Archive for March, 2017

Marriage is Permanent

JESUS SPEAKING

          Then the Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him.  And He answered them saying, “What did Moses command you?”  They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.”  And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept.  But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”  In the house His disciples also asked Him again about the same matter.  So He said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her.  And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10: 2-12.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          The religious leaders asked Jesus a controversial question concerning divorce (controversial even today.)  They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”  Jesus’ answered ‘No.’  He then referred to Adam and Eve as an example of God’s divine will concerning marriage.  In ‘the beginning,’ God created two people; Adam and his wife Eve.  They were created for one another; God intended them to be one inseparable person; one being, in eternal fellowship with Him.  They longed for one another and had no desire to be apart.  Divorce is not God’s creation [Although God did not create divorce, according to Jesus, He allows it in only one instance.  Sexual immorality, such as adultery, is a just cause for divorce.]  The bond between a husband and wife is sacred; and if broken, produces a plethora of eternal consequences.

          Every human being alive today is the product of the union between two people.  When the first cell is formed in the womb, it carries with it, all of the information necessary to create a person.  Half of the instructions come from the mother, and half come from the father.  The child may have the father’s eyes, but the mother’s hair; their mannerisms and behaviors will partially reflect either parent in some way.  Imagine attempting to separate the child in two; ‘half of Dad over there; half of Mom over here.’  Can a human being be divided in such a way and still hope to live?  No; any attempt at separation would surely result in death.  When two people get divorced they are trying to separate what cannot be separated.  Sadly, many married couples choose to divide and in turn they choose death rather than life.

          Today, anyone seeking to be married should understand that there is no turning back; there is no ‘jumping ship;’ there is no dividing what God has made one.  Divorce for any reason other than sexual immorality leads to death.  Although marriage is meant to be a blessing and a gift from the Lord, at times it can be challenging and extremely difficult; despite the challenges however, it is most certainly permanent; it is a contract that can never be broken.  So take the time to consider what marriage means before you enter into an eternal union with another human being.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, please give those who are married the strength to continue forward in love with their eternal partners; may they understand the permanence of their marriage vows.  Also, provide those of us who are not married with wisdom in choosing our future wives and husbands.  Lord, continue to guide Your children; that those who love You may avoid the snares of death, and the tragedy and misery of divorce.  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.

Advertisements

God’s Wisdom

JESUS SPEAKING

          “They will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons.  You will be brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake.  But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony.  Therefore settle it in your hearts not to think beforehand what you will answer.  For I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all of your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist” (Luke 21: 12-15.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          Jesus prophesied that his disciples would suffer persecution; they were all eventually arrested, and 10 of the 12 disciples were put to death.  Although they had committed no crimes, they were brought before kings and rulers, and compelled to testify concerning their faith in Jesus Christ.  Jesus commanded them to refrain from rehearsing their testimonies prior to being questioned.  Preparation had the potential to hinder the proclamation of God’s wisdom.  Human effort needed to be abandoned, and God’s power had to be embraced.  By the power of the Holy Spirit, God spoke through the disciples, and He continues to speak through His people today.  Questions are still being asked and God is still answering them clearly and without error.

          Sometime ago, a woman who had gone through brain surgery reached out to me to discuss matters of faith.  Seeking answers she wrote, “I don’t understand why some suffer such heartache and trials beyond our choosing, and others, often those who are seemingly evil, are blessed beyond belief.”  The Holy Spirit immediately gave me the answer to her question.  The answer did not come from me, but from God.  I simply quoted one of Christ’s parables: “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day.  But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores, who was laid at his gate; desiring to be fed by the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.  Even the dogs came and licked his sores.  Then the time came that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.  The rich man also died and was buried.  And being tormented in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’  But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”

         The correct answers aren’t ours to give.  All genuine wisdom and understanding comes from God, and the Holy Spirit directs and guides those through whom He chooses to speak.  Only God has the right answers.  Only God speaks without error.  In this world, human wisdom battles against divine wisdom.  True victory can only occur when God’s wisdom is proclaimed.  Let God’s words flow from your mouth; give Him the opportunity to speak to those who have questions; let them find real meaning; let them be satisfied with the correct answers; and may the one true and living God make Himself known to all those you meet.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You, and we ask that You fill our mouths with Your words.  Speak through us, and communicate with those who would seek to question and examine our faith.  May You reveal true wisdom to those who lack understanding.  May we be Your messengers to a world that does not know You, and may all those who oppose You be put to shame.  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.

