“Run With Perseverance”

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,— Hebrews 12: 1 NIV

Hebrews 12:1-3 NIV

With all the “busyness” we are involved in each day, it is very easy to become fatigued. We rush here and there, doing this and that. This is the time satan is most likely to choose to attack us. All the “doing” leaves us tired and open to his attacks. When satan attacks us, we lash out at those around us. At the end of the day, sit down and evaluate what you have accomplished. Have you given of yourself and your time to help others? I know, you wanted to but you just didn’t have time. Do you want to do better? Then try this. Spend the first minutes of your day with Jesus There is nothing that will refresh us more than spending some downtime alone with Him. In Luke 3:5, we are told that Jesus fills the valleys, lowers the mountains, makes the crooked roads straight, and He makes the rough roads smooth. (my paraphrase) Your day will be better and you will be ready to keep on keeping on and you won’t even want to quit.

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

Post 08-09-2019

We Sow – God Gives the Increase

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31 
“But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.’”  — Luke 16:31 NLT
 
The rich man who had refused to comfort Lazarus was sent to Hades (the place of the dead).  From there, he was allowed to look into Paradise where he saw Lazarus sitting with Abraham.  Realizing how wrong he had been in not showing mercy to Lazarus when they both lived on earth, he began to beg for mercy. “Just allow Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and bring it to me”.  But Abraham reminded the rich man that he had had ample opportunity to help others with his riches while he lived on the earth.  The rich man realizes that the reason he has ended up in this place of torment is because he refused to accept Jesus and his teachings.  Since there is now no hope for him, he remembers his brothers and asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead to witness to them.. Abraham tells the rich man that it wouldn’t make any difference, if his brothers won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe just because someone returned from the dead.  We find this statement proved to be true over and over since so many refused to believe when Jesus was raised from the dead.  Even now, with all the proof we have of His Resurrection, there are those who still refuse to believe.  Since we don’t know which ones will believe, we still must witness to everyone that God puts in our lives.  When we don’t share the Gospel with those around us who desperately need it, we are as guilty of withholding our riches from them as the rich man was in withholding his riches from Lazarus.  Our part is to share the Gospel with everyone, God takes care of the results.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 12-08-2018

Sharing in His Suffering

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19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called,because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. — 1 Peter 2:19-21 NIV


As we look back and honestly assess the hard times in our lives, we can attribute most of them to bad decisions that we have made.  Those decisions may have involved unkind words that we spoke causing ill feelings and anger between us and others.  The decisions may have been based on our fleshly desires and caused us to commit acts that we should not have committed.  The decisions could have been bad financial decisions we made because we did not want to wait until we were able to afford certain things.  We get no credit or praise for enduring those times that were brought on by our own wrong doing.  I cannot recall one time in my life when I had to suffer because of a good deed that I had done.  I read the horror stories of our brothers and sisters being abused and persecuted for the good deeds they have done and are doing and I pray for them.  Those events seem so far away and foreign to me.  And I wonder what my reaction to that kind of treatment would be.  Would I stay faithful to God and endure the pain?  We are called to and warned to be ready for such acts.  We have the examples of those in the Bible and in our daily news of those who do endure.  They are the ones who make up the “cloud of witnesses” that surround us.  I shed tears of grief as I listen to their stories and I feel so small and unworthy knowing that the tears they are shedding as they tell their stories are tears of joy, the joy of sharing in suffering with our Savior.  

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-26-2018

We Need Workplace Witnesses

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12 May the Lord greatly increase your love for each other and for all people, just as we love you. -1 Thess. 3:12 
Paul’s love and concern for the new converts that he and his companions have led to Christ is a great example for us to follow.  We may never be missionaries in  a faraway land, but we are missionaries in a land that is not our home. We are aliens and strangers wherever we are on this earth. Therefore, we need to have the same concern for those new converts in our own churches. Every church body needs Barnabases and Timothys to encourage and teach new and older converts. We need Esthers and Priscillas to teach self-sacrifice, humbleness and obedience.

 15 Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: 16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” 
–Esther 4:15, 16

We need Ezras to teach leadership, fasting, praying and complete reliance on God.

21 There, by the Ahava Canal, I proclaimed a fast, so that we might humble ourselves before our God and ask him for a safe journey for us and our children, with all our possessions. 22 I was ashamed to ask the king for soldiers and horsemen to protect us from enemies on the road, because we had told the king, “The gracious hand of our God is on everyone who looks to him, but his great anger is against all who forsake him.” 23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer. 
— Ezra 8;21-23
We need workplace ministers like Paul who witnessed while carrying on his occupation as a tentmaker and Lydias to encourage, support and provide for those laboring in God’s fields.
14 One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us. — Acts 16:14, 15
We are all servants in God’s army and God needs us to serve and stand firm wherever we are and complete the tasks He has called us to do, whatever that may be.He has a plan and a purpose for everyone He calls.

Have you discovered your purpose in the Kingdom?  If not, talk to Him today about it and get started.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-14-18

Restore Gently and Carefully

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1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.—Gal. 6:1-3 (NIV)
When we see some Christian brother or sister that is caught in a sin, we should pray for that person. While we are praying for that person, we should also ask the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to say to them. We need to ask God to give them a receptive spirit to the words and speak those words in love and offer to help them, if we can. Be sure we are not belittling or harsh in our comments. At the same time, we must be sincere and not back down if we personally know that we are speaking the truth and it is not just hearsay. Correcting our brothers and sisters just might be the hardest thing we are ever asked to do. Why? Because we are not perfect and never will be. We will have to risk rejection and possibly a bad reaction from them. If they respond badly, you may be tempted to react to their actions. Don’t!
Do not gossip (or as we Christians love to say, “share”) about the incident or the person. The next thing is to take other witnesses with you.

15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.–Matt. 18:15-17 (NIV)

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

Post 01-17-2018

Persevere – Finish the Race

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You were running the race so well. Who has held you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom.
– Galatians 5:7-8 NLT
 
The new converts had started off “on fire” but now they were being hampered by those around them. Let each of us think back to the time that we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord. Now, let each of us compare our enthusiasm and boldness for telling others about Jesus then and our enthusiasm and boldness for doing that now. Who or what “cut in on us” or kept us from spreading the Good News about salvation. Was it the mocking of “friends” or the cares of this world that hampered us? Are we more concerned about other people’s opinions of us than we are about what Jesus thinks about us? Does it even matter if we tell others about Jesus and His mercy? Do we think that Jesus isn’t watching? Or do we do the things we do and act the way we act because we know that Jesus will forgive us but our family, friends and neighbors might not? That kind of thinking does not come from the Holy Spirit.
1​ ​Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us​.​–Hebrews 12:1​ (​NIV)

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

Post 01-14-2018

How Much Evidence Do We Need?

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 36 But I have a greater witness than John—my teachings and my miracles. The Father gave me these works to accomplish, and they prove that he sent me. – John 5:36 NLT
 

Jesus continues to explain to the Jewish leaders why they should believe that He is the Messiah. In Jewish tradition, the testimony of two or three male witnesses established a truth. Jesus points out to them that He has John the Baptist and God the Father as His witnesses. In any other legal situation this would have been sufficient proof for any Jew to believe what He was saying. But, as Jesus explains, He has an even greater proof, that of His teachings and His miracles. Just as so many people today refuse to believe His words, so it was then. This unbelief by His chosen people broke His heart. Unbelief still breaks the heart of Jesus. It is not His will “that any should perish, but that all should come to everlasting life”. Take the time today to tell someone you love about Jesus.

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

Post – 08-28-2017