Posts Tagged ‘Religion & Spirituality’

never lack

There is such a large and never-failing supply of gifts and grace from Jesus – there will never be a lack of the oil and the wine of Gospel truths that we can communicate of to others.

It speaks to the variety, and never-ending discovery, of these Gospel truths and they are all delivered in a manner that we are capable in receiving them.

We have a continual supply in the ministry of the Word.

We can rejoice when we enter into trials, because we know that this is divinely intended to strengthen our faith by producing endurance and if one lacks the wisdom to know how to respond to the trials of life, we need only to ask God for wisdom.

It is my prayer that for the new year coming, you will never lack.

By that I mean that you will understand the incredible character trait of God concerning His generosity – that generosity, reflected in the ability to give our money, time, energy and resources to those in need around us.

One of those oil and wine truths of the Gospel – no one can explain it – but the law of giving looks like this – the more we give, the more we receive from the hand of God.

This year I have been writing along these lines – pointing as best I can to the fact that our prosperity comes from following after God, check out the oil and wine found in His Word.

Almost forgot to be real in this as I write a bit too early in the morning without having my own time with God.

The hands and fingers of givers are always on top during an act of giving, while that of the receivers are always below, thus you’ll notice all around you, givers always seem to have enough to meet their needs, even in times of trouble, while others might find it hard to come out unscathed, givers always come out even better compared to their previous situations. That is not to say that givers cannot be receivers and I posted another friends blog to share some of those thoughts with you.

Any seed planted into the ground grows to produce a multiplication of seeds, thus your act of giving, be it time, energy, kindness or money acts as a seed, and germinates to produce multiples of its kind and the second part of the law of giving – it comes back to you.

This new year coming,  I pray God touches your heart and as you follow Him, that you will never lack.

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Deal gently…

…with compassion and sympathy because we ourselves would want others to treat us in like manner.  Especially if we find ourselves in leadership – it just means we are a person who needs compassion and sympathy but we have the opportunity of giving it more often and being noticed more often for giving it.

If you think about it long enough, we are all ignorant enough to think that we are better and that kind of thinking means we do not have to be kind to others who are beneath our quality.

We are just as infirmed, liable to err, subject to temptation, must die, and appear before God.

So let’s act in moderation with one another and if you have to, then at least pity, feel for and excuse, as far as possible and be ready to pardon – and when you must punish, administrate in the gentlest manner possible.

We are all welcome to come to God, and as we value acceptance with God, and pardon, as we must apply by faith to this our great High Priest Christ Jesus, who can intercede for those that are out-of-the-way of truth, duty, and happiness; one who has tenderness to lead us back from the by-paths of error, sin, and misery. I trust you are a follower of Christ today for your assistance, acceptance, His presence and blessing and the gifts you have been giving come from Him.

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He does stir up people with His teaching

I think that when we think of stirring up, we think often of politicians.

Yet when we look at Jesus life, we see Him stirring people up and avoiding the political issues of His day.

Maybe except for the fact that He did agree with the crowd bringing Him before Pilate when they accused Him of being King of the Jews.

Jesus stirred things up with the religious leaders for certain.  His calling out to the people to seek a relationship with God was new and fresh, inviting and adventuresome. Yet when the moment of confrontation with them appeared, Jesus removed Himself from their presence and instead spent time healing the sick.  I think there was that one time, about paying taxes that Jesus actually had a longer than usually conversation with them – I get stirred up every time I read that passage and my prayer has not changed – Lord, I am counting on that kind of stand-up wisdom when I need it most in confronting those who are offended by my passionate spirit in serving You.

He showed His strength in character, purpose and ministry by making sure that when the people were stirred up and wanted to take Him by force and make Him king, He left to go climb a mountain and be by Himself.

He stirred things up with His disciples when they came to the full realization that He was the Messiah and at His transfiguration and yet Jesus told them not to tell anyone. That happened a few times with others as well.
Probably the greatest testimony of Jesus stirring people up came from the religious leaders themselves.  In thinking Jesus was just another flash in the pan, a new fangled leader for the day, they saw the movement ending with a fizzle.  But Jesus teaching, and that is all He did, changed people’s lives and they were not the same – they become fervent in their desire to serve God once they realized He wanted to be known.
Sadly, mediocre minds are always offended by passionate spirits – as Einstein put it – so really the ultimate expression of Jesus stirring people with His teaching came in a negative expression – the priests were so jealous that they decided to end Jesus life – not that they took it, Jesus offered it.
He did this so that people forever could be stirred, changed, living a loving relationship with God and enjoying His presence and blessing and being passionate to serve, to give, to lead, to tell the story to others, being salt and light to a world desperately looking for Him and needful of someone to point the way.

 

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Your Name is near

You have probably heard the expression – “God is good all the time” and then the response – “All the time God is good.”  Well this  could be said for this description of God to – “Your Name is near”, “Your near is your name.”

So our Father, being our Father, is near to us as to His presence, communion, and fellowship.  His works which are revealed throughout the world and yet so near at hand, and His Word which is as close as being in the mouths and hearts of His people.

So often when we pray, we pray for mercy and so we should – but we only occasionally give thanks once we have received it.

God is at hand to answer and do wonders — we do not sing to a hidden God, who sleeps and leaves the church to her fate, but of one who ever in our darkest days is most near, a very present help in trouble. “Near is his name.”

Glory be to God, whose perpetual deeds of grace and majesty are sure tokens of His being with us always, even unto the ends of the world.

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Want to be a disciple of Jesus?

Know this – that the offer is to everyone – no one is excluded.

You and I know that regardless of how that choice is made – everyone makes a choice. One of God‘s mysteries to me is the free will of a human being – a truly powerful element – a person must choose.  God does not force us to do anything. He invites us, and He gently calls us. But we must make a choice.

