Archive for August, 2011

Fellowship is essential

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Again I sayto you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mathew 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The word ‘Amen,’ so commonly spoken at the end of most prayers, essentially means ‘I agree.’  ‘Amen’ is an expression used when two people have finished praying together.  Like so many Christian practices, prayer is meant to be exercised in community (as well as alone.)  No one can have a full relationship with God until they share Him with others.  When two or more gather together to celebrate Christ his Spirit is made manifest in the heart of every believer; those who are weak become strong; doubt is replaced by faith; the empty are made full, and every weary soul becomes glad.  An isolated Christian is a Christian who is weak and vulnerable to attack.  To avoid fellowship with believers is to avoid fellowship with Christ himself.      

                I have been answering prayer lines at my church for nearly two years.  Over that period of time I have been able to make some profound observations.  Those who are not involved in a church fellowship, or a small group bible study, suffer great difficulties.  Many isolators are doing drugs and struggling with grievous sins; nearly all who remain detached are in some kind of continual crisis.  On the contrary, those who express a spirit of joy are actively involved in service work; they usually attend a small group fellowship; most have made close friendships with other believers; and nearly all of them intimately share God with those who call Jesus their Lord.

                Are you involved in a fellowship today?  Do you have close Christian friends that you pray with regularly?  Is your experience with Christ exercised in community, or in isolation?  If you are not plugged in to the body of Christ, go down to your church and ask them about weekly fellowships you might attend.  They usually have lists, and you can always find one that fits your schedule.  Make friends with other believers, and pray with them daily; become a part of God’s family and be renewed by the Holy Spirit.  Without fellowship, you will never know the fullness of God’s power in your life.

                “Lord heavenly Father we come before You and ask that You help us to be members of Your body.  We desire to share You with others, and to be in fellowship with our eternal brothers and sisters.  May we draw near to one another as we all draw near to You.  May Your Spirit flow freely between us.  If we have isolated, give us opportunities to fellowship with others and to grow strong.  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.

Childlike Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

               Then they also brought infants to him that he might touch them; but when the disciples saw it they rebuked them.  But Jesus called them to him and said, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Luke 18: 15-17.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

               Jewish mothers commonly asked Rabbi’s to bless their children (and Jesus, being a rabbi was no exception.)  To prevent him from being thronged by the crowds, the disciples acted as intermediaries; on this occasion they allowed their cultural perceptions to influence their judgment.  In the Hebrew culture wisdom was more valuable than gold; since wisdom came with age, the old were treated reverently; the young however, were often viewed as insignificant.  The disciples mistakenly attempted to deny children access to the messiah.  Jesus rebuked them and proceeded to turn the world upside down.  He shockingly proclaimed children to be the teachers, and adults to be the students.  But why would he do something so radical?  Because infants are free from manmade wisdom and human understanding.  They have not been educated by a world that denies God.  They trust completely and believe without question.  Faith in Christ is simple, and only those who become simple will enter God’s Kingdom.

               For most of my life I was taught that the evolutionary model of creation was a scientific fact.  The vast majority of intellectuals today faithfully believe the earth is billions of years old.  Yet, the earth, according to God, is less than 10,000 years old; two conflicting answers, from two conflicting sources.  As my faith in God began to grow, I came to a crossroads; believe in man, or trust in God.  I had to let go of everything I had ever learned […] much of my supposed wisdom and human understanding were sacrificed.  Over time I became an infant; ready to learn the truth from a loving Father.  Today God commands all of my faith; I have come to trust his word without question.  God is reliable, he does not lie, and he does not mislead.  He speaks the truth [NOTE:  Should the intellect be discarded?  Certainly not; God has given us a mind to help us discern what is true.  I used my mind to examine the claims of those who contradicted the creator.  I discovered many brilliant people that did not support the theory of evolution (both Christians and non-Christians); I found the facts did not support this theory either (For example, Darwin believed the cell was quite simple—like a blob of j-e-l-l-o; in turn, for nearly 200 years, college professors have been teaching that life originated by means of spontaneous generation, or ‘a-biogenesis.’  ‘A-biogenesis’ is the belief that millions of years ago, in an ancient sea, random chemicals, and lightening combined to create the first living cell (or unit of life capable of self-replication) they further believed that all living things on earth came from this one cell.  Unfortunately modern technology has made it possible to look inside of a cell (it is nothing like j-e-l-l-o; the cell is extremely complex.)  The simplest cell capable of replicating itself has more working parts than the space shuttle—not something that can randomly come together in an ancient ocean; most microbiologists have conceded that life could not have arisen on its own; ‘bio-genesis’ has been confirmed; this means no living thing can come from a non-living thing; without a foundation, the entire theory has crumbled.  The fossil record is another area of contention because it lacks any intermediary forms; an intermediary form is a link  between different species—for example, many scientists speculate that the elephant evolved from the manatee; or that the manatee evolved from the elephant (or that they are related somehow by means of evolution.)  Unfortunately, in nearly 200 years since evolution was popularized, Paleontologists have yet to discover a half manatee/half elephant.  They have yet to discover one single intermediary form linking any two distinct species.  Every species appears to be distinct and separate; as if they were all created at once.  Such evidence supports the biblical account of creation in the book of Genesis.)]

