Don’t Just Stand There

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12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?”  13 Jesus replied, “Every plant not planted by my heavenly Father will be uprooted, 14 so ignore them.  — Matt. 15:12-14a NLT
 
Pilate washed his hands and declared that he was innocent of the blood of Jesus.  He could have just as easily told the crowd that he would not allow them to take Jesus because he found nothing deserving of death in the actions of Jesus.  Without Pilate’s permission and without him furnishing the guard detail to carry out the crucifixion, the crowd would not have been able to crucify Jesus.  The Jews had no authority to sentence anyone to death or to carry out the death sentence. Though Pilate did not participate physically in the crucifixion, neither did he stop it from happening even though he had the authority to do so.  Pilate had worldly authority to do something.  We have a higher authority who has authorized us to speak out when the name of Jesus is being blasphemed and God’s name is being taken in vain.  Do we think that we can hide behind our fear of offending others and not speak out?  Do we think Jesus is pleased when we stand by and do or say nothing when injustices are taking place before our very eyes?  Jesus put His life on the line by offending the religious leaders and rulers of that day. He gave up His life so that we could have the authority to speak and act in His name. If we can trust Jesus to save us and keep our souls safe throughout eternity, surely we can trust Him to protect us when we follow His example and His commands.

10 Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.​ I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. — Isaiah 41:10 NLT

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

Post 09-18-2018

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

Thoughts! Words! Actions!

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26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. — James 1:26, 27 NIV

In the days that James lived and penned this book through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, people were weighed down with ritualistic religions. They were bound by rules that said “you must do this”and “you must not do that”, particularly, in the areas of eating and drinking. Those that did a decent job of following the rules considered themselves to be “religious”.  They attended the services at the temples or synagouges and prayed at the right times, etc. Much like today, when we go to church on Sunday morning for a couple of hours and mumble a few (if any) prayers or spend anytime reading the Holy Scriptures during the week.  We seem to feel that if we do those things, we are fulfilling our duties as Christians. We can spend the other 166 hours of the week doing whatever we please. We can gossip, criticize and say and do all kinds of things. We Christians would never steal, kill or destroy, we don’t commit the “big” sins. But the two areas in which we do fall short are in our speech and in our “not doing”.  Jesus gave us a solemn warning about the things we say:

10 Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” — Matt. 15:10
We must take this warning seriously and be very careful of what we say. There are also many verses about how we should treat others. Jesus says that if we see a brother or sister in need and take care of that need for them, it is the same as doing it for Him. If we don’t take care of that need, it is the same as refusing to do it for Him.  Helping others is how we show them the love of Jesus Christ. It is these actions that will draw others to Jesus.

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. — 1 John 3:16, 17

 

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 08-01-2018

“Devote Ourselves to Good”

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This saying is trustworthy. I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have put their faith in God may devote themselves to good actions. These things are good and helpful to other people. ​- Titus 3:8 ISV​
Paul started chapter three by asking Titus to remind the church at Crete of certain things, such as  ”be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone.”  In verses 2 and 3 ,he reminds them of how they used to act and in verses 4-9, he tells them why they should act differently now and in the future.  They have been saved from the wrath to come, redeemed from their sins and justified by the grace of God.  They are now heirs of God with the hope of eternal life. The same is true for us today. Because God has placed the Holy Spirit in us as an earnest of this hope, we can be sure of its fulfillment. These things still need to be stressed in today’s world, so that we will also devote ourselves to “doing what is good”.   Jesus said that He did the works of the Father and in the book of Acts, we read this verse:

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 

So, “doing what is good” means to follow the example of what Jesus did while He was here on earth. The “works of the Father” are accomplished by living a lifestyle modeled after Jesus. A list of “works” would be very long but would definitely include witnessing and disciplining. We can’t do these works alone but, just as Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, so are we.
Ask God today, what “good works” He has planned and purposed for your life. Then be obedient in following the leadership of the Holy Spirit in accomplishing those “good works” . Do not become disappointed if you don’t see immediate results. Just remember three things:
1. Not everyone accepted the message when Jesus gave it, so not everyone will accept it from you.
2. We are not responsible for the results, that is the work of the Holy Spirit.
3. Wherever we are and whatever we are doing, we are witnessing for good or for evil, which one will we choose?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-24-2018

