Archive for the 'Jesus Speaks' Category



Being Set Free

JESUS SPEAKING

     Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.  And you shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”  They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been in bondage to anyone.  How can you say you will be made free?”  Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.  And a slave does not abide in the house forever.  Therefore, if the son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” (John 8: 31 – 36)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Although slavery was quite common in the ancient world, the men Jesus spoke with were not slaves.  Rather, being free men, they had failed to understand that they were slaves to their own sinful appetites.  Sin is often a far crueler taskmaster than any man holding a whip.  Even today, many weary souls are hopelessly ruled over by their addictions; some are in bondage to drugs and alcohol; some to pornography and sexual deviancy; while others are shackled to wealth, deception, lewdness, fornication, and idolatry; etc.  And yet, no matter how vast the number of sins might be, Jesus Christ has been setting people free for nearly 2000 years.

     One day I decided to visit Venice Beach; as I walked amidst the shops and street performers, I happened across a young couple.  They were homeless; their dirty hair was tangled and matted; their clothes were riddled with holes and despite being raised in the United States, they spoke with a heavy Jamaican accent.  They were apparently practicing the Rastafarian religion; a religion that promotes the spiritual use of marijuana.  Their bondage to the drug was so ferocious that they had adopted an entirely foreign lifestyle, simply to continue smoking marijuana without conviction.  Although they believed themselves to be free, they were in fact slaves; slaves whose master had caused them to lose nearly everything.  Thankfully I was able to share with them about how God had transformed my life; how He had relieved me of my addictions.  I would like to tell you that they immediately received the message and were reborn, but I cannot.  I can only pray that they might someday accept Jesus Christ and been set free.

     If you are in bondage to some kind of sin, turn your life over to Jesus Christ and He will relieve your burdens.  He will set you free from your addictions; He will heal your mind and cleanse your soul.  Invite Him into your heart, and He will become your master; He will protect you; He will guide you; He will mold you and shape you into His own image.  Surrender completely and you will know true freedom.  As the love of God fills your heart, you will experience genuine gratitude and everlasting peace.  [Note:  If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior and would like to be set free, contact me and we can discuss how you might make that decision today.]

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to be set free from the bondage of sin and death.  Heal our hearts and minds; and give us hope.  May our addictions be relieved, and may our fleshly desires be destroyed.  May we serve You in sincerity of heart; may we never stray from the path of righteousness; and may we dwell in Your presence forever.  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!

Welcoming Outcasts

JESUS SPEAKING

    Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous” (Luke 14: 12-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     In the ancient Jewish culture, when a person was invited to a meal, they were often expected to return the favor the next time they hosted a dinner party.  Not everyone owned a home, and not everyone could afford to feed many guests; therefore only those who were wealthy and affluent would routinely be invited to attend large feasts.  The poor, the lame, the sick, and the blind were routinely overlooked.  Yet Jesus commanded His disciples to invite those who could not reimburse them for their generosity and affection; thus forgoing earthly rewards in favor of eternal riches. Those who have given expecting nothing in return will be rewarded for their selfless actions on the day when the dead are raised to eternal life.

   As a child, every year around a certain holiday, my mother would invite a disabled family that lived in our neighborhood to enter our home and join us in celebration.  They were very poor and everyone in their family had some form of debilitating disorder. They were often mocked and teased by many in our small community; shamefully, I myself, being so young, was slightly embarrassed when they arrived.  Yet as I look back now, I understand the goodness of my mother’s actions.  She was reaching out to those who were outcasts; showing love to those who had been shunned by others. She had chosen to embrace a family who could not repay her for her kindness. And in so doing, she had fulfilled the teachings of Jesus Christ.

     As Christians, our mandate is to love without condition or stipulation. We must show affection for those who are outcasts. We must care for the poor, the lame, the sick and the blind. We must be generous toward those who cannot repay us; and in so doing, we too will fulfill the teachings our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  When we finally enter God’s eternal Kingdom, we will receive the full reward for our acts of selfless love.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, may we love those who are less fortunate.  May we reach out to those who are outcasts; may we embrace the lost and care for those who are suffering.  May we abandon the pursuit of Earthly rewards in favor of heavenly riches.  Fill us with Your Spirit that we might be more like You; thus allowing others to see our good works and glorify Your Holy Name.  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!

Reaching Sinners

JESUS SPEAKING

Then the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  So he spoke this parable to them, saying:  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15: 1-7.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The religious leaders despised Jesus because he ate with sinners and social outcasts.  The priests and teachers of the law were absolutely obsessed with ritualistic purity.  Most avoided talking too, or even brushing up against those they deemed ungodly. The Jewish people customarily ate food in extremely intimate ways.  They shared cups and dipped bread into communal bowls; eating supper meant sharing saliva; and in turn, they believed that whoever you dined with, you became one with; potentially transferring sins from one person to another.  The Pharisees therefore avoided interacting with sinners. But Jesus saw them as God’s children; He fellow-shipped with them, He ate with them, and He loved them; and as a result, many lost sheep repented and received salvation.

One day a man approached me for help.  He had been a recovering alcoholic for many years, but had fallen back into his old lifestyle.  His clothes were ragged and he smelled rancid; he appeared sick and his hands were shaking badly.  I prayed with the man, bought him some food and gave him a bible; I also helped him to schedule a date to enter a treatment center.  At one point I even had to drive his car.  When I approached the vehicle and opened the door, a plume of awful stench struck my nostrils.  He had been passing out in and urinating all over the front seat.  I didn’t want to endure the horrible smell; nor did I desire to sit in human waste.  But God spoke to my heart; and I instantly understood that getting dirty was, and is, a necessary part of spreading the gospel.  I sat in that unsanitary chair and drove that car; and in turn, God used me to reach a man for Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself wasn’t afraid of getting dirty.  He ate with, lived with, and reached out to sinners.  His most important mission was to save the lost; our mission is the same as His.  We shouldn’t be afraid of getting dirty; nor should we push sinners away. Instead we must embrace them and love them; speaking the truth of the gospel no matter the consequence.  They are God’s children; they are His precious possession; they are the treasure.  No matter how filthy or despicable a person might appear, God will never stop seeking after them; He never grows weary and He never gives up. He is full of mercy and grace, and in Him all repentant sinners can find rest for their souls.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we always seek the lost.  May we never be afraid of getting dirty.  May all come to repentance and reconciliation with You.  Give us the strength and the wisdom to reach out to others.  Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit.  May we be given endless opportunities to testify about Your Son; that the world may come to know of Your awesome gift of salvation.  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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