Shakers and Lamps

16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.  — Matthew 5:16 NLT

Matthew 5:13-16 NLT

Salt and light, two things that, in today’s world, we give little thought to. But in the first century, these things were not taken lightly.  In fact, salt was such a precious commodity that it was considered  proper to give salt as a gift to royalty.  Having light after the sun went down was not just a matter of flipping a switch or setting a timer on your cell phone (for you techies).  It required a lot of work to keep the palace garden lights burning.  And it was very costly since oil and tar were also precious commodities.  But it was even more costly to the Christians that Nero had dipped in tar and set on fire to use as lights in his garden.  So, when Jesus used these items as comparisons to what Christians must be to a lost world, the people in that time could really appreciate it much more than we can today.  With no refrigeration, salt was their major preservative. God’s mercy and grace are our only preservatives against evil destroying us.  Think of how much less time in each day that we could be productive without artificial light. But we have a light inside of us that lights up the world even on the darkest day.  Are we sharing our salt and light with those around us?  Why not? The supply is endless, it is always available and monetarily, it costs us nothing. We need to take the top off the salt shaker and the shade off the lamp and share our abundance with others regardless of the cost.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 03-15-2019

“Wait Upon the Lord”

Once when he was eating with them, he commanded them, “Do not leave Jerusalem until the Father sends you the gift he promised, as I told you before. — Acts 1:4


Acts 1:1-5 NLT

Sometimes when God first starts to reveal our part in His plan, we want to start “doing” right then.   There are times that we should move instantly because it might be the only chance we have to witness to a particular person.  But if God is calling us to do a work that requires coordination and acceptance by others, we may have to wait while everyone else involved gets lined up.  God never sends us unprepared.  Jesus was tested for forty days before He began His ministry.  Saul spent years in the desert becoming Paul.  David spent years fighting battles, running from Saul and was anointed three times before He actually took the throne.  Preparation requires patience, prayer, persecution, perseverance, provision and power. There are usually people who disagree with what we think God has called us to do and/or the methodology we use to do it.  We must not only be patient with God but with others involved as well.  We must endure the negativity and the discouraging remarks.  If we persevere, God will give us the provisions and the power.   God had prepared the disciples to “go and make” but now He has commanded them to “wait”.  Waiting can sometimes be the hardest part.  But success will only come if we adhere to God’s battle plan and His timing.  We must wait until all the ifs, ands, buts, perhaps, and maybes are gone.  Then when the Commander says “charge”, we will be successful in the war.

14 Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.— Psalm 27:14 NLT

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous

Post 02-07-2019

Spiritual, Physical and Financial Support

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They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. – 3 John 6 NLT
 

Because we have been commanded to love each other, we should always show concern and compassion for others. We are instructed in Paul’s letters to support those who minister to us. This includes our local pastor as well as other ministries where God directs us to help. But we should never just give randomly, but pray about it and ask for discernment. Giving money to unfruitful ministries would not show good stewardship with the finances God has entrusted to us. Remember that Jesus was supported by others and sent his disciples out without even a change of clothes. A good Pastor is worth all that we can afford to pay him.. He is God’s anointed and has been appointed to shepherd us. We should show our love for God and for our pastors by supporting them, not just with money, but with prayers, encouragement and helping out wherever we can physically.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 07-22-2017

Fully Equipped Warriors

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11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. — Ephesians 4:11 NLT

Christ has given 5 gifts to the church, these are known as the 5-fold ministry. They are not given to the leaders so they can do all the work. They are given to the church leaders so that they can equip the laypeople (that’s us) to do the witnessing, visiting, and serving. They build up God’s church by training and encouraging us. Learning to do these things is how we grow to maturity in Christ. When we are new Christians, we can be easily misled by those who are in authority, but as we learn, we should be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil”. One of his tricks is to use Christians to mislead others. Choose carefully those to whom you listen. There are sheep in wolves clothing trying to deceive the elect. Always cross check every message and lesson with the Bible. Don’t be swayed by charisma, charm or emotions. “Be rooted and grounded” and stand firm. As we mature, we become more like Jesus. Follow His example, speak the truth in love and lead others to Jesus.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 02-17-2017

Go In His Strength

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This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9 NLT

We have no strength of our own to accomplish the work God has called us to do. Just as God instructed Joshua to obey all the instructions Moses had given to him and to not deviate from them, so we must follow the instructions God gives us through the guidance of His Holy Spirit. This guidance comes to us after we have studied the Bible and while we are meditating on it. Meditation is more than having a passing thought, it is deeper and requires us to focus on what God’s Spirit is saying. It is concentrating so totally that our bodies are almost groaning and moaning. Not with complaint or pain but with intensity. The Bible is the only book that we can read and the author will speak to us. With God, all the things that He has ordained are possible, so be strong and courageous. Speak with love, wisdom and boldness. We are never alone, God is with us wherever we go.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-27-2016

The Prophecy

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31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. — Luke 1:31 NLT
 
To anyone who knows anything about the Bible this is a very familiar story. The angel of the Lord appears to a young girl named Mary and prophesies to her that even though she is a virgin she will give birth to a son without ever having sexual relations with a man.  Not even considering the legal and social ramifications, this is an amazing announcement.  How is this young girl to understand this?  She is being told by an angel (which I understand could be quite a frightening sight) that something that has never been known to happen before and will never happen again is about to happen to her.   We can’t know what experiences or situations she had been through before but somehow God had chosen her and prepared her for this occasion.  Mary trusted God to do exactly what Gabriel said.  When God speaks to us, whether it be through an angel, His Word, His people, a dream or a vision, do we have the faith to take Him at His Word and act on it? Even if that action could result in us being put in a situation where we could very easily be ridiculed and cast out?  Or do we say this can’t possibly be God and He can’t possibly be asking me to do this? God needs those that are willing to be world-changers no matter the cost here on earth. He has a plan for each of us and He is asking us to participate in His work,  Are willing and ready to do so?  If we are and we say yes, God will take provide the ability and the resources.  Do we trust Him to do that?
 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-24-2016

Friends of Jesus

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 15 I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. — John 15:15 NLT
 

Jesus gave His disciples (that includes us) a direct command: Love one another. If we look at our attitudes and lifestyles, it sometimes appears that we think we have a choice in the matter, we don’t!  We can’t choose to show love for just one season each year, it is a 24/7/365 proposition. Jesus tells us that, as Christians, we are no longer slaves to our fleshly desires. We are free to make a choice. Jesus chose us and if we respond to that call and choose Him, then we are His friends. If we are His friends then we follow His commands out of our love for Him, not because we are commanded. That love requires us to go and produce fruit with the same power and authority that Jesus used. We have access to that power when we speak the name of Jesus. The question we need to ask ourselves and other Christians is not “How are you doing?”. The question that Jesus would ask and the question we should be asking is this: “Am I being fruitful?”.

John 15:4-8 NLT


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-23-2016