Archive for the 'Jesus Speaks' Category

Give Without Expectations

JESUS SPEAKING

        “And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back” (Luke 6: 34.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

         Even the cruelest individuals will give money to those who promise to pay them back. And yet, Jesus desired that his disciples be completely selfless. He therefore taught them to give without expecting anything in return. The mandate of everyone who longs to practice genuine Godliness must freely give, when they are able, to those who are in need.
         One day, as I was getting ready to leave the gym, I bumped into an acquaintance who asked if he could borrow $10 dollars. After giving him the money, he continued to insist that he would pay me back. (With this scripture in mind) I told him that the money was from God, and that I didn’t want any form of repayment. He immediately understood that it was a gift and not a loan; as we parted ways, I felt a warm blessing; because I had done God’s will.
         The Lord is pleased when His disciple’s standout; when they shine; when they are more loving and more charitable than those around them. Giving without expectation or the desire for repayment is just one identifiable characteristic of a true believer. Whether we pass by a stranger begging for change, or a family member who needs help paying the rent, we must be willing to freely give, when we are able. May we always choose to freely give; may we love without restriction, and may we receive the ultimate compensation for your unconditional obedience.
         “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to be obedient, to be caring, and to be generous. May we always freely give expecting nothing in return; for we desire heavenly rewards over earthly rewards. May Your love for others flow through us, that our faith might be a light to all those who walk in darkness. 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 Leftovers

JESUS SPEAKING

        Then Jesus went from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Caanan came from that region and cried out to him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon possessed.” But he said to her not a word. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, “Send her away, for she is crying out after us.” But he answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But he answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from the masters table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire!” And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Mathew 15: 21-28.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        In first century Jewish culture, dogs were considered dirty animals; they scavenged through garbage heaps; feeding on the scraps that humans refused to eat. The Hebrew people commonly referred to non-Jews (gentiles) as dogs. Jesus called the begging woman a dog; an insult designed to test her heart. She didn’t react in anger; she didn’t hurl insults at him. Instead, she laid down her pride, embraced his assessment, and continued chasing her miracle. Because she exhibited true humility, Jesus granted her request and praised her for her faith.
        When I was a small child, my family usually ate meals around a dining room table. Of course, we were expected to devour everything on our plates; even the things we didn’t enjoy. Brutis, our overeager collie, always sat patiently beside the table. When my mother exited the room, my siblings and I would gently lower our dishes and Brutis would lick them clean. When she returned, she was pleased to see our empty plates. Our dog wasn’t prideful; he never complained about the taste of the food; nor did he consider leftovers and scraps undignified. Instead, he joyfully consumed whatever we rejected.
        When our messiah walked the earth, the Jewish people were God’s priority; and even today they hold a preferred place. Jesus was Jewish; as were John, Peter, Paul, and the other 10 disciples. In fact, only one of the books in the New Testament was written by a non-Jewish author. Whenever Paul entered a new city, he would walk straight in to the synagogue and proclaim the gospel. Only after they had rejected the message, did he preach to the gentiles. By the grace and mercy of God, we as non-Jews have come to inherit eternal life. If you are Jewish and you have faith in God’s son, you are blessed. If you are gentile, you can humbly and joyfully devour the divine leftovers. Know your place and God will honor you. By discarding pride and embracing His mercy, you will experience the desires of your heart, and you will “dwell in the house of the Lord, forever.” [Note: Despite God’s love for the Jewish people, Jesus Christ has broken down the barriers of inequality that divide Jews and gentiles. ‘We are all one in Christ Jesus.’]
        “Lord Heavenly Father, we thank You for the Jewish people, and for the salvation You have offered them through Your Son. We love them because You love them. May we all, Jew and gentile alike, humbly accept Your message; knowing that we are undeserving of Your grace. Grant us the miracle of reconciliation, that we might experience Your wonderful 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.

