The First Step

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28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”  29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.” – John 6:28-29 NLT​

In its simplest form, the “work” that Jesus came to do was to save the world. He could have done that by going straight to the cross, dying and being resurrected. But there were many things that God wanted Him to do while He was here. This work included miracles to draw people to God. It also included living a sinless life as an example for us to follow. Just as the work that Jesus did included more than death and resurrection, “the only work God wants from you” is to “believe the One He has sent” includes more than just believing. But believing is the first step and if you don’t believe and receive the Holy Spirit, you will not be able to do the rest of the work.
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”—Matthew 9:36-38 (NLT)


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

Post 09-05-2017

Let God Do Your Boasting

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 18 For it is not he who commends himself that is approved, but he whom the Lord commends. — 2 Cor. 10:18 NASB

God has given each of us certain talents that we are to use for our livelihood. These talents are also to be used for Kingdom work here on earth. The workplace is our mission field that God has given to each of us. Our jobs may be temporary, short term or long term, but it is where God has planted us for now. Use your talents to to do the work well. Not everyone is called to be a pastor, missionary, music director, etc., but we are all called to be servants of one another to make the church stronger. Our job is to minister to (serve) those that God puts in our path. Our vocational work may give us earthly rewards, but we are to lay up our rewards in heaven. We can do that by loving and serving others.

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

Post 01-12-2017

Unless the Lord Build the House

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That night Paul had a vision: A man from Macedonia in northern Greece was standing there, pleading with him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us! — Acts 16:9

Paul had wanted to go into the province of Asia and preach the Gospel. It doesn’t seem like there would be anything wrong with that, but God had other plans for Paul. This is a good example of how God works. He has a specific plan for each of us. That plan includes the what, the when, and the where. He has prepared certain hearts to hear and respond to His word. That word must be spoken at the exact time and place He has prepared. Unless we follow God’s plan, our work is in vain. Yes, God will honor it because His Word does not return void, but it won’t produce the harvest He had intended for you to produce. Complete obedience is the difference in 30 fold, 60 fold, or 100 fold.

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

Post 11-15-2016

Nero’s Garden

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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

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 our flesh.  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 brightest 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 even if it takes us to Nero’s garden.

Post 07-18-2016

Amen!

even-smaller-bug-light130 Jesus said, “How can I describe the Kingdom of God? What story should I use to illustrate it? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds, 32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.” — Mark 4:30-32 NLT

Earlier in this chapter, Jesus had told His disciples that they were permitted to understand the secret of the Kingdom of God.  He also stated that there would be some who would hear and refuse to believe (outsiders) and they would not be able to understand His teachings in the parables that He used (Mark 4:11,12).  So, if the disciples were permitted to understand the Kingdom of God, then so can we understand it.  Jesus told Nicodemus to enter the Kingdom that it was necessary for him to be born again.  So, we become a part of the Kingdom of God when we receive Christ as our Savior.  In doing so, we become eligible for all the benefits of that Kingdom here and now, not just in the future.  As the birds nest in the shade of the mustard tree, so we live under the umbrella of God’s protection now.  Right now, it is a spiritual Kingdom inside of us.  When Jesus comes back, He will establish a Kingdom here on earth that will encompass all of His creation and creatures except those that refuse to hear and believe (Daniel 2:44, Rev.11:15).  We are preparing to live in that Kingdom in our present life and one day that process will be completed when we are changed into immortal beings (1 Cor 15:50-53).  Jesus taught us to pray “may Your will be done on earth even as it is in heaven”.   So, while we are preparing for eternity, we live with the assurance that the hope that we have will one day be fulfilled. And it will be so — His will “will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.  That is why we end our prayers with “Amen” which means “let it be so”.   Partially now and completely in the future.
Post 02-20-2016

We’re Spreading the News

even-smaller-bug-light13 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  4 For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you, 5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power,with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. 6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. — 1 Thess. 1:3-6 NIV

​God has chosen each of us and has a plan for each of us​.  We are sanctified, set apart, for a particular purpose.  Our faith produces works that are a part of that process. We show our love for Christ by laboring and helping others. We are able to endure because of the hope we have in us, the hope that we have because God has poured His love into us. When the Gospel is preached, it goes forth with power to accomplish whatever purpose God has intended for it.  The power is the Holy Spirit which can cut us to the bone and convict us of our need for redemption.  This is the message Paul and his companions preached among the Thessalonians and in all the other places they traveled.  They were successful, not because of their powers of persuasion, but because they were completely obedient to the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is the same message that each of us should be preaching every day with our lifestyle and as St Francis of Assisi encouraged us to do: “Preach the Gospel at all times and if necessary use words.”  We should follow the example of Paul and live lifestyles that are worthy of imitation, just as we have become imitators of Christ.  Then those who are suffering will receive the message with great joy.  Their joy will be observed by others who will want to know the source of such great joy.  The kind of joy that endures in the midst of suffering and persecution, the kind of joy that is caught, not taught.
Post 10-22-2015