Archive for January, 2019

God is Calling You

JESUS SPEAKING

      Then he said to another, “Follow me.”  But the man said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead burry 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 them farewell who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one having put his hand to plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 59-62.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      The calling of God demands immediate and unwavering obedience.  The priority of the first man in this scripture was to attend the burial of his father.  Jesus beckoned him to focus on the living, not the dead (the man’s Father was likely an unbeliever.)   In the end, the man decided to attend a funeral, rather than follow Jesus Christ.  The second stranger Jesus spoke with yearned to return home to say farewell to his relatives; thereby placing his family ahead of his dedication to God.  Jesus then uses an agricultural illustration to make an overall point.  When driving an ox and plow, a farmer’s eyes remain focused on the field ahead; looking back can only distract the driver from his necessary work.  The world today is full of diversions, obstacles, and enticements.  Not everyone is being called to become a missionary, or a priest, or a pastor.  But we are all called to be disciples.  The more important truth is that distractions are dangerous; because they can sometimes 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 had 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 blonde woman wearing a bikini.  As she 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.  He suddenly 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 trivial distractions.

      Jesus Christ has called many; still, a great multitude have refused to respond 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 destination.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would be our number one 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.

Being Prepared for His Return

JESUS SPEAKING

        Then Peter said to him, “Lord do you speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and be drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” (Luke 12: 42-46.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Before ascending in to heaven Jesus promised to return one day in power and great glory; (it has been nearly 2000 years and his followers are still anxiously awaiting his arrival.) As he spoke to his disciples, he used a wedding parable to illustrate his future delay. Often, when the master of a household left to attend a wedding, he could be gone for days. His arrival was uncertain; he could return at 2:00 in the afternoon, or 2:00 in the morning (therefore the servants had to continually be prepared.) In this parable, the master represents Jesus Christ, who after being resurrected, left the earth and journeyed into heaven (promising to return one day.) The servant placed over the master’s household represents the disciples whom Christ left behind to guide and care for his church. Although the original disciples have gone to be with the Lord, God has placed new leaders into positions of authority. Some are just and wise stewards; others, however, have lost faith; they have become impatient with Christ’s return; causing them to mistreat God’s people. When Christ does return, he will reward those who have been faithful, and he will punish those who failed to serve in the absence of their master.
        In the United States, a brand-new industry known as ‘mystery shopping’ has become popular. Most employers find it beneficial to tour their own facilities. They must continually evaluate their products, their procedures, their equipment, and especially their employees. Employees, however, do not act naturally when their bosses are present; most tend to ‘put on a show;’ they work harder and more efficiently; and they become more positive and politer toward the customers and other staff members. This effect makes it nearly impossible for managers and owners to accurately evaluate their workers. In turn, many employers are now hiring individuals to pretend that they are customers; as they shop, they are secretly evaluating the employees. When the employees become aware that the owner is using mystery shoppers, it causes them to continually maintain a higher level of performance in the work place.
        Many believers are slack because their master is not present; but Jesus could return at any moment. A lack of faith in his second coming will lead to increased sin, and unrighteous living. To avoid disobedience, we must constantly expect His arrival; every second, of every hour, of every day. We must never lose hope; we must trust in His promise; and wait patiently. As we wait, it is our duty to continue to serve and love our fellows. When he does return, those who were faithful in his absence will receive eternal blessings and everlasting life.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, may our hearts be expectant, and may we continue to hope in Your return. Increase our faith that we might forever trust in Your promises. May we always desire to serve You and our fellows. Guide and direct our steps, that we may know with certainty, the duties and responsibilities that You have given to each us. 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.

A Stony Heart

JESUS SPEAKING

        “But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles” (Mathew 30: 20 – 21.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        The gospel is a powerful force; like a raging torrent, it demands reverence and respect. Just as rivers gouge out valleys and tear apart mountains, the gospel transforms lives. Many eagerly receive God’s Holy Spirit but lack foresight; they do not understand the magnitude of changes God intends to perform in their lives. True faith is costly; the price of salvation is death; death to our old lives. One must willingly be destroyed in order to be remade in the image of Christ. Those whose hearts are stony initially experience a very shallow relationship with God. They desperately cling to old familiar habits and abandon their faith when it requires real change. They turn from the light and live in darkness; choosing comfort above growth and sin over righteousness.
        When a famous gangster named Mickey Cohen was released from prison in the 1950’s, a Pastor by the name of Bill Jones made it his personal mission to convert him to Christianity. When Jones presented Mickey with the gospel, he said a prayer and accepted Jesus into his heart. Soon, word of his conversion spread, and many were amazed to hear that this once villainous mobster had turned to Christ. Although Mickey enjoyed being called a ‘Christian,’ he refused to live like one. He soon lost touch with Pastor Jones and began hanging around with his old buddies from the criminal underworld. The disheartened Jones confronted Cohen to tell him that as a Christian, he needed to put distance between himself and his old [criminal associates]. Puzzled, Cohen responded, “Jones, you never told me that I had to give up my career. You never told me that I had to give up my friends. There are Christian movie stars, Christian athletes, and Christian businessmen. So, what’s the matter with being a Christian gangster? If I have to give up all that – if that’s Christianity – then count me out.”
        Sadly, Mickey’s story is not uncommon; out of the four different types of soil Christ describes, the stony heart can be the deadliest; for within it, there exists the greatest propensity for self-deception. Believing a verbal profession of faith without actions to be sufficient for salvation, many remain unchanged. With their lips they affirm Christ, but with their lives they deny him. Continuing in behaviors such as, pornography, fornication, drunkenness, idolatry, and dishonesty (to name a few), contradicts the rebirth that all Christians must endure. If you can identify with this type of soil, then you have two choices; continue forward toward in delusion or get honest with yourself and begin a new life with Jesus; a life of repentance; a life free from darkness and unrighteousness; a life lived as a disciple of Christ; a life fully committed to purity, church fellowship, prayer, evangelism, and bible reading. May the Lord give you the courage, strength, and conviction to make the right choice.
        “Lord Heavenly Father transform us in to the image of Your Son. May we lay down our old lives to take up our new ones. May our relationships with You be deep and meaningful. May our lives always confirm our verbal professions of faith. If we have not fully committed our lives to You, reveal to us the areas where we have refused to change; and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, help us to overcome and to conquer. 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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