Fellowship is Essential

JESUS SPEAKING

       “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them” (Mathew 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

       The word ‘Amen,’ so commonly spoken at the end of most prayers, essentially means ‘I agree.’ Like so many Christian practices, prayer is meant to be exercised in community, as well as well as alone. No one can have a complete relationship with God until they share Him with others. When two or more gather together to celebrate Christ, his Spirit is made manifest in their hearts; those who are weak become strong and those who are empty are made full. An isolated Christian is a Christian who is weak and vulnerable to attack. To avoid fellowship with believers is to avoid fellowship with Christ himself.
       Some time ago, I regularly answered the prayer lines at my local church. After gaining a lot of experience, I was able to make some profound observations. Those who were not involved in a church fellowship, or a small group bible study, suffered great difficulties. Many isolators were addicted to drugs or struggling with some other terrible sin; nearly every detached person was stuck in a continual state of crisis. On the contrary, those who expressed a spirit of joy were actively involved in service work; they usually attended a small group fellowship; and they maintained close friendships with other believers.
       Are you involved in fellowship today? Do you have close Christian friends that you regularly pray with? Is your experience with Christ exercised in community, or in isolation? If you are not plugged into the body of Christ, go down to your church and ask them about weekly fellowships you might attend. They usually have lists, and you can always find one that fits your schedule. Make friends with other believers and pray with them regularly; become a part of God’s family and be renewed by the Holy Spirit. Without fellowship, you will never know the fullness of God’s power in your life.
       “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You and ask that You help us to be members of Your body. We desire to share You with others, and to be in fellowship with our eternal brothers and sisters. May we draw near to one another as we all draw near to You. May Your Spirit flow freely between us. If we have isolated, give us opportunities to fellowship with others and to grow strong. 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 True Servant

JESUS SPEAKING

        But Jesus called them to himself and said, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. However, it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10: 42 – 45.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        As children we are often taught that dominance is better than submission, and that a higher social status means a better life. Many therefore seek to acquire positions of great power and authority. Yet Christ’s teachings are in direct opposition to such worldly principles. Those who follow Jesus must deny what they’ve been taught, in order to embrace the doctrines of genuine faith and divine humility. Only by abandoning the desire for greatness, can we completely and lovingly serve others.

        For years, young men from across the country have flocked to my home church; seeking to practice pastoral ministry. Many hopefuls were initially referred to a pastor named Romain; who employed a special technique designed to separate the qualified from the unqualified. As the prospects approached, he would hand them a broom and instruct them to sweep a portion of the church. Although many were obedient, some, feeling insulted, became upset. One common response sounded something like this; “I came here to be a pastor, and to teach the bible; not to sweep floors.” Pastor Romain knew then that they lacked a servant’s heart; they had not come to serve in humility, but rather, to acquire power and authority.

        Those who follow the Son of God must abandon the desire for worldly greatness in order to pursue lowliness and humility. By seeking to serve others rather than to be served, we become the men and women God has called us to be. We can serve in our church, at home, in the community, and at work. We can serve our families, coworkers, friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers. Only through sacrifice and selflessness can we truly be molded in to the image of our great Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

        “Lord Heavenly Father, inspire us to pursue and embrace humility. May we strive to serve others in sincerity and singleness of heart. Provide us with opportunities to place the needs of others ahead of our own; that in so doing, we might be living examples of Your great mercy and everlasting affection. 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.

Demonic Possession

JESUS SPEAKING

        “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, he goes through dry places seeking rest; and finding none, he says, ‘I will return to the house from which I came.’ And when he arrives, he finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then he goes and takes seven other spirits, more wicked than himself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first” (Luke 11: 24-26.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Evil spirits, although often considered to be a myth, are very real. They dwell within the hearts of those who deny God. When an individual receives Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, all demonic apparitions are expelled; the child of God is set free; the chaos and devastation of evil living subsides; the believer ceases to engage in self-destructive behaviors; their hearts are purified, and their minds are quieted. The dispossessed demons however, are not satisfied unless they are causing misery and pain. So, they often return to their previous hosts, stronger and more determined than ever. They tirelessly seek to turn the faithful away from God; sadly, some fall victim to their schemes and reject the Holy Spirit. Without the Lord’s protection, the blasphemer is again invaded by demons and their lives plummet back into destruction (a destruction far greater than any they had previously known.)
        I once met a man who had been a pastor for many years. After he had received the Holy Spirit, his life began to change in wonderful ways. He experienced an immense peace and began to preach the gospel with great enthusiasm. He served the Lord for some time before suddenly renouncing the faith. Soon after his denial of Christ, he joyfully began engaging in strange sexual deviancies with multiple partners; he also started smoking and boasted of his severe daily dependence upon alcohol. Additionally, as an atheist, he actively attempted to turn others away from the faith. I would occasionally see him out in the community from time to time; and he appeared to be physically and mentally deteriorating (a condition I could only attribute to demonic possession.) The words of Christ are true, in that this man’s situation is likely worse today than it would have been if he had never received the Lord.
        Demons are very real; they roam the earth, trying to possess those who are weak. Individuals who receive the Holy Spirit are no longer capable of being possessed. Unfortunately, some believers do eventually reject the Holy Spirit; in turn they are possessed and their lives plummet into even greater chaos. Maintaining our close relationship with God through prayer, bible reading, fellowship, and obedience, is the best defense against evil spirits [If you have never received the Spirit of God and you would like too, please contact me and I can lead you in a prayer of acceptance and faith.]
        “Lord Heavenly Father, give us more of Your Holy Spirit. Deliver us from the evil one and protect us from demonic attacks. Remain in us and continue to work through us; give us the strength to endure; may we never turn away from You; may we always continue in Your ways; and may we never return to the bondage of sin and death. 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.

