Posts Tagged 'Jesus Speaks'

The New Temple

JESUS SPEAKING

‘Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it was marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the Kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” (Matthew 21: 42 – 44.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Many of the Jews rejected Jesus. In response He quoted an old testament prophecy that states ‘the stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.’ Concerning architecture, a cornerstone is the first block laid down during the construction of a masonry foundation. Every other piece is set in reference to this one ceremonial stone; thus ensuring the proper orientation of the entire structure. Jesus came to destroy the old temple and to erect a new one in its place. This new temple is comprised of flesh and blood. God no longer dwells within any sacred building; instead He inhabits the hearts of all those who believe. Every faithful soul is a brick laid down upon the foundation of Jesus Christ. Those who deny the Lord will be crushed by Him; but those who believe will fall upon Him and be broken. This brokenness permits God to use us according to His desires; so that His Church may continue to grow.

Many years ago, a researcher named Jack Lipton attempted to study how the members of 11 different major symphony orchestras perceived each other. He found that the percussionists were viewed as insensitive, unintelligent, hard-of-hearing, and yet fun-loving. The string players were seen as arrogant, stuffy, and unathletic. The brass players were described as “loud,” whereas the woodwind musicians were held in the highest esteem; they were characterized as quiet, meticulous, but a bit egotistical. Quite interesting findings, to say the least. With such wildly divergent personalities and perceptions, how could these orchestras work together to create beautiful music? The answer is simple: regardless of how the musicians viewed one another, they sacrificed their biases and stereotypes in subordination to the leadership of the conductor. Under his guidance they were able to work together to generate inspiring music.

In a similar manner, we as Christians are called to sacrifice our own desires and concerns for the greater good. When we lay down our lives and submit to God we become members of the Body of Christ; an interconnected structure of individuals that collectively represents the new temple; the physical manifestation of Christ on this Earth. Jesus is our cornerstone, and when we rest ourselves down upon Him, we become bricks in the Church; a divine structural instrument that creates beautiful music. May we find value in fellowship with other believers; that our faith might continue to grow as God adds to His Church daily.

“Lord Heavenly Father, you are worthy of all honor and praise. May we be broken and added to the temple you have erected upon the foundation of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to desire fellowship and embrace the gathering together of the brethren. Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit, that we might be used to add to Your Church daily. 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!

Giving

JESUS SPEAKING

     “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20: 35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    The word ‘blessed’ most commonly translates into the English word for ‘happiness.’  Those who live a ‘blessed’ life regularly experience joy, peace, and contentment, despite the presence of any challenging circumstances.  Such a pleasant existence can only be achieved and maintained through daily acts of sacrificial service.  And yet, nearly every human being is resoundingly selfish.  In an endeavor to acquire as many possessions as possible, some have become isolated, discouraged and depressed. They remain unaware that genuine happiness doesn’t come from selfish gratification; but instead, is the product of selfless giving.

     Michael Norton, a Harvard business professor sought to discover a link between overall happiness and daily giving.  He conducted an experiment in which a small amount of money was given to a group of test subjects.  Half of the participants were instructed to spend the money on themselves; the other half were told to spend the money on someone else.  When researchers contacted the subjects at the end of the day, they found that those who had spent the money on someone else reported feeling much happier than those who had selfishly squandered their allotted funds.  [Note:  In another study, Norton found that sales team productivity and relationship quality increased as salespeople were given money to spend on other team members.]

     Professor Norton had discovered that, although selfish gain seems appealing, it also lacks the power bring about lasting joy.  Genuine peace and contentment are the result of selflessness and sacrifice.  By serving and giving we can demonstrate the generosity and love of Jesus Christ. May we never forget that happiness doesn’t originate from what we might receive, but rather, from what we are willing to give.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, continue to shower us with your many blessings.  As we love and serve our fellows, may we be filled with Your unending joyfulness and peace.  May our selfish desires come to an end; that through us, countless wandering souls might come to glorify Your Wonderful Name.  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!

Conviction

JESUS SPEAKING

“But if I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are you going?’ But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgement: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness because I go to My Father and you see me no more; of judgement, because the ruler of this world is judged.” (John 16: 5 – 11)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

In this scripture Jesus contemplates the future arrival of the Holy Spirit (the indwelling of God that exists within the heart of every believer; sent to mankind after Christ’s ascension into heaven.) According to the Lord, this powerful spiritual entity convicts the world of sin. What then is conviction? Conviction is the recognition of guilt and subsequent expression of remorse that accompanies any evil act or ungodly behavior. Although conviction is emotionally taxing, when experienced by a believer, this shameful imposition is far more helpful than harmful. God uses conviction to shape and mold our behavior. Guilt then leads us to abandon sin and embrace repentance; thus making us more like our Creator.

Sociology professor Anthony Campolo recalls a deeply moving incident that happened in a Christian junior high camp where he served. One of the campers, a boy with spastic paralysis, was the object of heartless ridicule. When he would ask a question, the boys would deliberately answer in a halting, mimicking way. One night his cabin group chose him to lead the devotions before the entire camp. It was one more effort to have some “fun” at his expense. Unashamedly the spastic boy stood up, and in his strained, slurred manner—each word coming with enormous effort—he expressed a simple phrase, “Jesus loves me—and I love Jesus!” That was all. Conviction immediately fell upon those junior high students. Many of them began to cry. Revival had gripped the camp. Years afterward, Campolo still meets men in the ministry who came to Christ because of that testimony.

Like those young campers, God is still using conviction to create conversions and to strengthen and edify those who already believe. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, the lines between right and wrong are no longer blurry; they have been redrawn; making God’s will easier to understand and obey. When we do something sinful or unjust, we are chastised by the Lord; corrected and driven to repentance and purification. Like any good Father, He is training us; molding and shaping us into a more ideal image; the image of His perfect Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. May we always seek after the Lord and never ignore our convictions.

“Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that we might recognize and experience the convictions that You have placed upon our hearts. Give us a willingness to change and the ability to understand Your will and to be transformed by it. If we have grown dull or become stubborn, may we rediscover a passion for accomplishing Your will. You truly are an awesome and amazing God. To You belongs all the glory and honor. 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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