Posts Tagged 'the words of Jesus Christ'

Actions Matter

JESUS SPEAKING

    “But what do you think?  A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in my vineyard.’  He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went.  Then he came to the second and said likewise.  And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir’ but he did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his Father?”  They said to him, “The first.”  Jesus said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that the tax collectors and the harlots enter the kingdom of God before you” (Matthew 21: 28-31.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    There are two kinds of people; those who do and those who don’t.  Despite their many years of biblical study, the priests and religious leaders had failed to obey God; they preached about righteousness but were unsuccessful in achieving it.  They confused knowledge with wisdom (knowledge is the comprehension of truth; whereas wisdom is the application of it.)  While the intelligent were refusing to be obedient, many prostitutes and tax collectors were receiving salvation.  These social outcasts possessed very little knowledge of scripture; yet what little they did possess, they chose to apply.  The gospel is not just a thought or a good intention; it is an action.

   In the spring of 1862 a confederate Major General named ‘Stonewall Jackson’ fought a famous military campaign in a valley near the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.  His tactics were unorthodox and his troop movements unpredictable (he utilized speed and stealth to attack his union counterparts.)  Concerning speed, he reportedly marched his 17,000 men nearly ‘646 miles in 48 days’ (approximately 13 miles a day.)  Traveling at this furious pace, they met many natural obstacles (such as hills and streams.)  At one point, they encountered a river too treacherous to cross.  Jackson told his engineers to draw up plans for a bridge; he then summoned his wagon master and informed him that they urgently needed to cross the river.  The wagon master began to gather together every rock, fence rail, and log he could find; before sunrise the next day, the wagon master approached General Jackson and said, ‘The artillery and wagons have crossed the river sir.’  General Jackson replied, ‘Where are the engineers, and what are they doing?’  The wagon master replied, ‘they are in their tent, drawing up the plans for the bridge.’

    Knowledge is useless unless it is implemented to accomplish a task.  We are called to be ‘doers of the word, and not hearers only.’  The Christian life is a life of action.  When God commands us to love our enemies, we must love them.  When He instructs us to give to the poor and needy, we must open our wallets (and purses.)  When we are directed to pray for those who persecute us, we must drop to our knees.  Keep the commandments of God and you will be blessed; obey Him and you will experience peace; follow Him and you will know joy; eternal joy; everlasting joy; joy without end.

“Lord Heavenly Father, give us the strength to live out Your commandments.  May we receive Your words and accomplish them.  May we be ‘doers of Your word and not hearers only;’ may our actions bring others to repentance, and may we love our neighbors without restraint or indignation.  We love You Father, and 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 Model Prayer

JESUS SPEAKING

“One of His disciples said to Him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.” (Luke 11: 1) Jesus responded, saying, “In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” (Matthew 6: 9 – 13)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

The disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray; He responded by reciting what is now known as ‘the Lord’s prayer.’ This concise intercession contains every essential element of the Christian faith, condensed into a simple paragraph. Firstly, Jesus uses the words ‘Our Father’ as a reference to the community of believers; prayer is meant to be recited in fellowship with other faithful individuals (although private prayer is also essential.) He then identifies God’s place in Heaven and elevates Him, saying, “hallowed be Your name.” ‘Hallowing’ God’s name entails a recognition that God is perfect and worthy of all honor and praise; and in turn, we acknowledge and embrace our own unworthiness (humility.) Additionally, we are implored to hunger for the arrival of His coming kingdom (the second coming.) Our greatest desire is that His will would be done here on Earth, as it is in heaven. We then ask God to give us our “daily bread;” a reference to God providing for our needs in the present time; today; not tomorrow or the next day. Also, we must request God’s forgiveness; but only in proportion to our forgiveness of others; as God detests hypocrisy. Continuing on, we pray for God to assist us in avoiding evil, as He alone can deliver us from our temptations. And finally, Jesus praises God once again; ascribing to Him the power and glory for all eternity.

In this prayer, we are instructed to ask for God’s deliverance from evil, because He alone is powerful enough to protect us from our enemies. In the 1800’s, a missionary named John Paton landed in the New Hebrides Islands; an area infested with warlike cannibals who had eaten two previous missionaries. Still, under constant threat of death he never waivered; introducing the faith to thousands of lost souls. During one particular account, John wrote, “A wild chief followed me around for four hours with his loaded musket, and, though often directed towards me, God restrained his hand. I spoke kindly to him, and attended to my work as if he had not been there, fully persuaded that my God had placed me there, and would protect me till my allotted task was finished. Looking up in unceasing prayer to our dear Lord Jesus, I left all in his hands, and felt immortal till my work was done.” Over the years, as the threats against him continued, John would reach out to God for deliverance. He eventually went to be with the Lord at the ripe old age of 82.

In our lives, Like John, we too will face adversity and trials. Our duty as believers is to request God’s protection and ask for His deliverance from evil. This simple belief is reiterated in the Lord’s prayer; which is a simplified way to address God, given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This is a powerful prayer that we should consider adding to our daily devotions; we would also benefit from reciting it while we fellowship with other believers. 

“Dear Heavenly Father, we praise you for your goodness and glory. As we seek to draw near to you, may our prayers be filled with faith. Your Son is our example, and we yearn to be more like Him. When trials and temptations arise, we ask for Your deliverance and provision. Only through You can we be saved. 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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