               In a world where intellect is honored and glorified, childlike faith is rare.  Where human understanding reigns, the truth of God is treated with disdain.  Those who refuse to believe and trust in God with their whole hearts will not enter His eternal Kingdom.  To understand the truth, you must let go of the lie.  Let go of what you have been taught, and become willing to learn from God.  Be reborn and put your faith in Him; put your trust in Him; and He will guide you in to everlasting life.

               “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to trust You more fully.  Remove any learning that stands in opposition to Your truth.  Help us to become simple; to become little children; ready to be taught by a wonderful Father.  We commit ourselves entirely to You.  May we completely trust Your word; may our faith in You be undivided, and may we have full confidence in all of Your promises.  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.

Have you been called?

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then he said to another, “Follow me.”  But the man said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  And another also said, “Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 59-62.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus Christ called many; few chose to answer his call.  The calling of God demanded immediate and absolute obedience.  When Jesus called Simon and Andrew they were hauling in their fishing nets, and we read, “They immediately left their nets and followed him.”  The priority of the first man in this scripture was to attend to the burial of his father.  Jesus beckoned him to focus on the living, not the dead (the man’s Father was obviously a non-believer.)  The second man, desiring to return home and say farewell to his family, placed his loved ones ahead of the work of God.  The Jewish people were very familiar with agriculture: plowing, planting, and reaping were intimate aspects of their existence (which is why Jesus portrayed the men’s lack of compliance with a farming illustration.)  When driving the ox and the plow, the farmers eyes had to be focused on the field ahead; looking backward served no purpose other than to distract him from his necessary work.  The world is filled with diversions, obstacles, and enticements; distractions are dangerous; they can prevent the believer from reaching their eternal destination.

                According to the national highway safety commission, 80% of all crashes involve driver distraction.  The statistics proved true for a man named Stephen in 1983.  One beautiful sunny morning he hopped in his new Mercedes Benz; with the top down and the wind in his face, he set out for an important appointment.  As he drove up the coast of Southern California, he passed along the beach.  His attentions unexpectedly turned to a young blond woman wearing a bikini.  As she jogged passed his car, his eyes, heart, and mind began to follow along with her; the image of a complete stranger took priority over the road, his destination, and his new wife Sandy.  Suddenly, he smashed in to the back end of a Chevelle that had come to a complete stop in his lane.  Although his body remained uninjured, his pride, and the front end of his Mercedes weren’t quite that lucky.  While driving, the road, and what lies ahead must be the priority; it is more important than anything else; to reach the destination, one must not lose focus or get distracted.

                Jesus Christ has called many, but few have responded in the serious and immediate manner required for discipleship.  If you have felt the call of the Lord upon your life, let go of this existence and grab hold of eternal things.  Make God your immediate priority, and your everlasting Lord.  Preach the gospel to all those you meet; do the works of God, and avoid distractions; this life is a passing dream; keep your eyes, mind, and heart, focused on God, and you will surely reach your divine destination.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You would be our first priority.  Be the master of our lives.  We desire to be Your disciples and to follow You completely.  Help us to avoid distractions.  May our eyes continually be focused upon You.  Give us the wisdom and strength to finish what we have started, and to continue onward, until we reach Your Eternal Kingdom.  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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