Archive for February, 2011

The message is the greatest miracle!

JESUS SPEAKING             

                When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to him; and he laid his hands on everyone and healed them […] Now when it was day, he departed and went in to a deserted place.  And the crowd sought him and came in to him, and tried to keep him from leaving them; but he said to them, “I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.”  And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee (Luke 4: 40-44.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                People from all over brought their sick loved ones to Jesus and they were all healed.  After the healings he attempted to depart for a time of solitude, but the crowd tried to keep him from leaving; the Galilean people recognized that Jesus had done something no one had ever done; he produced true miracles.  Yet, the miracles were far less valuable than the message that accompanied them.  The message was ‘whoever believed in and followed Jesus would receive eternal life and a reconciliation with the one true and living God.’  Some believed, and some didn’t; but those who did, experienced the greatest miracle of all.

                In another portion of scripture, Jesus sent his disciples out two by two, with the authority to do all of the miracles that he was doing, and they did exactly as he had done; when they returned from their journey they said, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name.”  They had cast out demons, and done many miracles, but Jesus said to them, “Do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but that your names are written in heaven.”  The true miracle has always been eternal life.

                Jesus has done miracles in the lives of so many people.  He continues his work upon this earth through the members of his body even today.  The possessed have been set free; the dying have been revived; drug addicts have been delivered from bondage; marriages saved, relationships mended and the mentally ill healed.  More hospitals have been built in Christ’s name than any other.  When an area is devastated by some natural disaster, he moves through is followers to feed and house millions of people.  The works of Christ upon this earth are so numerous it would be impossible to list them all.  Still, despite the miracles, his message is what is truly important.  What is the message?  The message is, if you turn from a life of sin, and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, ask for forgiveness, and choose to listen to him and make him the authority in your life, you become a Son of God; eternal life in His Kingdom is yours; that is the greatest miracle of all.  Have you received that miracle today?  If not, please contact me at jesspeterlin@yahoo.com and we can discuss how you can make that decision today.

                “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You now and we thank You and praise You for how awesome and mighty You are.  We thank You for all of the miracles, but we desire to know the greatest miracle of all; eternal life in Your Kingdom.  We have received the message Father, and we believe that Your Son is the only way to know You and be healed eternally.  Grant us forgiveness of our sins, and help us to follow Your Son, that where he is, there we might be also.  We love You Father, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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The Jew First, Then the Gentile!

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then Jesus went from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a woman of Caanan came from that region and cried out to him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David!  My daughter is severely demon possessed.”  But he answered her not a word.  And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.”

                But he answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

                Then she came and worshipped him, saying, “Lord, help me!”

                But he answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”

                And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table.”

                Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be to you as you desire!”  And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Mathew 15: 21-28.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In Jewish culture, dogs were considered dirty animals that scavenged for food; they rummaged through garbage and fed off of the scraps that people refused to eat.  The Jews commonly referred to non-Jews (gentiles) as dogs.  Jesus identified the begging woman as a dog; he told her his priority was the lost Children of Israel.  How did she react to being called a dog?  She was not insulted nor did she turn away.  The woman humbly persisted; she accepted being a dog, but refused to accept no from Jesus.  He grants her desired request, and praises her for her faith.  [Note:  Jesus literally referred to himself as the “bread from heaven;” God provided his Son as a heavenly meal for His people.  Many chose to eat what God had provided; many however rejected God’s super.  Today, Christians who are not Jewish have been blessed to eat the crumbs (leftovers) that have fallen from His ‘table.’  Because Jesus was rejected by many Jews, God was gracious enough to allow anyone who was hungry to eat ‘The bread of life.’]

                When I was a small child, we ate meals around a dining room table.  Our dog, Brutis, was an overeager collie that waited in the wings for my mother to leave the room.  My mother would ask us to eat all of our food, which we of course did not enjoy.  When she left we whistled and lowered our plates.  Brutis would come and lick the plates clean.  By the time my mother returned, it appeared as though some of us had finished our meal.  He was more than happy to eat what we had rejected; he enjoyed the food that was meant for us; he never once complained about get leftovers, or not being able to sit at the table.

                Many people today believe that the Jewish people no longer matter.  Many people have rejected them, just as many of their people have rejected Christ.  Yet, the Jewish people are still important to God; they were a priority to Jesus, and they are still a priority to God today.  Jesus Christ grew up in a Jewish home.  John, Peter, Paul, and the rest of the writers of the New Testament were all Jewish.  The first thing Paul did when he reached a new city was, he walked straight in to the synagogue and proclaimed the gospel to the Jewish people.  Only after they had rejected the message did he reach out to the gentiles.  Jesus himself made it clear that the 12 Jewish disciples would rule 12 thrones in the coming Kingdom.  Does the idea of being ruled over by Jews upset you?  If it does, there is some pride still left in you.  But to those who are willing to humble themselves, and acknowledge their place, as the woman did in this scripture, you will receive what she received; the desires of your heart! (Note:  Christians and Jews who believe in Christ are brothers, and have equal access to God today; we are one in Christ Jesus.)

