Posts Tagged 'jesusspeaks.com'

The Real Jesus

JESUS SPEAKING

        And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to him, “Are you the coming one, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of me” (Mathew 11: 2-6.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        After baptizing Jesus, John came to believe that Jesus was the messiah they had been waiting for. He, like so many in Israel believed the Messiah would set them free from their oppressors. Therefore, most were waiting for Jesus to usher in an earthly kingdom that would put an end to Roman Rule. John (who had been imprisoned by Herod) was growing impatient with Jesus; he sent messengers to him to ask if he truly was the messiah. Jesus simply responded by quoting an Old Testament prophecy, stating that the messiah would cleanse lepers, heal the blind, raise the dead and preach to the poor. Jesus wanted John to know he was accomplishing all of these miraculous tasks. The Lord finally addressed John’s impatient heart, saying, “blessed are those who are not offended because of me.” Jesus had not met John’s expectations. John expected a conquering messiah, not a messiah that would conquer sin through crucifixion. The lord was encouraging John to accept him as he was. Many today, like John, have an inaccurate view of Jesus Christ. Knowing the real Jesus is essential to properly following him.
        Early on in my relationship with God I made the decision that I could no longer call myself a Christian unless I actually knew who Jesus Christ was; what he had said and done. I knew I had to read the bible; I also knew it was going to change my life and challenge my beliefs. In my heart, I had an unclear picture of God. I chose to let go of what I thought I knew, in order to grab hold of the truth. As I read, I began to know God personally and accurately. Instead of being disappointed, my heart was lifted up with wonder and amazement. The real God is far greater than any God I could have ever imagined.
        Do you know Jesus Christ? Do you know his words, or are you holding on to your own personal beliefs? Have you invented a Jesus for yourself, or have you come to know the real Jesus? Read his words; get familiar with his deeds, his message and his truth; and I promise, you will never be disappointed; instead, you too will find something more amazing than anything you have ever known, and your life will never be the same.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to know the real Jesus. We want to know Your Son and His message. Implant his words in our hearts and help us to be his disciples, that we might be pleasing to You Father. Help us to let go of our fear of the truth and give us a hunger and thirst to know our Messiah; your gift to us all. 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!

Forgiving

JESUS SPEAKING

        “Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. And if he sins against you seven times in a day and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him” (Luke 17: 3-4.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

        Withholding forgiveness from others is dangerous; for the Lord has said, “if you do not forgive, your Father in heaven will not forgive your sins.” Jesus used a ‘seven’ to describe the number of times a disciple is obligated to forgive others. In the Hebrew culture, numbers carried very profound symbolic significance; the number seven represents completion; in turn, the obligation to forgive is limitless, infinite, or complete. Since the fall of creation, until the present day, men and women have fervently sought God’s forgiveness; none whose hearts were sincere have ever been denied (for God is merciful above all things.) We are called to be like God; and so we must forgive without exception.
        One day a group of missionaries and local Christians gathered together in New Guinea to share communion and to fellowship. As they sat down, one of the older missionaries noticed another man’s momentary expression of horror and disgust; which was quickly replaced with an expression of peace. The missionary whispered to his friend, “What was it that troubled you?” He replied, “The man who just came in to share communion, murdered my Father; for a moment I didn’t think that I could handle it. But then I realized that he has been washed and forgiven by the same precious blood.” The men then shared communion together in love.
        To what extent should we forgive others? Jesus has taught us to forgive without stipulation or condition. We, who have been forgiven so much, have no right to withhold forgiveness from others. Search your heart; if you find hatred discard it; if you discover resentment let it go. Forgive those who have harmed you; bless them and pray for them. Allow the Holy Spirit to help you, and your anger will ‘give way’ to peace, and your bitterness will turn to joy.
        “Lord Heavenly Father, forgive us of our sins. May we be like You; may we sincerely forgive others. If we have refused to forgive anyone, please reveal it to us now. If we harbor anger or resentment of any kind, expose it; fill our hearts with mercy, that we might better serve You, and worthily magnify Your Holy 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.

