Blind and Deaf

27 For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear,
and they have closed their eyes—
so their eyes cannot see,
and their ears cannot hear,
and their hearts cannot understand,
and they cannot turn to me
and let me heal them.’ 
— Acts 28:27 NLT 

Acts 28:23-30 NLT

The Jewish leaders there in Rome had already heard the message of Jesus. They wanted to hear it again from Paul and to hear what he believed.  Any time and every time the name of Jesus is mentioned, it requires that we make a decision.  Whether we decide to reject Him, accept Him or to think about it, we make a decision.  Some of these leaders were persuaded to believe by what Paul said and others were not.  It is a mystery to us why all the people hear the same message but some respond positively and some respond negatively.  Did Paul quit preaching the Word because some refused to believe?  No!  For two years, Paul supported himself and continued to tell others about the Good News.  Paul understood that the results of his preaching the Word were not up to Him.  His part was to continue to be obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  We are to do the same thing.  Keep preaching and/or teaching and not be discouraged because we don’t see any results.  The results are up to the Lord and the Holy Spirit, not to us.  We will see the results when we get to heaven. Until then we just keep living out God’s plan for each of us and let Him handle the results.

Isaiah 55:8-11 NLT


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

Post 03-28-2019

Shakers and Lamps

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

Matthew 5:13-16 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 us.  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 darkest 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 regardless of the cost.

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

Post 03-15-2019

The Great Commission – Part 1

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.– Matt. 28:19 NLT

Matthew 28:16-20 NLT 

We are all very familiar with the Great Commission that Jesus gave His disciples.  Luke tells us that shortly after this, Jesus ascends leaving the disciples without the only leader they had ever known. If we had been there and been one of the disciples of Jesus, what would our initial response have been?  If it were anything similar to what I believe mine would have been, it would have caused me to ask a lot of questions.  Where do I start, which direction do I go, who is going to support me as I make the trip and who is going to take care of my family while I am gone?  I don’t have any speeches prepared to present to the people, what will I say?  I’m not prepared to go on some long journey to some place I have never been and I haven’t prepared my family for such a venture.  I would not only be doubting my abilities to carry out this mission (which is totally true}, I would be doubting God’s ability to enable me to carry out His mission (which is totally wrong and therefore sinful).  I would be doubting His ability to provide for me and to take care of me.  I would be saying “God is able” but my thoughts and my actions would be saying “I don’t really believe that”.
As true believers, our response should not be one of worry and doubt but of agreement, just as Isaiah said when God asked Him “who shall we send?” and Isaiah answers “Here am I, Lord, send me.”.

.Isaiah 6:5-8 NLT

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

Post 02-02-2019

“Speak”

43 For they loved human praise more than the praise of God. — John 12:43 NLT

John 12:42-50 NLT

There were many of the people, leaders in the religious communities and others who believed what Jesus was saying but refused to admit it in public. They were more concerned about what the Jewish leaders would say and do than they were about what Jesus said.  They were afraid that they would lose their positions in the community and be removed from the synagogue.  They would not admit publicly that they believed what Jesus said.  When we read these verses, it is easy for us to criticize and judge these people for their lack of support for Jesus.  But, if we stop, meditate and let the Holy Spirit lead us into the truth, we may just realize that we are sometimes like those people.  Yes, our egos say we would never deny Jesus and perhaps, verbally we wouldn’t.  However, we must look at our actions or our lack of action in certain situations.   How many times have we been nudged by the Holy Spirit to say something to someone or do something for someone and by our inactions, we said “NO”.  In those times, we became “secret believers”  preferring silence over speaking out for Jesus, our Lord and Savior.   How many times have we felt the shame when we are convicted of our inactivity by the Holy Spirit?   Jesus said that “if you deny me before men, I will deny you before the Father”.  If we do not speak out and our lifestyles do not show others that we are living for Jesus, then the truth of His words will judge us on the day of judgment.  We must be willing to get out of our comfort zones and be ridicule, offended and persecuted because we believe the truth.  There is only one God and only one Jesus who died for our sins.  There is no other way to heaven.

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

Post 01/22-2019

“Are You Ready?”

