Posts Tagged 'zeal'

The Salt of the Earth

JESUS SPEAKING

          “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it become salty again?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men” (Mathew 5: 13.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

          In ancient time’s salt was a very important commodity, used to preserve meats; it was also a common ingredient included in many medicinal remedies.  However, despite its numerous applications, salt was most often employed to flavor foods; just a tiny pinch and an otherwise bland dish would become rather tasty.  In this parable Jesus likens every believer to salt; those who remain flavorful are those who continue to fulfill their primary purpose; such individuals consistently serve their fellows, love others, and give to those in need.  Unfortunately, many who start out strong in the faith eventually lose their saltiness and become self-centered and ungodly; they no longer possess the zeal to accomplish good works.  By serving themselves and not others, they become useless to God.

          The statue of liberty is one of America’s most widely recognizable icons; an enduring symbol of freedom to all nations.  And yet ‘Lady Liberty’ has changed a great deal over the years.  On the day of her dedication in 1886, her polished copper surface was a vibrant spectacle of orange and bronze; a truly marvelous sight to behold.  Sadly, when copper interacts with the atmosphere it corrodes; and over time, her shiny exterior has grown dull, muted, and green.  The Statue of Liberty is still a magnificent example of ingenuity and craftsmanship; however, she is no longer as marvelous as she once was on the day of her dedication.

          Similarly, many Christians dedicate themselves to Jesus Christ, and initially they shine quite brilliantly.  Their zeal for what is good and their desire to spread the gospel is unparalleled.  As they serve, the love of The Lord is manifest in them; drawing others toward God.  Sadly, over time, as other things displace their faith, selfishness begins to reign in their hearts.  They become dull and muted; such individuals are rendered useless to God.  May we never grow dull; may we continually put the Lord first in all that we do; and may we tirelessly strive to accomplish His will in this place.

          “Heavenly Father, fill us with Your Holy Spirit.  Give us opportunities to lovingly serve others.  We desire to be pleasing to You in all things; use us to further Your Kingdom.  May we always be zealous and flavorful; and may we never grow dull.  If we have turned away, please convict us and correct us.  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.

Standing up for what’s right

JESUS SPEAKING

                Now the Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem.  And he found in the temple those who sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers doing business.  When he had made a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers money and overturned the tables.  And he said to those who sold doves, “Take these things away!  Do not make my Father’s house a house of merchandise!”  Then the disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house has eaten me up” (John 2: 13 – 17.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

                Long ago King David prophesied that the messiah would be zealous concerning the things of God.  Jesus, having witnessed his fellow Israelites using the temple for selfish gain, became enraged. After constructing a whip, he drove out those who were defiling his Father’s house. Today, we too will occasionally observe acts of unspeakable evil. In such instances, the Holy Spirit will eradicate our fears and fill our hearts with zeal; enabling us to publically oppose those engaging in malicious conduct.

                One afternoon, while studying in the coffee shop, a man and his teenage son sat down beside me.  Without provocation, the youngster began persistently berating and verbally abusing his father. As the disrespect escalated, my heart was filled with righteous anger. The boy eventually threatened his Dad, saying, “Have you ever been punched in the face?” I lashed out; telling the young man to ‘Shut his mouth!’ The boy fell silent. I proceeded to lecture him concerning the fifth commandment; honoring his father and mother. Embarrassed and afraid, he stepped outside; later returning to apologize.

                In this life, we will occasionally witness acts of such unspeakable evil, that Jesus will inspire us to intervene. In these moments, He will fill our hearts with zeal; giving us the words to speak and the strength to overcome our fears. The Lord will use us to rebuke, to exhort, and to correct many who eagerly violate the basic laws of God.

                “Lord Heavenly Father, give us the courage to speak the truth when necessary.  May we love what is good, and be zealous for Your ways.  When great acts of evil are being practiced, may we stand against them; allowing our desires for righteousness to eradicate our fear of reprisal.  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.


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