A True Servant

JESUS SPEAKING

          But Jesus called them to himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the gentile’s exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them.  Yet it shall not be so among you; instead whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant.  And whoever of you wants to become first shall be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10: 42 – 45.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          Every society (from the fall of creation, until the present day) has been fueled by the pursuit of power and authority.  All social structures are shaped like a staircase that narrows near the top.  The climb begins in early childhood.  With age, those who secure positions of influence are treated with great respect.  Those who do not rise to the top, settle near the bottom; the strong rule, and the weak become servants.  Yet Jesus Christ, the King of Kings was not born in a palace; he was born on the dirty floor of a manger.  A life begun in humility, was lived in like manner; the prince of peace served the poor, and embraced the unworthy.  He turned an ‘upside down world’, ‘right side up.’  To pursue Christ is to forsake the pursuit of power and authority.  Those who desire to follow the Son of God must move down the social ladder in search of the lowest position.  A disciple is greatest when he is the least; he is the most alive when he is dead; he only rules when he truly serves.

          India (one of the largest nations in the world) is founded on the teachings of Hinduism.  Social order is a centralized feature of the Hindu Religion (as is the belief in reincarnation.)  They believe in a divine hierarchy; a caste system in which a person’s position is the result of their prior life.  When an individual dies they are immediately reborn; the deeds of their past life dictate their present social standing.  Those who were good are born into one of the four respectable classes (the top class being comprised of kings, warriors, and rulers.)  However, those who were evil in a previous life are born into a class known as the ‘untouchables.’  This group is poor, plagued with sickness, and most have historically only been able to hold menial jobs (such as the removal of dead bodies.)  [Note: Some recognize more than just five classes.]  This principle of Karma, is well known by every Hindu; bad Karma needs to be worked off; by suffering miserably in this life, one can pay for the sins of their past life; through anguish, every ‘untouchable’ can hope for a better life when they die.  Therefore, in India, helping the needy and the poor is often seen as interfering with their karma (to help relieve suffering, can actually prolong it.)  Therefore there is a permanent underclass; a group of people the world has forsaken.  Although most of mankind has forgotten about these people, God has not.  In the 1950’s, a Catholic Nun named Mother Theresa was led by the Lord to begin caring for lepers in India; she established a colony, and made a place for them to call home.  She also reached out to the abandoned orphans, the disabled, and the sick.  From that time until her death in 1997, she served the poorest, weakest, and most insignificant people, the world around.  When she received the Nobel Peace prize, she said, “I am grateful to receive (the Nobel) in the name of the hungry, the naked, the homeless…the crippled… the blind…the lepers, (and) all those people who feel unwanted, unloved, uncared-for throughout society; people that have become a burden to the society and are shunned by everyone.”

          Mother Theresa followed Christ, and it led her into the slums of Calcutta.  Jesus has asked nothing less of every believer.  Service is a requirement.  Whether at work, school, the coffee shop, the grocery store, or even at home, disciples are servants.  A true servant seeks opportunities to help others.  The way up is down.  Humble yourself, and allow God to use you; lowliness leads to honor, and humility is the path to everlasting life.  Those who serve others, serve the true and living God.  Deny yourself; give to the needy; embrace the outcast; love those who have been abandoned; prefer others, and God will one day raise you up to a place of eternal honor.

          “Lord Heavenly Father we desperately desire to be lowly.  Help us to serve others with zeal.  Please provide us with opportunities to give of our time, resources, and knowledge.  Grant us humility, that we may give to those in need; may we love those who feel unloved.  We aspire to be great servants; may we deny ourselves to honor and prefer others; and may our hearts be filled with joy as we serve You and our fellows.  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.”  God bless all of you.

A father’s love

JESUS SPEAKING

          “A certain man had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’  So he divided to them his livelihood.  And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with riotous living.  But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.  Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed the swine.  And he would have loved to fill his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.  But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired servants.’  And he arose and came to his father.  But when his Father was still a great distance away, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But his father said to his servant, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  And bring out the fatted calf and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’  And they began to celebrate” (Luke 15: 11 – 24.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          In this parable, the Father represents God, and the son represents every sinner who has wandered away from Him.  The ‘far country’ is figurative of the life of sin that many engage in when they turn away from the Lord.  The Sons return to his father symbolizes the act of repentance and rebirth that accompanies salvation.  In this passage, the prodigal son misjudges his father’s response to his return; believing he will be treated as a servant rather than a son.  Much to his surprise, he is lovingly embraced and honored.  The father is so overjoyed that he immediately orders the household to begin celebrating the occasion.

