Archive for March, 2013

Changing Fathers

JESUS SPEAKING

                “You do the deeds of your father.”  Then they said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”  Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of myself, but He sent me.  Why do you not understand my speech?  Because you are unable to listen to my word.  You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.  When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it […] he who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God” (John 8: 41 – 47.) 


INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Many of the religious leaders were claiming to be children of God, yet they in no way resembled Him.  Instead they were lovers of money, who selfishly desired the praises of men.  They also sought to kill Jesus because he truly was the Son of God.  Without exception, every human being has one of two spiritual Fathers.  Either they love and serve God in purity and truth, or they follow Satan and serve their own fleshly desires.  Those seeking to become children of God must be reborn.  Jesus said, “unless one is born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”

                The process of being reborn is comprised of two very unique and distinct steps.  First, the individual must forget everything they have learned that is not congruent with the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Secondly they must embrace and live according to the commandments of God.  Before I was reborn I willingly served Satan.  My life was full of selfishness and promiscuity.  I had learned from movies and popular culture that fornication (sexual activity prior to marriage) was permissible and profitable.  After my rebirth I abandoned my worldly education and embraced the biblical commands to avoid fornication.  After many years of sexual purity, I met my wife.  We courted for nearly a year; during this time we did not cohabitate (live together); we also refrained from sexual contact of any kind.  In accordance with God’s desires, our first intimate moments were shared on the night of our wedding.

                Those who yearn to call God Father, must also be reborn; they must abandon what they have learned from popular culture and embrace the commandments of the Lord.  Every obedient soul will come to resemble Jesus Christ.  Their hearts will be filled with compassion, truth, mercy, and love.  In turn, many will see God and be drawn toward Him.

                “Lord God, may we call You our Father today.  May we be reborn and know that the old things have passed away and You have made all things new.  Guide us, teach us, and transform our hearts that we might continue to grow in Your likeness and Your image.  When others see us may they see 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.

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The messengers of God

JESUS SPEAKING

                While journeying through Samaria, Jesus became tired and sat down next to a well; as he rested, he began speaking with a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water; during their conversation he revealed to her the intimate details of her life; details that only God Himself could know.  Amazed and astonished, ‘the woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet […] I know that the messiah is coming (who is called Christ.)  When he comes he will tell us all things.”  Jesus answered her saying, “I who speak to you am he.” […] The woman then left her water-pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I ever did.  Could this be the Christ?” […] And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in him because of the word of the woman who testified saying, “He told me all that I ever did.”  So when the Samaritans had come to him, they urged him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of his own word” (John 4: 19 – 41.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus Christ chose to reveal himself to an immoral woman who had ventured to the well to find water; completely unaware that on that day she would find the Son of God and receive salvation and eternal life.  After the Lord disclosed to her the intimate details of her existence, she was overwhelmed with joy; the astonished woman left her water-pot behind, and ventured in to the city to seek others she might lead to Jesus; many who eagerly followed her came to receive the free gift of God.  All individuals who place their faith in Jesus Christ become his messengers.  Having been redeemed they make every effort to lead those who are sick to the ‘Great Physician;’ the one person who can mend their wounds and heal their broken hearts.

                Like the ‘Great Physician’, there was once a missionary physician who was working in one of China’s many hospitals; in his efforts to alleviate the suffering of his fellows, he surgically cured a man of cataracts (a clouding of the lens of the eye that causes blindness.)  A few weeks later 48 blind men arrived from the wilds of china (each one seeking the same incredible procedure.)  All 48 were holding on to a rope guided by the man who had been cured.  These men had walked in chain for 250 miles until they had safely reached the hospital.

                There are so many people in this world who have been blinded by sin and death.  People who need someone to guide them to the ‘Great Physician.’  Like the Samaritan woman and the blind man, all those who have been enlightened are given the task of leading others to Jesus Christ.  As ‘re-born’ believers we are instruments in the hands of the Almighty.  He uses us to reach out to our family members, co-workers, and friends.  Our task is to testify of the wonderful things He has done and will do in the lives of all those who believe in Him.

               “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  May we be amazed anew every day by Your miracles and wonders.  May we continue to embrace our duty to lead others to Your Son.  Provide us with opportunities to witness to our family members, co-workers, and friends; that they would hear our words and deeply desire the gift of eternal 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.

Finishing

JESUS SPEAKING

                “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build but was not able to finish?’” (Luke 14: 27 – 30.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS        

                Following Jesus Christ isn’t easy; it requires great sacrifice and tremendous discipline.  Uncomfortable changes are required.  Every believer is called to abandon sin and embrace a life of selflessness and service.  Those considering the Christian life must “sit down first and count the cost.”  They must forsake drunkenness, fornication, pornography and adultery; lewdness and idolatry must be discarded as well.  Gossip, foul language, dirty humor, and selfishness are sacrificed in favor of purity, love, mercy, truth, and selflessness.  Many, who commit to following the Lord, are unable to finish their journey; unfortunately they abandon God’s call and return to their old lives.

                The longest Bridge in the world is the Danyang—Kunshan Grand Bridge in mainland China.  The bridge took four years to build and cost 8.5 billion dollars.  As it snakes over rice patties, lowlands, and rivers, it measures a whopping 102 miles in length.  Bridges are amazing feats of engineering; some are large, some are small, but all of them serve one common purpose; they connect two portions of land divided by an obstacle.  Although these structures are quite useful, an unfinished bridge is of no value whatsoever.  Ninety percent of a bridge is as useful as ten percent of a bridge; in order to be valuable, it must be complete.  Much like a bridge, the life of the believer is useless unless it is completed (Before dying on the cross Jesus Christ uttered the words, “It is finished.”)  Throughout the centuries there have been many genuine disciples; individuals who (like Jesus), died knowing that they had kept the faith until the very end.  Sadly, many more have been unable to complete the journey.

