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Second Chances

JESUS SPEAKING

      When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”  “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”  Again Jesus said, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  He answered, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”  Jesus said, “Take care of my sheep.”  A third time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?”  He said, “Lord you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” […] and when he had said this he said, “Follow me.” (John 21: verse 15 – 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      On the night that Jesus was arrested, His disciple abandoned him.  As the armed soldiers escorted Jesus to the high priest for questioning, Peter followed at a distance.  When they arrived at their destination, Peter sat down and watched as an angry crowd condemned his master.  They hurled insults at him and spit on him; they blindfolded Jesus and repeatedly struck him in the face.  Upon observing the brutality of the mob, Peter’s heart began to fail; his faith soon gave way to fear.  Three times he was asked by those around him if he was a follower of Jesus Christ; and three times he denied his affiliation.  He eventually ran off, disgraced and ashamed.  After rising from the dead, Jesus appeared to His disciples. They engaged in fellowship and shared a meal together.  Eventually Jesus took Peter aside; refusing to condemn him for his denials.  Instead, He absolved him of his sins and gave him a second chance.  Peter was now being called to serve and care for those who were repenting and receiving salvation.

      In the late 1800’s there lived an ambitious inventor named Thomas Edison.  He is credited with inventing the battery, the phonograph, the telegraph, the movie projector, and many other well-known devices.  One of his greatest inventions was the first industrial light bulb (an item we still use today.)  As the story goes, it took Mr. Edison and an entire team of men, 24 hours to produce the first working prototype.  After many long hours, Edison gave the bulb to a young boy to carry up the stairs to the testing area.  With the fragile device in hand, the nervous assistant cautiously made his ascent; every step was carefully planned and executed. Sadly, despite the child’s best efforts, he somehow shattered the bulb.  In turn, the disappointed team began manufacturing another prototype.  Twenty-four hours later, the new bulb appeared.  Although the young assistant had failed the first time, Edison wisely understood that the boy deserved a second chance.  The youngster didn’t disappoint either; he delivered the bulb to it’s destination intact.

      The world is teaming with people who have failed, in more ways than one; mistakes are a part of life.  However, many human beings can be unforgiving and cruel; but God is merciful.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are called to forgive others who are truly repentant and deserve a second chance. In so doing, we too will escape the sins of our past. Forgiveness is the pathway to peace, and mercy is a road that leads to genuine fellowship with our eternal Father.

      “Lord Heavenly Father, we have made many mistakes; but You have created in us a new heart.  You have given us a second chance.  May we show that same love toward others; may we forgive completely, and may Your mercy and grace be manifested through us, into the lives of all those we meet.  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!

Selflessness and Sacrifice

JESUS SPEAKING

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16: 24 – 25)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The old rugged cross is an enduring symbol of selflessness and sacrifice. Those who strive to follow Jesus Christ must crucify themselves daily. Our temporal wants, fleshly desires, and the present pleasures of this passing life must be abandoned. We lay down our lives so that Christ might arise in our place. If we die to ourselves, others will see God and be drawn to Him. By accomplishing acts of great service, we can spread the gospel message far and wide. Only through death can we experience eternal life.

As the story goes, during the 1800’s, a missionary named James Calvert was led by God to spread the gospel message to the cannibal infested islands of Figi. During his journey, the captain of the ship on which he traveled sought to dissuade him, saying, “You will risk your life and all those with you if you go among such savages.” Calvert’s response was simple and magnificent. “We died before we came here!” James and his companions had sacrificed their desires for self-preservation the moment they chose to follow Christ.

Like James Calvert, anyone who chooses to follow the Messiah must lay down their lives in service to God. We must abandon our selfish wants and desires. When compared with the promised rewards of eternal life, the passing pleasures of our current existence are insignificant. If we cannot embrace selflessness and sacrifice, we can’t hope to properly represent Jesus Christ.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to follow Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we take up our crosses and sacrifice our hunger for the passing pleasures of this world. Only You can give us the strength to lay down our flesh and walk according to the Spirit. 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!

Overcoming the Fear of Evangelism

JESUS SPEAKING

“But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.” (Matthew 10: 17 – 20)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The textbook definition of evangelism is, ‘the spreading of the Christian gospel through public preaching, individual witnessing, and personal testimony.’ Jesus addresses the root cause of why many professing Christians refuse to evangelize. In verse 19 he says, “do not worry about how or what you should speak.” Thus the fear (worry) of appearing foolish and being rejected are the primary obstacles we must overcome if we are to faithfully carry the gospel message. To further alleviate any lingering anxiety, Jesus affirms that the words we share will not originate from us, but will instead be spoken through us by the Holy Spirit. If our evangelistic efforts are rejected, we needn’t feel shame or remorse; for they have not forsaken us, but God Himself; the creator of all things.

Currently, the United states has approximately 169 Ambassadors serving around the world. An ambassador is an important official who lives in a foreign country and represents American interests. A reliable and trustworthy ambassador assumes the duty of accomplishing a singular task; he must accurately convey the thoughts and desires of his nation to the country in which he is stationed. His private and personal opinions are abandoned; he speaks boldly without fear or regret. He has become the carrier of a message; a delivery man so to speak.

As Christians, we are ambassadors from heaven; carrying a message from our King to all those who might hear the gospel and be saved. We must abandon our selfish pride and the fear of rejection and evangelize whenever or wherever God may lead. We lay down our concerns, our worries, and our lives, so that we might represent the risen Lord in this place.

“Lord Heavenly Father, empower us with boldness, that we might be unashamed and unafraid. As we evangelize, may Your Holy Spirit speak through us. Compel us to reach out to those who are lost. Grant us numerous divine appointments, that might lead to the repentance and salvation of many souls. 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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