          Many years ago, prior to my conversion, I was actively abusing drugs and living in sin.  My family suffered greatly as they saw me spiraling downward.  My dad lived in a state of perpetual fear; not knowing when he would be informed of my death or incarceration.   Eventually I got sober, got a job, and gave my life to Jesus Christ.  Because I had been received, reborn, and embraced by my heavenly Father, my earthly father had gotten his son back as well.  My dad told me, “Out of all of your siblings, you are the one I worry about the least.”  On my wedding day, he looked at me with fondness and said, “You are my miracle.”

          Although earthly dads often possess great love for their children, God is far more affectionate.  He loves even the worst sinners.  The magnitude of His fondness is immeasurable.  He tirelessly seeks the lost, and is always ready to receive those who have wandered away.  May we share that same love; may we share that same heart; and may we continue to search for and embrace those who need to know the love of their Heavenly Father.

          “Almighty God, Everlasting Father, we are amazed at the enormity of Your love.  We are astonished by the depths of Your mercy and grace.  Fill us with Your desires, that we may share Your heart and seek those who have wandered away.  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.

Relying on God’s Power, Not ours

JESUS SPEAKING

                Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will be made to stumble because of me this night, for it is written:  ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’  But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.”  Peter answered and said to Him, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”  Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.”  Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you” (Mathew 26: 31-35.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

               Peter boldly rejected Christ’s prophecy; he vainly exalted himself above the other disciples, saying, “Even if all are made to stumble because of you, I will never be made to stumble.”  Despite great effort, he would go on to deny the Lord three times before morning.  Without Jesus, Peter failed to maintain his faith in the midst of crippling fear (The Lord had been his comforter; his protector; and his provider; without him, Peter became as weak as any other man.)  Jesus promised that he would eventually send a replacement; after his resurrection and ascension, he fulfilled his commitment; Peter and the other disciples received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost [the Holy Spirit is the fullness of God dwelling within the human heart.]  After receiving God’s Spirit, Peter’s strength was restored; he immediately entered a crowded temple and boldly preached the gospel.  The Peter that denied Christ leaned on his own strength; the Peter that proclaimed Christ relied upon God’s power.  For the sake of Christ, Peter went on to endure beatings, imprisonment, persecutions without number, and even death [he was crucified upside down in the city of Rome.]  Without God, it is impossible to accomplish even the simplest tasks.  With God, it is possible to move mountains.

               Peter shares the experience of divine empowerment with some other notable men of the bible.  While the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, a young Hebrew man named Moses who had grown up in Pharaoh’s household, believed it was his destiny to free his people.  One day, Moses witnessed an Egyptian task master, beating one of his countrymen.  Filled with rage, and a sense of duty, he killed the Egyptian.  In an effort to conceal his crime, he buried the body beneath the sand.  The body was discovered, and a few days later, Moses’ life was in jeopardy.  Alone, and defeated, he fled to the desert and became a shepherd.  For decades he cared for livestock.  At the age of 80 God appeared to him and instructed him to return to Egypt to free his people.  He responded by telling God he wasn’t ‘the right man for the job.’  He no longer believed he was capable of accomplishing the task.  A once prideful and self-reliant young man, had become an old man who recognized his own weakness (apart from God); he was finally ready to be used by the Lord.  The young Moses, with his own power, was unable to bury a single Egyptian.  The mature Moses, with God’s power, led a nation to freedom, and buried the entire Egyptian army beneath the waves of the red sea.

               Western culture promotes self-reliance; in the divine culture, reliance upon God is paramount.  Is there anything in your life that you are trying to accomplish on your own?  Are you attempting to endure a difficult trial unaided?  Are you struggling to overcome an addiction in isolation?  Do you look to God for provision, or are you the provider?  Your best efforts will never compare to the works of God.  No matter how large the obstacle, or how great the need, if you humble yourself, you will harness the power of the one true and living God.  Do this, and you will be able to say, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4: 13.)

               “Lord Heavenly Father, we honor and praise You.  You are an amazing God.  Apart from You we are weak and incapable of accomplishing good things.  Be our strength; may we rely upon You and not upon ourselves.  Give us victory over the things that cause us to stumble; may we stand firm, may we endure, and may we overcome.  May our hearts be humble, and our lived filled with joy.  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.