Gossip

JESUS SPEAKING

        The high priest then asked Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet and have said nothing in secret” (John 18: 19-20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHT

        After being arrested, the Lord was taken before the Jewish leaders to be interrogated. They sought to find something in his teaching by which to condemn him. Jesus was considered a Rabbi; Rabbi’s spoke publicly; they gave everyone the opportunity to ask questions and to cross examine them (In fact, the religious leaders sent many servants in disguise to ascertain the nature of Christ’s doctrine.) Jesus never said anything in secret that he did not also profess openly. Speaking in secret is a sign of ungodliness (Gossip for instance is a type of destructive, private communication. The Lord never gossiped, and he never slandered; instead, he spoke the truth publicly and without remorse.)
        One day a group of pastors began to talk. They all agreed that those who confessed their sins on a regular basis were more joyful. So the four men decided that they should meet and confess their sins to one another. Upon meeting, the first pastor confessed that he routinely called in sick so he could attend the theatre. The second pastor confessed that in the evenings he liked to smoke cigars. The third pastor confessed that he had a major gambling problem; he often flew to Las Vegas where he would lose large sums of money. The final pastor refused to confess. But the other pastors pressed him until finally he made his admission. He said, “Well, I confess that I really like to gossip, and I can hardly wait to get out of here.”
        Although this fictional illustration is humorous, Gossip is not. Jesus never engaged in gossip, and his followers should strive to be like him, ‘in thought, word, and deed.’ Everything we say must stand up under scrutiny. Our private communication must be congruent with our public communication; if what we say cannot be printed on the front page of the newspaper, perhaps we have no business saying it. Speak openly; speak truthfully; speak lovingly; and you will never be ashamed.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to avoid gossip; may we speak openly; may we never speak out of hate or contempt, but out of love. Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit, and may our mouths always speak the truth. May Your words be our words; may Your thoughts be our thoughts; may Your desires be our desires. May we glorify You in ‘thought, word, and deed.’ 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!

Making a Stand

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

         Long ago King David prophesied that the messiah would be zealous concerning the things of God. Jesus, having witnessed his fellow Israelites using the temple for selfish gain, became enraged. After constructing a whip, he drove out those who were defiling his Father’s house. Today, we too will occasionally observe acts of unspeakable evil. In such instances, the Holy Spirit will eradicate our fears and fill our hearts with zeal; enabling us to publicly oppose those engaging in malicious conduct.
         One afternoon, while studying in the coffee shop, a man and his teenage son sat down beside me. Without provocation, the youngster began persistently berating and verbally abusing his Dad. As the disrespect escalated, my heart was filled with righteous anger. The boy eventually threatened his Dad, saying, “Have you ever been punched in the face?” I lashed out; telling the young man to ‘Shut his mouth!’ The boy fell silent. I proceeded to lecture him concerning the fifth commandment; honoring his father and mother. Embarrassed and afraid, he stepped outside; later returning to apologize.
         In this life, we will occasionally witness acts of such unspeakable evil, that Jesus will inspire us to intervene. In these moments, He will fill our hearts with zeal; giving us the words to speak and the strength to overcome our fears. The Lord will use us to rebuke, to exhort, and to correct many who eagerly violate the basic laws of God.
         “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the courage to speak the truth when necessary. May we love what is good and be zealous for Your ways. When great acts of evil are being practiced, may we stand against them; allowing our desires for righteousness to eradicate our fear of reprisal. 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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