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Don’t be Lukewarm

JESUS SPEAKING

    “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish that you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth […] as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 14 – 16, 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    After being seized by the Romans, the Apostle John was marched into a crowded coliseum and plunged into a vat of boiling oil.  But when he remained unharmed, the masses within the coliseum began to convert to Christianity.  The Romans, fearing his influence, placed him in prison on a deserted Island off the cost of Turkey (known as Patmos.) While in exile on this island, in about the year 95 A.D., an aging John received a revelation from Jesus Christ.  In this revelation, Jesus addressed the seven churches located in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea.  For some reason the Laodicean church had become lukewarm. They were once bold, zealous, and uncompromising; and yet over time they had succumb to personal comfort, complacency, and routine.  Jesus rebuked them; commanding them to obey His directives: to be zealous again; to be bold; to spread the gospel; to serve others and to work hard to save souls.  God’s message to the Laodiceans is timeless; it pertains directly to the church today.  There is no half-way; a moderate faith is a dead faith.  For the believer there are no vacations, no breaks, and no retirement.  We must all continue to serve God to the fullest. If we stop serving Him, we are in danger of becoming lukewarm, cold, and dead.

    Interestingly enough, a recent study revealed that early retirement can lead to an increased risk of death.  In 2005, three groups of otherwise healthy individuals were studied; those who retired at 55; those who retired at 60; and those who retired at 65.  “In this research, death was almost twice as likely in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who continued working.”  The tendency to take it easy and relax can have disastrous consequences.  To lose enthusiasm for God’s message is to fail to fulfill the highest calling of God.  As believers, we must fervently work for the Lord until He returns to gather us together.

    Are we eager to serve God and others today; or have we been serving ourselves?  Are we on fire for the Lord, or have we become cold?  Are we readily spreading the gospel, or have we fallen silent?  Have we faded into the background, or do we speak the truth with boldness?  We must be brave and reach out for Christ.  May our heart be ignited by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.  May the words of God flow from our mouths, and may our good works never cease; may God use us to transform others; and may we always represent the church of God with conviction and zeal.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that our hearts may burn for You.  May we shine brightly in the lives of all those we meet.  Give us the words to speak and the strength to continue.  May we never grow weary or become lukewarm; may we never stop serving others, knowing that one day we will have our rest in You.  We love You Lord, 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!

Receiving God’s Message

JESUS SPEAKING

   “I have manifested your name to the men whom you have given me out of the world.  They were Yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they have known that all things which you have given me are from you.  For I have given them the words which you have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that that You sent me” (John 17: 6-8.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

  Jesus began speaking directly to God in the presence of his disciples.  He identified his task and acknowledged that it had been accomplished.  His duty was to make God known to all those who were willing to listen.  The true children of God heard Jesus, accepted him as God’s messenger, and received his words as the words of God.  The Lord had given the disciples to Jesus; to teach, to love, to protect, and to nurture.  Today, God is still selecting individuals out of the world, to become His eternal possessions.  Anyone who accepts the message of Jesus Christ is a true child of God.  Those who follow God are saved, but those who choose to ignore His message will perish.

    In 1912 the Titanic slipped beneath the icy waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Nearly 1000 people joined the ship on its journey to the bottom of the ocean.  Although there weren’t enough lifeboats to carry all of the passengers, no one truly needed to die.  Most people are unaware that a large ship named ‘The Californian’ was less than 20 miles away that night (close enough to have saved most of Titanic’s passengers.)  ‘The Californian’ received the distress calls from the Titanic (via radio communication and lamps;) they even observed nearly 8 distress flares, and the crew members later testified that the Titanic appeared to be listing in the water (leaning to one side.)  No one but God knows why, but for some reason the captain of ‘The Californian’ didn’t seem to take these messages seriously; he returned to bed after hearing the reports.  During an official inquiry into the captain’s actions, he remained elusive, continually changing his story; he even made attempts to doctor the log book and change their reported position on the evening of the tragedy.  The real circumstances of his inaction were never clear.  Many however went on to speculate that the Captain simply didn’t take the messages seriously.  He had heard the reports, but didn’t believe them, and for that reason 1000 people lost their lives.

   Jesus Christ, and the words that he spoke are God’s signal flares in a very dark and frigid world.  Some see the signals, and they are drawn to Him.  They see Jesus and know that He is God’s message, and because they believe in that message they are saved from death.  Sadly, no matter how many flares He sends up pointing to His Son, most will never take God’s message seriously. Jesus Christ is God’s message to us all.  Those who respond, will follow Jesus and dedicate their lives to spreading His message.  The initial response is your belief?  Do you believe today that Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and that because of your faith in Him you have been granted eternal life?

    “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You increase our faith.  We desire to be Yours, and we believe Your message and accept Your words.  We await the life You have promised us, and we ask that you strengthen us in this world to do Your work.  Give us a desire to spread Your message to others, that we would make more disciples, and bring others out of death and into life.  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!

Loving Your Neighbor

JESUS SPEAKING

   “Who is my neighbor?” Jesus answered him saying: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise, a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he looked upon him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn and, and took care of him. The next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend when I come next time, I will repay you.’ So, which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10: 29 – 37.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Samaria consisted of a population of pagan individuals dwelling within the borders of the nation of Israel (just north of Jerusalem); as non-Hebrews, they frequently engaged in immoral and idolatrous behaviors; for this reason, they were despised by the religious Israelites. In fact, many orthodox Jews, when traveling, would contemptuously journey around Samaria. After confirming the importance of loving one’s neighbor, Jesus was asked to define what constituted a neighbor. His reply came in the form of a story; in the narrative a man was beaten and left for dead on the side of the road; two religious Jews passed by, yet neither stopped to help (one was a priest and the other a supposed man of God.) Soon however, a Samaritan happened by, and his heart was filled with compassion. Seeking to preserve the man’s life, he gave of his time, his money, and his resources. He showed genuine mercy and astonishing generosity. Many today, like the priest and the Levite, are so concerned with what lies ahead that they fail to stop and assist those who are hurting and in need of assistance.
    Some time ago, during a cross-country meet in Minnesota, a young man named Mark Paulauskas was injured in the first half-mile of a two-mile race. He had been spiked by another runners’ cleats (a wound that would eventually require 20 stitches and a walking boot.) As Paulauskas cried out in agony, most of the other runners passed him by; they were more focused on the finish line than on the pain of a suffering opponent. Yet one individual heard his cries and was filled with compassion. A runner named Josh Ripley willingly abandoned his pursuit of victory so he could stop and help. Without hesitation he picked Mark up and carried him a half-mile back to the starting line. After committing his wounded competitor into the arms of the coaches, Josh Ripley sprinted off into the wilderness again; to complete his race. Although he didn’t win, he obtained a great victory in the eyes of God.
    Our fleshly nature commonly causes us to become so focused on what lies ahead that we ignore those who are right beside us. If we are not careful we can pass right by those who are hurting and ignore the call of God to ‘love our neighbor as ourselves.’ The world can be cold and apathetic; yet in the midst of indifference, there are those who are willing to display great compassion and mercy; they give selflessly; they love unconditionally; they listen to the Spirit of God; they are followers of Jesus Christ; they are Christians.
    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we always show sympathy toward those who are hurting and in need. May we be relieved of indifference and filled with mercy. May nothing ever be more important than genuine compassion, nor greater than Your divine love. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be examples of Your affection in a world that has grown cold and apathetic. We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name. Amen.” God bless all of you!


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