Archive for November, 2012

The Salt of the Earth

JESUS SPEAKING

“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Mathew 5: 13.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In ancient time’s salt was a very important commodity used as a preservative in meat and as an additive in many medicinal remedies (it was mined and traded extensively throughout the Mediterranean.)  Despite its many varying applications, salt was, by far, most commonly used to flavor foods (a little pinch and an otherwise bland dish was rendered tasty.)  In this parable Jesus likens every believer to salt; those who remain flavorful are those who continue to fulfill their primary purpose; such individuals consistently serve their fellows, love others, and give to those in need.  Unfortunately, many who start out strong in the faith eventually lose their saltiness; they become self-centered and ungodly; they no longer possess a zeal for what is good, and they choose to serve themselves rather than others; such individuals are useless to God and will not inherit eternal life.

                The statue of liberty is one of America’s most widely recognized icons.  She is a towering symbol of freedom to all nations.  However, “Lady Liberty” has changed somewhat over the years.  On the day of her dedication in 1886, her polished copper surface was a vibrant spectacle of bright red and orange (truly she was something to behold.)  Sadly, when copper interacts with the atmosphere it corrodes; over time, her once shiny exterior has become dull, muted, and green.  The statue of liberty is still a magnificent example of ingenuity and craftsmanship; however, she is no longer what she once was on the day of her dedication.

                Many Christians also dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ, and initially, they shine quite brilliantly.  Their zeal for what is good and their desire to spread the gospel is unparalleled.  As they serve, the love of The Lord is manifest in them, drawing others toward God.  Sadly, over time (as other things displace their faith) selfishness begins to reign in their hearts.  They become dull and muted; such individuals are rendered useless to God.  May we never grow dull; may we continually put the Lord first in all that we do; and may we tirelessly strive to accomplish His will in this place.

                “Heavenly Father, fill us anew with Your Holy Spirit.  Give us opportunities to serve others in love.  We desire to be pleasing to You in all things; use us to further Your Kingdom.  May we always be zealous and flavorful, and may we never grow dull.  If we have turned away, please convict us and correct us.  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.

Daily Bible Reading

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.  And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward he was hungry.  Now when the tempter came to him, he said, “If you are the Son of God, then command these stones to become bread.”  But he answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Mathew 4: 1 – 4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The flesh and the spirit are the two most fundamental parts of every human being.  Each requires unique attention.  If the body is not fed it begins to deteriorate; similarly, the Spirit must also be nourished in order to avoid decay.  After being baptized by John, the Lord was led in to the wilderness, where he fasted for forty days and forty nights.  During this time, Satan attempted to persuade him to break his fast.  In response, Jesus reminded the Devil of the greater importance of Spiritual sustenance.  In the absence of physical food, Christ’s soul remained strong; his heart fed continually upon the word of God.  Only those who regularly read the scriptures will grow to maturity, and remain in control of their fleshly desires.

                Prior to my conversion, I recall interacting with a number of individuals who practiced daily bible reading.  Many seemed to possess an unshakable faith; they were filled with joy and peace, and were far more loving than those around them.  I started to realize that the scriptures had the power to transform lives.  After I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and savior, I began to make daily bible reading a part of my life (knowing that exposure to the Word of God would bring about wonderful changes in my heart and mind.)  Truly, in persisting to read, my faith has been increased, my negative habits have been removed, and my obedience has grown exponentially.  I have experienced the true power of God’s word.  I still read the bible daily, and the Lord continues to mold me and shape me in to the image of His Son.

                The majority of individuals today are spiritually malnourished; most have thoroughly fed their bodies but have neglected their spiritual needs.  Those who desire to be transformed cannot ignore God’s word; it is a fountain of truth; it is a spring of knowledge; it is a river of life; it has the ability to purify and cleanse the heart and the mind.  May we all come to understand the power of the Holy Scriptures; may we read His word daily.  May we be fed spiritually and grow strong; and may God’s laws bring us true peace, unending love, and everlasting joy.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, please give us a hunger to read Your Word.  Help us to comprehend the importance of Spiritual nourishment.  May we desire Your truths, and devour Your laws.  May we continuously feed off of the scriptures and grow strong; and may every word, of every page, draw us ever closer to 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. 

Public Profession of 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 a major role in what we communicate to others; most intuitively hide what is unimportant or shameful, while openly expressing the things that are of great value.  In American culture, individuals utilize social media to post quotes, publish photos, and transmit thoughts.  Many also use billboards, bumper stickers, t-shirts, and jewelry to convey their beliefs to others.  Yet in a nation supposedly 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 face execution and imprisonment.  Only some 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 must 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 true 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 followed the teachings of Jesus Christ?  Would we be condemned by love, and convicted by our faith?

                Only 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 words, deeds, and nonverbal communication.  Whether it is 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 in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you. 

Gratitude

JESUS SPEAKING
                Now it happened as he went to Jerusalem that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee.  Then he entered a certain village, there met him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off.  And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, master, have mercy on us.”  So when he saw them, he said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the preists.”  And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face, at his feet, giving him thanks.  And he was a Samaritan.  So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed?  But where are the nine?  Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?”  And he said to him, “Arise, go your way.  Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17: 11 – 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus healed ten lepers physically; yet just one leper was healed spiritually.  Only the Samaritan’s heart had been fully restored.  Filled with thankfulness and true appreciation, he returned to the messiah to worship and glorify the one True and Living God.  Often the greatest indicator of genuine faith is gratitude.  Most who have been healed spiritually (and physically), cling to Jesus; they make him the foundation upon which they build their lives.  Those whose hearts have been mended are continually filled with love for God; a love that is expressed through prayers of thanksgiving, songs of worship, acts of kindness, daily bible reading, and obedience to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

                Many years ago, before God performed a miracle in my heart, I was the resident of two mental institutions.  Daily I contemplated suicide, and attempted it on one occasion (but the attempt failed.) For years I was a slave to drugs and alcohol, cigarettes, fornication, and every manner of evil readily available to me (In scripture, Jesus healed a man possessed by demons; the man had been cutting himself; I too had been cutting myself and burning my skin with lit cigarettes.)  When I finally met Jesus Christ, he cast out the demons that dwelled within me.  My mind, my body, and my soul were healed.  Today, my heart is filled with peace and love; love for God; love for others; and love for myself.  The Holy Spirit lives in me; in Christ, I am a completely new creation.  Having received a miracle, I return to the Lord every day to thank Him.  I speak to Him in prayer; I read His word; I live out His commandments, and obey His teachings.  As is the duty of every Christian, I also make an effort to spread the message to others; that they too might be healed and receive the Spirit of God.

                Has the Lord done a work of healing in you?  Have you been transformed by the Spirit of the Living God?  If Jesus Christ has touched your life, then may gratitude pour from your heart.  May you give God glory, and honor, and praise.  Obey His commandments and love your fellows.  Read His word and offer up prayers of thanksgiving.  Reach out to those who are in bondage; tell them about the wonderful miracle that the Lord has performed in your life.  May God guide you; may He continue to sanctify you, and may His peace never leave you; from this day forward, until the day of His return [Note:  If you have never experienced the miracle of salvation, contact me; I would love to discuss how you might do that today.]

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for all of Your wonderful works, and for the gift of salvation.  You have transformed us; You have healed us; You have given us new lives.  May we remain ever grateful; may love rule in our hearts and minds; and may we continually praise, honor, and worship Your Holy name.  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.