond. God sees those who are in need (whether the need be small of great), he sees the foreigner, the pour or perhaps the rich one. He will take time for you and will provide solutions. Do not cease to pray and trust!

Day 36

  • Romans 15:7-10

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, so that the promises made to the patriarchs might be confirmed and, moreover, that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written: “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.”Again, it says, “Rejoice, you Gentiles, with his people.

God turns everything to our benefit

The year 2021 has continue to be marked by Covid. Many churches felt helpless, even paralyzed at the start of the pandemic. Moreover, the bible emphasizes the gathering of God´s people. As of now, many churches have adjusted to the new way of life. Though people are at home, the services happen online as the participants and crew gather in church. The church has been flexible in its conduct and several testimonies are being heard how more people are pariticipating online than would on the spot.

Our congragation also switched to online services. Outside the church people are mostly working from home. Some people have more free time now but in worst cases people have also lost their jobs. One gentlmen who I had been inviting to church for a long time now decided to come. The works as the soundman on a ferry-ship and though not fired, he is just out of the working hours for the time being. This has been a great time to join in with the church services. He is not a Christian but has been attending services reluarly and helping with sound, filming, recording and later uploading the service to Youtube. We see that he enjoys the company of Christians and we have accpeted him well. We also had a pianist join our worship team. Due to the inlfow of new people we want to start an Alfa course as we invited them to join.

KAIRE LOTAMÕIS,
BMTS ALUMNA

God is faithful and we believe that the best is yet to come!

Day 35

  • John 20:19-23

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

We feel quite like the disciples nearly 2000 years ago locked down again after all the church services being cancelled again in Estonia just few weeks ago since March 3rd.  Students stay and study at home, parents work from home, shopping centers are closed and everybody is encouraged to stay home and have as little interactions with others as possible.  

The disciples could be all together, we are not allowed to gather at all. The disciples feared the religious leaders, we fear that the virus will increase, and vaccines are not as widely available as needed. Many have lost their loved ones, many are struggling in the hospitals near the border between life and death. Hospitals are reaching the maximum they can handle; doctors and nurses are not seeing the end to the pandemic and there is no hope for release and peace of mind.  

The only encouragement I have is that the Risen Lord Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He was able to enter the room even though doors were locked. He breathed on the disciples saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit”. It reminds me the first time God breathed into a man making him a living creature. New life started.  Jesus is able to breathe into us new life, His Life of the Resurrection. There is though one condition – we have to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. If we do not receive the gift daily, the spirit of this age is eager to fill us and this brings us to the disastrous situation.  

TAAVI HOLLMAN, BMTS RECTOR´S ASSISTANT

Jesus, breathe on us, breath on those who are struggling with covid, breathe on them who suffer from the lockdowns and on those who serve others self-sacrificially. Jesus, breathe on us the Holy Spirit again. 

Yours in Christ,

Day 34

  • Lamentations 4:2-3

How the precious children of Zion, once worth their weight in gold, are now considered as pots of clay, the work of a potter’s hands! Even jackals offer their breasts to nurse their young, but my people have become heartless like ostriches in the desert.

As is the case of an individual, so it is for a people. We can become heartless. Weather one studies the teachings of Jesus or one of his later followers (Augustine, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards -just to name a few), he or she has to admit that at the core of the teaching are the matters of the heart.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)

I heard a preacher share a story of a mother who lost her car keys. She was becoming very frustrated not being able to find the keys around the house and bursted out, “I think I am losing my mind…”. Her little child – just a few years old – who had been observing the frustrated mother all along uttered, “Mommy, whatever you do, do not lose your heart, for I am in their!”

The people of Israel had done just that. They had lost their hearts – and had become therefore heartless. They had lost the capacity for righteous relationship with God. Crises like that of last year has revelead much about a person but also a people. If I evaluate Estonians by the way of media and what is spoken there, I have to mourn for I am ashamed of even the topics we raise during such time. However if I evaluate our people by the way they came together for prayer in such times, there is even a sense of being proud.

Both looking back and looking forward, I hope our people will have the wisdom not to become heartless. For if we lose our heart, we lose the place where God speaks to us.

