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The Destination

JESUS SPEAKING

    And when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus spoke to him saying, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to rest his head” (Mathew 8: 18 – 20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    Jesus Christ was born as a human being and raised in the house of Mary and Joseph. Yet His true home was with God in heaven. He was a sojourner; a traveler, perpetually mindful of His eventual destination. With no earthly residence, every miracle, act of love, and profession of truth brought Him one step closer to home. As He traveled, He sought to persuade others to join Him on his journey toward the Kingdom of God.  Thankfully today, through his faithful followers, this divine mission continues.
    In the Old Testament, Moses led millions of Israelites out of slavery and bondage in Egypt. After passing through the Red Sea, they wandered in the desert for 40 years; roaming the wilderness; living in tents, with no stable place to call home. Yet God swore an oath to eventually provide them with a permanent dwelling place; a promise that kept them alive as they embraced a life of hardship. After many long years of sacrifice, God fulfilled His pledge; safely guiding them into the land of Israel.
    Similarly, Jesus Christ leads many out of bondage to sin.  In turn, we become travelers; reliant upon God’s provision. As believers, we must begin clinging to the promise that we will one day enter His permanent dwelling place. During our journey toward the Kingdom of God, we must embrace a life of sacrifice, humility, and service. By denying our love for this world, we can lay hold of the world to come. The road to heaven is long and the way is hard; but the destination is more wonderful than anything we could ever imagine.
    “Lord Heavenly Father, may we cling Your promises. May we deny our own desires and embrace sacrifice. Strengthen us as we continue journeying toward Your kingdom; make us ever mindful that we are merely travelers heading home. May we always reach out to the lost and persuade them to join us on our journey. 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!

Being a Good Steward

JESUS SPEAKING

    “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.  Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who is will commit to your trust true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (Luke 16: 10-12)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    There are two kinds of riches; earthly riches and heavenly riches.  The heavenly riches are eternal; and thus far more valuable.  The word ‘Mammon’ that Jesus uses in this scripture is a reference to earthly possessions; things entrusted to our care by God; like jobs, a car, a home, a wife or husband, money, a career, etc.)  God has given the earth and everything in it to mankind as a temporary possession.  Every man and woman is a steward of what God had given them.  A steward is defined as ‘someone who manages property or other affairs for someone else.’   How someone handles this mortal life, indicates how they will handle eternal life.

    Many years ago my dad worked for a large beverage distributing company.  They owned many trucks, necessitating the hiring of individuals to drive them.  He would often interview the prospective employees.  As part of the interview he would accompany the person out to the parking lot where he would peer into their automobile.  If there car was neat and orderly they might be hired.  But if their automobiles were messy and in disrepair, they wouldn’t get the job.  Some of them would complain; but my dad would tell them, “If this is the way you take care of your car, this is the way you’ll treat our trucks.”  They had failed to take care of their possessions, so they were denied the opportunity to care for the possessions of others.

    Today, the things that we have in this life are not ours.  Our wives, our kids, our houses, our cars, our friends, our families, our bodies, and even our money; it all belongs to God, and we are tasked with taking care of what we’ve been given.  If we succeed in being good stewards of our current possessions, then we will receive for ourselves, eternal possessions from the living God.  If we haven’t lived as Christians in this life, how can we expect to receive eternal life?

    “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You would please give us the desire to serve You; that our possessions in this life might serve your purposes and further the spreading of the gospel.  May we be good stewards of what you have given us; that we might one day inherit true riches.  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 Narrow Path

JESUS SPEAKING

     “Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Mathew 7: 13-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     In the ancient world, cities were places of safety and refuge.  Most were surrounded by large walls designed to protect the inhabitants from hostile enemies.  The size of the walls depended on the prosperity of the city.  Babylon for example, one of the wealthiest cities in the ancient world, was rumored to have had walls that were 80 ft. thick and 320 feet high (15 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.)  Every ancient city had one main gate (a large opening in the wall through which the majority of the merchants, travelers, and citizens could freely pass.)  There were also several smaller gates that served a number of different purposes. There were gates for livestock; gates for horses; gates for importing fish, and gates used to export garbage and waste. Many of these little gates were not directly connected to the major highways; making them more difficult to reach.  The majority of individuals entered through the main gate; because it was quick, easy, and convenient.  In much the same way, the road to eternal separation from God is quick, easy, and convenient; but the path to eternal life is difficult and the gate is much smaller; it requires genuine discipline, sacrifice, and selflessness.

     Repentance and forgiveness of sins are both integral parts of the gospel message.  Before ascending into heaven, Jesus said to his disciples, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”  One day many years ago a friend took me to a church service; that evening, for the first time in my life, I heard the full gospel message.  I received Jesus, knowing that God expected something from me as well; I was required to repent and obey.  I would need to turn away from fornication, idolatry, pornography, drunkenness, lewdness, and deceit, etc.  As I sat in that church auditorium, I knew in my Spirit that I had to change.  [Note: At one point during Christ’s earthly ministry, He chose to spend the evening in the home of a notorious sinner named Zacchaeus.  Zacchaeus was a corrupt tax-collector.  During the night, Jesus presented him with the whole gospel; and Zacchaeus received it gladly.  He immediately repented of his evil deeds and offered half of his wealth to the poor; he also promised to repay everyone from whom he had stolen.]

     Zacchaeus had heard the complete gospel message and was transformed by it.  He chose to follow the narrow path.  After receiving salvation he immediately obeyed the teachings of Christ.  Unlike Zacchaeus, many today refuse to repent.  Millions of people claim to be Christians but continue on in blatant sin; they are seeking to enter through the wide gate; because it’s easy and requires very little sacrifice; and yet it leads to eternal separation from God.  Fewer people choose the narrow path; because it’s difficult, requires repentance, and demands transformation.  Which path are we taking?  Are we willing to embrace the complete gospel and become followers of Jesus Christ?  If we choose to take that step, we will be blessed beyond belief; and we will know perfect joy.  

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we receive Your gift and we take hold of Your sacrifice; may we turn away from the ways of this world and embrace the commandments of Your only begotten Son.  Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us the courage and strength to travel down the narrow path; the path of righteousness; the path of repentance and transformation; the path that leads to Your Eternal Kingdom. Have mercy on us, that we may enter Your dwelling place with joy and thanksgiving.  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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