Posts Tagged 'Jesus Speaks'

The Hope of Eternal Life

JESUS SPEAKS

“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so I would have told you. I also go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know; and the way you know.” (John 14: 1-4)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus confirms the existence of heaven in this scripture; a magnificent place where believers will walk forever in fellowship with God. In turn, there is no reason for Christians to fear death; nor should their hearts be troubled. Without exception, there is no death for those who are alive in Christ. This hope of eternal life in the future enables believers to abandon their selfish pursuits in the present; choosing to serve others today in exchange for an everlasting crown. Therefore, when a Christian dies there is more cause for joy and celebration than sadness and sorrow.

Around the year 125 A.D. a Greek by the name of Aristeides was writing to one of his friends about the new Christian religion. He attempted to explain the reasons for its extraordinary success. In one particular sentence he wrote, “If any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.”

The bodily death of a Christian may initially cause sorrow in the hearts of those who are left behind. However, as the truth of their location is acknowledged, any remaining sorrow turns to great joy. They are not dead, but are alive in Heaven with God. The temptations of their flesh have been destroyed, and they are at peace in His presence. In turn, their funeral is a cause for celebration rather than sadness. If we too are faithful, we will see them again; and that hope is more valuable than great riches.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we know that death is not the end, and that one day we will be alive in Your presence. May we remain faithful and never lose hope in Your promise of eternal life. Give us the strength to continue walking in fellowship with You; that we may continue doing Your work in this place, until we are called home; a day that we are looking forward to with great anticipation. 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!

Jesus Creates Division

JESUS SPEAKING

“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’ He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 10: 34 – 39)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus didn’t come to create peace on earth. Instead, He likens His message to a sword; a sharp instrument designed to slice the world in two; separating the faithful from the unfaithful. Everyone, without exception, must choose a side. Either Christ is “the way, the truth, and the life,” the only begotten Son of God, or He’s nothing more than an influential historical figure; or perhaps even a deceptive charlatan. Those who believe the Gospel message are called to live as Christians; shunning what is evil and embracing what is good. Although individual believers adore Jesus, the vast majority of human beings despise Him, and His disciples. They hate Him because they cannot hide their sins in the light of His presence; and so they seek to destroy the light and everyone who carries it.

As Christianity grew throughout the Roman empire, it created immense division. Seeking to preserve the worship of false Gods, many rulers sought to destroy the faith. One Emperor named Diocletian was particularly violent in his hatred of the bible and Christianity. He killed many Christians, with such outrageous cruelties, and destroyed so many bibles, that at one point he believed he had actually succeeded in his efforts. Over a burned bible he constructed a monument with an inscription that read, “Extincto nomene Christianorum,” which means, “the name Christian is extinguished.” Additionally, he fashioned a medal with the engraving, “The Christian religion is destroyed and the worship of the gods is restored.”

Obviously Diocletian’s efforts to destroy the Church were unsuccessful, as the gospel is still being preached to this day. And yet the message continues to create division. Some are receptive and become believers, while many others do not. Those who call Christ their savior can expect to be shunned, hated, and even persecuted for their faith. If those who yearn to live in darkness without shame or remorse cannot flee from the light, then they will seek to destroy it. Thus, as faithful believers we will be persecuted and despised.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to carry Your truth wherever we go. As we faithfully walk through this life, we expect Your gospel to elicit division, strife, and even hatred. Please give us the courage and strength to stand firm; that we might endure the persecution and animosity of this present world; and thus through us, Your light may always shine 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!

Exhortation

JESUS SPEAKS

In the book of Revelation, Jesus spoke to the Church of Ephesus saying, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary. Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” (Revelation 2: 2 – 5)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus commends the Ephesian Church for their good works, patience, spiritual discernment, and avoidance of evil. He also exhorts them to return to their first love; a state of being exemplified by an overwhelming zeal for the gospel message. This scripture represents a type of communication known as an ‘exhortation.’ The definition of an exhortation is, ‘an address or communication emphatically urging someone to do something; in a biblical context, exhortation more specifically relates to the correction of some behavior.’ The practice of exhortation is an integral part of any healthy church and can lead to wonderful revivals.

Many years ago an evangelist named D.L. Moody entered a small town hoping to experience a revival. However, for at least a week nothing remarkable occurred. The meetings were devoid of power. And yet one day he chose to exhort those in attendance; suggesting that one of the participants was harboring an unforgiving spirit. The chairman of the committee suddenly stood up and left the meeting in full view of the audience. The arrow had struck its mark, piercing the heart of the group’s leader. Apparently he had been having trouble with someone for about six months. That night he hunted the man down and asked for his forgiveness. The chairman abruptly returned to Moody. With tears in his eyes he said, “I thank God you ever came here.” That evening the inquiry room was thronged with people and the chairman committed his remaining life to faithful service. Eventually he became one of the greatest Christian laborers Moody had ever known.

The practice of exhortation, exemplified by Christ in this verse, is meant to correct and strengthen the Church. Those who have lost their zeal are encouraged to repent and take hold of the passion they once possessed for spreading the gospel. For those seeking to live a Christian life, a lack of enthusiasm is unacceptable. We need to release our fears and step out in faith. Our duty as believers, is to share the message of salvation with others, and to further Christ’s coming kingdom.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill our hearts with a supernatural passion; a zeal that never fades. If we have wandered, guide us back to our first love. Give us the courage to boldly speak Your truth and to accurately present the gospel message to others. Fill us with more of Your Holy Spirit. For it is only through Your Spirit that a revival can occur, and the newness of life can be attained through the sacrifice of Your son upon the cross. 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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