Archive for June, 2021

Leading Others to Christ

JESUS SPEAKING

    While journeying through Samaria, Jesus chose to sit down beside a well; as He rested, he began speaking with a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. During their conversation He revealed to her certain intimate details of her life; details that only God Himself could know.  Amazed and astonished, ‘the woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet […] I know that the messiah is coming (who is called the Christ.)  When He comes He will tell us all things.”  Jesus answered her saying, “I who speak to you am He.” […] The woman then left her water-pot, went her way into the city, and said to the men, “Come, see a man who told me everything I’ve ever done.  Could this be the Christ?” […] And many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified saying, “He told me everything I’ve ever done.”  So when the Samaritans had come to Him, they urged Him to stay with them; and He stayed there two days.  And many more believed because of His own words.” (John 4: 19 – 41)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    One fateful afternoon, Jesus Christ chose to reveal himself to an immoral woman who was attempting to draw water from a well.  She was unaware that on that day she would find the Son of God and receive salvation and eternal life.  Upon hearing Him recount every intimate detail of her life, she became overwhelmed with joy.  The astonished woman left her water-pot behind and entered the city; seeking to lead others to Jesus.  As expected, those who followed her eventually received the free gift of God.  Everyone who places their faith in Jesus Christ becomes His messenger.  Having been redeemed, we must strive to lead other sick individuals to the ‘Great Physician;’ the only one capable of mending their wounds and healing their broken hearts.

    Like our ‘Great Physician’, there was once a missionary Doctor who was practicing medicine in a Chinese hospital. As he sought to alleviate the suffering of his fellows, he surgically healed a man afflicted with cataracts (a clouding of the lenses of the eye that causes blindness.)  A few weeks later, 48 blind men arrived from the wilds of china (each one seeking to undergo the same incredible procedure.)  Incapable of proper navigation, they forcefully clung to an extremely long rope.  Not surprisingly, the man who had been cured weeks earlier was guiding them.  Some of these desperate men had journeyed hundreds of miles just to reach the hospital.

    There are so many people in this world who have been blinded by sin and death.  These individuals need someone to guide them toward the ‘Great Physician.’  Like the Samaritan woman, those who have been enlightened are given the task of leading others to Jesus Christ.  As ‘reborn’ Christians, we are instruments in the hands of an almighty God.  If we are willing, He will use us to reach out to our family members, co-workers, friends, and even complete strangers.  One of our major tasks is to testify concerning the wonderful works that He has accomplished in the our lives, and in the lives of others who have placed their faith in Him.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  May we be amazed every day by Your righteous deeds and wonderful miracles.  Help us to embrace our obligation to lead others to Your Son.  Provide us with opportunities to witness to our family members, co-workers, and friends; that they would hear our words and desire Your gift of eternal life.  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 Sturdy Foundation

JESUS SPEAKING

   “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of  mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.  But everyone who hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rains descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell.  And great was its fall” (Mathew 7: 24-27.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

   In this scripture, Jesus initially identifies a single group of people: all those who hear His words.  He then divides this group into two distinct categories.  The division is based solely upon the response to what the listeners have heard.  One group puts into practice what they have learned from Jesus, and the other group does not.  Those who take action are wise, but those who do not are foolish.  Both groups are likened to builders who undertake the construction of a house.  One builds on solid rock (unmovable, sturdy, and permanent), and another group builds on sand (movable, shifting, and impermanent.)  Every human being is a building, and their actions and behaviors are the product of following a blueprint.  There are an endless number of blueprints, but only one blueprint is eternal.  The rain, the wind, and the floods will come; everyone will endure difficult times; but only those who choose not to practice the teachings of Christ will ultimately crumble.

   Along the coast of Southern California, many individuals have constructed lavish mansions on the cliffs overlooking the ocean.  Every so often a mudslide or a sink hole will bring down a huge portion of the cliff upon which one of these houses stands. Occasionally you might see a picture of a half of a house standing on a cliff; while the opposite side lays in a mangled heap of pieces on the beach below. Once in a while, a house built on a solid enough foundation will hang over the cliff, fully intact despite missing a portion of earth beneath it.  The same thing is true for those in this world who build their lives upon the teachings of Jesus Christ.  Eventually this world will be annihilated; and yet whatever we have built according to God’s design will never be destroyed; it will last forever.

   Today, just like our Lord, each of us is a carpenter.  We are builders who are following a blueprint.  A life that takes shape as a result of following the directions outlined for us by our eternal God, will never end.  However, any life that’s been constructed from following teachings other than those of Jesus Christ, will be destroyed.  Eternal life isn’t solely received through what we have heard; but rather, by what we have done as a result of what we have heard.  If there is no fruit, then there is no faith. Obedience to God is how we build our lives upon an eternal foundation.  If we read His word and do His word, we won’t pass away with this present world; instead we will spend an eternity with Him in paradise.        

“Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You give us the strength to follow everything we have heard from Your Son.  Give us more opportunities to implement His teachings in our lives. May we know the deep pleasure and great satisfaction that comes from accomplishing the tasks that You have given us.  May we always strive to please You, and to be a blessing to all of 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!

The Blessings of Charity

JESUS SPEAKING

    And he said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses.”  Then he spoke a parable to them saying, “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’  So he said, ‘I will do this:  I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.  And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’  But God said to him, ‘Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you; then whose things will those things be which you have provided?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God?” (Luke 12: 13-21)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Jesus warned his followers to avoid covetousness; covetousness is the “excessive desire for another person’s belongings; or the urge to acquire or possess more than one needs or deserves.”  Most human beings are unsatisfied with the bare necessities.  They, like the wealthy man in this parable, need things in abundance in order to feel secure. In this parable, when the rich man had fully filled his barns, he selfishly sought to keep the additional grain for himself. Unfortunately he never considered the needs of the less fortunate. The man’s plans for a comfortable future would be short lived; for death would visit him that same day.  As a result of selfishness and greed, the man lost his possessions, his life, and ultimately his eternal place with God.

   When I was a young child, my mother would often bake cookies.  When she had finished using most of the cookie dough, she would give the bowl and spoon to myself and my siblings.  We enjoyed scraping the bowl and licking the spoon clean. In the end, whatever hadn’t been consumed was wasted.  God as well is not fond of wastefulness.  Whenever we seek to possess more than we can use (see note), we engage in a worthless and futile endeavor.  The Lord is greatly pleased when His children utilize their wealth to bless those in need.  When asked how to prepare for the coming of the Messiah, John the Baptist said, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food let him do likewise.” (Luke 3: 11) [Note: This may not include things like saving for retirement or a child’s college fund; as this type of saving is simply storing up resources for someone’s future needs.]

    As Christians we are required to employ our abundant possessions to glorify God and to bless the needy.  If we are wealthy, we can put our money to work for the Lord.  If we own property and we are not using it, we can offer it to someone who can.  If our closets are overflowing, we can gather up the overflow and bring it to the thrift store.  If we have excess time, we shouldn’t waste it; instead we should use it to love those who are hurting.  If God has given us abilities and talents, we must exercise them constructively; using them to serve our fellows.  No one is guaranteed tomorrow; so we should put whatever we have been given in excess to work for God.  May His generosity fill our hearts; may the desire to serve and to provide for the needs of others become a newfound principle in our lives; and may we find comfort in knowing that our earthly charity will produce eternal riches.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You help us to be generous toward You and toward those who are in need.  Relieve our fears, so we can let go of greed and seek to use our abundance to bless others.  As we become more willing to give, may we procure eternal riches; riches without end; riches reserved for us in Your Heavenly 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!


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