Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.”(Mark 4:30-32) A familiar parable indeed,but one worth revisiting . . . . A mustard seed is smaller than a kernal of cornor even a single grain of wheat, yet it grows into a tree with a potential height of ten to twelve feet! Birds gather under its shade for protection. So what is the point here? One with humble beginnings, small stature, or an insignificant pedigree can grow and mature into quite an influential person for God's Kingdom. Jesus came from an insignificant little town. He was from a meager carpenter's family. Jesus drew relatively little support while He was yet living. But look at the results of His humble obedience to the Father. No one has changed the world quite like the Savior. Jesus would go on to say that we can do even more than He did. (John 14:12-14) Unbelievable, but true . . . if we truly love the Lord and are led by His Spirit, we can do such great things! If only we have the faith of a mustard seed . . . . Small beginnings, but strong roots and an overarching influence for others; all in the name of Jesus! That's what I want!
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
"Listen! A farmer went out to plant his seed. He scattered the seed on the ground. Some fell on a path. Birds came and ate it up. Some seed fell on rocky places, where there wasn't much soil. The plants came up quickly, because the soil wasn't deep. When the sun came up, it burned the plants. They dried up because they had no roots. Other seed fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and crowded out the plants. So the plants did not bear grain. Still other seed fell on good soil. It grew up and produced a crop 30, 60, or even 100 times more than the farmer planted." Then Jesus said, "Those who have ears should listen."(Mark 4:3-9) When Jesus says "LISTEN", I believe we all should listen. He is speaking to us today just as He was in Mark's Gospel during the early church. Jesus realized that not everyone will respond to His teachings (even one of His closest disciples did not get it). A lot of people will hear His words . . . some will accept it and repent . . . others will hear it and say they have accepted but never really change . . . others will simply pass it off as a good word and even some will attack His words. But He never said to stop sowing . . . to stop sharing . . . to stop living the Truth! We better listen! I just visited my garden this morning and my wife and I commented how the tomatoes and peppers were doing so well. Infact we received our first harvest of cherry tomatoes this morning! The zucchinni is blooming and the cucumbers are beginning to bud as well. The lettuce and spinach is not fairing so well however. Is it the soil, the watering, too much sun? The lack of yield has not discouraged me to plant more however and still tend the garden. It is the same with our sharing the Gospel. We never know who is watching, who may be listening, or who may be reading. We simply continue to plant seeds, water crops, and weed out the garden. Just as God grows the plants and brings a dead seed to life, He too calls the individual to repentance. He grows the spiritual seeds we plant throughout our lives. A seed of wisdom planted here or there . . . a shower of encouragement . . . a brief weeding session with a teen all . . . God uses them all to develop His disciples. We are simply farm tools used as plows, hoes,and rakes in the Gardner's hands! Are our hearts gardens producing fruit for God's use? Are our homes fertile grounds for planting? Are we using the tools God has placed within our hands? We better listen . . . and do as we are told! It is harvest time for the Kingdom Garden!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Jesus' mother and brothers came and stood outside. They sent someone in to get him. A crowd was sitting around Jesus. They told him, "Your mother and your brothers are outside. They are looking for you." "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" he asked. Then Jesus looked at the people sitting in a circle around him. He said, "Here is my mother! Here are my brothers! 35 Anyone who does what God wants is my brother or sister or mother."(Mark 3:31-34) More than anything else, God desires family. He desires fellowship with His creation, especially those He created in His image and whom He breathed life into thier soul. (Genesis 2:7) God wants sons and daughters. He is the best father one could ever desire. He knows all we dream about and He wants to make them come true, as we obey Him! Obedience to parents is the key to a happy childhood . . . whether we are talking about our heavenly Father or our earthly parents. A happy child is an obedient child. Parents love to bless obedient children. Children who do as their parents desire are indeed a blessing to parents and parents in turn desire to reward them. It is no different with God. God has a plan for each of His kids to succeed (Jeremiah 29:11) yet it must be according to His plan, not our own selfish desires. We must first commit to Him (Romans 10:9-10) to even be called God's child. (John 1:12) Simply being created by God and born into this world does not give us His name! One must be born again! (John 3:3) Jesus actually prayed for every child of God just before He went to suffer His brutal crucifixion (John 17:6-25) His main plea was that His Father's family would be one . . . a family! So who is God's family? Jesus' answer in Mark 3 was simply those who do His will . . . those who obey God's will. In order to obey God's will one must know God! Grateful kids honor and obey loving parents . . . at least they should! How do children of God respond to His love, His grace, His mercy, and His great compassion toward us? We honor and obey Him! If you love me, you will keep my commandments . . . sound familiar? (John 14:15) C'mon family, let's commit to obey our Daddy and in the process we may just gain some siblings!
