Archive for September, 2018

The Real Jesus

JESUS SPEAKING

        And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, “Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me” (Mathew 11: 2-6.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        After baptizing Jesus, John came to believe that Jesus was the messiah they had been waiting for. He, like so many in Israel believed the Messiah would set them free from their oppressors. Therefore, most were waiting for Jesus to usher in an earthly kingdom that would put an end to Roman Rule. John (who had been imprisoned by Herod) was growing impatient with Jesus; he sent messengers to him to ask if he truly was the messiah. Jesus simply responded by quoting an Old Testament prophecy, stating that the messiah would cleanse lepers, heal the blind, raise the dead and preach to the poor. Jesus wanted John to know he was accomplishing all of these miraculous tasks. The Lord finally addressed John’s impatient heart, saying, “blessed are those who are not offended because of me.” Jesus had not met John’s expectations. John expected a conquering messiah, not a messiah that would conquer sin through crucifixion. The lord was encouraging John to accept him as he was. Many today, like John, have an inaccurate view of Jesus Christ. Knowing the real Jesus is essential to properly following him.
        Early on in my relationship with God I made the decision that I could no longer call myself a Christian unless I actually knew who Jesus Christ was; what he had said and done. I knew I had to read the bible; I also knew it was going to change my life and challenge my beliefs. In my heart, I had an unclear picture of God. I chose to let go of what I thought I knew, in order to grab hold of the truth. As I read, I began to know God personally and accurately. Instead of being disappointed, my heart was lifted up with wonder and amazement. The real God is far greater than any God I could have ever imagined.
        Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know his words, or are you holding on to your own personal beliefs? Have you invented a Jesus for yourself, or have you come to know the real Jesus? Read his words; get familiar with his deeds, his message and his truth; and I promise, you will never be disappointed; instead, you too will find something more amazing than anything you have ever known, and your life will never be the same.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know the real Jesus. We want to know Your Son and His message. Implant his words in our hearts and help us to be his disciples, that we might be pleasing to You Father. Help us to let go of our fear of the truth and give us a hunger and thirst to know our Messiah; your gift to us all. 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!

Stay Focused on Today

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. However, 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 their daily nourishment. Violating this law meant focusing on tomorrow’s needs and concerns [In the new testament, 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, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you.

Divine Authority

JESUS SPEAKING

        Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and elders of the people approached him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?” Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or from men?” They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we proclaim, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From men’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.” So, they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.” Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things” (Mathew 21: 23-27.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        The religious leaders had been profiting from the sale of merchandise within the temple. They were also manipulating exchange rates in order to defraud unsuspecting pilgrims. Jesus entered the temple, and overturned the money tables, and chased out those who were selling merchandise. He then sat down and began to teach. As he taught, some of the religious leaders approached him, and asked him by what authority he had done these things. The Lord in turn asked them where John the Baptist had received his authority. John had been given God’s authority outside the bounds of the corrupt priestly hierarchy; he wore no expensive robes; he had no formal temple training; he didn’t spend years in a classroom studying theology; yet God used him to call tens of thousands of Israelites to repentance. There is an authority that comes from men; an authority that can be abused and used for selfish gain. In the midst of man’s attempts to exploit God’s people, the Lord often raises up leaders to oppose those in power; leaders who are given divine authority; leaders who are willing to disobey their superiors in order to accomplish the will of God.
        On September 9th of 2009, a military patrol made up of 36 American/Afghan troops was ambushed in the eastern province of Kunar (Afghanistan.) The men were pinned down and suffering casualties. In the midst of the firefight, these brave soldiers repeatedly requested air support; yet the off-site commanding officers denied every request. The men eventually radioed the base saying, “We’re going to die out here.” Dakota Meyer, a marine posted behind the main patrol, requested permission to drive into the ambush to haul out his distressed comrades; his fervent requests were denied four times. Knowing that his superior officers were wrong, Dakota disobeyed their direct orders. He and another marine selflessly jumped into a Humvee and headed into the “kill zone.” They made five trips back and forth. Each time, Meyer (who was manning the gun) exposed himself to a hail of enemy fire. The two marines were able to save 13 servicemen and 23 Afghans; they also collected the bodies of four dead American soldiers. Sergeant Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. However, three of the military officers who denied the requests for assistance, were issued letters of reprimand (‘likely leading to the end of their careers.’)
        Obeying authority is good; but sometimes those in leadership can error; some may even be completely corrupt, immoral, and unrighteous. On occasion, in order to accomplish God’s will, it becomes necessary to question and oppose those who are in positions of influence. As Christians we are given great authority; God Himself speaks through us; He uses us to accomplish His works; we are vessels of His love, His mercy, and His peace. May we continue to serve Him in love; may we preach the message without shame or remorse; may we continue to oppose those who pervert the gospel for their own personal gain; and may lovingly and persistently submit to the authority of those whom God has undoubtedly anointed.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, we recognize Your authority. We understand that you have called us to accomplish Your will. Please continue to use and guide us in the ways of righteousness. When we encounter leaders, who are evil and unjust, give us the strength to oppose them. Concerning spiritual matters, may we never submit to the unrighteous; instead, may we continually be willing to serve under and obey those whom you have truly anointed. 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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