Why Are We Persecuted?

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20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. – John 15:20 ISV
In His lifetime here on earth, Jesus suffered rejection, ridicule, mockery, and finally death on a cross.  While he was living out His life as an example to us, He promised us that we would be offended and suffer persecution as well.  When we suffer for His sake, we should be happy that He has chosen us to suffer with and for Him because we will receive a blessing here and a reward later.
 
11 “God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.– Matt. 5: 11, 12 NLT
 
God also disciplines His children and the discipline is for our benefit so that we grow and mature in His service.

 

19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. — Hebrews 3:19 NLT

I like the NLT translation of this verse because the way most of us Christians sin is through indifference.  So what, if my neighbors are lost, I am not going to get involved.  Yeah, I felt that little nudge to speak or act but I am not going to do anything.  Yes, I should visit the sick but I just don’t have the time. Woe unto us!! Jesus will not ignore these sins of indifference, there will be discipline for His children in this world, not in eternity.  The kids of satan may prosper here because they are not God’s children to discipline but they will suffer punishment, the full wrath of God’s anger, for an eternity.  So, we don’t need to concern ourselves with how God handles them.
We need to be concerned over why we are suffering:  Is it persecution for His sake or discipline for our mistake?

 
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 09-17-2018

Heed the Call

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38 So ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.” – Matt.9:38 ISV
 

When we read this and similar passages about the lifestyle that Jesus led, what are our thoughts?  Does any part ot this passage jump off the page and grab hold of us? Do we think “good stuff, but that is what Jesus was sent to do” or do our hearts beat a little faster and we think “I want to be like that, I want to be like Jesus”?  Or do we think “I could never do that, I am not a great speaker and I am not a healer.”?  God has a plan for each of us to bring others to Him with our words and our actions.  God had a plan for Moses and spent eighty years training Him to lead His people out of bondage and through a desert to a land flowing with milk and honey. God made a huge investment in Moses so that Moses could lead God’s lost sheep out of Egypt.  What investment has God made in our lives and are we willing to allow Him to use us to lead the lost sheep around us?  If we are “waiting for the call”, we have already received it.  Not in the sense of being full time ministers, missionaries, etc, but in the sense of being full time Christians. Our every word and every action is a mini-sermon to those around us.  What message are we preaching?

 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news! — Romans 10:14, 15 NIV

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

Post 09-08-2018

We Work, He Provides and He Produces

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21 may he equip you with all you need  for doing his will.May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him.  All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. – Hebrews 13:21 NLT

When God is calling people to help spread His Word, He is not necessarily looking for the beautiful, the talented, the rich, or the strong. He is looking for people who are willing to be available and obedient. When He calls us, He prepares us and equips us to carry out the mission. Through the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He is more than able to provide everything we need for the journey. Remember, when He sent the disciples out He told them to take nothing for their journey.

3 “Take nothing for your journey,” he instructed them. “Don’t take a walking stick, a traveler’s bag, food, money, or even a change of clothes. 4 Wherever you go, stay in the same house until you leave town.–Luke 9:3,4 (NLT)


Our part is to be obedient, the success of the mission isn’t dependent on us or our abilities.

10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. 11 It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.–Isaiah 55:10,11 (NLT)


When we are obedient to God, He is faithful to fulfill every promise. It is all for His glory and honor.


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

Post 05-20-2017

Keep Spreading the Good News!

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 You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.2 Timothy 2:2 NLT
 

In Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he is encouraging Timothy to continue his witnessing. He urges Timothy to avoid foolish arguments. We have all gotten into those discussions where no one is going to win and we are all worse off for our effort. As Benjamin Franklin put it: “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.” We need to study and be ready to witness to those God puts in our paths. As Paul tells Timothy later in 2 Timothy 4:2 (NCV)

2 Preach the Good News. Be ready at all times, and tell people what they need to do. Tell them when they are wrong. Encourage them with great patience and careful teaching,
We are not to be ashamed of the Gospel or change it to make it more acceptable. But every word we say must be spoken in love which will draw others to Christ and not push them away. Wrong or evil teaching will spread through the Church (body of Christ) just like a sickness spreads through the body.

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

Post 01-09-2017

 

Reconciliation

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18 And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  — 2 Cor. 5:18 NLT


God’s plan of salvation is simple. If we believe that Jesus was born to a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on the cross for our sins, was buried, arose from the tomb three days later, ascended into heaven where He is today interceding in prayer for us, we are saved. Nothing more, nothing less. You have taken the first step on your journey to heaven. Once we have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence and abides in us. This causes us to look at everyone and everything differently. We are now a new creation, our old life is gone and we are now in Christ Jesus. As we continue on our journey, we need to spend time talking with Jesus and meditating on God’s Holy Word. This is a free gift from God and we are now restored in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Now, we have become His ambassadors to the world. God is asking each of us to join His work in bringing others into reconciliation with Him. The more we practice this lifestyle, the sweeter our relationship with Jesus becomes. We find that He truly does “grow sweeter and sweeter as the days go by”.  Jesus becomes everything to us and provides everything for us.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 11-26-2016

As You Work

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24 Each of you, dear brothers and sisters, should remain as you were when God first called you  — 1 Cor. 7:24 NLT


Somehow, we seem to have come to the conclusion that we have to be “called” into a special place to be ministers for Jesus Christ. And it is true that God does place a special calling on some people. He calls people to be apostles, preachers, teachers, evangelists, pastors, deacons and other positions. But it was never His plan that all of us should be called to those positions. It has always been His plan that each of us should be involved in full-time ministry wherever we are or whatever we are doing. How do we do that? Paul was a tent-maker and he continued to work at that trade for a time. He worked a regular job and preached and taught on the Sabbath. God tells all of us in the passage from 1 Corinthians to stay where we are and continue doing our regular work until He shows us something different to do. God has called some to be wage earners and workplace ministers. Pray this morning that God would show you how He is using you in your workplace. Every year, church attendance is dropping. Our society is to the point that God must have workplace ministers to show people the love of Jesus Christ.

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

Post 11-19-2016

As You Go

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2 But they delight in the law of the Lord,  meditating on it day and night. — Psalm 1:2 NLT
 

As Christians, we are so blessed to be able to meditate on God’s Word and have a conversation with God any time of the day or night. If we love Him then we will delight in obeying Him and pleasing Him. From the times that we spend with Him, we will receive Joy and grow stronger in His word. As long as we continue in this lifestyle, we will be able to draw strength, wisdom, and boldness from the Lord. then we will truly become like strong trees planted by the water and we will bear fruit each season. We will not wither, but prosper. But if we choose not to delight in God and meditate on His Word, we will become weak and bear no fruit. Does this mean that we should avoid unbelievers? Absolutely not. Jesus spent time with them in their homes and along the roads as He traveled. That is the example we should follow, witnessing as we go about our daily tasks.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
Post 11-18-2016