Monday, June 25, 2012
"If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. And if Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come. In fact, no one can enter a strong man’s house without first tying him up. Then he can plunder the strong man’s house. Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.”(Mark 3:24-29) How could Jesus possibly be working in partnership with the devil? Even if he was, why would a demon go against a demon? They both have the same goal of dispelling Godly activity! However, Jesus goes even deeper in revealing His oneness with the Holy Spirit by reminding them that these so-called religious leaders were blaspheming the Holy Spirit! Rejecting Christ, the Holy Spirit, and/or God is a ticket straight to hell! They are one person. These leaders had no idea! No entity will survive with infighting. Petty jealousies, character assaults, lies, bitterness, all work like cancer eating away at the core of the group. Satan is the author of lies. (John 8:44) He still comes only to steal and kill and destroy. (John 10:10) We need to reject him and all his ways by knowing the Truth and what God says about us. Seek Godly counsel. Learn from a Bible-teaching church. Read and study His Word daily and know good from evil. Peter would tell us to love the brotherhood, Honor the King! (1 Peter 2:9-17) As a church family we need to be united. As a biological family, we need to be sure God is on the throne within our homes. His Word must be our guide and we all must be focused on Him throughout the day. Fathers (parents) must be focused upon scriptures. (Deuteronomy 6:6-9) We must live out His Word and not allow the lies of Satan to creep in. Set the example! Run to God. Resist the devil. Know the enemies tricks. We can win this battle, in fact, it is already won! This battle is not ours, but the Lord's! Do not sit on the side lines. Let's suit up and join the battle!
Friday, June 22, 2012
No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. Otherwise, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.”(Mark 2:21-22) We do not simply become better people when Christ rescues us from sin. We are not just seeking a better life here on earth or better yet, fire insurance for eternity! No, when Christ truly enters the heart of a believer, the Holy Spirit transforms (Romans 12:2) that person. They become a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)We receive a new heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26)that truly desires the things of God over the things of this world. It is a process performed by the Holy Spirit, nothing we can do to make ourselves better but have the desire!(Ephesians 2:8-10) Our best witness as to the faith we have in Christ is the new us. There should be a visible difference in how we live, why we live, and who we live for each day. When we live for Christ, our outlook on life is much different and people can see it! The best witness for our new life? It is our family. They know the true person inside better than anyone on the outside. So before we even begin to share Christ with a stranger, let's be sure we are treating our family as Jesus treats us!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”(Mark 2:8-12) Some of the teachers of the Law were upset that Jesus could simply say "Your sins are forgiven". How dare He? Jesus showed he indeed had power over the spiritual (sin) and the physical (paralysis). This is what the teachers had a problem with . . . how can you claim to do what God does? Well . . . it because Jesus is God; fully man (Son of Man verse 10) and fully God, theSon of God (John 20:31). Jesus became flesh to be able to identify with us in our sufferings as well as to be offered up as a sacrifice for our sin. Yet He has power to both forgive sin and comfort us in our sufferings. How often do we take advantage of the opportunity to forgive, heal hurts, and comfort others in pain. Unconditional love for others goes a long in winning people over for Christ. Holding back on serving others? Finding it hard to forgive? Holding onto grudges? Allow God to work through our lives to share His forgiveness with others. One would be surprised how much it can help our own outlook on life!
