Posts Tagged 'spread the gospel'

Faith is Meant to Grow

JESUS SPEAKING

   Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately.  Therefore, He said: “A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return.  So, he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’  But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us.’  “And so, it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.  The first one came and said, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’  He said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, you are given authority over ten cities.’  And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ Likewise, he said to him, ‘You also will rule over five cities.’  “Then another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I have kept put away in a handkerchief; for I feared you, because you are a stern man.  You collect what you did not deposit and reap what you did not sow.’  In turn he said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I will judge you, you wicked servant.  You knew that I was a stern man, collecting what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow.  Why then did you not put my money in the bank, that at my coming I might have collected it with interest?’  “And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the mina from him, and give it to him who has ten minas.’  But they said to him, ‘Master, he already has ten minas.’”  He replied, ‘I say to you, that to everyone who has, more will be given; and from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him.  But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me’” (Luke 19: 11-27.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

   Contrary to the beliefs of many who followed him, Jesus had no intention of immediately setting up God’s kingdom upon the earth.  He used a parable to express his impending departure, and eventual return.  A parable is a short story designed to make listeners think; through thoughtful contemplation, they can discover the deeper spiritual truths.  Every parable has characters, and every character represents a real-life counterpart.  In this parable, the nobleman who went into a far country to become king symbolizes Jesus, who ascended into heaven and now reigns with divine authority.  Like the nobleman, he also promised to return.  The rebellious citizens who hated the nobleman, exemplify all those who have refused to accept Jesus Christ as their messiah.  The faithful servants he gathered together before his departure were his disciples/followers.  In the parable, he gives them each a different amount of money.  The money represents the measure of faith Christ has given to every believer.  One day the Lord will return and call together his servants; and each one will have to give an account of his (her) stewardship.  In this parable, there were two servants who increased what they had been given; they represent those who have put their faith to work; they have done good deeds, served others, and have attempted to spread the gospel message.  Those who do the same will receive great riches when Christ returns.  However, the unjust steward did nothing with his faith.  When the king returned, the unwise servant was stripped of his possessions and numbered with the transgressors.  Every believer receives a measure of faith; and Jesus expects great things from his followers; those who have been faithful can expect to inherit eternal life.  Those who have selfishly squandered what they have been given are headed for destruction.

     The surface of the earth is covered in garment of green.  Aside from bushes and grass, there are thousands of different kinds of trees; and every tree is unique and remarkable.  However, there is one tree that never fails to inspire awe and wonder; that tree is the mighty redwood.  These behemoths can tower to heights of over 300 feet; their trunks can reach widths of 20 – 26 feet (…wide enough to drive a car through.)  Currently, the tallest living redwood is recorded to be 379 feet tall; over ‘70 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.’  The oldest living redwood is believed to be 3,500 years old; it was born while Moses was leading his people out of Egypt.  These trees are so large in fact, that it can be difficult to imagine their humble beginnings.  A redwood seed is just 1mm wide (or 0.0393700787 of an inch.)  Like these mighty coniferous monsters, every living thing comes from a small seed.  Some seeds grow up to be large, and others remain small; but one thing can never be debated; every seed is designed to grow.  Faith is a seed planted in the hearts of men and women by the hand of God.  If that seed doesn’t grow, it has failed to accomplish its purpose. 

   Every believer has received a measure of faith; a small seed that must grow; as it grows, the lives of the faithful blossom with it; increased faith means increased kindness, increased obedience, and increased service to God and to others.  When our King returns he will be looking for more than just the seed he planted; he will be looking for a mighty tree; a towering example of divine love in the midst of a dark and desolate forest.  Do not be an unwise servant who tucks away what God has given you.  Instead, allow the faith of God to grow within you.  Push forward, onward, and upward; may you grow with God; may your good works increase; may others come to know Jesus Christ because they have seen your life; and may you receive the eternal blessings of our great king and mighty God.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we desperately desire for You to increase our faith.  Help us to grow in Your likeness; help us to do astonishing and mighty works for You.  Give us the direction, encouragement, and strength we need to accomplish Your will.  Without You we can do nothing; help us to remain faithful servants; men and woman who are ready to bring You a great increase.  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!

Don’t be lukewarm

JESUS SPEAKING

                “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:  I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot.  I could wish that you were cold or hot.  So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of my mouth […] as many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.  Therefore be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3: 14 – 16, 19.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                After being seized by the Romans, the Apostle John was marched in to a crowded coliseum and plunged in to a vat of boiling oil.  But when he remained unharmed, masses of people within the coliseum began to convert to Christianity.  The Romans, fearing his influence, placed him in prison on a deserted Island off the cost of Turkey (known as Patmos.)  Church tradition teaches us that on this island, in about the year 95 A.D., an aging John (the last living Apostle) received a revelation from Jesus Christ.  In this revelation Jesus addressed the seven churches located in the cities of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea.  The Laodicean church had become lukewarm in their faith; they were once bold, zealous, and uncompromising.  Yet, over time they succumb to personal comforts, complacency, and routine.  Jesus sternly rebuked them; his command: be zealous again; reach out; be bold; spread the gospel; be eager to do good and to serve; and work hard to save souls.  God’s message to the Laodiceans is timeless; it pertains to the church today.  There is no half-way; a moderate faith is a dead faith.  For the believer there are no vacations, no breaks, and no retirement.  Those who stop serving God fully, are in danger of becoming lukewarm, cold, and dead.

                Interestingly enough, a recent study revealed that early retirement can lead to an increased risk of death.  In 2005, three groups of people were studied; those who retired at 55; those who retired at 60; and those who retired at 65.  “In this research, death was almost twice as likely in the first 10 years after retirement at age 55 compared with those who continued working.”  The tendency to take it easy and relax can have disastrous results.  To lose enthusiasm for God’s message is to fail to fulfill the highest calling of God.  We must fervently work for the Lord until he returns to gather us together.

                Are you eager to serve God and others; or have you been serving yourself?  Are you on fire for the Lord, or have you become cold?  Are you readily spreading the gospel, or have you fallen silent?  Have you faded in to the background, or do you speak the truth in boldness?  Be brave and reach out for Christ.  May your heart be ignited by the consuming fire of the Holy Spirit.  May the words of God flow from your mouth, and may your good works never cease; may God use you to transform the lives of others; and may you represent the church of God with conviction and zeal.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit and cause our hearts to burn for You.  Grant us boldness and faithfulness.  May we shine brightly in the lives of all those we meet.  Give us the words to speak, and the strength to continue.  May we never grow weary or become lukewarm; may we never cease from serving others, knowing that one day we will have our rest in You.  Lord, we love You, 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.


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