Spreading the Word Produces Joy

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You became imitators of us and of the Lord. In spite of a great deal of suffering, you welcomed the word with the joy that the Holy Spirit produces.
​- 1 Thess. 1:6 ISV​

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.

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

Post 07-09-2018

“I Can Do Nothing”

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10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. – 2 Cor.12:10 NLT
 
In the verses from 2 Cor.11:5 to 12:7a, Paul has been making the case that only a fool would boast about the things that they accomplish in their own strength. He is is making two points. One is that as long as we think we can, God won’t and the other is that we are foolish to think that we can do any of God’s work in our own strength.  Jesus made that fact very clear.

 

5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. — John 15:5

We are not put here on earth to brag and boast about ourselves and our accomplishments. Our purpose here on earth is to bring praise to God in our words and actions.

 
 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.​ — 1 Peter 2:9​

It is in our weakest moments that God shows up to deliver us, it is when we come to the end of our rope and ask God for wisdom, that He shows us the open door through which He will take us to safety. Therefore, let us, like Paul, delight in our weaknesses and in whatever situation we find ourselves, trust God. As long as we think we can, God will allow us to struggle on our own.

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its  way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-23-2018

Our Ultimate Goal Is To Please God

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 So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. – 2 Cor. 5:9 NLT
 
 
The ultimate goal for a Christian is to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to God. This doesn’t mean that all of us have to be involved in the traditional full time ministries.  It does mean that God expects us to use the abilities and the resources He has placed under our control to glorify Him.  It means that whatever position we are in that God has made us a steward over that part of His world and His business. We are accountable to Him for every second and every cent we spend. The time and the money are gifts from our Father and He expects us to use them to glorify Him and further His Kingdom. Besides the purchases of those things necessary for living, we need to be sure that the why, when and where we spend time and money brings glory to Him. As we spend more time with just us and God meditating on His Word, we find that our wants and desires begin to change.  As we focus on Jesus, the worldly things become less important and pleasing Him becomes our heart’s desire. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We don’t need to know the whole plan, we just need to walk in faith trusting Him. We can take the next step knowing that the path leads to an eternity with Him.
3. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. — Proverbs 16:3 NIV
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;  establish the work of our hands for us — yes, establish the work of our hands. — Psalm 90:17 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 06-12-2018

Thank God for Thumbs!

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21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.—1 Cor. 12:21-2​2 NIV

There is a reason for every part of the human body.  In today’s world, we know that there are parts of the body which we can live without. We can live without an appendix, but our excretory system will not function as well as it was designed to function with a healthy appendix. Scientists have now determined that the appendix holds good bacteria.  After a bout of diarrhea that destroys the good bacteria in the gut, the appendix repopulates the good bacteria. Tonsils and adenoids help prevent infections from entering the body. We have two eyes and two ears which suggest that we should watch and listen more than we talk. We can live with one eye and/or one ear, but we will be hampered in some areas.  The body of Christ is the same. It can function without everyone using the gift that God gave them to edify the body, but it will not be as effective as it should be. Each of us should seek the leadership of the Holy Spirit in determining and using the gift that God has given us. Then our part of Christ’s body (the congregation where we worship) will be helping and not hindering the work of the Kingdom.

The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.—1 Cor. 3:8,9 NIV

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

Post 03-30-2018

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

Only One Man

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50 You don’t realize that it’s better for you that one man should die for the people than for the whole nation to be destroyed.” – John 11:50 NLT

After seeing Lazarus come out of the tomb, some of the people believed and others went to tell what they had seen. When they told the Pharisees and the leading priests, this group called a meeting of the whole Jewish council. The council was afraid that if Jesus kept doing miracles, He and His followers might become too powerful and upset the Romans. Then the Romans would remove them from the Temple and take away the authority they had been allowed to exercise over the Jewish people. Without realizing what he was saying, Caiaphas, the high priest for that year, prophesied that Jesus would die for the redemption of the Jews and other nations to make them into one body, the Church. But, since they could not sentence anyone to death, they needed the Romans to do that for them. God uses people to fulfill His plans and He has a purpose for every life. Some are willing agents. Isaiah, Moses, Daniel, David and the apostles are good examples. Others are used by God, even if it is unwillingly and unwittingly, to accomplish His purpose. Pharaoh, Caiaphas, Judas and Pilate are examples of this type of agent.