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them.Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”(Mark 2:3-5) It is an awesome feeling to bring someone to know Christ. I can remember many occassions when young and old alike have accepted Christ in my presence or I found ut later on that one of my small group or outreach students have ask Jesus to forgive them and take over their lives. It is a joy much greater than any other, at times bringing tears to my eyes, because I know it will change a life forever! Even some have come to me after years of being away and reminded me that I prayed with the day they accepted Christ . . .wow! How many of us have invited friends to a ballgame, a play, a movie, or even a family get-together? it is commonplace, right? Ok, so how often to invite someone to Chirst? Why are we so fearful of sharing the best thing that ever happened to us? The fear lies in our feeling as if we have failed if the person rejects Christ, or even worse, they may reject us and no longer seek our friendship! But whose friendship is more valued . . . God's or man's? Tough question? Let's remember, it's God who draws people . . . His Spirit and not our charm or skill! (John 6:44) We cannot be considered failures, just willing instruments in the father's hands. We always succeed when we share Christ! I may be just a nobody, but representing Jesus makes me quite special in my Father's eyes! While it helps to be prepared with Bible verses, have a knowledge of people's experiences, realize cultural differences, and the like, our best way to share the Gospel is our own experience. We should pray for opportunities and ask the Lord to prepare us for that next appointment. Let's allow folks to see Jesus in us and then if we must, we can share with words!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.(Mark 1:16-20) True fisherman are patient and eager at the same time. They will get up early and wait for what seems like days for that big catch. yet when the line is tugged from under the water, they eagerly jump to alertness and pull in the catch with all their energy. I have never been fishing, but I have heard stories from my father-in-law. I marvel at what those who fish go through in preparation and detail. I believe it is more the experience than the fish,but then the stories of those BIG fish . . . I don't know! However, my bride and I have made sure our youngest son has had the chance to fish with him at The Honey Hole (his favorite fishing spot),just to experience the time with him (he is now 85!). At times (my son tells me) the tug on the line may be sea weed or other junk. He gets all excited just to reeel in some dead plant! Other times he has reeled in a fish! He has been so excited as he runs in the house telling his fish story! Like many fisherman, jesus' followrs did not always find a successful catch. In fact, we read in John (John 1:35-42) and Luke (Luke 5:1-11) that even they took a bit of a time to be convinced to follow Jesus. Jesus had to cast His line a few times it seems! But what about us? Are we convinced to get out of our boats and follow after Jesus? Do we eagerly and patiently fish for others to follow Him? Are we willing tocast our lines daily into the sea of life? Which specific fish are out there for you to catch? In daily prayer, name those specific people and ask God for a good catch today! It's time to go fishing . . . .b>
Monday, June 18, 2012
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God,as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:“I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way a voice of one calling in the wilderness,‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’”(Mark 1:1-3 Imagine being the one to introduce Christ to the world. This is who John the Baptist was. Ias his job to introduce the world to the Savior . . . and then step out of the way and allow Christ to take over. Are we not the opening act for Jesus in our small world? As disciples of Jesus Christ, is it not our job to introduce folks to Christ and then allow Him to move in their lives? Are we not the modern-day messengers? We have been chosen to carry the invitation to those whom we meet daily . . . our family, our friends, neighbors, co-workers, even strangers in the mall and at the gas station pumps. It is not enough to know Jesus, we must give Him away!
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.(Romans 8:1-2) Free forever . . . no more guilt, no more shame . . . no more accusations, no more suffering. What a feeling . . . what a reality for those who know Christ! Those who have accepted the sacrifice of Christ's blood and recognize Him as King of kings and Lord of lords are free from the penalty of sin . . . eternal damnation and separation from God. This however, is an eternal freedom. One must still suffer the consequences of sin here on earth. We must still endure the ridicule of those in this world. The believer will still face accusations, lies, and mistreatment from others. In fact, since jesus suffered, why not us? (1 Peter 4:12-16) The things we suffer through as a result of our sin is for our correction. It is of our own doing. We choose to sin, we should expect correction! The things we suffer through as a result of trust and belief in Christ should also be expected! As Christ suffered, we too will suffer. After all, we are His children. As we take a stand against the grain of this world, even within our circle of believers, we will face ridicule, backbiting, and lies. However, when we suffer for His sake, we gain riches in glory! Remain dedicated to the Lord and His statutes. He is soon to come and seeking those who will stand for Him. The tougher it gets, the more we have to stand! Eternal freedom awaits those who endure . . .
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.blockquote> (1 Peter 5:6-7) What a place to be . . . in God's will! It does not mean everything is going well, or according to my plans either! It could very well mean that we are experiencing some pruning! Perhaps we are experiencing some correction. Whatever state we are in, receiving rewards or receiving discipline, knowing that our Father has us in His hands is always better than the other alternative . . . not being His child!