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Jewish people, and for Your plan in saving many of them through Your Son.  We love them, because we love You.  We desire that we might all, Jew and Gentile alike, accept Your message in humility, knowing that we do not deserve Your grace; we are but lowly dogs; but dogs who desire to be in a relationship with You.  Please do not deny us Father.  We love You, we thank You, and we praise You; and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Complete Forgiveness

JESUS SPEAKING

             “Take heed to yourselves.  If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.  And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)               

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             Jesus warned of the danger of unforgiveness; it is dangerous to not forgive, because God’s forgiveness of our sins is dependent upon our forgiveness those who have sinned against us.  He said, “But if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.”  How many times is a person obligated to forgive another?  Jesus used the number seven because in the Hebrew culture it was symbolic of completeness; a disciple of Christ is obligated to forgive an infinite amount of times.  Since the beginning of creation men and women have been running to God to ask Him for forgiveness.  Not a single person who has ever asked Him has been denied; we must do as our Father does.  (In this scripture there are also two persons who must take action; the sinner, and the one who has been sinned against.  The one who has been harmed must confront the one who has harmed them.  In turn, the one who has sinned is obligated to repent and ask for forgiveness.  [Note:  Even if the other person doesn’t repent, it is good for a true believer to forgive them completely.  While Jesus hung on the cross the religious leaders teased him; they were not repentant, but Jesus said, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  We have our example in Christ.])

             Some months ago, I discovered that my car had been vandalized; the stereo had been stolen along with a $150 watch, and a small MP3 player.  After realizing what had happened I was very angry.  But my heart was immediately in communication with God.  The Holy Spirit revealed to me that God had forgiven me of so many sins that I had no right to refuse to forgive the vandals.  A warm feeling came over me, and the anger was swept away like a grain of sand caught in the flow of a mighty river.  I prayed that their lives would be transformed and that they would come to know Jesus Christ; since then I have never wished them any harm.

             To what extent should we forgive others; Jesus has taught us that we should be like him, and forgive all those who need to be forgiven.  We who have been forgiven of so much, have no right to withhold forgiveness from others.  Search your heart; if you know of anyone you haven’t forgiven, you need to forgive them.  You may also need to confront them, and give them the opportunity to repent and ask to be forgiven (follow the leading of The Spirit.)  May the Lord show you any resentment you are harboring, and may He give you the strength to let go of your hatred in favor of forgiveness.

             “Lord Heavanly Father, we come to You and ask for Your forgiveness for all of the sins we have committed.  We desire to be like You, and to forgive like You.  Help us to forgive others from our hearts.  If there is anyone that we have not forgiven, we ask that You reveal it to us now, and help us to be obediant  to You in confronting them of their sin if You so desire; and help us to let go of any hatred we are clinging too.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Eternal life anyone?

JESUS SPEAKING

             Therefore they said to him, “What sign will you perform then, that we may see it and believe you?  Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 

            Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to world.” 

            Then they said to him, “Lord give us this bread always.” 

            And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to me shall never hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6: 30-35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In the dessert, after leaving Egypt, the Israelites lacked the two most essential things for survival; food and water.  Yet God, who had led them in to the wilderness made provision for these needs.  Daily, God sent down a strange dew from heaven that settled on the desert floor; they ate the substance and were filled (the Israelites named it ‘manna,’ which means, ‘What is it?’  They didn’t know what it was; later they began to refer to it as ‘the bread from heaven.’  No matter the name, it kept them alive.)  God also miraculously provided water for them out of the rocky dessert ground.  Moses (God’s chosen messenger/prophet) led his people in the wilderness for nearly 40 years.  He became a historical figure revered by the nation of Israel.  During the time of Christ, the people did not fully understand who Jesus was; they mistakenly began to associate him with Moses; as if he were just another messenger (prophet) of God; but Jesus was not a messenger (prophet); he was the message.  The Israelites would have died in the desert if God had not provided them with ‘the bread from heaven;’ similarly everyone who does not accept God’s provision in the form of Jesus Chris (‘the true bread from heaven’) will also die.  God lives eternally and does not associate with the dead; to truly know God, one must also receive eternal life.  Only Jesus Christ can give life to those who are dying.

                Gangrene is a condition that occurs when some large portion of body tissue begins to die and needs to be amputated.  In construction, many people sever fingers and rush to the hospital to have them reattached.  From the time a finger is separated from the body, it begins to die (unless it is reconnected quickly it will become rancid.  Many reattachments fail; the limb begins to rot, and needs to be removed to prevent death from spreading to the rest of the body.  Every human being is a dying limb that has been severed from God.  There is only one way to be reattached to Him.  The dead must be brought to life; the sick must be healed, and new life must flow in to a lifeless Spirit.  Jesus Christ is new life; only through him can we truly be joined to the eternal God.

