Archive for October, 2019

Humility

JESUS SPEAKING:

      “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mathew 5: 3.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS:

      In this scripture, the phrase “poor in spirit” refers to the attribute of humility (a precious treasure that creates joy in the hearts of all those who possess it.)  Practicing humility means acknowledging that God is the giver of all good things.  The Lord provides us with our food, shelter, clothing, careers, relationships, and every other necessity of daily living.  He has complete power over all of creation; the very air we breathe is a gift from Him.  Although the humble offer God many praises, the prideful prefer to acknowledge themselves; mistakenly believing that everything they possess is the product of their own intelligence and hard work.

      An ancient ruler known as Nebuchadnezzar was once the mightiest king who had ever lived.  His reign over the Babylonian empire began in 605 B.C.  Like most powerful men, humility wasn’t one of his greatest attributes; he demanded that his subjects worship him in the manner of a God.  One day as he leisurely strolled through his palace, he spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”  Before he was finished speaking, a voice came from heaven saying, “The kingdom has departed from you […] your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field.  They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven years shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses” (Daniel 4: 30 – 32.)  Indeed, because the Babylonian King had failed to give God the credit for his possessions, he slipped into madness and began acting like an ox for seven years; eating grass in the fields.

      As believers, we must not make the same mistake.  Instead, we must acknowledge that all good things come from God; that every possession is a blessing and a gift.  Those who desire to enter God’s kingdom would do well to continually honor Him.  Practically, Christian humility can be expressed through prayers of gratitude offered to God daily; we can also say grace before meals and praise the Lord in our private time and during worship services.  Tithing is another acknowledgement of God’s goodness.  Ultimately whatever form of thankfulness we choose to offer, it should come from the heart; and from a deep appreciation for everything that God has so graciously given us.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your many gifts and provisions; for our food, our clothes, and our homes (to name a few.)  We recognize that all good things come from You.  Help us to maintain a spirit of gratitude and humility.  Cleanse our hearts of pride, that in lowliness we might better 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!

Moving Forward

JESUS SPEAKING

      “Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away.  And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.  Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.  Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them.  Now about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled.  But immediately He spoke to them, “Be of good cheer!  It is I; do not be afraid.”  Then He got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased.  And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled” (Mark 6: 45 – 51.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      Desiring solitude, the Lord sent His disciples to the other side of the lake.  During their journey, a great wind began to oppose them; preventing them from reaching their destination.  Filled with compassion, Jesus walked across the sea to meet them.  After a fearful exchange, He was received into the boat.  The wind and waves immediately ceased, and the disciples were finally able to move forward.  Like that boat, many human beings have struck a point of stagnation; they have become trapped and are unable to move forward.  Unfortunately, most individuals are unaware that the key to progress is to invite Jesus Christ into their hearts.

      In the 1890’s, Melvin Trotter had reached just such an impasse.  The son of a drunken bartender, he began drinking and gambling at an early age.  After marrying, he started a career as a barber.  However, his rampant alcoholism made it difficult for him to hold down a steady job.  He eventually began leaving his family for weeks at a time.  One day, upon returning home, he was informed that his two-year-old child had died.  Believing he was responsible, he contemplated suicide.  At the funeral, while standing beside the coffin, he vowed never to touch another drop of alcohol.  Two hours later he was drunk again.  In desperation, he stole the shoes off the body of his lifeless child and headed to Chicago, where he sold them for another drink.  Drunk and penniless he was nudged into the Pacific Garden Mission, where he accepted Jesus Christ into his heart.  His life was suddenly transformed.  God gave him the ability to work, to love, to live, and to stay sober.  He was finally free to move forward.  He began leading others to Christ and eventually started his own rescue mission. Melvin would later say, “I had taken cure after cure.  I had taken everything known to science and had made resolution after resolution.  But just one glimpse of Jesus Christ, and I have never wanted a drink from that instant to this!”

      Like Mr. Trotter, many will come to experience periods of stagnation.  Facing obstacles that appear immovable, they will struggle to uncover a solution.  And yet, the only real remedy is to receive Jesus Christ; who can then eliminate the obstacle.  Upon entering the heart, He causes the wind and the waves to calm; only by His power can those who are trapped finally move forward.  May we all receive Jesus and be transformed by His mercy and grace.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, please soften the hearts of those who are suffering, that they would receive Your beloved Son.  By Your power, may they grow and learn, and be transformed.  As every obstacle is removed and every barrier is destroyed, may they be healed and continue moving forward.  We love You Father, we praise You and we thank You, and we ask and pray all these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you! 