Col. 1:15-20 NLT


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

Post 10-15-2017

From Everlasting to Everlasting

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2 ​ ​
He existed in the beginning with God.  ​ -John 1:2 NLT

 


Before God created the world and divided time into night and day, They existed. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit were there as One and yet separately. Jesus was the Word and was there with God. He participated in the creation of all things and all things were made for Him. He is Life and He is Light. He came into the world as the Word made Flesh. John was sent to announce His coming and John was faithful in carrying out that mission. John was the prophet foretelling the birth of Jesus. John was looking forward to that day even though John knew that when Jesus comes, “I must decrease and He must increase”. Now, we are the prophets looking back and looking forward, we tell of the future return of Jesus. We should pray that we will be as faithful as John was in carrying out our part of the mission. It is up to each of us to carry out the plan and the purpose that God planned for each of us to do. This was decided before the beginning of the world.

God’s Masterpiece


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

Post 07-30-2017

Gifted to Give!

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 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.– Ephesians 2:8-9 NKJV
 

Our salvation is a gift from God, we didn’t earn it by works and we didn’t purchase it with favor or money.  It was God’s plan before the foundations of the earth were laid.  As Paul said, if we boast, we must boast in Christ Jesus alone.  Does this negate works?  Not at all, we are saved to work, not by our works.  Just as it was God’s plan to send Jesus to purchase our redemption with His blood, it was always God’s plan that we would have a part in His kingdom work here on earth.  God has gifted each of us with a spiritual gift to be used in His work.  Some of us are preachers, others are teachers, others encourage, others have gifts of helps.  The list of gifts is lengthy, because we all have a part in God’s plan and purpose.  Make a commitment today to ask God about your gift and how to use it in His plan.

1 Peter 4:7-11 NKJV


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

Post 11-10-2016

What About Doubt?

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34 I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”

— John 1:34 NLT
John the Baptist was sent for the specific purpose of preparing the way for Jesus Christ the Messiah. He pointed people toward the time when Jesus would come to earth. He did this powerfully and unafraid even to the point of confronting Herod about his adultery with Herodias. He seemed to have no doubt about his purpose and God’s plan for his life. He carried it through even unto his death. In Matthew 11:11,  Jesus said no one who had ever lived was greater than John.

Matt. 11:11 (NLT) “I tell you the truth, of all who have ever lived, none is greater than John the Baptist. Yet even the least person in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he is! 

John the Baptist would never doubt or would he?

John the Baptist had doubts and Jesus called him the greatest person to ever live.  So, if you have doubts about Jesus don’t let satan beat you up about it.  Jesus already knows that you have those doubts. Do what John the Baptist did, ask Jesus about your doubts.  Jesus can use those doubts to bring you into a closer relationship with Him.  As you draw nearer to Him, those doubts will start to disappear.  You will have joy in your salvation and strength to overcome all your battles.

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

Post 10-26-2016

Worthless Silver

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21 All of King Solomon’s drinking cups were solid gold, as were all the utensils in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. They were not made of silver, for silver was considered worthless in Solomon’s day! — 1Kings 10:21 NLT
Can you imagine being blessed so abundantly that you would consider silver as being worthless?  I don’t think my “imaginer” works that well.  And we must remember that Solomon did not ask for wealth, he asked for wisdom. Since he recieved all the worldly goods he did not ask for, the wisdom that Solomon did ask for and receive would have been out of this world.  Since it was divine wisdom from heaven, it certainly would have been from somewhere out of this world.  The point is this;  God wants to bless us with super-abundance, but God is not a wasteful God.  He blesses each of us with what we need and as much more as we can handle.  Each of us is blessed with a gift that is to be used for the growth of His Kingdom.  There is one job that God has designed each of us to do and  we can do that job better than anyon else can do it.  Why?  Because God provides us with the wisdom and the resources to do that job.  Not all of us can be great leaders worthy of worldly fame, but each of us has a tremendous job to do in the work of the Kingdom.  Not all of us can handle great wealth, we can see the proof of that when we read the sad stories of the people who win millions in the lotteries and a few years later they are broke.  We see proof of it when great sports figures who received millions of dollars while playing have to file bankruptcy a few years after retirement.  God has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  When we discover that plan and we are content to fulfill His purpose, then we can truly see that “all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to HIS PURPOSE”.  
Post 05-01-2016