                How do we get reconnected to the living God?  We must turn to God and accept Jesus Christ as His message to the world.  Only Jesus can quench our thirst; only Jesus can fill us up when nothing else will; only Jesus can make our dead hearts come alive again.  If you feel him calling to you, know that God is reaching out through him.  He loves you, and He wants to spend an eternity with you.  Will you accept his gift, or will you refuse it?  The greatest act of love God has ever given us, is the freedom to choose.  Make your choice; decide for yourself; choose your path; and may that path lead to eternal life.

                “Lord Heavenly Father we so desperately desire new life.  We want to spend an eternity with You.  We believe that Your Son is the message and not just the messenger; and we accept Your invitation.  May we share Your heart and be filled with love and kindness.  Help us to be committed to You and to avoid the things that can lead to death.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.  

Who can you trust?

 

JESUS SPEAKING

                “I am the good Shepherd.  The good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.  The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep.  So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away.  Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it.  The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep” (John 10: 11-13.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS   

             With a sea of religions out there, how can anyone know which one is true?  Many people have become so confused they have thrown their hands up in frustration and discontinued their search.  In this scripture Jesus identified the criteria for identifying who could be trusted.  A Shepherd is someone who is charged with protecting and caring for a heard of defenseless sheep; but there are two kinds of Shepherd’s.  Good shepherds care enough for the sheep to give their own lives to protect them.  Evil shepherds are those who care more for themselves than their sheep, and when danger comes they abandon the sheep to save themselves.  Jesus Christ gave his life out of a love for every man, woman and child who has ever lived; he is the only one who can be trusted.

            God’s purity and truth are devoid of selfish motives.  Whenever people see a pastor drive up to church in a 100, 000 car (not characteristic of pastors) some of us may might feel a seed of anger kindled within our hearts, because we know that God’s Son has been misrepresented.  Whenever we hear about a war being fought in God’s name, we may wonder why those who promote the war live in luxury.  When we see someone on television wearing a ten thousand dollar suite, asking for money, it can cause some to see God as some kind of a joke.  When we see the leader of some cult using his position to acquire wives and material wealth from the members, it creates anger in our hearts.  God’s true message comes only from those who have sacrificed their lives for others.  Instead of taking they have given.  None of the so called prophets have ever done anything personal for me, or for you, with the exception of Jesus Christ.  He spent his life serving others, even those considered too dirty to associate with.  He always spoke the truth; he always loved, even those who despised him.  He healed the sick and the lame, and made sinners clean.  He loved children.  He stood up for the weak, and was an enemy to those who sought to use God for their own benefit.  He sought to save life and preserve it rather than taking it by promoting violence and war.  He never pushed anyone away, and gave to the people, rather than taking from them.  His last act was to wash the dirty feet of his disciples.  He wept for the lost.  He was beaten and his beard was pulled from his face in front of his mother.  He was mocked and had his back torn open by a whip.  He was spit on and ridiculed.  He had a crown of thorns thrust upon his head (thorns were 1-3 inches long.)  He carried a cross, and had spikes driven through his hands and feet.  He was raised up in the hot sun, with no water.  The religious leaders stood at the base of the cross and teased him, and his response was, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.”  Lastly, this was not a fate he had to endure, but one he willingly suffered for everyone, even those who mocked him.  His life was devoid of selfishness to the point of death; and that purity, goodness and sacrifice make Jesus Christ the only true messenger of God.

             It’s difficult to trust people today; it seems as though everyone wants something from us.  Many people will even pretend they care just to get close enough to exploit us for their own purposes.  But in a world full of religions founded by people, who sacrificed very little, one founder stands above the rest; his name is Jesus Christ, and he sacrificed his life so you could live.  Can you trust him today?  He is the only one who as ever loved you with a pure heart?  Will you accept his love and his message as God’s truth today?

             “Heavenly Father, we ask You today that You would allow us all to see the truth.  We pray that You will reveal to us, who is trustworthy, and who is not.  Please reveal to us, who has cared for us and loved us as his own, and who has not.  Lord Father, reveal to us the truth of Your Love, and the truth of Your wisdom in this world around us.  May we all see Your Son and be drawn to do good, in the same way he has done good for us.  Please give us the Spirit of Truth, and let us not be afraid to examine other supposed Sheppard’s as we know only one is worthy.  Father we Love You, and we thank You, and we ask that You would continue to build our faith in Your Son, and bring us closer to You, and to Your Kingdom.  We thank You Father, and we praise You, and we ask all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God Bless all of you! 

