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Standing Up For What’s Right

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 of the coming Messiah; suggesting He would be zealous for the things of God. Jesus, having witnessed His fellow Israelites using the temple for selfish gain, became enraged. After constructing a whip made of chords, He drove out all those who were defiling His Father’s house. Today, much like our Savior, we too will occasionally observe instances of unspeakable evil. In such circumstances, the Holy Spirit will eradicate our fears and fill our hearts with zeal; giving us the strength to publicly oppose anyone engaging in malicious conduct.
         One day many years ago, while I was studying in a 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, but eventually returned 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 intentionally 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 up against them; allowing our desires for righteousness to eradicate our fears of reprisal. May we be a light in the 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!

A Servant’s Heart

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 taught that dominance is better than submission, and that a higher social status leads to a better life.  Many therefore seek to acquire positions of great power and authority.  Yet Christ’s teachings are often in direct opposition to such worldly principles.  Those who follow Jesus must deny what they have been taught, in order to embrace the doctrines of genuine faith and divine humility.  Only by abandoning the desire for greatness, can one completely and lovingly serve others. [Note: This does not mean you need to quit your job or stop seeking a higher wage or position. However, we must always be humble, no matter our station in life.]

    For years young men from across the country have flocked to the church where I was saved, seeking to begin a career in pastoral ministry. Many new hopefuls were initially referred to a pastor named Romain, who skillfully employed a special technique designed to separate the qualified from the unqualified.  As the prospects approached, he would hand them a broom and tell them to go sweep a portion of the church.  Although many were obedient, others felt insulted and 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.”  Upon hearing such a retort, Pastor Romain knew then that they did not have a servant’s heart; they had not come to serve and to practice humility, but rather to acquire power and authority.

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

    “Lord Heavenly Father, inspire us to seek lowliness and humility.  May we hunger to love and serve others in sincerity and singleness of heart.  Provide us with opportunities to place the needs of our fellows ahead of our own, that we might be 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!

Gratitude

JESUS SPEAKING

        Now it happened as He went to Jerusalem that He passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” So, when He saw them, He said to them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And so it was, that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell on his face at his feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So, Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” And He said to him, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well.” (Matthew 17: 11 – 19)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Leprosy is a debilitating bacterial disease that has existed for thousands of years; it causes fingers, toes, noses, and other extremities to rot away, horribly disfiguring its victims. Despite modern treatments, Leprosy remains highly contagious. Since the days of Christ, infected individuals have been ostracized; forced into isolated colonies beyond the city limits. When traveling, lepers were required to maintain great distances between themselves and those who were healthy. Upon entering a crowded area, they were obligated to yell out, “unclean, unclean,” as a warning for others to keep their distance. The lepers who approached Jesus stood “afar off,” and pleaded with Him to be healed. Jesus ordered the lepers to go and show themselves to the priests (In Jewish society, the priests were charged with diagnosing leprosy; if someone was healed, the priests had to examine them before they could return home to their families.) As the lepers journeyed, all ten were outwardly healed; yet only one was inwardly healed. Filled with gratitude, the filthy Samaritan returned to praise and honor Jesus Christ.
        As the story goes, there once lived a prominent Physician who was also a devoted golfer. His longtime caddie had a club foot (a deformity in which the foot bends inward, making it difficult to walk.) ‘Doc Gordon,’ as he was known, often traveled south for the winters to continue his golf game. One winter, he decided to take his caddie with him; during their trip, the doctor operated on the man’s foot and he was made completely whole. Soon after they returned, the doctor became ill and passed away. One day, the caddie was carrying another member’s bag; at every hole he stopped to pluck a flower, until eventually he had gathered a very beautiful bouquet. The member was curious and asked the caddie about his new girlfriend. He replied, “Oh no, I don’t have a girlfriend. These are for Doctor Gordon. I go to his grave twice a week and place these flowers there.” Over his lifetime, Doctor Gordon had helped thousands of sick people; correcting many physical afflictions and uncomfortable ailments. Yet only one patient was truly thankful. The young caddie continued to praise and honor his deceased friend and benefactor because his heart was filled with gratitude.
        Jesus Christ has given eternal life to every faithful soul and healed so many individuals around the world. Still, only those who express frequent gratitude have truly experienced a miracle. There are several ways to express our gratitude for God; we may offer prayers of thanksgiving and testify of His greatness. We may also gather together with other believers to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth. We may continue to perform acts of service, charity, love, and mercy, etc. Gratitude is a fruit of genuine salvation; those who understand the value of what they have been given, honor and praise God every single day. (Note: If you have never received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, please contact us and we can discuss how you can do that right now.)
        “Lord Heavenly Father we praise You, we honor You, and we thank You for our salvation. We are unworthy servants, and yet You have loved us. Thank You for healing us and protecting us; thank you for Your kindness and provision. You are truly an awesome and amazing God. May our hearts be filled with gratitude; and may we be compelled to speak of Your greatness whenever and wherever possible. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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