9 A brother of humble means should rejoice in his having been exalted, 10 and a rich person in his having been humbled, because he will fade away like a wild flower. 11 For the sun comes up with its scorching heat and dries up the grass. The flower in it drops off, and its beauty is gone. That is how the rich person will fade away in his pursuits. - James 1:9-11 ISV
God has people in all levels of society, from the homeless to those living in huge homes and castles. Whether we are rich or poor, from the human viewpoint, has no effect on how God sees us and whether or not, He can use us. We are all special in His eyes and worthy of His death on the cross. Not all us are capable of playing musical instruments but, in a band or an orchestra, every player must play the right notes for the music to be appreciated, Even fewer of us will be band directors or orchestra leaders. And that is a very good thing. Because we need farmers, doctors, business men and women, educators, engineers, scientists, as well as someone to fill all the other positions that are needed for our survival. God has given each of us a talent that He can use for His glory if we will allow Him to do so. While we are all very special in God’s eyes and have special talents, we are all alike in that we will all have temptations to avoid and trials to go through. For us to persevere, we will need to keep our eyes and our hearts focused on Jesus and not on the world around us. Regardless of our social position or our economic value, Jesus expects us to allow Him to use us to further His Kingdom here on earth. When we learn total dependence on Jesus, the worldly things will become of much less importance to us and we can be joyful in the fact that Jesus considered us worthy. Worthy enough that He would choose to die for us, worthy enough to allow us to be a part of His team and worthy enough to spend an eternity with Him in glory. We should never belittle His gift and His opinion of us by not using our talents to glorify Him.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. – John 14:12 NLT
It is hard to imagine doing greater things than Jesus.I don’t know of a greater miracle than raising someone from the dead, so Jesus must have been talking about “greater” in quantity, not “greater” in quality. He could only be in one place physically while He was here on earth, now that the Holy Spirit abides in each of us, He can be all over the world at the same time. We now have access to the same power that Jesus had. If we ask for and believe that we receive it, we can actually have it. I once asked a Pastor since this is true, why do we not see more miracles today? He answered that it was because we don’t love like Jesus loved. While that is true, I think it is because we don’t believe like Jesus believed. If we truly believed that we had access to the same power that Jesus had when He was here and has now in heaven, we would ask for and receive it.6 The Lord said, “If your faith were the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Dig yourself up and plant yourself in the sea,’ and it would obey you.–Luke 17:6 (NCV)
We, like the Israelites in the desert, have limited what God can do for us and through us.
40 How often they provoked Him in the wilderness,And grieved Him in the desert! 41 Yes, again and again they tempted God, And limited the Holy One of Israel. 42 They did not remember His power:—Psalm 78:40-42a (NKJV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
9 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
17 ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people.
Your sons and daughters will prophesy.
Your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams. — Acts 2:17 NLT
The pouring out of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was a beginning of the fulfillment of this prophesy from Joel in the Old Testament. God contiues to pour out His Spirit on His people even today. This will continue until Jesus returns to take all of His children home. Then the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth and satan will reign. When will this be? Only God the Father knows. If we are saved, it doesn’t really matter when it happens, we will be ready. What does matter is how we spend our time until then. When we accepted Jesus, we were saved and we are still saved. Works will not make us more saved, they are an outward sign of who we serve as Master and Lord. The works we do here are also how we earn our rewards in heaven. We are not to live as we used to live, but through the direction of the Holy Spirit and studying of God’s Word, we are to determine those things that please God and do those things only. When we see sinful things going on, we are to expose them, not participate in them. We must learn to live wisely and not as fools. We are to spend our time, not in grumbling, whining and complaining, but in joyfully serving the Lord doing everything He asks us to do wherever He has planted us. The nosies we make should be joyful and give glory to the Lord.
8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.– 1 Thess.5:8-11 NIV
We are saved by grace through faith, nothing else is required for salvation. That faith produces love and hope. Love because Jesus loved us enough to die for each one of us and His love shines through us to draw others to Himself. It produces hope in a world where there is no other hope. The death and resurrection of Jesus assures us that we will not have to go through the wrath that is coming. We are saved from an eternity of punishment and saved to an eternity of living together with Jesus. When we repented, we received Jesus as our Savior. He not only wants to be our Savior but, He wants to be Lord of our lives as well. This is necessary so that we allow Him to change us into His image. While salvation is instant, being changed is a life long process called sanctification. We are “set apart” to become holy. A part of this process is words and works that are worthy of the calling to be holy. So, as Paul says here, we should encourage and build each other up. We should also be doing the same things that Jesus did while He was here. This shows others that we believe in Jesus Christ and are committed to following His example.
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. — John 14:12-14 NIV