Jesus came to create division

JESUS SPEAKING

             “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!  But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how distressed I am till it is accomplished!  Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth?  I tell you, not at all, but rather division.  For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.  Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Luke 12: 49-53.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus corrected the commonly held belief that he came to bring peace to the earth; his real purpose was to give everyone the opportunity to choose their eternal destination for themselves.  The baptism Jesus underwent on the cross divided the world in two; some have accepted his sacrifice and followed his teaching; still others believe he was just a man, and the cross has no meaning in their lives.  On this earth the strongest of all bonds exist within the family unit.  Loyalty among siblings and between parents and children are supreme; yet not even these sacred relationships could withstand the new order Christ’s sacrifice has produced; the believer’s new supreme allegiance belongs to him, and those who share this allegiance are, ‘The Body of Christ.’

                In Luke Jesus said to a man, “Follow me;” to which the man replied, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus then said, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you, go and preach the kingdom.”  Then another man came to him and said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  Jesus replied, “No one, having put his hand to plow and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God.”  In both instances Jesus was causing turmoil and creating division.  Both men were given the opportunity to choose between allegiance to family, and allegiance to Jesus Christ.  Two choices, two sides, two paths; the choices presented to them are the same choices we face today.

                In our time, the majority of people see Jesus Christ as the ‘prince of peace,’ but not as ‘the sword of God that cuts the world in two.’  Jesus did not come to bring peace to the earth, but to create unity among believers and division between those believers and everyone else.  If you are at peace with the world, how can you be at peace with God?  If we stand in this place as faithful believers, then the world will stand in opposition to us.  Persecution is part of being a believer; we will suffer for our faith, but we are not alone.  We must be strong for each other, and as one body, we can endure, and we can overcome the world through our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

             “Lord Heavenly Father we ask that You give us the strength to step out in faith for You.  We desire to be Your followers, so please help us to be different, to be filled with love, and to never be ashamed of the truth.  Lord may our allegiance to You and to Your Son be supreme, and may we never put any relationship ahead of our relationship with You.  Lord, may we eternally stand with You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

Receiving the message

JESUS SPEAKING

“I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world.  They were Yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you.  For I have given them the words which you have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that that You sent me” (John 17: 6-8.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus was speaking directly to God in the presence of his disciples.  He identified his task, and acknowledged that it had been completed.  His task was to make God known to all those willing to listen.  The true children of God listened to Jesus, accepted him as God’s messenger, and received his words as the very words of God.  God gave those children (the disciples), to Jesus, to teach, to love, to protect, and to nurture.  Today, God is still selecting people out of the world, to be his eternal possessions.  Anyone who accepts the message of Jesus Christ, has become a true child of God.  We believe his words are God’s words; we believe his ways are God’s ways; and we believe his followers are God’s followers.  Those who follow God are saved, but those who choose to ignore His message will perish.

In 1912 the Titanic slipped beneath the icy evening waves of the Atlantic Ocean; nearly 1000 people joined it on its journey to the bottom of the ocean depths.  There weren’t enough lifeboats to carry all of the passengers; but no one needed to die.  Most are unaware that there was a large ship named ‘The Californian,’ less than 20 miles away that evening (close enough to have saved most of Titanic’s passengers.)  ‘The Californian’ received distress calls from the Titanic (via radio and lamps;) they also saw 8 distress flares, and crew members later testified that the Titanic appeared to be listing in the water (leaning to one side.)  No one but God knows why, but the captain of ‘The Californian’ didn’t seem to take these messages seriously; he returned to bed after hearing the reports.  During an official inquiry in to the captain’s actions, he remained elusive, continually changing his story; he even made attempts to doctor the log book and change their reported position on the evening of the tragedy.  The real circumstances of his inaction were never clear.  Many however would speculate that the Captain simply didn’t take the messages seriously.  He heard the reports, but he didn’t believe them, and for that reason 1000 people lost their lives.

Jesus Christ, and the words that he spoke are God’s signal flares in a very dark, and very cold world.  Some see the signals, and they are drawn to him.  They see Jesus, and realize that he is God’s message, and because they believe that message, they are saved from death.  Sadly, no matter how many flares He sends up pointing to his Son, most will never take God’s message seriously; for that they will perish in darkness.  Jesus Christ is God’s message to you.  Will you respond to that message?  Those who respond follow Jesus and dedicate their lives to spreading his message to others.  The initial response is your belief?  Do you believe today that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that by your faith in him you have eternal life?  (Take some time to answer that question; it is more serious than you could ever imagine.  Your very life depends on it!)

“Lord heavenly Father, we come before You, and we ask that You please accept our allegiance to You and to Your Son.  We desire to be Yours, and we believe Your message, and we accept Your word.  We await the life you have promised, and we ask that you strengthen us in this world to do Your work.  Give us a desire to spread Your message to others, that we would make more disciples, and bring others out of death and in to life.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.