Archive for February, 2018

The Body of Christ

JESUS SPEAKING

         “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father.  And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father be glorified in the Son.  If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14: 12-14.)

 INSPIRED THOUGHTS

         Jesus begins this scripture with a declarative statement, saying “most assuredly.”   Perhaps a more modern translation is, ‘without a doubt;’ whatever the translation, the underlying meaning is ‘what I am about to say to you is unquestionably true.’  This declaration however hinges upon the next statement He makes; “he who believes in me.”  The focus of miraculous works does not come from human ability, but from a belief in Jesus Christ.  He states that the faithful believers will not only do the works he had been doing, but that their works would exceed those he performed while on the earth.  Although Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, his body remains upon the earth to this day.  All power, all direction, and all good works come from the Father, and Jesus Christ, the head of our body who is seated in heaven at the right hand of God.

         Trees are one of God’s most beautiful creations.  A tree is primarily made up of two parts.  The visible portion, consisting of the trunk and the crown (with its tender leaves), and the roots which dig deep down into the soil.  Only half of a tree is visible to the human eye.  Still, trees are not securely anchored in place by their branches, leaves, or trunks; no matter how splendid they may appear.  They remain upright because of what exists beneath the earth.  All trees absorb life sustaining water and nutrients through their roots, deep down, in places that are hidden from sight.  Like the tree, today the body of Christ is also made up of two parts.  I cannot see Jesus Christ as he sits at the right hand of God, much like I don’t see the roots of a tree as they anchor it and bring it life; but no tree can spread its branches and thrive unless what is unseen exists.  Today, every person who has faith in the unseen, risen Lord, becomes a part of the visible, and very real body of Jesus Christ that went missing from the tomb.  The Son of God is the head of the body; directing us, speaking to us, moving us in the direction He wants us to go, so that He can continue doing His miracles in this place.

         If we currently have Faith in Jesus Christ we are a part of his body.  And as a part of his body, all the good works that we do, He does through us.  Jesus Christ, and God the Father get the credit for the miracles and the healings; every orphanage built, every hospital constructed in His name, every life that is transformed, represents the continuing work of Jesus Christ upon this earth.  One way that we can draw from his power is to pray without ceasing; to lift up our requests to him, no matter how small or insignificant they might seem.  The God of the universe has made us a promise; if we ask then we shall receive.  So ask in expectation of receiving, and be mindful to ask according to His will, and you’ll find this scripture fulfilled in your life.  Miracles will occur in you, and in the lives of those around you, as He uses you to accomplish His works.

         “Lord heavenly Father, we ask that You would give us more of Your Holy Spirit.  Increase our faith and bring us closer to You and to Your Son.  We want to see Your Glory; we want to believe as little children, and we want to be productive members of Your Body, here in this place.  Guide us and direct us; and use us for Your Glory.  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.

Don’t Be Lukewarm

JESUS SPEAKING

          “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish that you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth […] as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 14 – 16, 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          After being seized by the Romans, the Apostle John was marched in to a crowded coliseum and plunged in to a vat of boiling oil.  But when he remained unharmed, masses of people within the coliseum began to convert to Christianity.  The Romans, fearing his influence, placed him in prison on a deserted Island off the cost of Turkey (known as Patmos.)  Church tradition teaches us that on this island, in about the year 95 A.D., an aging John (the last living Apostle) received a revelation from Jesus Christ.  In this revelation Jesus addressed the seven churches located in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.  The Laodicean church had become lukewarm in their faith; they were once bold, zealous, and uncompromising.  Yet, over time they succumb to personal comforts, complacency, and routine.  Jesus sternly rebuked them; his command: be zealous again; reach out; be bold; spread the gospel; be eager to do good and to serve; and work hard to save souls.  God’s message to the Laodiceans is timeless; it pertains to the church today.  There is no half-way; a moderate faith is a dead faith.  For the believer there are no vacations, no breaks, and no retirement.  Those who stop serving God fully, are in danger of becoming lukewarm, cold, and dead.

