Posts Tagged 'the words of Jesus'

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.

Staying passionate

JESUS SPEAKING

                “To the angel of the church of Ephesus write, ‘These things says he who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands:  I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil.  And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored and have not become weary.  Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.  Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent” (Revelation 2: 1-5.)          

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Eleven of the twelve disciples were martyred for their faith; the apostle John however, lived to be an old man.  In his final days, he received a revelation from God; in this revelation, he recorded a message from Jesus Christ to the seven churches that had been established around the Mediterranean. In his address to the Church at Ephesus, the Lord had many good things to say.  He commended the congregation for questioning those who had come to them claiming to be prophets.  He praised them for their continued patience; and he honored them for loving righteousness and despising evil.  Even still, Christ did find among them one grievous sin; they had left their first love.  The Ephesians, like most Christians, had initially been zealous for the things of God; as new converts they were more than eager to spread the gospel and to obey the teachings of Christ.  Over time however, they had grown cold and apathetic.  In turn, Jesus commanded them to repent and to once again accomplish the works of God.

                Dating and marriage are essential parts of the human condition.  When a man courts a woman he is filled with enthusiasm and excitement.  He spends large amounts of money taking the woman out; he buys her flowers, candy, and perhaps even jewelry.  He does everything he can to impress her, and to let her know that she is loved.  After years of marriage however, men and women have a tendency to become apathetic toward one another.  They slip in to routine and lose their enthusiasm and zeal.  The result is a marriage that is no longer founded upon love; if the love does not return, divorce is extremely probable.

                Like many marriages, the church of Ephesus had grown cold.  Today there are many Christians who have become indifferent and apathetic.  As we examine our hearts, if we have lost our excitement and zeal, then we must repent.  We must once again do the works of God; we love others unconditionally and spread the gospel message with eagerness and enthusiasm.  May the Lord’s Spirit fill you; may He guide you; and may Your heart burn with mercy, passion, and the love of Jesus Christ.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, if we have grown cold, help us to repent and to once again be filled with passion and zeal.  May we desire to serve You and our fellows; may we long to spread Your gospel; may we love others, and accomplish Your will in this place.  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.

Shining Brightly

JESUS SPEAKING

                “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it provides light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Mathew 5: 14 – 16.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                It is impossible for a Christian to remain unrecognized. To stay hidden is to fail to fulfill God’s purpose. Every genuine believer is called to be different; to stand out; to be set apart; loving where there is no love; serving in the midst of selfishness; faithfully encouraging others; nurturing the sick; caring for the needy; filling the hearts and minds of many with hope and joy. Genuine faith inevitably produces an abundance of good works. As disciples we are set apart; we are a light in a dark world; we are divine instruments that point toward the one true and everlasting Father.
                Of all the planets and stars that glow in the night sky, one of the brightest is the North Star (known as Polaris.) Resting in a sea of stars it outshines most of its neighbors. Additionally, every other star in the northern hemisphere travels across the sky; Polaris however, remains fixed; a characteristic that proved useful to ancient mariners who sought to navigate the open oceans. The North Star’s brightness and stability make it easy to recognize; a heavenly body that is not readily confused with the thousands of dimmer objects that surround it.
                Like the North Star, the believer is by far the brightest and most stable object in the lives of those around them. In a sea of unbelievers, the followers of Jesus Christ standout; they are unique. Filled with compassion, charity, and peace, they are easily recognized. They orient others by pointing them toward God (who is the source of all love and mercy.) If you have received the salvation of the Lord, then you too are different. Don’t seek to remain hidden. Instead, let the light of Christ shine through you; that others may see your good works and know that there is a God who loves them.
                “Lord Heavenly Father, we desire to be different. We desire to be more loving, more caring, and more giving. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, and help us to shine brightly in this dark and often cold world. May others see our good works and be drawn to You; the loving Creator and everlasting Father. 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.

The Love of a Father

JESUS SPEAKING

               “A certain man had two sons.  And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the portion of goods that falls to me.’  So he divided to them his livelihood.  And not many days after, the younger son gathered all together, journeyed to a far country, and there wasted his possessions with prodigal living.  But when he had spent all, there arose a severe famine in that land, and he began to be in want.  Then he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed the swine.  And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine ate, and no one gave him anything.  But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!  I will go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son.  Make me like one of your hired servants.’  And he arose and came to his father.  But when his Father was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him.  And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’  But his father said to his servant, ‘Bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet.  And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’  And they began to be merry” (Luke 15: 11 – 24.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                In this parable, the Father represents God, and the son represents every sinner who has wandered away from Him.  The ‘far country’ is figurative of the life of sin that many engage in when they turn away from The Lord.  The Sons return to his father symbolizes the act of repentance and rebirth that accompanies salvation.  In this passage, the prodigal son misjudges his father’s response to his return; believing he will be treated as a servant rather than a son.  Much to his surprise, he is lovingly embraced and honored.  The father is so overjoyed that he immediately orders the household to begin celebrating the occasion.