...because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.b>(Hebrews 12:6) God cares and He wants to share in every aspect of our lives. He desires for us to share our needs and concerns with Him. There is no need to keep everything inside. He also sets us in a caring Body to also have support. In pain and sickness, we all turn to the medical field for advice. When emotionally troubled, we seek advice from friends, counselors, and ministers. When we screw up, we seek forgiveness from our peers. But why do we always seem to go to God as a secondary source of help? God wants to hear about all of our life! Good times, bad times, challenging times, stressful times, relaxing times . . .Even in our sins, God wants us to come to Him and receive His grace and mercy . . . but we have to come to Him! Peter writes to us to share our burdens with God because he cares! Try God . . . it's true . . . He really does care and will hold each of us in His hand . . . if we choose to stay there!
Monday, June 11, 2012
Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.(Matthew 26:41) Jesus was about to be arrested, led to the cross, the climax of HIStory was about to take place . . . yet His closest friends, Peter, James and John, fell asleep! Even at this crucial time, the flesh was so weak that the disciples could not keep their eyes open. The spirit indeed is willing ... - The mind, the heart is ready and able to bear these trials, but the flesh, the natural feelings, through the fear of danger, is weak, and will be likely to lead us astray when the trial comes. The disciples were about to see their promised Messiah go to His horrible death. They had expected a King to rise and redeem them . . . rescue the Jewish nation, yet Jesus had another fate. No doubt their faith would be tested! How many times have we missed out on a blessing because we were simply too tired? How often have we skipped out on an opportunity to serve because we felt we needed rest? Understand now, rest is good and needed, but many times we sell ourselves short simply because we do not realize what our bodies are capable of handling . . . with the Spirit as our guide! Everything will not always go our way. At times we will seem defeated. However, victory is at hand . . . push just one more step! We must train ourselves to be ready . . . to go the distance . . . to not always give in to the temptation to stop. I often say . . . "I will have plenty of time to rest tomorrow", or over the weekend, or next month when this or that is over. However, I have also learned over the years to yes, work hard, but also to plan the rest and to play hard as well! The body does need rest, but not as much as we believe. When I was running track in school, the coach would often tell us that until we are completely exhausted, we have not given it all. If we had enough left to sprint in the finish, then we held back. Ministry is a training process . . . it is a competition against the evils of this world. We must prepare, be fit for battle, and ready to fight. We are on the winning side! We do not want to find ourselves at the finish line with leftover energy to spend! Be encouraged by Paul's words to Timothy . . .
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day —and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.(2 Timothy 4:5-8)
Friday, June 8, 2012
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.(John 15:7-8) This is a much maligned verse in the Bible. People say, "I will receive the things I ask for because I am a Christian." Not so . . . If we read the verse closely, the words read "If you remain in me and my words in you . . ." We must first be in the will of God and living by His direction. The verses go on to read that it is the Father's glory that we bear much fruit. This involves teaching, serving, sacrifice, and showing Christ to others in how we live. Being in Christ and with Christ is not about me, but Christ! As we walk with Him we receive the things we need to bear fruit for His purposes. I am still learning . . . the things I go through are to glorify the Father and not build me up! My rewards should be in heaven, not here. Lord help me to keep learning and doing Your will more often rather than my own!!!
Thursday, June 7, 2012
My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.(Psalm 62:7-8) Whom or what do we turn to when things really get challenging? For some it is a comfort food. Oh, I used to love me some ice cream! But the Bod4God eating lifestyle took care of that! Some turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, a movie, the fitness room, or even a long run. I have learned to turn to God. He indeed has become my rock, my place to run (and even hide at times). I know there is security in Him,because he promises me rest and peace. (Philippians 4:7) When it comes to the challenges of this world, whether we receive what we deserve or get treated unfairly in other ways, God promises rewards in heaven. (Hebrews 11:6) This is hard to take at times as a human being, even for adults. In fact, my young son asked me just yesterday why so many received multiple certificates when he received only one at the end-of-year awards program at school. I explained to him how important the effort is . . . how we all saw his work throughout the year and saw his character grow more than anything else. Finally, I just had to share with him how some of us just do not receive the credit here on earth . . . but God sees our labor and He is waiting to reward us. We have to wait for God and His timing and focus on why we work and for whom. Always keep these verses in mind . . .
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.(1 Corinthians 3;11-15)
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.(Matthew 6:33) Missionary C. T. Studd once said . . . "Only one life, 'twill soon be past; only what's done for Christ will last." Think on these words! Live for the King today . . .