                In proverbs Chapter 20, verse 25, we read, “It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows.”  If you have never made a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, then you must not do so rashly.  First you must consider fully what God is asking from you.  He is asking you to lay down your sins and embrace a life of purity; you must devote your entire existence to serving and loving others.  For those who commit themselves to transformation (rebirth), the road is not easy.  There are no points for half-way.  Once the journey has begun it must be finished.  Only then will we enter God’s eternal kingdom; only then will we know unending peace.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we have begun our journey with You.  We have laid down our worldly ways and have embraced purity and love.  May we continue moving forward and may we never falter.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit; empower us to complete what we have started, that we might one day enter Your 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.

Want forgiveness, then forgive

JESUS SPEAKING

                Now early in the morning he came again in to the temple, and all the people came to him; and he sat down and taught them.  Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery.  And when they had set her in the midst, they spoke, saying to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery.  Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned.  But what do you say?”  This they said testing him, that they might have something of which to accuse him.  But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with his finger, as though he did not hear.  So when they continued asking him, he raised himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.”  And again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last.  And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had raised himself up and saw no one but the woman, he said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours?  Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.”  And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8: 2 – 11.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The Pharisees had likely heard Jesus teaching about the importance of grace and forgiveness.  In turn, they brought to him a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery.  Under Old Testament (Mosaic) law, she was to be stoned to death.  The religious leaders had hoped he would show mercy and speak out against God’s commandments.  However, instead of condemning her, Jesus placed her fate squarely in to the hands of her accusers (but not before reminding them of their own sins.)  To condemn her would be to invite God’s judgment upon themselves.  Therefore those who wished to continue receiving the Lord’s mercy had no choice but to be merciful.  One by one they threw down their stones until no one was left to condemn her.

                In the book of Ecclesiastes (Chapter 7: verse 21) we are given the reason why many struggle to show mercy.  Verse 21 reads, “Also do not take to heart everything people say, lest you hear your servant cursing you.  For many times, also, your own heart has known that even you have cursed others.”  According to Solomon, forgetting our past and current sins will lead to anger and an inability to forgive.  The key to showing mercy therefore, is to be aware of our own shortcomings and to remember God’s forgiveness [Note:  There was a time when driving in traffic was rather frustrating for me.  Whenever someone would accidently cut me off, I would become angry and bitter.  One day however, I recall that someone swerved in to my lane and I reacted quite differently.  I remember a feeling of peace and acceptance that I had never felt before.  The peace came from my mind; from a single thought; I recalled that I myself had many times unknowingly strayed into another lane.  I was guilty of accidently cutting off other drivers.  Having remembered my own imperfection, I was able to accept and forgive others for being imperfect.]

                Whenever we feel bitterness, anger, and hatred toward others, it is likely that we have forgotten who we are.  We are sinners saved by grace; we are imperfect human beings; we also make mistakes.  When we remember rightly that we are inadequate and deficient, we will experience true humility.  How can we refuse to forgive others when God has forgiven us of our sins? 

               “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire humility and seek after Your truth.  May we never forget that we are sinners saved by grace.  Remove any bitterness that rests within us, and replace it with love and understanding.  May we continually receive Your mercy, and may we in turn grant that same mercy to others.  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.

True Fellowship

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then he said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’  But they all with one accord began to make excuses.  The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it.  I ask you to have me excused.’  And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them.  I ask you to have me excused.’  Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’  So that servant came and reported these things to his master.  Then the master of the house, being angry, sad to his servant, ‘Go out quickly in to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’  And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’  Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.  For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper’” (Luke Chapter 14: 16 – 24.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS   

                In this parable the man hosting the feast represents God.  The servant sent out to invite others to join in fellowship is Jesus Christ; and the great supper represents God’s eternal kingdom and the body of Christ as a whole.  Many who heard the Lord speak received the message, and with it salvation.  Most however rejected the gospel; inventing any number of excuses that would enable them to continue pursuing worldly pleasures.

                Some time ago I got involved in a weekly fellowship through a local church.  The church was filled with people who appeared to be affluent and well educated.  After a short time, it became clear that many were not fully committed to the group, let alone to God Himself.  They enjoyed drinking and frequenting bars and clubs; many did not see fornication as an act of extreme evil either.  Not surprisingly, every week we would hear a list of excuses as to why these individuals would not be able to attend the bible study.  One girl often missed group because her favorite basketball team played on Thursday nights.  Unfortunately many do not take their relationship with God seriously (or they deny it entirely.)  Some will come up with any excuse to avoid fellowship, bible reading, and service work.

                Today, the message is still being preached.  God continues to invite the masses to join Him in fellowship.  Those who heed the call integrate themselves into the body of Christ and begin to serve and love others.  Get involved at your local church and abandon the excuses and worldly pleasures that separate you from your fellows.  Attend a bible study, and get to know your true brothers and sisters.  Build friendships with other believers and read the bible.  If you obey the Lord’s commands and love unconditionally, then you will have entered in to God’s kingdom, and you will live forever in His presence.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know You and to love You.  If we have not fully accepted your message then may we eagerly receive it today.  May we enter Your eternal kingdom and may we hunger for genuine fellowship with other believers.  Eliminate our excuses that we might serve our brothers and sisters in love.  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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