Posts Tagged 'the words of Jesus Christ'

Persecution

JESUS SPEAKING

      “If the world hates you, you will know that it hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I have spoken to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15: 18 – 20.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

     Jesus was persecuted relentlessly during His earthly ministry. He was slandered publicly and privately. He was shunned by many, and ridiculed, even by members of His own family. His message was so offensive that He was nearly stoned to death on several occasions. Eventually, despite His miraculous feats, and His immeasurable love, Jesus Christ was abandoned by His closest friends; He was bound and beaten; spit upon and crucified. Those who choose to follow Him can expect to experience some manner of persecution.
      Eleven of the twelve disciples were brutally martyred for their unwavering faith. They paid the ultimate price for fearlessly spreading the gospel throughout the known world. Although physical peril is a common type of persecution, it comes in many other forms. One day, many years ago, as I sat studying in the local coffee shop, I began talking with a Muslim friend concerning the tenants of the Christian faith. As I presented her with the gospel, a woman sitting next to us became visibly upset. Not knowing that we were already friends, she yelled “Can’t you see she doesn’t want to talk to you about that?” The woman continued to verbally harass me, making every effort to subvert the conversation. In the middle of the pestering, I looked at my friend and said, “This is the type of persecution that occurs when you become a believer.” Eventually the woman became so disruptive that we had to end our discussion.
      Persecution is an inevitable consequence of genuine faith. If you are not experiencing some form of persecution, then perhaps you are keeping your beliefs hidden away; choosing safety and security above obedience to the Lord. Still there are those who boldly spread the gospel message. These individuals can expect to be persecuted. Persecution, in any form, isn’t very pleasant; yet it is a reminder that we are earnestly following in the footsteps of our teacher, our master, and our friend.
      “Lord Heavenly Father, provide us with opportunities to preach the gospel to others. May we reach out to those who might become our brothers and sisters. Strengthen us when we encounter persecution; that we might stand firm in the faith. Give us courage to boldly speak the truth, that we would continue to emulate our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. 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 Holy Spirit

JESUS SPEAKING

    “These things I have spoken to you while being present with you. However, the helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” (John 14: 25-26)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

    The Lord informed His disciples that He would soon be taken away from them. In His absence, He promised to send them a replacement; a helper; a spiritual entity that would guide and direct them, and bring to their remembrance all of His teachings. After the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven; upon reaching His eternal position, He sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts and minds of every believer (beginning on the day of Pentecost.) The faithful began to speak in foreign languages; they were given the power and authority to forgive sins, to cast out demons, to raise the dead, and to heal the sick. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit was, and is, proof that Jesus Christ has reached His heavenly destination. Even today, the work of the Spirit reminds us that He is still seated at the right hand of God; a place of honor from which He continues to guide and direct His church.
    In the early 20th century a bold and daring explorer named Roald Amundsen set out to reach the remote poles of the earth. He succeeded, arriving at the South Pole in 1911, followed by the North Pole in 1926. As the story goes, during his northern expedition, he took along a homing pigeon (homing pigeons mate for life; and thus, when separated from their mates, they possess a unique ability to return to their nests from anywhere in the world. Before leaving for the North Pole, Amundsen, not wanting his wife to worry, promised to release the pigeon when he had reached his destination. His wife was elated when the bird eventually arrived back at its nest in Norway. The pigeon was a symbol; a message proclaiming that the explorer had arrived in a distant land, and was very much alive and well.
    The Holy Spirit is also a symbol; it is a message and a reminder that Jesus Christ is alive. Many have received the message; while others have not. Those who have opened their hearts to God’s messenger have acknowledged that Jesus is their Lord and master; the Living God who presently guides and directs His church through the power of the Holy Spirit. If you have never received His gift of salvation, go somewhere quiet and ask God to send His Holy Spirit into your heart. He will not withhold this wonderful gift from those who faithfully ask Him.
     “Lord Heavenly Father, we believe that Jesus Christ is Your Son, and that He is seated at Your right hand. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit; guide and direct us; teach us and remind us of Your ways. May we always remain faithful believers; may we never waiver; may we never grow weary; and may we never turn away from Your truth. Continue to use us to fulfill Your will in this place, until the end arrives and we see you again, face to face. 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!

Forgiven Much, Love Much

JESUS SPEAKING

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, “This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” So he said, “Teacher say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?” Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” (Luke 7: 36 – 50)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Jesus agrees to dine with a Pharisee in his home. Upon arriving, He is refused several customary gestures reserved for honored guests. He is not greeted with a kiss, His feet are not washed, and His head isn’t anointed with any fragrant oil. The religious leader, believing himself to be righteous, discovered little value in the gospel message. And yet a harlot woman who had lived her entire life in abject sin, experienced a new birth; she felt the magnitude of God’s forgiveness through Christ; and in an instant she was transformed. Her newfound faith compelled her to honor Jesus. She kissed his feet; she washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair; she also anointed him with perfume. Through this interaction we are introduced to a solid biblical truth; ‘those who are forgiven much, love much; but those who are forgiven little, love little.’

As the story goes, in 1896, Captain Alfred Bertrand was traveling through South Africa when he arrived in the region of the Barotsi people. He had heard stories of the native King Lewanika, whose greatest delight had been torturing his enemies in cruel and unusual ways before murdering them. He was a brutal, sadistic, and Godless man; which produced his nickname; “the human tiger.” Upon arriving in the region, Captain Bertrand met with a local missionary and Pastor named Monsieur Coillard. On sunday, as a matter of politeness, the French soldier attended church. When he came out of the service, he asked Pastor Coillard, “Who was that remarkable looking man sitting next to me, who listened so carefully?” “That was King Lewanika, ‘the human tiger,'” he replied. “Was it really?” he inquired again. “Yes,” responded Coillard. “Then if that is what Christ can do, I mean to be His,” muttered Captain Bertrand.

Like King Lewanika, those whose lives are steeped in sin, are often the most willing to hear the message of forgiveness and receive salvation. In turn, the prior degenerates, having experienced the depths of God’s mercy, are reborn and reformed. They become compelled to worship God and to follow His commandments and virtuous principles. As a result, genuine believers will display authentic affection for others; every act of kindness is a reminder to the lost that God is alive; and that He is calling them to repent and return to Him.

“Lord Heavenly Father, may we experience Your complete forgiveness, and never forget how merciful You have been toward us. May we remain humble and seek to love all those we meet, as we preach the gospel of grace to those who need to be forgiven, reconciled, and reborn. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit Lord, that we might choose what is good. 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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