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.(1 Peter 4:7-8) Christ is closer to coming back now than He was when Peter wrote theses words. Paul also reminds us of this fact.(Romans 13:11) So if this is so, would it not be prudent to begin to live like this is true? I have heard so many make the statement, "I am not ready for Christ to return just yet!" When when is a good time? As believers, we should anticipate the Savior's return, even desire for Him to return soon! What a pleasure it would be to be captured up with Him. (1 Thessalonians 4:17) In fact, there is a special reward for those who love or cherish the day He returns. (2 Timothy 4:8) I have heard many reasons: I want to be married first. I want to do so many things before I die . . . . I understand the human desires for such dreams and wishes, especially among. Yet what could be better than being called up to heaven and not having to suffer death here on earth. Is it not our goal to be with the Lord? All hopes and dreams should be trumped by the desire to be with our Savior and King! If we adults would live more with Christ in mind, perhaps our children would too! As we strive to love God and others more perfectly each day, we must be sure to focus on our prayer life. Being in communion with God concerning our lives is key to wanting to be with Him in a more intimate way. Serving others also will bring us closer to the heart of the Father. In fact, anything we do to take the focus of of "me" will assist us with wanting God's will for us. Our possessions, our status, our influence here on earth means nothing in God''s Kingdom. It behooves us all to invest in what lasts; God and people! This will make an eternal difference and re-shift our focus! No matter the circumstances here on earth, only what we do for Christ will have any merit!
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
If you are going through . . . please read and take God's Word to heart. Nothing is too hard for God! I am trying to lean on Him as well today! Though my flesh has been tattered by circumstance, I can only trust God to work things out! If we find ourselves suffering through some unexplainable circumstances, we have no choice but to trust the God who knows all. Will we let a bad day change our eternal life with Christ? Can it even compare to the eternal promises of God? What can man do anyway?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.(Matthew 6:25-34) Here is Paul's counsel:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.(Philippians 4:6-9) Finally, I always have admired Job's response to utter devastation:
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb,and naked I will depart.The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.(Job 1:20-22) So where are you and I today . . . . Do we trust Him or the world?
Monday, June 4, 2012
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.(John 17:15-17) Is it not comforting to know that as Jesus was preparing to go to the cross, and eventually leave the earth to return to heaven, that some of His last words and prayers were for us . . . His followers. Yes, here we read how Jesus petitioned God the father for His disciples. Later (John 17:20-25)Jesus would add our names (those who will believe through thier message) tothe list of those He desires to brought to complete unity with Himself and the Father. s Jesus desired for all believers to be one in order to bring glory to God and to allow others to witness His love, it is our desire to do just that. This should be our prayer as wel! As a Body, if we are consisitent with the Word and the world sees a unified Body of believers, they too will want to know this God we serve! Yet as we quarrel among family, challenge God's Word with varying lifestyle choices, and tolerate the disrepect to our God within society, the world instead witnesses a mess! As Jesus addresses the churches in Revelation 2, He too addresses us today. Though we all love our Lord and desire to please Him, we all have our challenges. We all are falling short in our witness in one way or another. Though God indeed knows our hearts, He also knows we can do better . . . and so do we! Let's make a concentrated effort to honor God this day . . . this week. As we find ourselves challenged by His Word, let's make it a point to live it out rather than compromise. Let's do what Jesus would have us to do rather than cave in to our own flesh. Perhaps the world, even our friends and family, would see a different Jesus too!
Friday, June 1, 2012
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.(Colossians 2:8) Paul, a gifted philosopher himself, is not condemning philosophy. He is however, condemning teachings that give credit to humanity, and not Jesus Christ, with having all the answers to life's challenges. This is what false religions are all about: relativism, humanism, hedonism, etc. God is totally disregarded in the world's philosophies today: If it feels good . . . do it! Whatever makes you happy! Don't worry about others . . . you do what feels best for you! You only live once! You do you and I'll do me! These are some unwise and very selfish pieces of advice, yet very popular, not only among the general public, but the medical and religious community as well. Jesus however, would encourage us to love our neighbor, serve others, and put others' needs above our own. He would say we must serve in order to lead, humble ourselves in order to be honored, and submit to others not seek to be served. The world advises a me-first mentality and Jesus directs us to think more highly of others than we do of ourselves. Two contrasting philosophies . . . which one do you subscribe to? Philosophy 101 . . . .
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