Posts Tagged 'the words of Jesus Christ'

Things Old and New

JESUS SPEAKING

   Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”  (Matthew 13: 52.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

   The bible consists of two parts; the Old Testament and the New Testament.  The Old Testament contains prophecies, inspired writings, and recorded historical events dating from approximately 4004 B.C. to around 440 B.C.  God then chose to remain silent for 450 years, until around 15-30 A.D., when John the Baptist began preaching in the wilderness; announcing the near arrival of the messiah; Jesus Christ.  Jesus soon appeared on the scene, completing God’s message and laying the foundation for the New Testament (the gospels, the book of acts, the apostles’ letters, and the book of revelation.)  Jesus often quoted from the Old Testament, but He also added to it.  In turn, any scribe that understood the message would combine the Old Testament and Christ’s words into one complete revelation from God.

   Many years ago while I was browsing at a local swap meet, I made an interesting observation.  Some merchants were selling antiques; which were highly valued because they were old.  Still others were selling items that were completely new; it was their newness that gave them their value.  Things that are neither old nor new are often extremely cheap; like VHS videos for example; which aren’t new but are not yet old enough to be valuable.  These wise retailers, like the householder Jesus was speaking about in this parable, got the most money for what they were selling because they sold items that were both old and new.  Similarly, God’s truth is not complete unless both the New and the Old Testament are combined as one.  The Holy Bible cannot be divided, altered, or added too in any way; it is a complete work.

   The Bible is filled with valuable treasures; gems of truth and nuggets of pure wisdom.  Jesus did not come to discard the Old Testament, but to combine the old and the new into a single masterpiece; a priceless correspondence between God and man.  The world is filled with books, written by individuals who are inspired by their own desires; and yet there is only one book that God Himself has written.  The Bible is a treasure chest that begs to be opened; within it’s pages you will discover all of the answers you have ever desired to know.  Open it and experience the fullness of the one true and living God.

   “Lord Heavenly Father, as we read Your Word, please give us a desire to dig deeper; to search for new insights and new truths.  Guide us as we read and speak to our hearts; make Your plan for us clear in our minds and in our hearts.  We yearn to know the full, complete goodness of Your book; and in turn, the complete knowledge of your affections for us.  We love You Lord, 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!

Staying Focused on Jesus

JESUS SPEAKING

    [As Christ walked with Peter along the beach, he said] “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.”  This he spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God […] Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on his breast at the supper, and had said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”  Peter, seeing him asked Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?”  Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  You follow me?” (John 21: 18 – 22.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Shortly after His resurrection, Jesus appeared to his Disciples on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.  He ate with them; He fellow-shipped with them; and He encouraged them.  He also privately took Peter on a walk along the beach. The apostle John followed them at a close distance.  The Lord told Peter that one day he would be crucified for his faith.  Peter then inquired about the Apostle John’s fate.  Jesus gently rebuked him; such matters were not his concern.  Jesus reminded Peter to remain completely focused on following his Lord and Savior.  During their brief conversation, Peter had made a very common error; a mistake that is still prevalent within the church today.  Many incorrectly focus their attentions on other believers; or on their circumstances; or even on themselves.  However, Jesus Christ alone requires our complete and undivided attentions.

     How important is it to remain focused on Jesus Christ?  On another occasion, prior to the crucifixion, the disciples were rowing across the Sea of Galilee when they saw Jesus walking toward them on the water.  Peter, being filled with faith, yelled “Lord if it is you […] tell me to come to you on the water.”  Jesus replied, “come.”  Peter got out of the boat, and began to walk on water; but as he approached Christ, he began to focus on the large waves that encircled him.  Because he had taken his eyes off of the Lord, he began to sink; he cried out to Jesus saying “Lord save me.”  Jesus grabbed him, and pulled him from the raging sea.  Peter’s faith had wavered because he turned his attentions away from the messiah.  We can all learn from Peter’s mistake; those who are wise will continually remain focused upon Jesus Christ.

    This world is full of diversions.  We, like Peter, are all guilty of looking to the left and to the right; we have all, on occasion, misplaced our attentions and have succumb to the numerous distractions in life.  Though we have failed in many ways, with God’s help, we can once again refocus upon our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.  May our trust, faith, and hope in Him never waiver; for in Him we find our strength, our salvation, and our greatest victory.

    “Lord Heavenly Father, we look to Your Son, and we place our faith fully in Him.  Remove any distractions or diversions that exist in our lives and in our hearts.  May our attentions always be focused upon You and our Messiah.  Continue to sanctify us Father, that we might continue to be fruitful.  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!

When Tragedies Become Blessings

JESUS SPEAKING

     Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.  I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is still day; the night is coming when no one can work.  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the blind man’s eyes with the clay.  And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent).  So he went and washed, and came back seeing (John 9: 1–7.) 

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    In the first century, many individuals believed that deformity and dysfunction were the result of some manner of personal sin.  The disciples therefore inquired concerning who’s sin had caused the man’s blindness (either his parents or the man himself?)  But Jesus revealed that the man’s deformity hadn’t arisen from sin, but rather, from God’s desire to display a miraculous feet of divine healing. The blind man was made whole again so that many others would honor and glorify God. In life, often the things that appear to be the most tragic, are actually orchestrated to bring God the greatest glory.  Although they can be, tragedy and adversity are not always punishments; in fact, they are often the greatest blessings we will ever know.

     In 2003 a 13 year old Christian girl named Bethany Hamilton was surfing when she was suddenly attacked by a 14 foot long tiger shark.  The shark severed her left arm just below the shoulder.  After nearly bleeding to death, she was rushed to the hospital.  Prior to the injury, Bethany had been one of the world’s top competitive junior surfers.  Despite her strong faith, she questioned why God would allow her to endure such a tragedy.  Still she became determined to surf again competitively.  Trusting in God, Bethany entered the water 3 weeks after the accident and began training.  She started with a long board; then moved to a smaller board; until she was eventually able to surf on a short board again. Because Bethany refused to quit she eventually placed in and won a number of the world’s top female surf competitions.  Her experience quickly became famous. She received thousands of letters and numerous awards; she’s appeared on ‘20/20, Good Morning America, and the Oprah Winfrey Show,’ to name a few.  Eventually she published a book chronicling her struggles and victories (which was made into a movie entitled “Soul Surfer.”)  Throughout her ordeal, Bethany remained an outspoken Christian.  She thanked Jesus Christ for her strength, her courage, and her triumph. What appeared to be a tragedy had become the greatest blessing she would ever know.  Yes, with two arms she would’ve likely won some surf competitions; perhaps she might have even made it onto the cover of a surf magazine.  But with God in her heart and one missing arm, she was able to reach the entire world for Christ.  She is now a symbol of faith and a living example of God’s power to take the broken and make them whole again.

     Is there anything in your life that you struggle with; something that seems tragic; a source of pain or suffering?  If you take another look you may find a wonderful blessing hidden within what appears to be a calamity.  Seek the Lord, and He will strengthen you and lift you up.  Lean on God, and let Him use you; He will take your weaknesses and turn them into strengths.  And when He transforms our lives, we must always remember to give Him the credit He so richly deserves.  If we utilize God’s power and face our fears, many will come to see ‘the glory of God,’ revealed in us.

  “Lord Heavenly Father, we ask that You transform our weaknesses into strengths.  May Your enduring power and wisdom give us victory over the obstacles we currently face.  Heal us Father, and fill us with Your courage, that by faith we may overcome our fears and shortcomings.  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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