What Do People See In Us?

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65 Awe fell upon the whole neighborhood, and the news of what had happened spread throughout the Judean hills. 66 Everyone who heard about it reflected on these events and asked, “What will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was surely upon him in a special way. — Luke 1:65, 66 NLT

These are the words Luke wrote to describe the reactions of the people on hearing about the birth of John the Baptist.  It was a miraculous event that Elizabeth should give birth at such a late age in life.  They were also in wonder that Zechariah would allow his son to be named John since no one in the family had ever been named that.  In those days, the carrying on of traditional family names was extremely important.  Because of these two things, they knew that God was involved in a special way and that John must have a special purpose to fulfill.   Once Zechariah was able to speak again, he prophesies about what that purpose is (vv 67-79).

In its own way, every birth is a miracle and every child has a special purpose in life.  God has a plan for every life and every one has been given a particular gift to accomplish that purpose.  Not all of us will be involved in what we call “full-time” ministries, but all of us are involved in full time witnessing for the Lord.  Every word and every action reflects positively or negatively on the Kingdom of God.  What is our lifestyle today telling people about Jesus and His Kingdom?  If someone observed us for a month, what do you think they would say about what we think is important?  Does our attitude and our demeanor tell others that we live in fear or that we have faith in a God who can and does do the impossible?  

 
10  Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT

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

Post 11-11-2018

Do the Good Things

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10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. — Ephesians 2:10 NLT

When we think about God’s choices and blessings from a human viewpoint, they make little or no sense to us.  Why would God call this person or that person to do a particular job?  Why would He call them and not me?  If we look deeper, those that God calls are given greater responsibilities and  asked to do things that most of us would never agree to do.  Look at the prophet Isaiah.  God told Isaiah to walk around Israel for three years naked and barefoot preaching and prophesying. (Isaiah 20)  That’s not exactly what I had in mind when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and it is not something I would want to do.  With great blessings, there is usually great sacrifice.  Mary was chosen to be the Mother of the Messiah. The angel told her she was highly favored and blessed and she certainly was.  But with that blessing came much suffering and pain of heart for Mary.  She watched as her own family and their own people rejected Jesus on a daily basis,  She watched as He suffered great pain from a crown of thorns that mocked Him. She watched as He suffered even greater pain on the cross and as His side was pierced and His life flowed out of Him.  I would not want to watch a child of mine go through that.  God prepares each of us for the work He knows that we will do.  We should be grateful He has chosen us for whatever task He has prepared for us to do and do it to the best of our ability.  Don’t miss out on the blessings because we feel the work is small and insignificant.  Nothing God asks us to do is insignificant.


10 Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin, to see the plumb line in Zerubbabel’s hand.” — Zechariah 4:10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-16-2018

Purpose, Plan, Complete

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You, too, must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, because the coming of the Lord is near. – James 5:8 ISV
 
God has a plan and He reveals as much of that plan to us as we need to know to do His will. As Paul pointed out to us:

 

26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. 27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. — Colossians 1:26, 27 NIV

For whatever reason, He has chosen to keep the timing of His return a secret from us at this time.  We could get into huge discussions about this, but it would be an ultimate waste of the time God has granted us to be here on this earth.  We need to spend the precious days that we have doing the good works that God has prepared for us to do.  We need to do that without accusing, grumbling or judging others.  We need to spend our time in praise, prayer, worship and leading others to Jesus.  This is the kind of work that will endure the fire when it is tested.  This is the kind of work that will earn us crowns in glory.  The more crowns we earn, the more we will have to cast at the feet of Jesus in honoring Him when we get to heaven.  Our concern is to be sure that we persevere and complete the work that God has planned for each of us. He will be the judge of all that is said and done.

36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. 37 For,  “In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay.”  — Hebrews 10:36, 37 NIV

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

Purposed, Planned, Prepared

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15 Instead you should say, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live—and do this or that.” – James 4:15 ISV
 
We can look at nature and realize that God is very organized. He established the seasons and the natural order of dormancy in the winter, birthing of the new in the spring with the winds in March that help to be sure every plant is pollinated, the showers in April to prepare the soil for the flowers of May.  Then the summer for growth and the fall for maturity and harvesting.  That plan remains the same year after year since plants can’t make their own plans.  We need to have a plan for our lives but it needs to be flexible enough and held loosely enough to allow God to change us and our plans to fit His plan for our lives.  As Proverbs tells us, we make our plans, but God directs our steps and makes them sure.  Each of us is only one little piece of the whole jigsaw puzzle.  Since we don’t have the box

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top, we can’t see the finished picture. So, we need to be sure that our plans fit into God’s big plan just as each piece of the puzzle must fit to complete the picture.


10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. — Eph. 2:10 NIV
 

So, if we know which good works God has prepared us to do, we need to do them with all our hearts, minds, and strength.  Because of all He has done for us, we should consider anything less as unacceptable.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-15-2018

Our Actions Should Glorify God!

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Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began – John 17:5 NLT
 

Jesus had given up all His glory when He left heaven to become our Redeemer. That mission was soon to be completed. He had not lost a single soul that the Father had given Him. (Yes, Judas was lost, but he obviously was never a true believer) Now, Jesus is asking His Father to bring Him back home to be returned to that glory. He will have accomplished everything that they had planned before the earth was formed. He, once again, tells us the way to eternal life is to know Himself and His Father, the only true God. Now, it is our turn to bring glory to the Father by living the same lifestyle that Jesus lived.
35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.—Matt. 9:35, 36 (NLT)

As we go, we should always be telling the Good News about the Kingdom, but there are those that Jesus puts in our path that He wants us to talk to about Him. Our lifestyle and actions should be such that people notice a difference between us and the world. If we allow the Holy Spirit that abides in us to do His work through us then we will produce the fruits of the Spirit and that will draw people to Jesus.

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

Post 11-21-2017

Why Me, Lord?

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The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”  – John 4:9 NLT

Jesus didn’t need this woman or anyone else to draw the water for Him. He needed a point of contact with her, so He asked her for water. She, being a Samaritan was definitely surprised that a Jewish stranger would speak to her at all. But Jesus knows how to reach each one of us. Although she was totally unaware of it at the time, Jesus had a plan for her. He “needed” her to evangelize a whole town. Isn’t it strange that His disciples were already in town, why couldn’t they evangelize the town? Because Jesus had a plan for this woman to be His witness for this town. When God calls us to witness to someone, do we ask “why”? There are hundreds of churches with pastors and teachers, why can’t they do the witnessing? Because God loves us and He has a plan for each of us to be a part of His work here on earth. Jesus doesn’t “need” us any more than He needed this woman, but His plan includes each of us. Don’t cripple the Church body by refusing to do your part.


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

Post 08-16-2017

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