Embracing Change

JESUS SPEAKING

                “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled and the wineskins will be ruined.  But new wine must be put in to new wineskins and both are preserved.  And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, ‘The old is better’” (Luke 5: 37-39.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In the ancient world, when an animal was slaughtered the stomach and the bladder were extracted and utilized to store and transport valuable liquids.  Wine was a very common first century beverage.  Unlike water, wine underwent a process known as fermentation; during which gases were produced; these gases caused the wineskins to swell and expand.  The older wineskins were hard and inflexible (like leather.)  As the new wine expanded, it would cause them to tear open.  Therefore, unfermented wine was always placed in to new wineskins.  In this illustration, the old wineskins represent old ideas, habits, and beliefs that are incompatible with the new life God has offered through His Son Jesus Christ.  Most people desperately cling to their old lives; yet those who follow Jesus Christ must let go of the old and grab hold of the new; they must no longer fear change; but rather, they must fully embrace it.

                Shortly after becoming a Christian, God began to make some very serious changes in my life.  For many years I had enjoyed listening to secular rap music and heavy metal.  One day God showed me how it was negatively affecting my spirit.  So, I made a commitment to only listen to worship music (which was positive, clean, and uplifting.)  My appetite for the old music was strong; at first the new music wasn’t appealing to me; but slowly I began to enjoy it.  Soon I was joyfully singing along with the songs; I noticed my attitude was more positive; my thoughts were more peaceful; I even began to smile with ever greater frequency [Note: today, the old songs are no longer appealing to me; I even find them repulsive.]  God has made similar changes in every area of my life.  He has healed me; the old things have passed away; behold, He “has made all things new.”

                God desires to pour His Spirit in to the hearts and minds of those who are willing to receive it.  His Spirit produces great transformation.  We must let go of our fears; we must become willing to change; we must not be rigid and inflexible; only in embracing and allowing God to transform us, will we truly experience new life.  Let go of your old ideas, habits, and beliefs, and receive the fullness of God’s Spirit.  Allow Him to guide and direct you and He will lead you into His everlasting peace and eternal joy.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You make wonderful transformations in our hearts and minds.  May we become flexible; may we embrace change.  Jesus, we desire to become more like You; remove any habits, ideas, or beliefs that stand in the way of our growth; destroy the old and bring forth the new.  May we experience the fullness of Your Holy Spirit.  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.

Desperation Leads to Faith

JESUS SPEAKING

             Then they brought him to Him.  And when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground.  So he asked his Father, “How long has this been happening to him?”  And he said, “From childhood.  And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him.  But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it:  “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”  Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him.  And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose (Mark 9: 20-28.)            

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The Disciples were unable to cure this boy; Jesus arrived on the scene, and the boy’s Father was so desperate to have his son healed he begged Jesus to help him.  The Father had lived his entire life in fear; his son was being attacked by a demon, and the Man was helpless to do anything for his Son.  His tears revealed his level of desperation.  Faith is often revealed in moments of desperation.  The Father believed in his moment of despair that Jesus Christ could heal his son.  He had faith in the Lord.

                My journey with God didn’t begin with a strong faith in Jesus Christ.  Instead, it began when I realized that I needed a miracle.  There was an impassible and immovable obstacle which stood in my way.  I knew that many people had had their lives changed by Jesus Christ; I had heard so many testimonies of others being healed that in my time of desperation, I chose to go to the one person who could do the impossible.  So I began to read the bible, and to attend church, and to pray, and you know what…?  I found my miracle, and far more than that, I found the truth, and eternal life.  The obstacle that was in my way has been removed by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Today, when I go through some sort of trial, or I’m afraid, and anxious, my first course of action isn’t to call a friend, or to reach out to someone for advice or comfort.  Instead, I go off alone, often times for a walk, and I pray to God.  I let God know about my worries, and my struggles, and I look to him for comfort, guidance, and direction before I look to others.

                Today, many people are facing some impossible obstacle and they need a miracle.  Jesus Christ can give them that miracle, if they are desperate enough to believe that for God, “All things are possible to him who believes.”  When you struggle, when trials come your way, might I suggest that the first thing you do is take some time to pray, and to talk with God.  Go to him first in those moments of desperation, and if you believe, he will do the impossible for you.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, first we lift You up; You are an awesome and mighty God.  You are so full of truth and wisdom and we love You.  Help us Lord to make You the first person we turn to in times of trouble.  Give us a heart to believe; help us with our unbelief.  Also, give us a heart of love for others, and a compassion for those who are looking for the miracle that You might have in store for them.  Make us the kind of people that are not condemning of the lost, or those who are desperate, but fill us with Your love for them Father.  We love You Lord, we thank You, and we praise You, and we ask all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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