God is in Complete Control

JESUS SPEAKING

    Pilate […] went again in to the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?”  But Jesus gave him no answer.  Then Pilate said to him, “Are you not speaking to me?  Do you not know that I have power to crucify you, and power to release you?”  Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against me unless it had been given you from above.  Therefore the one who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”  (John 19: 8 – 11.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Bound, bloodied and beaten, Jesus Christ stood before Pontius Pilate (the Roman Governor of Judea.)  The Jews adamantly demanded He be sentenced to death.  And yet, not wanting to kill an innocent man, Pilate proceeded to question Him; initially however, Jesus remained silent.  Unaware that he was standing before the Son of God, Pilate warned Him that His silence could lead to His crucifixion.  Still the Lord corrected the Governor; reminding him that it was God alone who would dictate the sentence.  Pilate mistakenly believed that he was in control of the outcome of the trial; when in reality, he was merely an instrument in the hands of God; a tool used to bring about the Father’s eternal plan of salvation.   

     Even today, many look back upon the events surrounding Christ’s death and blame the Romans or the corrupt Jewish leadership.  Jesus Christ however, was not murdered; His crucifixion was not the work of man, but rather, the work of God.  He wasn’t forced to endure the cross; He chose to endure it.  The nails didn’t hold Him in place on that fateful day either; instead, it was love that kept Him pinned to the cross.  He died freely to accomplish the will of God. The cross is therefore not a symbol of anguish, but an emblem of grace and mercy; for upon the cross the Lord endured the punishment for our sins; that through His selfless action, we might all enter into fellowship with the Almighty God.  Sacrifice is the ultimate expression of affection; Christ’s death is a love letter addressed to all mankind.

     Have you come to know the love of God?  Do you know why Jesus Christ died for you?  He died so all those who believe can draw near to their eternal Father.  Accept God’s sacrifice and invite Him into your heart.  Give Him your life and let Him guide you.  He will love you and protect you.  Surrender to your creator and you will know true peace.  Open your heart to the Son of God and receive His blessings.  By accepting the gift of salvation, your heart will overflow with unending joy.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we accept Your sacrifice, and we thank You for sending Your Son to die for us.  His blood is our blessing; may we surrender our lives to You now.  Draw near to us Father, that we might intimately know You.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us new life; that you may dwell in our hearts forever.  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.  Amen.”  God bless all of you!

Sacrifice is Love

JESUS SPEAKING

   But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.  So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’  So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves.” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 29 – 37.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     In this parable a man is badly beaten, robbed, and left to die on the side of the road. Two supposed religious leaders simply ignore the man’s desperate condition; placing their own desires ahead of God’s will.  In general, the Jews considered Samaritans to be Godless degenerates; and yet in this illustration, the only one to show compassion and love for the wounded stranger, was the Samaritan.  His love was expressed in the form of sacrifice.  Unlike the priest and the Levite, the Samaritan sacrificed his time, his wealth, and his reputation to assist the injured man.  Without sacrifice there is no real proof of love.

    In life, infants undeniably demand a great deal of time, attention, and resources.  ‘Good parenting’ is therefore a synonym for ‘sacrifice.’  New parents can expect to forfeit countless privileges on behalf of their children.  It is estimated that in the first year of a child’s existence, they will need to be changed 2500 times and fed every 4 hours.  Similarly, newborns must be burped, bathed, clothed, held, and played with every day; actions which require a great deal of selflessness and sacrifice.

     Like the Samaritan, and like any good parent, Jesus Christ has asked His children to lay down their selfish pursuits to love and care for those in need.  If we embrace a spirit of sacrifice, then God will provide us with opportunities to love our families, our friends, and our neighbors.  As we accomplish the will of God, our hearts will know peace and we will inherit the eternal blessings that He has promised to those who faithfully serve Him.

  “Lord Heavenly Father, please give us the courage and strength to embrace selflessness and sacrifice. May we be filled with compassion; may we always seek the lost; and may we continually display love for those in need.  Through the power of Your Holy Spirit, make us more like You each and every day.  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!

Becoming as a Little Child

JESUS SPEAKING

     At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.” (Mathew 18: 1-5)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Simply put, humility is the acceptance of helplessness.  Although we are all called to repent, the salvation that comes through Jesus Christ isn’t something that can be earned; it is something that must be received.  A child inherently realizes their own helplessness, and so they look to their parents for the fulfillment of their essential needs.  The disciples had yet to realize that those who were the most helpless, were also the individuals who honored God the most.  Today, those who are lowly push themselves down and elevate the one who provides for them.  So humility is the result of honoring God, and lowliness (humility) is the best way to know and love God, who is all powerful.

   In nature, birds are an abundant group of animals.  Their young ones remain in the nest while the adults go out to hunt; permitting them to return with a continuous supply of food.  Obviously no chick can provide for itself; they can’t fly, fend off predators, keep warm, or even clean themselves properly. They never stray from their nests because they instinctively know and understand their own limitations, and in turn, they comprehend the value of their parents.  Knowing no pride, the nestlings receive their care and nourishment as little children.

     Today, God has sent His son to us, that we might eat eternal food.  Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”  We live in this world, which is our nest for a short time, and those who venture out to achieve righteousness for themselves find only death.  Salvation must be directly received as a gift from God.  We must instinctively understand that we are powerless to become right with God outside of His provision.  Have we accepted God’s message?  Have we accepted it as a gift and not a wage?  Have we become helpless enough to understand that God provides us with all that we need?  We must be lowly and grateful that God has made a way for us to know and love Him. We must become as little children.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, as we come before You, we lift You up.  You are an amazing, powerful, and awesome God.  You are Holy and righteous, and we thank You for all that You have done for us.  We ask and pray that You help us to be humble, and we ask that You lead us into a lowliness of heart; help us to seek Your righteousness and not our own.  Feed us with Your Spiritual food, and make us like little children.  We love You Lord, 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!


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