The Tomb is Empty

JESUS SPEAKING

          Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom do you seek?”  She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will go and get him.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to him, “Rabboni! (Which is to say, Master).  Jesus said to her, “Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.’” (John 20: 15-18.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          Mary arrived at the tomb to find the stone missing along with the body of Jesus.  Immediately she was grieved and began to weep.  She came to the tomb expecting to find the lifeless body of her beloved Lord; instead she encountered the living God.  Upon seeing Jesus, she embraced him tightly; as if to never let him go.  He urged her to lighten her grasp (his return was not permanent; he would soon ascend into heaven.)  His true place was not on earth with them, but with his Father (and their Father.)  Mary was instructed to bring this news to the despondent disciples who were in hiding for fear of being killed themselves.  Having seen the resurrected Lord, she became the very first messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          Throughout history, many like Mary, have gone to the tomb expecting to find the body of Jesus Christ; and like Mary, they have found the tomb empty.  Every generation has had its share of doubters; people who believed they could do what no one had ever been able to do […] disprove the resurrection of Christ.  In the early 1900’s an English professor and journalist named Frank Ross set out to investigate and refute the claims that Jesus rose from the dead (as a journalist, he was skilled in examining the credibility of sources.)  As the evidence mounted, Frank was faced with the awesome truth; the accounts matched; the archeology was sound; and all of the witnesses were credible; Jesus Christ had in fact risen from the dead.  He had expected to find a dead man, but instead, he discovered the living God.  Rather than writing a book that disproved the resurrection, he entitled his book, “Who moved the stone.”  In the book, Frank Ross, the convert and faithful believer, sought to bring what he had found to the rest of the world.

           The work that began with Mary on that third day has continued throughout the generations, and continues even today.  Anyone who goes looking for Jesus Christ in a dusty tomb is looking in the wrong place.  He is very much alive, and is seated at the right hand of God.  Frank Ross and Mary Magdalene, both set out to find Jesus; and they both found what they were looking for […] have you gone looking for him yet?  Have you made your way to the tomb and looked inside?  You too, will discover that Jesus Christ is not dead, but alive.  When you find him, please let others know that there is a God, and that they can discover him too?

          “Lord Heavenly Father, we believe that Your Son rose from the dead.  We believe that he is seated with You in Your Kingdom.  We desire to carry this message to others; give us the strength to bring what we have discovered to the world.  May we be bold in declaring that we have encountered the risen Lord, and the living God.  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.

God is calling you (stay focused)

JESUS SPEAKING

          And he said to another, “Follow me.”  But the man said, “Lord, first allow me to 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 farewell to those who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 59-62.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          Although Jesus Christ called many, few chose to answer his call.  The calling of God demands immediate and absolute obedience.  When Jesus summoned Simon and Andrew they were busy fishing.  How did they respond?  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 likely an unbeliever.)  The second individual desired to return home to say farewell to his family; thereby placing his loved ones ahead of God.  The Jewish people were very familiar with agricultural practices; plowing, planting, and reaping were intimate aspects of their existence.  Which is why Jesus used a farming illustration to express an important truth.  When driving the ox and plow, a farmer’s eyes remained focused on the field ahead; looking back served only to distract the driver from his necessary work.  The world today is full of diversions, obstacles, and enticements.  Distractions are dangerous; they can prevent us from accomplishing God’s will.

          According to the national highway safety commission, 80% of all car crashes involve driver distraction.  These statistics proved true for a man named Stephen in 1983.  One 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 by a certain beach.  His attentions unexpectedly turned to a young blond woman wearing a bikini.  As she jogged passed his vehicle, his mind, heart, and eyes, followed along with her.  The image of a complete stranger took priority over the road, his destination, and even his new wife Sandy.  Suddenly, he smashed into the back end of a Chevelle that had come to a complete stop in his lane.  Although Stephen’s body remained uninjured, his pride, and the front end of his Mercedes weren’t quite as lucky.  When driving, the road ahead must take precedence over everything else. To reach our destination, we must abandon every trivial distraction.

          Jesus Christ has called many; still, few have responded in the serious and immediate manner required for discipleship.  If you have felt called by the Lord, let go of this fading existence and grab hold of the plow.  Make God the priority.  Preach the gospel to all those you meet; accomplish the work of the Lord and avoid distractions.  This life is a passing dream; keep your eyes, mind, and heart, focused on God; and you will certainly reach your divine destination.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would be our first priority.  May our eyes be continually focused upon You. Take control of our lives and be our Master.  Help us to avoid distractions.  Give us the wisdom and strength to finish what You have started; until the day that we enter Your eternal Kingdom.  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.