Posts Tagged 'spreading 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

   Jesus uses a parable to express His impending departure and eventual return.  Parables are short stories used to express some deeper spiritual truth.  Every character in a parable correlates to a real-life counterpart.  In this parable, the nobleman who ventured into a far country and became a King is Jesus Christ, who ascended into heaven and now reigns with divine authority; He also will return one day.  The rebellious citizens exemplify those who rejected Jesus as their messiah. The crowd He gathers together before his departure represents His disciples.  Jesus gives every follower a different sum of money; which corresponds to a differing measure of faith.  When the Lord returns one day, every believer will be asked to give an account of their stewardship.  The servants who report an increase represent those who have put their faith to work; they have accomplished good deeds, served others, and attempted to spread the gospel message.  The unwise servants who did nothing with what he had been given will be stripped of their possessions and numbered with the transgressors. Those who have been faithful will receive eternal life; but those who have squandered their allotment will inherit destruction.

    Out of all of the trees that cover the Earth, only the mighty Redwood tirelessly inspires awe and wonder. These behemoths can tower to a height of over 300 feet; while their trunks can reach widths of nearly 26 feet. Currently the tallest living redwood is approximately 379 feet tall; over ‘70 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.’  The oldest living redwood is believed to be about 3,500 years old; it began growing around the time Moses was leading the Jews out of Egypt. However, despite their size, these monsters actually have quite a humble beginning. A redwood seed is nearly 1 mm wide (or 0.0393700787 of an inch.)  A tiny speck. Every living plant on earth originates from some small seed. No matter the differences in their eventual size and structure, one thing remains certain, every seed is designed to grow. Faith is a seed planted by God in the hearts of men and women. If that seed doesn’t grow, it has failed to accomplish its purpose.

   All genuine believers have received a measure of faith; a small seed that must grow; and as it grows, the lives of the faithful blossom with it. Increased faith corresponds to increased kindness, increased obedience, and increased service to God and others.  When our King returns, He won’t just be looking for the seed He planted; He will expect to find a mighty tree; a towering example of His divine love.  May we be wise servants who allow the faith of God to grow within us. May we push onward and upward; growing with God. As we urge others to put their faith in Jesus Christ, may we observe a great increase and receive the gift of eternal life.

     “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You would increase our faith.  May we continue to grow in Your likeness, that we might accomplish many splendid works in Your name. Give us the strength, the direction, and the encouragement necessary to obey Your will. Without You we can do nothing. May we remain fully committed to bringing you a splendid 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!

Reaching Sinners

JESUS SPEAKING

Then the tax collectors and the sinners drew near to Him to hear Him.  And the Pharisees and scribes complained, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”  So he spoke this parable to them, saying:  “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’  I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance” (Luke 15: 1-7.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The religious leaders despised Jesus because he ate with sinners and social outcasts.  The priests and teachers of the law were absolutely obsessed with ritualistic purity.  Most avoided talking too, or even brushing up against those they deemed ungodly. The Jewish people customarily ate food in extremely intimate ways.  They shared cups and dipped bread into communal bowls; eating supper meant sharing saliva; and in turn, they believed that whoever you dined with, you became one with; potentially transferring sins from one person to another.  The Pharisees therefore avoided interacting with sinners. But Jesus saw them as God’s children; He fellow-shipped with them, He ate with them, and He loved them; and as a result, many lost sheep repented and received salvation.

One day a man approached me for help.  He had been a recovering alcoholic for many years, but had fallen back into his old lifestyle.  His clothes were ragged and he smelled rancid; he appeared sick and his hands were shaking badly.  I prayed with the man, bought him some food and gave him a bible; I also helped him to schedule a date to enter a treatment center.  At one point I even had to drive his car.  When I approached the vehicle and opened the door, a plume of awful stench struck my nostrils.  He had been passing out in and urinating all over the front seat.  I didn’t want to endure the horrible smell; nor did I desire to sit in human waste.  But God spoke to my heart; and I instantly understood that getting dirty was, and is, a necessary part of spreading the gospel.  I sat in that unsanitary chair and drove that car; and in turn, God used me to reach a man for Jesus Christ.

Jesus himself wasn’t afraid of getting dirty.  He ate with, lived with, and reached out to sinners.  His most important mission was to save the lost; our mission is the same as His.  We shouldn’t be afraid of getting dirty; nor should we push sinners away. Instead we must embrace them and love them; speaking the truth of the gospel no matter the consequence.  They are God’s children; they are His precious possession; they are the treasure.  No matter how filthy or despicable a person might appear, God will never stop seeking after them; He never grows weary and He never gives up. He is full of mercy and grace, and in Him all repentant sinners can find rest for their souls.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we always seek the lost.  May we never be afraid of getting dirty.  May all come to repentance and reconciliation with You.  Give us the strength and the wisdom to reach out to others.  Fill our hearts with Your Holy Spirit.  May we be given endless opportunities to testify about Your Son; that the world may come to know of Your awesome gift of salvation.  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! 

The Empty Tomb

JESUS SPEAKING

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?  Whom are you seeking?”  She, supposing him to be the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary!”  She turned and said to him, “Rabboni!  (which is to say, Teacher).  Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God.’” (John 20: 15-18.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Mary arrived at the tomb to find the stone missing, along with the body of Jesus.  She was immediately grieved and began to weep.  She had journeyed toward the gravesite expecting to find the lifeless body of her beloved Lord; but instead, she encountered the living God.  Upon seeing Jesus, she embraced him tightly; as if to never let him go.  He urged her to lighten her grasp (his return was not permanent; he would soon ascend into heaven.)  His true place was not on Earth with them, but with his Father (and their Father.)  Mary was instructed to deliver this news to the despondent disciples who were hiding out for fear of being killed themselves.  Having seen the resurrected Lord, she became the very first messenger of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Throughout history, many, like Mary, have gone to the tomb expecting to find the body of Jesus; and like Mary, they too have found an empty vault.  Every generation has had its share of doubters; people who believed they could do what no one has ever been able to do […] disprove the resurrection of Christ.  In the early 1900’s an English professor and journalist named Frank Ross set out to investigate and refute the claims that Jesus rose from the dead (as a journalist, he was skilled in examining the credibility of sources.)  As the evidence mounted, Frank was faced with the awesome truth; the accounts matched; the archaeology was sound, and all of the witnesses were credible; Jesus Christ had in fact risen from the dead.  So, rather than writing a book that disproved the resurrection, he entitled his book, “Who moved the stone.”  In the book, Frank Ross, the new convert and faithful believer, sought to bring what he had found to the rest of the world.

The work that began with Mary on that third day has continued through every generation and continues even today.  Anyone who goes looking for Jesus Christ in a dusty tomb is looking in the wrong place.  He is very much alive, sitting at the right hand of God.  Both Frank Ross and Mary Magdalene, set out to find Jesus; and they both found what they were looking for. Have you gone looking for the messiah yet?  Have you made your way to the tomb and looked inside?  You too, will discover that Jesus Christ is not dead, but alive.  Upon finding him, it is then your duty to let others know that there is a God, and that they can discover him too.

“Lord Heavenly Father, we believe that Your Son has risen from the dead; and that He is seated with you in Your Kingdom.  We desire to carry this message to others; give us the strength to bring the gospel to the whole world.  May we be bold in declaring that we have encountered the risen Lord.  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!


Two messages a week will be sent to your email address.

Join 6,139 other followers

Archives