1 In the beginning the Word already existed.
    The Word was with God,
    and the Word was God.
2 He existed in the beginning with God.- John 1:1-2 NLT


John 1:1-5 NLT

He was, He is and He always shall be.  The Trinity, the Triune God was, is and ever shall be. They were, They are and They always shall be. They existed before time as we know it, They are alive today and They always shall be.  Two are in heaven, One abides in us. Together, They planned what was, what is and what is to come.  God’s spoken and written words are infallible, inerrant and immutable.  Their plans are unchangeable. They are the Author and the Finisher of our faith.  As it is written, so it was, so it is and so it will be.  What we believe does not and cannot change what was, what is and what will be.  What we believe will only determine our part in it and where we spend our eternity.  They are immovable and unstoppable. They are coming back and nothing or no one can stop them.  Our part is to believe Their story, tell Their story and live rejoicing every day because of Their story.  We, as Christians, have the one and the only true story and true hope. History has confirmed the truth of Their story over and over.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”  – –The Revelation of Jesus Christ to John the Baptist 1:8 NLT


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

Post 12-30-2018

“Keep On Telling the Story”

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71 “Why do we need other witnesses?” they said. “We ourselves heard him say it.” — Luke 22:71 NLT
When I read this verse, I often think, “How could these people be face to face with Jesus and refuse to believe?”.   But, then, I am reminded of how many times I was called by the Holy Spirit and refused to believe.  It is easy for us to assume that we would have acted differently than those people did then.  We let ourselves off easy thinking that we would have surely believed Jesus in this situation.  But, just as Abraham told the rich man who requested that he send Lazarus back to his home town to speak to his brothers, if they won’t believe Moses and the prophets, they won’t believe even if they saw someone return from the dead.  On the day that Jesus was crucified, there were prophets and holy people of old whose bodies were released from the grave and they walked the streets of Jerusalem, but not all of Jerusalem was saved.

The point is this, people that have lived since the Holy Spirit was sent to call us, lead us and comfort us, have more reasons to believe than most of those people back then.  We can look back over history and see more of God’s promises fulfilled than they could and yet, there are many that still refuse to believe. We will hear the story multiple more times than most of them heard it, but not all will believe  Every person will hear the story and have the opportunity to receive Jesus as their Savior, yet not all will do so.   As time goes by, hearts grow harder and harder.  A few years ago, it was reported that we had to hear the story seven times before we accepted Jesus.  Now, that number is reported to have risen to fourteen. Our work is to keep telling the story and we must keep telling it more and more, so those around us will have more opportunities.  But the results of our telling the story are in God’s hands.  Our work is to tell, His work is to confirm it in the hearts of those He has chosen.

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

Post 12-22-2018

“Get Ready! Stand Up And Tell Them!”

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17 “As for you, get ready! Stand up and tell them everything that I’ve commanded you. 
– Jeremiah 1:17a ISV
 
God had just told Jeremiah to go and tell the rulers and the people of Jerusalem that the city would soon be overrun with armies from the north.  Once the disaster started, it would be over quickly, like water pouring from a pot that has been tipped over.  It is understandable that Jeremiah probably was not too excited about delivering that message to the kings and their armies.  Jeremiah would soon learn the lesson that we need to learn.  God never sends us on a mission that He has not prepared us to go on.  He never sends us alone, He is always with us.  If He says we will not be defeated, then we can be assured that He will prevail for us.  It is our weakest moments that God uses for His glory.  He wants the odds against us winning to be so great that when we do win and the world sees it, they have no choice but to say that our God is the Great Almighty God.  Jeremiah was told to “gird up his loins” (KJV) to prepare himself physically for the battle since he would be facing people.  Since our warfare now is not against people but against spiritual rulers and demons, we are told to “gird up the loins of our minds”. (KJV).

13 So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world — 1 Peter 1:13 NLT​

Whether the battle is physical or spiritual, the battle is not ours, it belongs to the Lord.  He will overcome and we will not be defeated.  But, just as Jeremiah was directed to stand up and deliver the message to the people, our instructions are the same.  So, we need to prepare ourselves and our minds for the tricks of the devil and be ready to stand up and tell the world everything that God will give us to say.


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

Post 10-26-2018