Pray with Expectancy

JESUS SPEAKING

     “Have faith in God.  For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea, and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe you receive them, and you will have them” (Mark 11: 22 – 24.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     ‘Faith’ is defined as a strong belief or trust in God’s abilities.  Only He can move mountains, heal the sick, and raise the dead.  Jesus therefore urges every follower to pray with a measure of expectancy.  We must truly believe that God is able to provide for each of our individual needs.  When we ask in faith, according to God’s will, and do not doubt, we can rightly expect to receive the desires of our heart.

     Hudson Taylor was a prominent missionary who lived in the 1800’s.  He established the China Inland Mission, an organization that still exists to this day (also known as the OMF.)  During his first journey to China, his ship hit a patch of windless ocean and began drifting uncontrollably toward an island known to be inhabited by vicious cannibals.  The frantic captain approached Mr. Taylor and asked him to pray for God’s help.  “I will” said Taylor, “Provided you set your sails to catch the breeze.”  The captain refused; not wanting to appear silly for unfurling in a dead calm.  Taylor responded by saying, “I will not undertake to pray for this vessel unless you will prepare the sails.”  The captain reluctantly obliged.  Soon there was a knock at Hudson’s door; “Who’s there?”  “Are you still praying for wind,” inquired the captain?  “Yes” responded Taylor.  “Well” added the skipper, “you’d better stop praying, we have more wind than we can manage.”

     As a genuine believer, Hudson Taylor understood the principle of praying with expectancy.  He prayed with confidence; knowing full well that God would answer his prayers.  If we pray with that same measure of faith, we too will receive the blessings of the Lord.  May our hearts be devoid of doubt; may our requests be brave and bold; and may we fully expect our prayers to be answered according to the measure of our faith.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, You are an amazing and mighty God.  Create in us faithful hearts; hearts that are devoid of doubt; hearts that fully trust in Your ability to provide for our needs.  May we always pray with confidence, unwavering faith, and genuine expectancy.  We love You Father, we praise You, and 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!

Second Chances

JESUS SPEAKING

      When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  A third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”  He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” […] and when he had said this he said, “Follow me.” (John 21: verse 15 – 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      On the night that Jesus was arrested, nearly every disciple abandoned him.  As the armed soldiers escorted Jesus to the high priest for questioning, Peter followed at a distance.  When they arrived at their destination, Peter sat down and watched as an angry crowd condemned his master.  They hurled insults at him and spit on him; they also blindfolded Jesus and repeatedly struck him in the face.  As Peter observed the brutality of the mob, his heart began to fail; his confidence gave way to fear.  Three times he was asked if he was a follower of Jesus Christ; and three times he denied his affiliation.  He eventually ran off disgraced and ashamed.  After Jesus rose from the dead, he appeared to his disciples.   They shared a meal and fellow-shipped.  The Lord took Peter aside and didn’t condemn him for his denials.  Instead, he absolved him of sin and gave him a second chance.  He called Peter to lead and care for those who were giving their lives to God.

      In the late 1800’s there lived an ambitious inventor named Thomas Edison.  He is credited with inventing the battery, the phonograph, the telegraph, the movie projector, and many other well-known devices.  One of his greatest inventions was the first industrial light bulb (an item we still use today.)  As the story goes, it took Mr. Edison and an entire team of men, 24 hours to produce the first working prototype.  After the many long hours, Edison gave the bulb to a young boy to carry up the stairs to the testing area.  With the fragile device in hand, the nervous assistant cautiously made his ascent; every step was a carefully planned exercise.  Sadly, despite the child’s best efforts, he shattered the bulb.  The disappointed team began manufacturing another prototype.  Twenty-four hours later, the new bulb appeared.  Although the young assistant had failed the first time, Edison wisely understood that the boy deserved a second chance.  The youngster didn’t disappoint; he delivered the bulb to its destination intact.

      The world is filled with people who have failed in more ways than one; mistakes are a part of life.  Human beings can be unforgiving and cruel, but God is merciful.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to give others a second chance; to forgive and forget.  In so doing, we too will be set free from the guilt of our past mistakes; forgiveness is the pathway to peace; and mercy is the road that leads to true fellowship with the eternal God.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, we have made many mistakes; but You have created in us a new heart.  You have given us a second chance.  May we show that same love toward others; may we forgive completely, and may we manifest Your mercy and grace in the lives of all those we meet.  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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