Archive for May, 2011

The Greatest Commandment

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then one of the scribes came and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear oh Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.  And you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, will all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment.  And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  So the scribe said to him, “Well said teacher.  You have spoken the truth.” (Mark 12: 28-32.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                A teacher of God’s law happened by and was captivated by the wisdom of Jesus.  The scribe tested him by asking which commandment was the most important.  The Lord responded by proclaiming the oneness of God.  What separated the Jewish people from every other culture was their faith in one God; an almighty and unseen Creator (unlike the surrounding pagan cultures who worshipped many Gods.)  Jesus identified man’s place in relation to the One True and Living God; every person has been designed by God to be in fellowship with Him (to love Him with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength.)  The second commandment was an expression of the first; complete love for God would be revealed in true love for others.  It says in 1 John, If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar.”  Loving God and loving others are the same commandment; it is impossible to do one without the other.  A person who claims to be near to God, and to love and cherish Him completely, but seems distant, cold, and unloving toward others is either deceived or disobedient (neither of which is good.)  [Note:  Many leaders and members in the church, who proclaim to be close to God, reveal, through their indifference toward others, that they are very distant from Him.] 

                Some weeks ago, I was walking and praying to God behind the coffee shop where I study.  I was practicing, one of the greatest commandments (loving God with my whole heart, mind, soul and strength.)  After having made my connection with the Lord in prayer, I was headed back to the coffee shop to continue studying, when God gave me the opportunity to love another person as I would love myself.  Glancing over at the intersection next to the coffee shop, I spotted an accident; a truck had flipped over on its side.  I rushed across the street; I arrived at the scene to find most people standing at a distance; there was a woman who was trapped inside the overturned vehicle.  The police and the fire department had not yet arrived, so I moved forward and cleared away some debris.  I got down on my stomach and was able to slide my head and one of my arms between the concrete and the driver’s side window opening.  The girl inside was young, and obviously upset.  She was hanging in place by her seatbelt.  I held her hand, and reassured her that everything was going to be okay.  I talked with her as the tears flowed from her eyes.  After a short while, the fire department arrived, I told her that I would be praying for her, and she had the sense of mind to say ‘thank you.’  I walked away from the accident knowing that I had loved that woman as myself; the love of God, a God that lived within my heart had made Himself known to that woman in the hour of her greatest need.

                There is one God, and the two greatest commandments He has given are actually one in the same.  Those who love God and draw near to Him, become like Him.  He is kind; He is compassionate; He is loving; He is merciful; He is truthful; and those who love Him with all of their heart are moved to love others as God loves them.  Throughout your day, connect with God in prayer; cherish His words and hold them within your heart, and contemplate His truth within your mind.  If He is the priority in your life, then you will have a supernatural love for others that will shine the like sun; a love that cannot be denied; a love that comes from the One True and Living God.

                “Lord Heavenly Father we desire to be close to You, and to be in love with You; fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  May our hearts be completely devoted to You, and to others.  Give us opportunities throughout the day to express our love for You, in the lives of those around us.  Use us to reveal Your goodness to the world.  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.   

The sinless can be trusted

JESUS SPEAKING

                “But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me.  Which of you convicts me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?” (John 8: 46-46.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus boldly proclaimed himself to be completely sinless.  Not only was this an impossible claim, he also publicly challenged others to prove him wrong.  No man would be foolish enough to issue this challenge, because every man, woman, and child sins daily (No so called Godly prophet, has ever made this type of proclamation, with the exception of Jesus Christ.)  Although his enemies watched and waited for him to make a mistake, he spoke plainly and publicly without fear.  They found no sin in him, and he was crucified without cause.

                Unlike Jesus Christ, who lived a perfect existence, every self-proclaimed prophet throughout history has never dared to place their own personal lives under true scrutiny; in fact, all false prophets try desperately to hide their personal acts from being examined.  Joseph Smith for example (false prophet and founder of the Mormon faith) claimed to be God’s chosen messenger; but unlike Jesus Christ, Mr. Smith tried to keep his secretive sexual debaucheries from being made known.  While living in Nauvoo Illinois, Joseph became enraged when a newspaper began printing accounts of his sinful life.  In June of 1844; Joseph ordered the printing press destroyed.  His followers dragged the machine in to the streets and smashed it with sludge hammers (a crime for which he was arrested.)  After his death, the accounts of his evil behaviors began to surface.  He married many wives (without informing his first wife Emma until after the initial unions had been made.)  He also married other men’s wives, and married both a mother and a daughter (today, all of the books that he wrote have been revealed to be fraudulent.  His sinful personal life was an indicator of his trustworthiness.) 

