Archive for March, 2022

Being Honest

JESUS SPEAKS

While speaking with a group of men, Jesus said, “If you were Abraham’s children you would do the works of Abraham. But now you seek to kill me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. You do the deeds of your father.” Then they said to Him “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself but He sent Me. Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.” (John 8: 29 – 34)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Lying and dishonesty are sinful behaviors that originate from Satan; these dreadful lies produce confusion, hardship and suffering. The truth however, which is pure, unchanging, and reliable, emanates from God the Father. He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to preach the truth, and for that purpose He was hated. Many today remain frightened of the gospel message because they yearn to continue in their sin without guilt or remorse. Thus honesty creates great animosity. Speaking the truth can be quite costly; which constitutes one of the reasons Jesus Christ is rejected more often than He is accepted.

In 2004, a high school golfer named Chelsee Richard, of Bloomingdale Florida, lost her chance to win the state championship by being honest. In the qualifier for the state finals, Chelsee hit her tee shot on the second hole into the rough. She then unkowingly played another golfer’s ball out of the rough and finished the hole. However, on the third hole she realized what she had done. The rules stated that a golfer must declare on that hole, that they hit the wrong ball before putting the ball into the cup, or they are disqualified. Chelsee drew strength from her favorite bible verse, Philippians 4: 13; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” She promptly reported her error, ending her senior season and her dream of going to the state finals. Concerning the incident, she said, “With my faith and with God, being honest was the most important thing to me, and that’s what is going to advance on through my life; being honest.”

Like Chelsee, many Christians have committed themselves to walking in the truth. We must always speak what is right and avoid dishonesty, no matter the cost. For those who have been called according to God’s purpose, lying of any sort is entirely unacceptable. We will undoubtedly encounter hatred, disdain, and derision, but our hearts will overflow with gladness. As we avoid Satan’s lies, those who are walking in darkness will see a great light and be drawn to God.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we love You and are committed to Your cause of salvation. May we speak only those things that are true and never fall victim to the lies that tempt others to sin. Sanctify us by the power of Your Holy Spirit, that we might be bold messengers of the Gospel. 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 Zealous

JESUS SPEAKING

Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. And he found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business. When he had made a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers money and overturned the tables. And he said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away! Do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise!” Then the disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house has eaten me up” (John 2: 13 – 17.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Upon entering the temple, Jesus was filled with righteous indignation; a divine passion that prompted Him to chase away the schemers who were abusing God’s Holy dwelling for their own selfish purposes. The disciples observed Christ’s zealous behavior; properly ascribing his actions to a messianic prophecy which states, “Zeal for Your House has eaten Me up” (Psalm 69: 9.) The textbook definition of zeal is, “a great energy or enthusiasm that accompanies the pursuit of a cause or an objective.” Passion and Zeal concerning the accomplishment of God’s will is therefore an indelible characteristic of genuine faith.

At present, there exists one striking contrast between the airplane and every other form of locomotion. The horse and wagon, the automobile, the bicycle, the locomotive, the speedboat, and the great battleship, can all come to a stand still without danger; and they can all reverse their engines, or their power and go backward. But the engine of an airplane has no reverse. It can’t back up. It dare not stand still either. If it loses its momentum and forward drive, then it will crash. The only safety for an airplane resides within its forward and upward motion. Similarly, the only safe direction for a Christian to take is forward and upward. If we stop, or even slip and begin to go backward, we will find ourselves in grave danger.

In life, the number of things that can elicit our zeal is almost endless. Many today are zealous for a political party, a governmental ideology, a sports team, a career, an individual or relationship, a collection of some kind, gaming, entertainment, travel, an alternative lifestyle, or a social cause, to name just a few. Yet as Christians, the furtherance of the gospel must be our preeminent passion; we must move forward and upward; aiming to accomplish the work of God in this place. Through our words and our deeds many can come to know God and receive salvation.

“Lord Heavenly Father, our lives are filled with distractions; things that can compete with our zeal for Your Son and His coming Kingdom. Help us, that we might remain focused on the things that truly matter; the eternal endeavors which are pleasing to You. May we be Your people, and may we never stop accomplishing Your will upon this Earth. 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!

Confession

JESUS SPEAKS

“Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” And when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20: 21 – 23)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

After the resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples in a room; bestowing upon them the gift of the Holy Spirit (the indwelling of God within their hearts.) Consequently, they were granted great power and authority; including the ability to forgive sins. This practice of confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness, (as well as forgiving the sins of others) is outlined further in James 5: 16; “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Thus there is an established foundation for the doctrine of confession that exists within the Church; which also accompanies the exercise of evangelism.

As the story goes, A former Texas Governor named Pat Neff once visited his state penitentiary, where he spoke to the assembly of convicts. After finishing, he announced that he would remain behind, and that if any man wanted to speak with him, he would gladly listen. Additionally, he proclaimed that he would listen in confidence, and that nothing a man might say would be used against him. When the meeting was over, a large group of men remained; many were serving life sentences. One by one they passed by, pleading for their freedom; insisting that there had been a frame-up, an injustice, or some kind of judicial blunder. Finally one man came up and said, “Mr. Governor, I just wanted to say that I am guilty. I did what they sent me here for. But I believe I have paid for it, and if I were granted the right to go out, I would do everything I could to be a good citizen and prove myself worthy of your mercy.” This of course, was the man whom the Governor pardoned.

Like Governor Neff, those who follow Jesus Christ have the authority to forgive the sins of any genuinely repentant individuals. Through confession and divine mercy, many can be set free from the crushing weight of guilt and shame. Within the Church, most of these disclosures can be facilitated in small group fellowships, or by interacting with the pastors and ministers who preside over our local congregations. Also, as we reach out to others during evangelism, may we use the authority we’ve been given by God to forgive the transgressions of our weary fellows; that they too might experience the joy and purity of salvation.

“Lord Heavenly Father, You alone are the way, the truth, and the life. Help us to avoid any sinful temptations as we spread the gospel message throughout the entire world. May we exercise the authority You have given us to forgive sins and to receive those who are repentant into Your glorious Church. 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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