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

Think the Word, Pray the Word, Speak the Word

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19 But Peter and John replied, “Do you think God wants us to obey you rather than him? 20 We cannot stop telling about everything we have seen and heard.” — Acts 4:19

Acts 4:16-31

The council meeting in Jerusalem consisted of all the rulers, elders and teachers of religious law.  It also included the high priest and several of his relatives. They wanted to discredit Peter and John but the miracle of healing the lame man had been seen by too many and was too well known.  They would have preferred some harsh form of punishment but they were afraid that any such action would start a riot. So, they decided to just command them to stop talking about Jesus and never to speak to anyone again in the name of Jesus.  After telling Peter and John this and warning them of more harsh punishment in the future, they dismissed them. Peter and John told them they could not stop talking about everything they had seen and heard.  As soon as they were dismissed, they returned to the other believers and told them the whole story.  As soon as they had heard the story, all the believers lifted their voices and began to pray.  They asked God for boldness to preach His Word and that the preaching of the Word would be confirmed with miracles, signs and wonders.   When they had finished praying, the building where the meeting was taking place shook and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit.  They went forth and preached the Word with boldness.
When we are rebuked or offended because we mentioned Jesus, what do we do? Do we react with anger and unkind words or do we pray and respond with the love of Jesus?  If we take the time to whisper or even just think a prayer, the Holy Spirit will guide us, giving us the Words to speak and the boldness to speak those words.

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

Post 11-29-2018

“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

Oil to Keep Our Lamps Burning

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1 The Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to bring you pure oil of pressed olives for the light, to keep the lamps burning continually. — Leviticus 24:1 NLT

Consider the olive.  The tree grows in stony soil where other trees cannot grow.  A new tree is started with a seed or a cutting and then transplanted.  It grows for seven years before it has any berries on it and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches maturity.  In Old Testament times, the fruit was harvested by shaking and beating the tree with a reed or a stick.  This injures the tree so much that it will only produce fruit every other year.  Once it starts to produce fruit, it will continue to produce fruit for centuries.  After the fruit is harvested, it is pressed to get the oil from it.  This oil was then used to keep the light in the Tabernacle lamps burning continually.  Jesus said that we are now the light of the world.  For us to be the pure light that we should be, we must go through much of the same process as the olive.  God transplants us from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of Light  and we start on a journey.  It will take some time for us to mature and produce fruit. We need to be shaken at times to get us out of our comfort zones.  We need to be disciplined at times to get us back on the straight and narrow path.  We have sinful, fleshly desires and those desires are not going to go away without a fight.  So, God allows us to be pressed down until there is nothing left but a heart with pure motives.  Then and only then are we able to be the light to the world and deliver it from the darkness of sin.

8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.– 2 Cor. 4:8-10 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 10-09-2018

“Who, Me?”

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12 The angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “Mighty hero, the Lord is with you!” – Judges 6:12

Judges 6:12-16 NLT

We serve a mighty God who is always surprising us by doing things a different way and with the most unlikely  people.  Most of those people say no when they first hear of God’s plan to use them. They have a few things they need help to overcome before they will actually accomplish what God has called them to do. Moses couldn’t talk, Jeremiah was too young and the list goes on and on.  And then of course, there is Jonah who just didn’t want to go to Nineveh because God was too merciful and would end up forgiving the Ninevites. When the Holy Spirit nudges us to do something for the Lord, what is our response?  Are we the not me, Lord, you got the wrong person type? Remember God formed us and He knows exactly what we are capable of, it isn’t so much that He needs us, it is more that He loves us and wants to have an opportunity to bless us.  He can only do that, if we are obedient to His requests.

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

Post 06-02-2018

Power Is For Witnessing, Not Wasting

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Do not get involved in foolish discussions about spiritual pedigrees or in quarrels and fights about obedience to Jewish laws. These things are useless and a waste of time. – Titus 3:9 NLT
Paul’s advice to Titus was given at a time when the discussion about the law was the single most divisive issue in the new church.  Did Jesus fulfill the law or abolish the law?  We have grace but don’t we still need to be circumcised? Even the apostles had differing opinions on some of these things. In today’s church, we get involved in foolish controversies over things not nearly as important as the law. Carpet colors, steeple or no steeple, immersion or sprinkling and the list goes on and on. Not one of these discussions will lead a soul to Christ but they may very well turn people away from the church altogether. They are definitely unprofitable and useless.  Jesus instructed us to “go and make disciples”.  He did not instruct us to go and make denominations, etc.  When we are in front of outsiders, our conversations and teachings should be limited to instructing people in how to be saved. All true Christians agree on the plan of salvation. That is the story Jesus wants us to tell. It is simple and powerful. Wherever we are or whomever we are speaking to, our sentiment must be the same as Paul’s:2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. — 1 Cor. 2:2-5 NIV

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

Post 05-02-2018

Empowered to Do Good

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He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. – Titus 3:4 NLT
God sees the big picture and is concerned with eternity. He is also concerned with each of us and the “now” , the present.  The present is where our lives intersect with eternity. It is the only part of eternity that humans can see and deal with. We can’t change the past and we don’t control the future. Yes, our past experiences affect our present decisions and those decisions certainly may have future consequences, but what those consequences will be are not in our control.  So, right now, today, let us “devote ourselves to doing what is good”.  That is the example that Jesus set for us.

38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. — Acts 10:38 NIV

God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power. We have access to this same anointing today. Without it, we are incapable of accomplishing the work God has for us to do.  With the anointing, all things are possible and we can do things that are “excellent and profitable for everyone”. Ask God and He will give us everything we need to accomplish His good works.
32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  — Romans 8:32 NIV


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

Post 05-01-2018