Workplace Witnesses

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14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.— 1 Thess 5:14, 15 NIV
 
We pray and ask God to bless the work of our hands, but if we aren’t doing anything with our hands, there is nothing for God to bless. If we are doing the works of our Father, then He certainly will bless the works of our hands. We do need to be full time Christians, but that doesn’t mean we have to be employed by the church or a mission organization,  God needs workers in the workplace. Our vocation and how we support our families is important to God.  He has placed us in secular organizations to spread His Word there.  Jesus was a friend to sinners and we can use that example in our workplaces.  We can build bridges by encouraging the disheartened and helping those that are weak.  Each of us have areas in our lives that are weak and need developing.  We need to look for those weak areas in those around us.  Not so that we can criticize the other person, but so that we will be able to encourage them and build them up. When we find them, we need to pray for them and  marinate those weak areas in prayer.  We need to pray for discernment for ourselves, so that we can be specific in our prayers for others. Then with love, patience and the leadership of the Holy Spirit, we can help them develop their weak areas.

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. — Eph. 4:32 NIV
 
As the old adage goes, “No one cares what you know, until they know that you care”. Our lifestyles will let them know whether or not, we  really care . So, above all, we must live our lives so that they see Jesus in us everyday.
 
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 07-19-2018

Approved By God

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Rather, because we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, we speak as we do, not trying to please people but God, who tests our motives. – 1 Thess. 2;4 ISV
 

Each of us has been approved by God to spread the Gospel. Some of us have large audiences and some of us have small audiences, nevertheless, we are all instructed to “go and make disciples”.  God knows where we can be the most effective. Whether we realize it or not, we are “witnessing” all the time.  The question is this: “For whom are we witnessing and what word are we spreading?”  We must always be sure that when we speak or act, that our motives are pure and that we are speaking truthfully.  This is particularly true when we are preaching, teaching or witnessing for God. When we are laboring for God, we should always remember that it is Him we are trying to please. We should never water down the message the Holy Spirit gives us to speak. Our mission is to spread the Word of God, not to get rich or famous, nor are we in a popularity contest. The world hears enough about those kind of things every day, yet they are still unhappy and stressed out, they are looking for some kind of relief from all those daily pressures.  They are looking for something to fill the void that is inside them.  We have the answer and it should be our hearts’ desire to give the answer to others. We must present the message with love and kindness,  We should be as innocent as little children. We are to go out “as lambs among wolves”.

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

Post – 07-11-2018

“Seasoned With Salt”

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5 Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. — Colossians 4:5,6 NIV

As Christians, we need to be constantly reminded that the “outsiders” , those that have not yet accepted Jesus as their Savior, are watching every move we make and listening to every word we say.  Not only to what we say but the tone of voice we use when we say it.  Every day, everywhere we go, we are witnessing.  Will our lifestyles attract others to Christ or cause them to turn away? Our conversations and our attitudes must be full of grace. The grace of God, in giving us Jesus as our Redeemer and Savior, is the one great difference between Christianity and worldly religions.  We are different.  We are the only ones who serve a living God.  No worldly religions make that claim. The fact that we serve a living Savior makes us accountable to Him.  That is why the name of Jesus always requires a decision.  When you hear that name, you either accept or reject Him, there is no middle ground.  This is a stand from which we cannot back down.

 

32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven. — Matthew 10:32, 33

 We must hold our position and do it with grace and love. We must study the Scriptures so that we will be instantly ready to answer anyone and everyone who questions us.  Our whole lifestyles should be seasoned with salt, the great preservative and flavor enhancer.  If we are seasoned with salt, we will attract others to our living God and they will remain forever.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Post 07-08-2018