Posts Tagged 'the words of Jesus'

Being Ready for His Return

JESUS SPEAKING

      “Be dressed and ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks, they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes […] But understand this:  If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming he would not have let his house be broken into.  You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Luke 12: 35-37, 39-40.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

      In ancient times, Jewish weddings were relatively prolonged engagements; often lasting for many days.  The guests would recline on pillows, feasting day and night; often falling asleep beside the table.  The length of the celebration was uncertain; it could end at one in the morning, or three in the afternoon. In turn, when the master of a household attended a wedding, his servants had to be prepared for his return at any moment.  Therefore, Jesus used this parable to illustrate His second coming.  After ascending into heaven, he promised to return; yet provided no specific day or hour. He could return today; in a month; or a hundred years from now.  Consequently, his servants must eagerly await his arrival every second of every day.

     Many years ago, prior to my conversion, I practiced a life of sinful disobedience.  I lived alone, in an apartment paid for by my Dad.  He would occasionally pop in to make sure the apartment was clean and in proper condition.  One evening, while hosting a drunken bash, things got out of hand.  We smashed beer bottles in my living room.  I also broke an exterior window, and another partygoer broke my car window with an empty beer bottle.  Somehow the toilet clogged and overflowed as well; leaking into the apartment beneath me.  I eventually passed out; thinking I could clean up in the morning without anyone noticing.  However, early the following day, I was rousted from my sleep by the shouts of an angry man. “Get up,” my dad yelled in my ear!  I sprang from the mattress, in utter shock.  I was embarrassed, ashamed, and filled with fear.  I hadn’t expected him; never contemplating that he might witness the carnage of my drunken behavior.  He stood by, patiently watching as I picked up every shard of broken glass.

      Much like my Dad, the Lord is coming at an hour when we least expect Him.  We must always be ready for his return.  Those who obey the teachings of Jesus Christ are prepared to meet him.  If we continually love and serve others, then when our savior arrives, he will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant […] enter into the joy of the Lord.”

      “Lord Heavenly Father may our hearts be filled with the expectation of Your return.  Reveal to us any areas where we are being selfish, rather than selfless. Convict our hearts and give us the strength to repent.  May we always be giving, kind, and obedient; never missing an opportunity to serve You and our fellows.  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!

Sectarianism is bad

November | 2011 | Jesus Speaks | Page 3 //

JESUS SPEAKING:

                “Teacher,” said John, “we saw a man driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.” “Don’t stop him,” Jesus said. “No one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:38-39.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS:

                Every good work done in the name of Christ is commendable in the sight of God.  Those who oppose such works (for whatever reason) practice evil.  The disciples mistakenly commanded an unknown man to cease casting out demons in Christ’s name.  Jesus rebuked them for ignorantly believing that God would only use members of their inner circle.  The man was filled with faith; enough faith to perform miracles in his name; he was not a stranger; rather, the man they confronted and corrected was in fact, their brother.  Authority and power come from God; they do not come from men.  Briefly, the disciples believed themselves to be more than servants; they selfishly attempted to set themselves apart, and to control and contain the work of God; in so doing, they stood in opposition to Him.

                Throughout the centuries, there have been many who have fallen victim to the exact same mistake made by the disciples.  Some vainly believe they alone possess the power and authority of God; such organizations are in fact cults.  The J-hovah’s witnesses say, “We acknowledge as the visible organization of J-hovah on earth, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.”  The International Church of Christ says, “There is one church! There is one God. There is one kingdom of God and this is it!”  The seventh day Adventists say, “Since we keep all ten Commandments and have Ellen White as our prophet, we Seventh-day Adventists are The Remnant Church!”  The ‘True Jesus Church’ claims that they are “the true church restored by God through the Holy Spirit of the latter rain.  She is the revival of the apostolic church in the end times.”  Any organization that claims membership with them is a prerequisite for salvation stands in opposition to the Lord they profess to serve.

                Jesus Christ can never be replaced by a denomination; rituals and traditions cannot usurp the power of the Holy Spirit.  Those who say affiliation with their church is necessary are in rebellion against the one true and living God.  It can be very difficult to keep the gospel simple, and to keep Christ at the center of the faith (avoid those who practice sectarianism.)  Jesus is what connects us; he binds us to one another; he brings us together; he alone is our salvation and our strength; he is the center of our faith; may you always keep him close; and may you continue to seek fellowship with those who love him.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, give us discernment; may we never forget that faith in Your Son is what truly matters.  May our good works always be done in Your name.  Help us to avoid those who seek to replace our trust in You with a faith in a denomination or sect.  May we draw near to one another as we draw near to Your son.  Father, continue to fill us with Your Holy Spirit, that through us, Your miracles may continue to be done in this world.  We thank You Father, we love You, and we praise You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.

 

Correcting Others

JESUS SPEAKING

                “And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look a plank is in your own eye?  Hypocrite!  First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Mathew 7: 3-5.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                There is no better way to feed pride than to look at the faults and shortcomings of those around us.  Most people, whether consciously or unconsciously, critique and compare themselves to others daily.  Some however, go to extremes; correcting their fellows to dodge facing their own demons.  Jesus warned his followers to avoid this form of hypocrisy.   A disciple may humbly address another person’s sin, only when they themselves have had victory over that same sin.  Any alternate form of correction is dangerous, because God inspects and corrects us using the same standard we have used to correct others.

                In 1986, a very well known radio and television minister became aware that a fellow Pastor was guilty of carrying on numerous affairs.  He went public with the information and his friend was removed from his position within the church and humiliated.  This pastor, who had been more than willing to expose the faults of his colleague, became embroiled in a far more insidious scandal just two years later when he was caught with a prostitute.  Filled with tears, he went on television and confessed his sins to the world, to his family, and to his congregation.  He pleaded and begged for forgiveness.  This minister was guilty of trying to correct the sins of another, before cleaning up his own deviant lifestyle.  In turn, God judged him according to the standard by which he judged his colleague.

                As believer’s today, self-examination is crucial.  We must face and be victorious over the demons’ in our own lives, before we can help others to overcome similar difficulties.  Extreme caution is required when attempting to lovingly correct our fellows; for the standard by which we correct them, is measured back to us by God.  

                “Lord Heavenly Father, protect us from the sin of hypocrisy.  May embrace humility and refrain from pride-fully comparing ourselves to others.  Empower us as we fight against the enemy.  Give us victory over our sins, that we might help our fellows also conquer their sins.  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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