HINDREK TAAVET TAIMLA,
BMTS FACULTY

“He will say to them, ‘Listen to me, all you men of Israel! Do not be afraid as you go out to fight your enemies today! Do not lose heart or panic or tremble before them.” (Deut 20:3 NLT)
“For you will be successful if you carefully obey the decrees and regulations that the Lord gave to Israel through Moses. Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or lose heart!” (1 Chronicles 22:13 NLT)

Day 33

  • Mark 14:37-51 

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. The men seized Jesus and arrested him. Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then everyone deserted him and fled. A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. 

  In this excerpt from the Gospel of Mark, we can see Jesus being captured in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is a critical point in the life of Jesus and the disciples – the beginning of suffering. Jesus has been betrayed, and He is going to be condemned. Night and a difficult time have come. But Jesus warned and prepared them for this, he asked them to pray and not to sleep when they went to the garden. This happened a few hours before the arrest of Jesus:  

Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Mk 14:37-38)

  ‬‬Today, too, the world has come to difficult times. A time when illness, fear, and panic dominate… But as in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is now preparing his Church and calls Christians to be awake and pray. 

In the Garden of Gethsemane, Christ prays for those, whom the Father gave Him. He prays to give them joy, to keep them from evil, and to be in unity. He called them to two actions – to pray and not to sleep. Today, when we lose closeness and unity with our neighbors, brothers, and sisters in Christ, we must not lose closeness and unity with Jesus. 

Olekasndr Horodyvlovskyi,
BMTS Stundent

Let us pray today that we, and our brothers and sisters, our church, do not fall asleep, but stay awake with Jesus. So that the fire can continue to flare up, and we can keep the peace in our hearts, be active, and be an instrument in the hands of God.

Day 32

  • John 11:1-6  

Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it he said, “This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”  Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 

Social distance – what a strange thing. We are closer to one another as humans than ever before. We live in a globalized, urbanized and technology-infused world. We cannot say “what happens in China, stays in China”. We live in towns surrounded by thousands of strangers, but friends or family thousands of kilometers from us are just a click away. We are so close and yet so far from each other… and now we ought to practice social distancing.  

In such an ambivalent time, let us look to the story of Jesus and Lazarus for hope. Here we find Jesus making the tough choice of being distant, defeating illness and death, and giving new life.   

It is reported to Jesus that his friend, “he whom you love” is sick. Lazarus was not merely an acquaintance of Jesus, but a dear friend part of Jesus’ close circle of friends. He was practically family. Yet Jesus decides to distance himself for two days from Lazarus.  

When Lazarus died, it seemed that Jesus had let down his friends. Martha, sister of Lazarus, voices the disappointed faith: ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died’ (11:21). Today the virus keeps us apart. It continuously turns our daily life upside down. Do we too feel let down by God? Is he too practicing social distance on us?  

Jesus knew that Lazarus would live – his death would not be what it seemed. It might appear as if Jesus wanted to showcase his power, letting his friend die to raise him from the grave. However, Jesus being full of love and compassion was deeply moved to tears.  

But then Jesus had told Martha that he is the resurrection and life (11:25) and indeed he did raise Lazarus from the grave. 

SIMONG GRAF,
BMTS LECTURER

Today, the death and resurrection of Lazarus points us to the death and resurrection of Jesus himself. His death was also not what it seemed. In his death, Jesus definitively defeated death and illness. It was the death of death, the birth of new life.  It means salvation, healing, and new life to anyone who believes. This is the surprising glory of God. In what seems at first glance as defeat, He is victorious. 

Day 31

  • Philippians 3:14

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

People strive to break records – both individually and together. We see it in sports. In Estonia, we root for individual athletes like Ott Tänak and Kelly Sildaru,and teams like BC Kalev Cramo and Tallinna Selver. The attempt to break records is also the reason why the Guinness Book of World Records continues to be so popular. 

The Estonian people have secured a place in that book in several areas such as the world’s longest wrestling competition (11hours and 40 minutes), making the world’s largest matchstick (6.235 meters), and women’s carrying, among others. 

Today, too, I call on us to strive to break the record – not by competing with others, but with ourselves; not by striving for numerical achievement, but by striving for spiritual growth. 

Today we try to be closer to God than yesterday, trying to notice Him more and follow His call faster – even into the unknown. Today, we try to be closer to our neighbor than yesterday, trying to listen, to understand and love each other better. We need to be creative and find ways to do so. It is an endeavor that we all desperately need, not for our glory, but for the glory and pleasure of God. 

LEMME AULIS,
BMTS ALUMNA
(With husband Joel Aulis)

Paul’s encouragement to all of us is, found in Philippians 3:14 “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”