Why Jesus?

When Jesus came to the earth, in a certain sense He gave up His divine prerogatives. He lived the way every human being should live: loving God, doing the will of God, and being led by the Holy Spirit in everything that He said and did.  Now we can make the decision to follow in His footsteps.

Let’s look at some steps required in order to follow in those footsteps:

1.  We alluded to it earlier, but there needs to be a denial of yourself in this journey.

The only thing that can keep you following Christ is yourself.  The worse thing you can do is to go your own way instead of God’s way. In order to follow Christ, you must deny yourself. You must consciously and willing and freely say, “I am not going to go my own way or do my own will. Instead I am going God’s way.”

The way that we have been called to follow is a great challenge. I call it life’s greatest adventure.  It’s the greatest challenge in the world. We have heaven to look forward to, but until we get there it will not always be an easy road, but it will be an amazing journey.

2.  There will be a cross to bear.

Part of the challenge of following Christ in this world is the cross that He will give you to bear. He bore a cross. He was nailed to His cross and He died there on the hill of Golgotha. The cross that Jesus bore was the shameful and tortuous Roman cross. Each of us also have a cross to bear. What is a cross? It’s something that you suffer, that you only suffer, because you went God’s way instead of your own way. Some people miss God’s will because they try to avoid the cross that was given to them. It will be a temptation to try to get rid of the cross that you were called to bear.

There are tricks in the trade that you need to work with in order to survive this adventure.  You need to take each day, one day at a time, and not worry too much about tomorrow.  Someone might consider their own cross and how heavy it can sometimes be, and then think that there is no way that they could ever bear such a cross for ten or twenty more years. But remember that Jesus said to take up his cross daily. Take it one day at a time. That’s all you have to do. You just have to get through one day successfully. It you can do it today; then you can do it tomorrow also.

From a human standpoint sometimes it appears as though a cross is a very unpleasant thing. It sounds negative, does it not? A cross speaks of suffering, and difficulty, and trial, and burdens to bear. But we must never forget that there was a positive outcome as a result of the cross.  Jesus had His cross, and because of the old rugged cross of Jesus, we have the hope of heaven and the forgiveness of sins and the opportunity to live for God in this world. Things are not as they appear, and they are not going to work out the way that you think they will.

3. Get ready to follow

The reason that we were put on this earth is to know and serve God and to do His will. There is no such thing as finding the will of God for your life some day and then doing that thing for the rest of your life. God’s will is unfolded to you day by day. You find out God’s will one day at a time. You can also miss His will one day at a time. For every day that you do not deny yourself and take up your cross and follow Him, you will miss God’s will. You will lose opportunity and reward.

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You who answer prayer

Amazing truth – God answers prayer because God hears our prayers.

Nothing more describes the character of God – “hearer of prayer.”

Nothing else is of more interest and importance to me.  Nothing more indicates His goodness, encouragement, His salvation.

If God did not hear prayer, this would be a dark and dismal world with a gloomy perspective.

We have the opportunity of approaching God, at anytime, with the assurance that He hears us when we pray.  His ear is always open to the cries of the guilty, the suffereing, the sad, the troubled, the dying.

The answer to our prayer will come sooner or later, in one way or another, and always at the right time and in the best way, for our good and for God’s glory – showcasing His omnipresence, omniscience and all sufficiency of God.  He already knows us and our needs and what is proper for us and provides His grace to sustain us and the promise again is to always be listening, hearing.

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Produce fruit in keeping with repentance

I wish I could have come up with a better title – more contemporary, creative, culturally relevant – so instead I found this picture.  I do not think two wrongs make a right, just wanted to reveal how true that statement is.

So, how prosperous can we get in our walk with Jesus when we introduce the element of repentance – the turning away from being in rebellion against God, acknowledging the gulf that exists between us, acknowledging that what Christ did for us on the cross bridged that gulf and that His spilt blood, though we were stained with sin, we are made whiter than snow.

I was talking to a wonderful missionary couple yesterday and he declared that every  morning, the first thing he does is ask God for forgiveness.  That puts him in right standing with God, starts his day in right standing with himself because he is acknowledging that he cannot do this day without God’s help and he humbles himself to His Lord and Maker, yielding whatever may come, to Him.

My question is always the same – whether I pray, or someone else will pray a prayer of repentance – that is, am I just sorry, or have I truly turned away from and by doing so, have turned to following Jesus.  There is no way of answering that question – because what if He asks you to sell everything you have, give to the poor and follow Him?  I know of only one person in my lifetime that has done this.  Others have come close as I have heard of those who try to live on 10% of their income and give 90% away.

So what fruit is John talking about – what does he think should be happening in our lives that would indicate that we have made a legitimate claim to Christ and have turned to follow Him?

John defined it as having an attitude of mercy, not just following the rules so that are engaged to do all the good we can and to be just to all.  Meaning we need to take a pass on collecting on unjust gain, restore that we obtained by wronging others, reminding those of us in position of authority or power that our duty is to serve and not abuse for the temptation of power has led more people astray.

So our sorry needs to be a repenting for what we have done to stray from following God and to turn our hearts to God and He in turn promises to change our mind, our way, our heart by casting our transgressions as far as the east is from the west, giving us new hearts and new lives.  The design of the gospel now begins to take shape in our lives

We should see ourselves engaged in being more devout, pious, holy, humble, meek, sober, loving, just, honest, charitable, kind, and good toward others, having patience, self-control, joy,  mercy, grace and possibly all these giving form in expression to what people call – happy.

I will settle for those same people to look at me and say that I have my Father’s eyes.

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