                Unlike Joseph Smith, Jesus Christ’s life was completely pure; he can be trusted and believed.  He spoke no lies, exploited no one, and brought the words of God to all those who were willing to listen.  Only Jesus Christ is worthy of praise and honor.  Only Jesus Christ is able to save.  Only Jesus Christ is Godly enough to be followed and obeyed.  Won’t you put your faith and trust in him today?

                “Lord Heavenly Father we praise You and Your Son.  We recognize that he is sinless and worthy to be praised and followed.  Help us to submit to his leadership, and to make him the center of our faith.  Lord, help us to be more like Your Son, and to trust all that he has told us.  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.

Jesus the ‘Christ’

JESUS SPEAKING

                ‘Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi.  On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.”  “But what about you?” he asked.  “Who do you say I am?”  Peter answered, “You are the Christ.”  Jesus warned them not to tell anyone about him’ (Mark 8: 27-30.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Many people were confused about the nature and purpose of Jesus during his earthly ministry.  He did not immediately reveal his identity as the Son of God, and the savior of the world; instead he allowed others to discover his identity for themselves.  Many believed Jesus was a Holy man like John the Baptist who remained pure and ministered to the lost; others believed he was a worker of extraordinary miracles like Elijah who rained fire down from heaven and raised the dead; still others who heard him speak believed he was a prophet whose words were a message from God.  He was far more than just a minister, a miracle worker, and a prophet.  When the disciples were asked who he was, they proclaimed him to be the Christ.  ‘Christ’ was a title reserved for the promised savior. [Note:  The word ‘Christ’ is the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘messiah,’ which means ‘anointed one,’ or ‘Chosen of God.’]  Throughout the Old Testament, God promised that He would send a redeemer to His people; Jesus Christ was (and is) the fulfillment of that promise; he came to save mankind from the sins that had sentenced them to certain death, and eternal separation from God.  His work upon the cross signaled the completion of God’s promise (indeed today, anyone who professes Jesus as the Christ, is forgiven by the blood that was shed upon the cross.)

                During world war two, the Jewish people that were unable to flee Nazi controlled Europe, found themselves surrounded by death.  They were slowly stripped of their rights, their property, and eventually their lives.  As the Jews were herded in to concentration camps, it appeared there was no way out; death was an inevitable certainty.  But there was a slight glimmer of hope.  Those within the camps knew there was a war going on.  If the Nazi’s were defeated, they would keep their lives.  In 1944, the Germans began to retreat from Poland.  As the Russians advanced, they liberated the first ‘concentration camp,’ and many Jews tasted salvation.  As the Russian, American, and British forces made their way to in to the heart of Germany, they freed hundreds of thousands of sick and malnourished Jewish prisoners from the jaws of death.

                Throughout history, death has been the enemy of all people.  People die when they are young; they die when they are old.  It has been said that only two things are certain, “Death, and taxes.”  This is true, for all those who believe Jesus is just a man (or a prophet; or spiritual guru.)  Those who desire to live will find hope in him, and know that he is the Son of the Living God, and the savior of mankind.  When we call Jesus the ‘Christ’ he enters in to our hearts and lives and delivers us from death.  In him we will live forever; in him we will receive the promise of God; in him we will know the goodness of God’s salvation.  There is a question you need to answer; a question that has been asked throughout every generation, to every person who has ever lived; and that question is now being asked of you, “Who do you say I am?”  Who is Jesus Christ to you?

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You today, and we profess that Your Son is the Christ, and that through him we have our salvation.  Help us Father to never lose sight of the hope that we have in him.  Help us Lord to present this question to others in love, that they too, might know what it means to be free from death, and to be wholly forgiven for our sins and transgressions.  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.


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