Archive for October, 2022

The Golden Rule

JESUS SPEAKING

“Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

(Matthew 7: 12)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

In this scripture Jesus identifies a simple litmus test that can decipher what is right and wrong in almost every situation. He basically condenses Christianity into a single sentence, which when followed, accomplishes the will of God and leaves little room for selfish behaviors. Simply put, we must treat others the same way that we would like to be treated. If we encounter someone who is hungry then we must feed them; if they are thirsty then we give them something to drink; if they need to hear the gospel, we must speak the truth in love. When empathy reigns in our hearts, there is little room for ungodliness.

As the story goes, before the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian government had written many laws relating to water pollution. One of these regulations required that every factory had to discharge their water up-stream from their own intake pipes. In this manner, a factory would get back exactly what it put out; subsequently forcing them to remove pollutants if they wished to use clean water. In essence, their comfortable existence was conditioned upon, and equivalent to, the way they treated others.

According to Jesus, doing what is right is far simpler than attempting to follow every commandment individually. As Christians we are obligated to treat others with the same measure of affection and attention we might seek from them. Using the Golden rule permits us to carry out the will of God without resorting to selfishness, deceit, or hypocrisy. This way of living isn’t always easy; because telling people the truth is difficult and uncomfortable. But no matter the consequence, we must continue to speak the Gospel and to do what is right.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we be empathetic and sincere; shunning hypocrisy and deceitful living. Give us the wisdom necessary to practice the golden rule; and to treat others exactly how we would like to be treated. We desire for our lives to conform to your righteous standard; in everything we do, may we emulate You. 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!

God’s Perfect Plan

JESUS SPEAKING

Now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing. (John 9: 1 – 7)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

According to the prevailing sentiment of the first century, the disciples believed that all deformity and dysfunction were the result of an individual’s own sinful behaviors. Thus they sought to discover who’s sin had caused the man’s condition. Jesus insisted that his blindness wasn’t the consequence of any sin; but instead, had arisen as an opportunity for God to accomplish a miraculous feat of divine healing. His eyes were made whole again so that others might observe God’s power and embrace a faithful existence. In this life, the things that initially appear the most challenging or tragic, are frequently used by God to bring Him the greatest glory.

In the Old Testament, we are introduced to a man named Joseph (one of Jacob’s twelve sons.) He was highly favored above his siblings. This favoritism provoked his brothers to jealousy and hatred. One day they bound Joseph and sold him into slavery in Egypt. They then lied to their father, claiming he had been killed by a wild animal. Joseph served as a slave in Egypt for many years; enduring numerous trials and tribulations. After being falsely accused of a crime, he is sentenced to prison; where he remains a faithful servant. By means of divine providence, he impresses Pharaoh with his ability to interpret dreams. Pharaoh then promotes Joseph to the highest position of authority in Egypt. When a terrible famine strikes the land, Jacob and his family begin to suffer. He sends his sons to Egypt to buy grain, where they soon encounter Joseph; the brother they had sold into bondage many years earlier. Their evil deed is eventually revealed to Jacob, who is reunited with his lost son. Due to the devastating famine, Joseph has his entire family relocated to Egypt; thus ensuring their survival. He forgives his brothers for their mistreatment saying, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive. Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.”

Like Joseph, we may encounter moments of tragedy and tribulation; and yet, unlike God, we cannot see the end from the beginning. Our adversities and struggles often arise, not as a punishment, but rather, as an opportunity to observe some divine achievement. As we overcome our trials, and God’s perfect will is accomplished, our victories become a testimony concerning the power, the honor, and the glory of our Heavenly Father; to whom all authority remains forever.

“Lord Heavenly Father, apart from You we can do nothing; but with You, we can accomplish wonderful things. As others witness Your miracles being accomplished in our lives, may they be healed, forgiven, transformed and reborn; according to the measure of Your faithfulness. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. 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 we pray. Amen.” God bless all of you!

Excess Wealth

JESUS SPEAKING

Now as He was going out on the road, one came running, knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Do not defraud,’ ‘Honor your father and mother.'” And he answered and said to Him, “Teacher, all these things I have kept from my youth.” Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.” But he was sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God?” And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Mark 10: 17 – 25)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

A wealthy young man asked Jesus how he might receive eternal life. The Lord insisted he sell all of his possessions; only then could he embark on his Christian journey. Sadly, the idolatrous man walked away; preferring to continue worshiping his wealth rather than God. Jesus responded by issuing an additional proclamation stating that it is nearly impossible for those who are wealthy (and trust in their riches) to enter the Kingdom of God. Excessive wealth is therefore a frequent hindrance to faithfulness and a detriment to those who seek after it.

As the story goes, one day Martin Luther found himself penniless, yet he was asked to contribute to an important Christian work. He remembered that he owned a beautiful medal of Joachim, Elector of Brandengurg, which was one of his most prized possessions. He promptly approached the drawer, opened it, and said: “What are you doing there, Joachim? Do you not see how idle you are? Come out and make yourself useful.” Then he took the medal and gave it up for the work of the Lord.

Excessive wealth and abundant resources can often become a stumbling block for those who are seeking to follow Jesus Christ. Many place their trust in bank accounts, precious assets, or stock portfolios. Christians however are called to place their faith and trust in God alone. Wealth can be beneficial, but only when it is used to further the gospel message, to express God’s generosity, or to accomplish something eternally beneficial.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we use our excess possessions to serve you; to spread the gospel and to proclaim Your plan of salvation. May we be grateful, may we be generous, and may we be faithful. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and cleanse our hearts and minds. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. 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 we pray, amen.” God bless all of You!


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