Archive for May, 2022

Have You Been Called?

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 bury 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 the 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. In this scripture, the first man wanted to attend his father’s funeral before following Christ; the Lord beckoned him to focus on the living rather than the dead (his father was likely an unbeliever.) In a similar fashion, the second man also produced an excuse; professing his desire to return home and bid farewell to his family first; an aspiration for which he was rebuked. To further emphasize His point, Jesus employs an agricultural illustration. When working a farm with an ox and plow, a farmer’s eyes must remain focused on the field ahead. Looking back can only distract the driver from his necessary task. Distractions are quite dangerous, because they can 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 into his new Mercedes Benz; with the top down and the breeze in his face, he was headed to an important appointment.  As he drove up the coast of Southern California, he passed by a certain beach.  His attention unexpectedly turned toward a young woman who was wearing seductive attire.  As she passed his vehicle, his mind, heart, and eyes followed along with her. He suddenly smashed into the back end of a Chevelle that had come to a complete stop in his lane. Although he remained uninjured, his pride and his car weren’t so lucky.  When driving, the road ahead must take precedent over everything else. To reach our destination, we must abandon trivial distractions.

Although Jesus Christ has called many, the vast majority haven’t responded in the immediate and wholehearted fashion required for discipleship. If you have felt called by the Lord, relinquish your grip on the things which are fading away and take hold of the plow. Preach the gospel and accomplish the Lord’s work. If we avoid distractions and keep our eyes, minds, and hearts focused on God, we will reach our eternal destination.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would transform our hearts; that You would be our number one priority.  May our eyes be ever focused upon You.  Take possession of our lives and be our Master, that we may avoid temptations and distractions. Give us the wisdom and strength to finish what You have started, as we journey toward 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!

Asking for God’s Provision

JESUS SPEAKING

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7: 7 – 11)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

We are encouraged by Jesus to recognize God as a provider. He is our heavenly Father and we are his children. If we ask Him in faith to fulfill our needs, He will pour out His blessings upon us. We will never thirst or go hungry; nor lack any precious or necessary thing. In humility, we as little children will eat from the hand of our shepherd; and follow Him wherever He chooses to lead us. No matter the circumstances, or the obstacles, we must trust in Him who is able to overcome everything.

As the story goes, one day a destitute philosopher in the court of Alexander the Great approached the Emperor, seeking his charity. Alexander responded by telling the treasurer to give the man any sum he might ask for. The man promptly demanded ten thousand pounds. The treasurer objected to the extravagant amount. But Alexander replied, saying, “Let the money be instantly paid. I am delighted with this philosopher’s way of thinking. By the largeness of his request, he shows the highest idea he has conceived of my wealth and generosity.” In like manner, God Himself is honored.

In the book of James we read, “you have not because you ask not.” If we desire to walk with God, we must learn to rely on Him by making daily requests for His provision. When we seek Him in prayer He is attentive. If we need food, water, wisdom, healing, strength, etc., He is faithful to lavish upon us great blessings, so that others might see His generosity and be drawn to the the foot of the cross.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we learn to rely on You for all of our needs. You are our great provider; our wonderful counselor, our mighty God. In You we place our trust; in You we have our peace. Give us more of Your Holy Spirit, that we might better serve You by reaching out to those who are lost in darkness. Live in us, that Your great light might shine forth for all to see. 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!

Don’t Cause Others to Stumble

JESUS SPEAKING

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18: 1- 7)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Using a small child as an example, Jesus informed the disciples that they had to be converted and become as little children to enter the Kingdom of God. Being reborn means returning to a childlike state of enduring innocence and purity. Sadly, this world remains rife with temptations that lead to sinful practices. The devil lurks around every corner, “seeking whom he may devour.” The punishment for assisting Satan in his efforts to entice believers and little children to sin is accordingly severe. Christians are therefore prohibited from behaving in ways that might cause others to stumble.

How we dress has an effect on other people. In western society today, inappropriate clothing is common, and even celebrated by popular culture. Short skirts, skin tight leggings, and shirts that reveal cleavage are accepted and promoted as ideal. (Men are also guilty of dressing with sinful intentions.) Each of these enticing styles is worn to purposefully tempt others, and to elicit lustful glances. We read in 1 Timothy: 8 – 10, “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”

As the world suffers through temptations, Christians are admonished to remain pure; to exist as little children. Our actions, our mannerisms, our attire, our speech, and our habits are all being monitored by others. When they look, they must see genuine Christianity; a way of life devoid of conduct which might cause others to stumble. As the light of Christ, we must shine with His brilliance. May our lives always be an example of humility, modesty, and purity.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we yearn to share in Your perfection and purity. May we become as little children; walking with integrity; never tempting anyone to stumble into sin. Strengthen us by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Let Your light shine through us, that others might come to know You as we have. 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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