Posts Tagged 'God’s calling'

Inspiring Conversions

JESUS SPEAKING

    “While I was traveling to Damascus with the authority and commission from the chief priests, at midday, O king, along the road I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, shining around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice speaking to me, saying in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ “So I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by their faith in me.’” (Acts 26: 12-18)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    There once lived an angry young man named Saul, who hated Christians with a passion. He journeyed from synagogue to synagogue, beating, harassing, and perhaps even killing those Jews who openly professed a faith in Jesus Christ. One day however, while traveling to Damascus, God intervened in Saul’s life. Jesus appeared to him and said, ‘it is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ [Note: Oxen were trained to pull heavy plows; an untrained ox would often try to kick itself free. In turn, farmers attached sharp pieces of metal to the plow (known as ‘goads.’) When the ox kicked the plow, it would stab itself in the leg; the harder the kick, the more painful the sensation. After a short time, the animal would learn to accept it’s position.] Like an untrained beast, Saul had been struggling against God’s calling. After his visitation, Saul finally quit fighting and accepted Jesus as his Lord and savior. He also changed his name to Paul and went on to write many of the New Testament letters. Throughout history, some of the greatest Christian leaders have often been those who were once devout enemies of God.
    Sir William Ramsay was one of the most influential scientific minds of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He taught at Oxford and is credited with discovering several new elements; he also received numerous scientific awards and honors. Ramsay’s parents were atheists who raised him as a nonbeliever (a disposition he clung to for most of his life.) Obviously he harbored little respect for Christianity; in fact, he claimed that the bible was nothing more than “a book of fables.” He eventually began to study archaeology and traveled to the Middle East in hopes of disproving the historical accuracy of the bible. After 25 years of travel and research, he was forced to concede that even the most minuscule details of the New Testament were indeed accurate. Instead of writing a book disproving the validity of scripture, Ramsay wrote a book entitled “St. Paul, the Traveler and Roman Citizen.” In it, he presented his findings; all of which supported the reliability of the bible. Convinced by the evidence, Ramsay shocked his colleagues and fellow intellectuals by announcing that he had converted to Christianity.
    Like Paul, and like Sir William Ramsay, there are many today who are kicking “against the goads.” God however is still actively reaching out to atheists, agnostics and nonbelievers the world around. If we too have been raging against the call of God, we must stop struggling and give up, and give in. Let the Lord into your heart and He will replace your pain with peace; your hatred as well will turn to love. Surrender to Him and you will know pure joy, genuine freedom, and everlasting life.
   “Lord Heavenly Father, may Your perfect will be done in our lives. We pray for those who might be “kicking against the goads.” Soften their hearts and open their eyes, that they may come to believe in Your Son, and in the redemption offered through His sacrifice upon the cross. May they embrace and receive Your free gift of salvation through faith. 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!

You are called to be a disciple

JESUS SPEAKING

           “A disciple is not above his master (teacher), but everyone who is properly taught will be like his master” (Luke 6: 40.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          God is called ‘the most high,’ because elevation has always been how human beings distinguish between the valuable and the invaluable.  People honor things by lifting them up.  In ancient times, when a king stepped down on level ground with a group of his subjects, those subjects would lower themselves beneath him; many would bow, others would kneel.  If the king was a child, then his subjects would sprawl out face first on the ground to make sure the king stood above them.  The teacher and student relationship is quite similar (as Jesus said, “A disciple is not above his teacher”) The disciple, or student, must realize his or her lack of knowledge (they lower themselves); the teacher then becomes the superior source of necessary information (they are lifted up.)  In exchange for their humility and ability to learn, the disciples were promised that they would become like Jesus.  Anyone who lacked this type of humility could not be a follower of Jesus then, and cannot be his follower today.  A person who believes they have a better way, or who desires to learn from sources other than the Lord, cannot be properly taught.

        A long time ago, I was caught in a dilemma…I remember calling up a friend for advice on a situation that had made me absolutely furious.  In the middle of the conversation she said, “What would Jesus do?”  I tried to shrug it off, and replied something like, “Well, he’s Jesus, I can’t be like him.”  The question cut deep in to me; the answer to how to react to the situation wasn’t debatable; rather, it had a face, and a name, and that name was Jesus Christ.  I was not called to behave in my own way, but to behave just like him.  After all, a disciple is someone who is a student and follower of their teacher.  My teacher and master was, and is Jesus Christ.  If I desired to be properly taught (a disciple), I knew I needed to be completely submitted to him.

          You as well are called to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.  How does that process begin for you?  First, you must humble yourself and lift him up.  Jesus Christ must become the moral authority in your life.  Get rid of any competing teachers, and make his words the foundation upon which your life and your actions are built.  Daily gospel reading is essential.  Commit some of your time daily to the study of his words.  The gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, and the book of Revelation contain his spoken words, and descriptions of his behavior; only by knowing your teacher can you be properly taught; only by humbling yourself before the living God can you become his disciple.

          “Lord Heavenly Father, we come before You now and ask to become Your disciples.  We lift up Your Son and we ask that He become our teacher.  Jesus, speak to us, and to our hearts, and mold us and shape us in to Your image.  Remind us of all of the words that You have spoken, and fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we may minister to all those You place in our way.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

God is calling you

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then he said to another, “Follow me.”  But the man said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”  Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”  And another also said, “Lord, I will follow you, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”  But Jesus said to him, “No one having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 59-62.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Jesus Christ called many; few chose to answer his call.  The calling of God demands immediate and absolute obedience.  When Jesus called Simon and Andrew they were busy fishing. How did they respond? We read, “They immediately left their nets and followed him.”  The priority of the first man in this scripture was to attend to the burial of his father.  Jesus beckoned him to focus on the living, not the dead (the man’s Father was likely an unbeliever.)  The second individual desired to return home to say farewell to his family; thereby placing his loved ones ahead of God. The Jewish people were very familiar with agricultural practices; plowing, planting, and reaping were intimate aspects of their existence. Which is why Jesus used a farming illustration to express an important truth. When driving the ox and plow, a farmer’s eyes remained focused on the field ahead; looking back served only to distract the driver from his necessary work. The world today is full of diversions, obstacles, and enticements. Distractions are dangerous; they can prevent us from accomplishing God’s will.

                According to the national highway safety commission, 80% of all car crashes involve driver distraction.  These statistics proved true for a man named Stephen in 1983.  One sunny morning he hopped in his new Mercedes Benz; with the top down and the wind in his face, he set out for an important appointment.  As he drove up the coast of Southern California, he passed by a certain beach.  His attentions unexpectedly turned to a young blond woman wearing a bikini.  As she jogged passed his vehicle, his mind, heart, and eyes, followed along with her. The image of a complete stranger took priority over the road, his destination, and even his new wife Sandy.  Suddenly, he smashed in to the back end of a Chevelle that had come to a complete stop in his lane.  Although Stephen’s body remained uninjured, his pride, and the front end of his Mercedes weren’t quite as lucky.  When driving, the road ahead must take precedence over everything else. To reach our destination, we must abandon every trivial distraction.

                Jesus Christ has called many; still, few have responded in the serious and immediate manner required for discipleship. If you have felt called by the Lord, let go of this fading existence and grab hold of the plow. Make God the priority. Preach the gospel to all those you meet; accomplish the work of the Lord and avoid distractions. This life is a passing dream; keep your eyes, mind, and heart, focused on God; and you will certainly reach your divine destination.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would be our first priority.  May our eyes be continually focused upon You. Take control of our lives and be our Master.  Help us to avoid distractions.  Give us the wisdom and strength to finish what You have started; until the day that we enter Your eternal Kingdom.  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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