          Interestingly enough, a recent study revealed that early retirement can lead to an increased risk of death.  In 2005, three groups of people were studied; those who retired at 55; those who retired at 60; and those who retired at 65.  “In this research, death was almost twice as likely in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who continued working.”  The tendency to take it easy and relax can have disastrous results.  To lose enthusiasm for God’s message is to fail to fulfill the highest calling of God.  We must fervently work for the Lord until he returns to gather us together.

          Are you eager to serve God and others; or have you been serving yourself?  Are you on fire for the Lord, or have you become cold?  Are you readily spreading the gospel, or have you fallen silent?  Have you faded in to the background, or do you speak the truth in boldness?  Be brave and reach out for Christ.  May your heart be ignited by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.  May the words of God flow from your mouth, and may your good works never cease; may God use you to transform the lives of others; and may you represent the church of God with conviction and zeal.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and cause our hearts to burn for You.  Grant us boldness and faithfulness.  May we shine brightly in the lives of all those we meet.  Give us the words to speak, and the strength to continue.  May we never grow weary or become lukewarm; may we never cease from serving others, knowing that one day we will have our rest in You.  Lord, we love You, 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.

Professing Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

          “I also say to you, whoever confesses me before men, him the Son of Man will also 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 attributes they hold most dear.  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.  Yet in a nation supposedly comprised of a Christian majority, Jesus Christ rarely occupies the top position.   He is often displaced by seemingly 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 for the faith?

          Those who are proud to be disciples are truly committed to the Lord.  As believers we must actively seek to express our beliefs in obvious and practical ways; through words, deeds, and nonverbal communication.  Whether it’s 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, showers down 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.

Follow Me

JESUS SPEAKING

       “As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Mathew sitting at the tax office.  And he said to him, “Follow Me.”  So he arose and followed Him” (Mark 9: 9.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

       The calling of Mathew is among the shortest conversion stories recorded in the bible.  As a tax collector, he was hated and despised by his own people.  Still Jesus saw something in him worth saving.  As the Lord passed by He uttered two simple words that would forever transform Mathew’s life; “Follow Me.”  His response was concise, immediate, and unwavering.  Mathew arose, abandoned his position, and began following Jesus Christ.  

       During the 1880’s, a famous baseball player named Billy Sunday had a similar experience.  One day, he and his teammates entered a saloon and began drinking.  Upon exiting, Billy spotted a group of Christians singing hymns and preaching about God’s salvation and forgiveness.  As tears rolled down his face, he turned to his teammates and said, “Boys, I’m through!  Going to turn to Jesus Christ.  We’ve reached the parting of the ways.”  Some mocked him, while others encouraged him.  He then entered the Pacific Garden Mission and gave his life to the Lord.  Later he said, “I called upon God’s mercy.  I staggered out of my sins into the outstretched arms of the Savior.  I became instantly a new creation in Him.  The next morning at practice, my manager, Mike Kelly, greeted me and said, ‘Billy, I read in the paper what occurred yesterday.  Religion isn’t my long suit, but I won’t knock you, and I’ll knock the daylights out of anyone who does.”  Billy Sunday went on to become one of the greatest evangelists of the early 20th century.

       Like Mathew, and like Billy, God is still calling many to follow Him today.  Jesus Christ desires that all would come to know Him and submit to His discipleship.  Some respond to His call; still others do not.  How can you respond to God’s call and receive salvation?  First, go to a quiet place, and ask God to enter your heart.  Turn away from sin, and profess a faith in Jesus Christ.  Get involved at a local church and be baptized.  Request an easy to read version of the bible (read it every day; beginning with the gospels.)  As you grow in the knowledge of God and submit to His commandments, you will experience a transformation.  You will feel the old things pass away; for behold, God will make “all things new.”

       “Lord Heavenly Father we thank You for calling us to be Your disciples.  May You always dwell within our hearts and minds.  Give us the strength to turn away from sin and death, that we might embrace the new life we have in You.  Teach us, guide us, be our Father and we will be Your children.  Give us Your Holy Spirit that we may lovingly serve You and our fellows.  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.


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