Archive for May, 2013

Focus on today not tommorrow

JESUS SPEAKING

            “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.  Sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Mathew 6: 34.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            Apprehension, fear, and anxiety are destructive emotions that cause turmoil in the hearts and minds of most human beings.  Although the majority of our worries revolve around some real (or imagined) future difficulty, they usually cause us distress in the present.  Such uncertainties can steal our joy and distract us from the work that God has currently called us to accomplish.  Therefore, Jesus commands every believer to live in the moment and to focus wholly and completely upon the blessings, cares, and concerns of today.

            In the Old Testament book of exodus we are given a wonderful illustration that emphasizes the importance of living in the moment.  After leaving Egypt and passing through the Red Sea the Jewish people wandered about in the wilderness for forty years.  Each day God miraculously fed them by causing a delicious bread to condense and accumulate on the desert floor.  No one was allowed to collect and store excess amounts of bread (except on the day prior to the Sabbath.)  Instead, they were only permitted to eat what was necessary to sustain them daily.  Violating this law meant focusing on tomorrow’s needs and concerns [When asked how one ought to pray Jesus reiterated this doctrine; we are told to ask God to, “give us this day our daily bread.”  Not our weekly, monthly, or yearly bread; but rather, “our daily bread.”]

            Fear of tomorrow serves only to distract us from the joys, blessings, and obligations of today.  When we focus on the present we are fully able to accomplish God’s will.  As we trust in the Lord we can begin to cherish every second, of every hour, of every day.  To live now is to live for God; knowing that His love is a present gift and not a future possibility.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to live in the moment and to rely upon You for our daily needs.  May our concerns and our cares be firmly rooted in the present.  If our hearts possess fears and anxieties related to the future, remove them, that we may be joyful, loving, and better able to serve You today.  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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Abandoning the desire for worldly greatness

JESUS SPEAKING

            But Jesus called them to himself and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  However, it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever desires to be first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10: 42 – 45.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            As children we are taught that dominance is better than submission, and that a higher social status means a better life.  Many therefore seek to acquire positions of great power and authority.  Yet Christ’s teachings are in direct opposition to such worldly principles.  Those who follow Jesus must deny what they have been taught, in order to embrace the doctrines of genuine faith and divine humility.  Only by abandoning the desire for greatness, can one completely and lovingly serve others.

            For years young men from across the country have flocked to the church where I serve seeking to do pastoral ministry.  Many hopefuls were initially referred to a pastor named Romain who employed a special technique designed to separate the qualified from the unqualified.  As the prospects approached, he would hand them a broom and tell them to go sweep a portion of the church.  Although many were obedient, others felt insulted and became upset.  One common response sounded something like this, “I came here to be a pastor and to teach the bible, not to sweep floors.”  Pastor Romain knew then that they did not have a servant’s heart; they had not come to serve and to practice humility, but to acquire power and authority.

            Those who follow the Son of God must give-up the desire for worldly greatness in order to pursue lowliness and humility.  Seeking to serve others rather than to be served, we become the men and women God has called us to be.  We can serve at home, in the community, at work, and in our church.  We can serve our family members, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers.  Only through selflessness and sacrifice can we be transformed in to the image of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.     

            “Lord Heavenly Father, inspire us to seek lowliness and humility.  May we hunger to love and serve others in sincerity and singleness of heart.  Provide us with opportunities to place the needs of our fellows ahead of our own, that we might be examples of Your great mercy and everlasting affection.  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.

Get plugged in

JESUS SPEAKING

            Then they said to him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”  Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He has sent” (John 6: 28 – 29.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Everywhere Jesus went the crowds went with him; having witnessed his countless miracles, the masses desperately sought to discover how they too might accomplish similar feats of greatness.  Jesus answered saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He has sent.”  According to the Lord, righteousness and divine power are the offspring of a life built firmly upon the foundation of genuine faith; faith in the Son of God; faith that his teachings are God’s revelation to mankind; faith that he is seated at the creator’s right hand; faith that he loves us and that through him we are reconciled to our Almighty and Everlasting Father.  The messiah is the source of all power; only through him can we hope to accomplish God’s will. 

                Some time ago I purchased a saw from a local hardware store.  Unfortunately the saw suddenly shut down while I was using it; I tried everything to get it to work again.  I fiddled with it; I read the directions more thoroughly; I searched the internet for similar problems.  Eventually I had to bring the saw back to store and exchange it for a different model.  After returning home, I plugged in the new saw; sadly it didn’t work either.  My frustration drove me to try a different socket, and sure enough, the blade began to spin.  I soon discovered that a local fuse had blown which affected only a couple of outlets in the house.  I was needless to say, more than a little embarrassed.  The saw had never been broken; instead, it stopped working because it had become separated from the source of its power.

                Like my saw, many are disconnected from the source of all divine power.  Without faith in Jesus Christ most are unable to function properly.  Those who do place their faith in God’s Son grow strong and continue to mature.  They possess great peace and great hope; they have the ability to live righteously and to accomplish many wonderful works in the lives of others.  May we continue to place our faith in Jesus Christ.  May we never turn away from the source of our strength that our lives may continue to be a testament to God’s power and majesty.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we believe in Your Son and we acknowledge his power.  Increase our faith that we might grow stronger and be more like You.  Accomplish Your works in us and through us, that our lives may testify of Your goodness and mercy.  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.

Better to give than to recieve

JESUS SPEAKING

            “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

            The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates in to the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life experience great joy, peace, and contentment.  Such an existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of selflessness and service.  Sadly however, from birth, nearly all human beings are resoundingly selfishness.  As the unsaved seek to acquire as many possessions as possible, most become isolated, depressed and discouraged.  They are unaware that true happiness does not come from selfish gain; rather, it is the product of selfless giving.

            Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor, sought to discover a link between overall happiness and daily giving.  He therefore conducted an experiment in which a small amount of money was given to a group of test subjects.  Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves; the other half were told to spend the money on someone else.  When researchers contacted the subjects at the end of the day, they found that those who had spent the money on someone else reported feeling much happier than those who had selfishly squandered their’ allotments.  [Note:  In another study, Norton found that sales team productivity and relationship quality increased as salespeople were given money to spend on other team members.]

            Norton had discovered that although selfish gain seemed appealing, it lacked the power bring about lasting joy.  True peace and genuine contentment are the products of selflessness and sacrifice.  By serving and giving to others, the believer demonstrates generosity and Christian love.  As selflessness reigns in our hearts and minds, we must never forget that happiness comes not from what we might receive, but rather, from what we are willing to give.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, pour out upon us Your many blessings.  As we serve and love our fellows, may our hearts be filled with generosity and love.  May selfishness have its end in us, and may selflessness reign in our lives, that through our sacrifices, others might come to glorify Your Holy Name.  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.