                Many years ago, prior to my conversion, I was actively abusing drugs and living in sin.  My family suffered greatly as they saw me spiraling downward.  My dad lived in a state of perpetual fear; not knowing when he would be informed of my death or incarceration.   Eventually I got sober, got a job, and gave my life to Jesus Christ.  Because I had been received, reborn, and embraced by my heavenly Father, my earthly father had gotten his son back as well.  My dad told me, “Out of all of your siblings, you are the one I worry about the least.”  On my wedding day, he looked at me with fondness and said, “You are my miracle.”

                 Although earthly dads often possess great love for their children, God is far more affectionate.  He loves even the worst sinners.  The magnitude of His fondness is immeasurable.  He tirelessly seeks the lost, and is always ready to receive those who have wandered away.  May we share that same love; may we share that same heart; and may we continue to search for and embrace those who need to know the love of their Heavenly Father.

                “Almighty God, Everlasting Father, we are amazed at the enormity of Your love.  We are astonished by the depths of Your mercy and grace.  Fill us with Your desires, that we may share Your heart and seek those who have wandered away.  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.

JESUS SPEAKING                

                “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to myself.”  This he said signifying by what death he would die.  The people answered him, ‘We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you.  Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light” (John 12: 32-36.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                While addressing his followers, Jesus prophesied concerning the manner in which he would die.  He would be crucified, and the cross would come to symbolize healing, forgiveness and reconciliation with God.  Those who look to it in faith receive everlasting life and the free gift of salvation; those who refuse to accept Christ’s sacrifice continue under condemnation, and will eventually face eternal judgment.                     

                In the Old Testament, God lead the children of Israel out of slavery and bondage in Egypt.  They passed through the Red sea unharmed, and they entered the desert.  While in the desert many Hebrews rebelled against God and the authority of Moses.  Angered by their arrogance, God sent poisonous snakes in to their midst to bite them.  Moses fervently approached the Lord and begged Him to show mercy.  Moved with compassion, God told Moses to sculpt a brass snake and to fasten it to a long pole; he was then told to raise the pole up in the middle of the camp so everyone could see it.  The Israelites were instructed that if they looked upon the snake in faith, they would be healed from their venomous bites (simply put:  look at the snake and you will live; refuse to look and you will die.)  Jesus Christ was also lifted up on the cross for everyone to see; those who look to him in faith receive eternal life; those who refuse, experience judgment and eternal separation from God.  Jesus said in John 3: 14-16, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him would not perish but have eternal life.”

                The cross has always been a powerful symbol.  It has the power to bring light in to the lives of those who walk in darkness.  It has the power to heal and the power to reconcile sinful man with a pure and Holy God; it has the power to grant eternal life to those who would but look to it in faith.  May you look upon the cross and receive the free gift of salvation.  May you receive the blood of Christ and the forgiveness of sins.  May you be ‘reborn’ and may God guide you as you travel toward his eternal kingdom.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we praise You for Your wonderful plan of salvation.  As we look to the cross in faith, we receive Your sacrifice and we embrace our new lives with You.  Forgive us our sins through the blood of Christ Jesus.  Grant us eternal life.  Heal our hearts and minds; help us to be ‘children of light;’ that others might see our good works and honor You.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name, amen.”  God bless all of you.

Peacemakers

JESUS SPEAKING

                “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the Son’s of God” (Mathew 5: 9)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                The world is full of conflict.  Yet in the midst of the hostility, God’s children are called to promote peace.  The Lord Himself is a peacemaker; He detests war, and abhors senseless aggression.  Many who share His heart also share His mission; to bring harmony where there is hatred and tranquility where there is contempt.  Those who choose to make peace will inherit the unending and eternal blessings offered to the ‘Sons and daughters of God.’

                (As the story goes)  In the 4th century A.D., a monk named Telemachus felt God calling him to go to Rome.  He packed up his meager possessions and set out for the great city.  When he arrived, the streets were bustling with excitement.  He asked why everyone was so energized; he was informed that the gladiators would soon be fighting to the death in the coliseum.  He was horrified that men would be killing one another for sport.  The monk headed to the stadium; after entering he pushed through the crowds, hopped a fence, and made his way to the center of the arena.  As he stood between the two gladiators, he shouted, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  The crowd began to yell, “Run him through, Run him through.”  A gladiator approached the monk and struck him in the stomach with the back of his sword.  Telemachus fell to the ground, but soon recovered.  He once again placed himself between the two armed men and shouted, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  Suddenly the other gladiator approached the monk and plunged his sword in to his belly.  Telemachus immediately fell to the ground and began to bleed out.  Before dying, he was able to utter one last statement, “In the name of Christ, stop.”  A hush came over the crowd.  Suddenly one man got up and left; then another; and another; within minutes all 80,000 people had exited the coliseum.  That was the last gladiatorial contest in Roman history [Source Unknown.]

                The people of God are called to be peacemakers, no matter the consequence.  When others are silent we must speak up.  Where there is discord we must bring unity; where there is conflict we must promote peace.  In so doing we will be called ‘The children of God,’ and we will know the eternal blessings and unending joy of genuine and faithful obedience.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, we long for obedience; may we share the desires of Your heart.  May we love others as You do.  May You continually use us to promote peace and to end conflict.  Give us the courage and the strength to speak up when others fall silent; may we be Your sons and daughters; and may we experience the blessings of genuine obedience.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name, Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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

Join 6,020 other followers