Archive for August, 2013

Peacemakers

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Son’s of God” (Mathew 5: 9)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The world is full of conflict.  Yet in the midst of the hostility, God’s children are called to promote peace.  The Lord Himself is a peacemaker; He detests war, and abhors senseless aggression.  Many who share His heart also share His mission; to bring harmony where there is hatred and tranquility where there is contempt.  Those who choose to make peace will inherit the unending and eternal blessings offered to the ‘Sons and daughters of God.’

                (As the story goes)  In the 4th century A.D., a monk named Telemachus felt God calling him to go to Rome.  He packed up his meager possessions and set out for the great city.  When he arrived, the streets were bustling with excitement.  He asked why everyone was so energized; he was informed that the gladiators would soon be fighting to the death in the coliseum.  He was horrified that men would be killing one another for sport.  The monk headed to the stadium; after entering he pushed through the crowds, hopped a fence, and made his way to the center of the arena.  As he stood between the two gladiators, he shouted, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  The crowd began to yell, “Run him through, Run him through.”  A gladiator approached the monk and struck him in the stomach with the back of his sword.  Telemachus fell to the ground, but soon recovered.  He once again placed himself between the two armed men and shouted, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  Suddenly the other gladiator approached the monk and plunged his sword in to his belly.  Telemachus immediately fell to the ground and began to bleed out.  Before dying, he was able to utter one last statement, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  A hush came over the crowd.  Suddenly one man got up and left; then another; and another; within minutes all 80,000 people had exited the coliseum.  That was the last gladiatorial contest in Roman history [Source Unknown.]

                The people of God are called to be peacemakers, no matter the consequence.  When others are silent we must speak up.  Where there is discord we must bring unity; where there is conflict we must promote peace.  In so doing we will be called ‘The children of God,’ and we will know the eternal blessings and unending joy of genuine and faithful obedience.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we long for obedience; may we share the desires of Your heart.  May we love others as You do.  May You continually use us to promote peace and to end conflict.  Give us the courage and the strength to speak up when others fall silent; may we be Your sons and daughters; and may we experience the blessings of genuine obedience.  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.

God is your friend

JESUS SPEAKING

                “You are my friends if you do whatever I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my Father I have made known to you” (John 15: 14 – 15.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                After eating the Passover feast, the Lord said farewell to his closest companions.  In a long discourse (filled with emotion and love) Jesus revealed God’s complete plan to the disciples.  During this address, those who had called him Master were urged to consider him a ‘friend.’  The term ‘friend’ implied a deeper, more intimate relationship.  In ancient times, masters and servants were never equals; they weren’t partners; and they certainly were never friends; their positions prevented them from close personal fellowship.  In order to preserve authority and respect, the master had to maintain a safe distance (as “familiarity breeds disrespect.”)  Yet the ‘King of Kings’ (Jesus) shattered the barriers that hindered true intimacy.  The disciples became his equals; no longer was he just their Lord and master; he became their brother; their closest companion; and their greatest friend.

                At the age of 19, I worked as a guard and a counselor in a minimum security juvenile facility.  My role was that of a disciplinarian.  Often, when a child misbehaved, we had to intervene and physically restrain them.  The staff was given a great deal of power and authority.  Although we interacted with the children in positive ways, we had to maintain a professional distance.  Too much intimacy caused them to lose respect for us and our positions.  If they came to believe we were their equals, they would question and disobey our commands.  Those who falsely see God as an equal lose respect for Him.  Fear of God is good; those who fear Him are aware of his power and authority.   We read in Proverbs, “Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  In turn, God sent His Son, so that all could know Him as a ‘friend’ as well as a Father.

                God must always be honored and respected; (He is our master and we are His servants) in turn, there is a distance between God and man.  In His divine wisdom, He chose to use His only Son to draw near to all people.  Jesus Christ is God’s gift to mankind.  He is God in a form we need not fear; we need only approach Him in love; we are free to speak to Him; to fellowship with Him; and to be in communion with Him.  He is more than our teacher, our master, and our shepherd; he is our brother; he is our closest companion; he is our best friend.  Would you like to know God?  If you seek closeness with God embrace Jesus Christ and he will comfort you and give you peace; look to the Son of God and you will know his Father.  Invite him in to your heart and he will teach you all things; and “you will know the truth; and the truth shall make you free.”

                “Lord Heavenly Father we love You, and we thank You for Your son.  We desire to draw near to him; may every obstacle be removed, and every barrier destroyed.  May he be our brother, our companion, and our friend.  May we confide in You Lord; may we look to You for direction, for love, and for comfort.  We love You Father; we love You Jesus; we praise You and we thank You; and we ask all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.   

 

Only one way to enter

JESUS SPEAKING

                Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep.  All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.  He will come in and go out, and find pasture.  The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10: 7-10.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In the days of Jesus shepherding was a very common profession.  A good shepherd would effortlessly love and care for his sheep.  Most shepherds were continually concerned with feeding and watering their livestock; they also fended off hungry predators, and made sure to keep the sheep free from dangerous parasites.  Over time, the sheep would come to trust in and rely upon the one who guided them and loved them.  After many days and nights of grazing in the open fields, the shepherd would need to rest; he would return home and put his animals in a pen where he knew they would be safe.  Jesus is the ‘Good Shepherd.’  He came to gather together his sheep, and to lead them to safety.  The sheep pen is an illustration that represents heaven; there is only one gate through which one can enter.  Only those who have faith in and follow Jesus Christ can enter God’s kingdom.

                Today, flying is a common mode of transportation.  In recent years, many terrorists have utilized airplanes to commit atrocious acts of violence against many innocent people.  In an effort to prevent these attacks from occurring, airport security has become appropriately severe.  There is only one way in, and one way out.  Those seeking to enter through the security checkpoints must have proper identification.  No license, or government identification, means no entry.  This rule is without exception (a nice smile, a kind face, and an appealing excuse are of no benefit.)  God’s kingdom is similar in many respects.  There is one way to enter; only those who have faith in Jesus Christ can be admitted.

                Jesus Christ is the ‘Good Shepherd.’  He came to lead his sheep into everlasting life.  Many have heard his words and have received Him.  Still many others have rejected him entirely.  Despite the differences between them, the faithful and the unfaithful share in this; they will both one day stand at the gate; however, only those who called Jesus master and Lord will be able to enter God’s eternal Kingdom. 

                “Lord Heavenly Father, may we enter Your Kingdom.  We have come to trust in You fully; lead us Lord; teach us; provide for all of our needs.  May we be Your sheep, and may You be our Shepherd; may we know Your voice and never be deceived.  Protect us from those who would seek to do us harm and inspire us to reach out to those who are lost.  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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