Archive for August, 2021

Inspiring Conversions

JESUS SPEAKING

    “While I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me, saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by their faith in me.’” (Acts 26: 12-18)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    There once lived an angry young man named Saul, who hated Christians with a passion. He journeyed from synagogue to synagogue, beating, harassing, and perhaps even killing those Jews who openly professed a faith in Jesus Christ. One day however, while traveling to Damascus, God intervened in Saul’s life. Jesus appeared to him and said, ‘it is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ [Note: Oxen were trained to pull heavy plows; an untrained ox would often try to kick itself free. In turn, farmers attached sharp pieces of metal to the plow (known as ‘goads.’) When the ox kicked the plow, it would stab itself in the leg; the harder the kick, the more painful the sensation. After a short time, the animal would learn to accept it’s position.] Like an untrained beast, Saul had been struggling against God’s calling. After his visitation, Saul finally quit fighting and accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior. He also changed his name to Paul and went on to write many of the New Testament letters. Throughout history, some of the greatest Christian leaders have often been those who were once devout enemies of God.
    Sir William Ramsay was one of the most influential scientific minds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He taught at Oxford and is credited with discovering several new elements; he also received numerous scientific awards and honors. Ramsay’s parents were atheists who raised him as a nonbeliever (a disposition he clung to for most of his life.) Obviously he harbored little respect for Christianity; in fact, he claimed that the bible was nothing more than “a book of fables.” He eventually began to study archaeology and traveled to the Middle East in hopes of disproving the historical accuracy of the bible. After 25 years of travel and research, he was forced to concede that even the most minuscule details of the New Testament were indeed accurate. Instead of writing a book disproving the validity of scripture, Ramsay wrote a book entitled “St. Paul, the Traveler and Roman Citizen.” In it, he presented his findings; all of which supported the reliability of the bible. Convinced by the evidence, Ramsay shocked his colleagues and fellow intellectuals by announcing that he had converted to Christianity.
    Like Paul, and like Sir William Ramsay, there are many today who are kicking “against the goads.” God however is still actively reaching out to atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers the world around. If we too have been raging against the call of God, we must stop struggling and give up, and give in. Let the Lord into your heart and He will replace your pain with peace; your hatred as well will turn to love. Surrender to Him and you will know pure joy, genuine freedom, and everlasting life.
   “Lord Heavenly Father, may Your perfect will be done in our lives. We pray for those who might be “kicking against the goads.” Soften their hearts and open their eyes, that they may come to believe in Your Son, and in the redemption offered through His sacrifice upon the cross. May they embrace and receive Your free gift of salvation through faith. 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 Source of Power

JESUS SPEAKING

    Then they said to him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?” Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (John 6: 28 – 29.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Everywhere Jesus went the crowds went with him; having witnessed His countless miracles, the masses desperately sought to discover how they too might accomplish similar feats of greatness. Jesus answered them saying, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” According to the Lord, righteousness and divine power are the offspring of a life founded on genuine faith; faith in the Son of God; faith that His teachings are God’s revelation to mankind; faith that He is seated at the creator’s right hand; faith that He loves us and that through Him we are reconciled to our Almighty and Everlasting Father. The Messiah is the source of all our power; only through Jesus can we hope to accomplish God’s will.
    Some time ago I purchased a saw from a local hardware store. Unfortunately the saw suddenly shut down while I was using it. I tried everything to get it to start again. I fiddled with it; I read the directions more thoroughly; I searched the internet for similar problems. Eventually I had to bring the saw back to the store and exchange it for a different one. After returning home, I plugged in the new saw; sadly it didn’t work either. My frustration drove me to try a different socket, and sure enough, the blade began to spin. I soon discovered that a local fuse had blown which only affected a couple of outlets in the house. Needless to say, I was more than a little embarrassed. The saw had never been broken; instead, it stopped working because it had become separated from the source of it’s power.
    Like my saw, many today are disconnected from the source of all divine power. Without faith in Jesus Christ they are unable to function properly. Those who do place their faith in God’s Son grow strong and continue to mature. They possess great peace and an enduring hope; they are given the ability to live righteously and to accomplish many wonderful works in the lives of others. May we continue to place our faith in Jesus Christ. May we never turn away from the source of our strength, that our lives may continue to be a testament to God’s power and majesty.
   “Lord Heavenly Father, we believe in Your Son and we acknowledge His power. Increase our faith that we might grow stronger and be more like You. Accomplish Your works in us and through us, that our lives may be a testament of Your goodness and mercy. 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.” (Matthew 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 around in the wilderness for forty years. Every 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. [Note: 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 obligations, joys and blessings 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!


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