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JESUS SPEAKING

    Then Jesus went around to all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.  But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he spoke to his disciples saying, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest” (Mathew 9: 35 – 38.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Vast amounts of people had traveled great distances to be healed, to see miracles, and to hear Jesus speak.  As he looked upon a sea of lost and broken souls, his heart swelled with compassion.  Having been denied the truth for so long, these men and women had become spiritually malnourished.  Numerous weary souls eagerly devoured the gospel; and with it they received salvation through faith in God’s only Son.  Jesus, realizing the enormous task that lay ahead, instructed His disciples to pray that the Father would send more workers into the fields; that countless others might be delivered from death.

    Most individuals today are unfamiliar with agricultural practices; yet during the time of Christ, farming was a close and intimate part of daily living.  Modern farmers often utilize large machines to gather their crops; ancient farmers however, had to harvest their wheat by hand.  When the grain had ripened, nearly every member of the household was needed to assist in collecting the produce.  Often though, even an entire family wasn’t enough; farmers would then hire seasonal laborers to help them in accomplishing their goals [Note:  A proper harvest was such an essential part of first century living, that even warring armies would call a truce during the reaping season; the soldiers would return home to work in the fields; when the harvest had concluded, the men would resume their armed conflicts.]

  Today, there are billions of lost souls wandering the earth; seemingly unaware that God has sent His only Son that they might have eternal life.  Those who believe and receive the message are in turn called to be messengers.  A Christian must share in the labors of Jesus Christ, by delivering the gospel to those who are starving for the truth.  The fields are vast, the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.  We must pray to God to send more workers to aid in gathering up His crop.  As we labor for Christ, may our hearts be filled with compassion; may love reign in our souls; and may God use us to convey His message to all those who are in need.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we share in Your labors; may we be filled with mercy and love; may we continually strive to deliver the gospel message to those who are perishing.  We pray that You would send more workers into the fields; that Your harvest might be plentiful.  May the lost be found, may sinners repent, and may salvation be received by all those who believe.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Professing Our Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

    “I also say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the son of man will confess before the angels of God.  But he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God” (Luke 12: 8 – 9.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Pride plays an essential role in what we choose to communicate to others; most intuitively hide what is unimportant or shameful, while simultaneously expressing the things that are of great value.  In American culture, individuals utilize social media to post quotes, publish photos, and transmit thoughts.  Similarly, others may use billboards, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and jewelry to convey their beliefs to the public.  And yet, in a nation reportedly comprised of millions of Christians, Jesus Christ very rarely occupies the top position.   He is often displaced by more important things; like a career, a family, a political candidate, a sports team, a noteworthy cause, or even a unique lifestyle.

   Throughout history Christians have been persecuted for their outward professions of faith.  In many countries today, those who openly convert from Islam to Christianity will endure imprisonment and execution.  Only a lucky few are afforded the right to a trial; during these mock proceedings, evidence of a true conversion is presented against the accused.  To test the genuineness of our faith, we can ask ourselves a hypothetical question: “If we were to go on trial for our lives, what evidence would our accusers have to convict us of being real Christians?”  Would we be blamed for spreading the gospel?  Would we be found guilty of outwardly displaying our beliefs without shame or remorse?  Would others willingly testify that we have followed the teachings of Jesus Christ?  Would we be condemned for our love, and convicted by our faith?

    Those who are proud to be disciples are truly committed to the Lord.  As believers we must actively seek to express our faith in obvious and practical ways; through our words, our deeds, and our nonverbal communication.  Whether it’s the bumper sticker that reads, “Jesus is Lord,” or the cross that hangs from our neck, outward displays of devotion strengthen our relationship with God.  Each time we openly express our love for Christ, we grow closer to our Heavenly Father; who in turn, pours out upon us, all of His spiritual blessings.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the strength and the desire to share our faith with others.  May we never be ashamed to be called Your Sons and Daughters.  Continue to be our number one love; may nothing ever come before You.  In Your wisdom, give us opportunities to communicate Your message to those who are devoid of understanding; that they too would come to know You as we have.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you!

Don’t be Lukewarm

JESUS SPEAKING

    “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish that you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth […] as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 14 – 16, 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    After being seized by the Romans, the Apostle John was marched into a crowded coliseum and plunged into a vat of boiling oil.  But when he remained unharmed, the masses within the coliseum began to convert to Christianity.  The Romans, fearing his influence, placed him in prison on a deserted Island off the cost of Turkey (known as Patmos.) While in exile on this island, in about the year 95 A.D., an aging John received a revelation from Jesus Christ.  In this revelation, Jesus addressed the seven churches located in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.  For some reason the Laodicean church had become lukewarm. They were once bold, zealous, and uncompromising; and yet over time they had succumb to personal comfort, complacency, and routine.  Jesus rebuked them; commanding them to obey His directives: to be zealous again; to be bold; to spread the gospel; to serve others and to work hard to save souls.  God’s message to the Laodiceans is timeless; it pertains directly to the church today.  There is no half-way; a moderate faith is a dead faith.  For the believer there are no vacations, no breaks, and no retirement.  We must all continue to serve God to the fullest. If we stop serving Him, we are in danger of becoming lukewarm, cold, and dead.

    Interestingly enough, a recent study revealed that early retirement can lead to an increased risk of death.  In 2005, three groups of otherwise healthy individuals were studied; those who retired at 55; those who retired at 60; and those who retired at 65.  “In this research, death was almost twice as likely in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who continued working.”  The tendency to take it easy and relax can have disastrous consequences.  To lose enthusiasm for God’s message is to fail to fulfill the highest calling of God.  As believers, we must fervently work for the Lord until He returns to gather us together.

    Are we eager to serve God and others today; or have we been serving ourselves?  Are we on fire for the Lord, or have we become cold?  Are we readily spreading the gospel, or have we fallen silent?  Have we faded into the background, or do we speak the truth with boldness?  We must be brave and reach out for Christ.  May our heart be ignited by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.  May the words of God flow from our mouths, and may our good works never cease; may God use us to transform others; and may we always represent the church of God with conviction and zeal.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that our hearts may burn for You.  May we shine brightly in the lives of all those we meet.  Give us the words to speak and the strength to continue.  May we never grow weary or become lukewarm; may we never stop serving others, knowing that one day we will have our rest in You.  We love You Lord, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen.”  God bless all of you!


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