Friday, February 24, 2017
It was not an easy task for a little guy, but I tried to do the best I could. It's not easy to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, and in this passage of Scripture (Luke 9:51-56) the disciples learned three big steps in their journey with Him. They are steps that we need to learn as well.
The Step Of Steadfast Perseverance (Luke 9:51)
Jesus knew that His time of suffering for the world, was not
far off. And even though this was not the journey to Jerusalem, that would result in His crucifixion, He determined (in the process of time) to accomplish this mission, the Father sent Him to do. My question is; why do we as Christians, fail to demonstrate that same determination, and perseverance, in accomplishing the will of the Lord, in our lives?
The Apostle Paul warned Timothy to not get attached to "the affairs of this life." (2 Timothy 2:4) We too often are like a cat playing with a ball of yarn. It is both a fascination, and a trap. We become so fascinated with the affairs of this life, that we become trapped by them, and distracted from fulfilling the will of God for our lives. We are fascinated with the thrill, but then deeply trapped in an entanglement of sorrows.
The Step of Strong Patience (Luke 9:52-55)
As Jesus and His disciples continued on this journey to Jerusalem, they tried to find lodging in a Samaritan village. But there had been so much conflict, between the Jews and Samaritans over the years, that it was no surprise, they were refused lodging. The Samaritans hated the Jews so much, that they showed hostility towards them, in their journey to Jerusalem, to attend special events. When James and John saw what was happening, they asked the Lord, if they could do like Elijah, and call down fire, to consume them. Have you ever become so angry, so impatient with someone, that you wanted God, to do something to them. To punish them in some way? That's not the love, and patience of Christ. What do you do, when you want to put out a fire? Do you put more fuel on the fire? No, you throw something on the fire, that is cooling, yet consuming, like water, or dirt. The right thing to apply to those conflicts in our relationships, is love. Love is the cooling, yet consuming agent, that will put out the fires of hostility, and hatred, and bring about restoration in time. It takes time to put out a big fire. Patience is the key. In the process of time, the application of love, will surely help, to bring about forgiveness and restoration.
The Step Of Securing A Purpose (Luke 9:56)
After Jesus rebukes James and John for their negative response to this situation, He says to them, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of." Is it a self-centered spirit? A spirit of pride, and arrogance? Then following this, He states His purpose for coming into the world.
It was not to exercise judgment, by fire and sword, or by plagues of destruction, but to bring salvation to man-kind. "The Son of man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."(v.56) As Christians, that is to be our purpose as well. We know that in the physical body, every organ, every muscle, every nerve, is designed to help the body, to be productive, and to fulfill life's purposes. Each one of us as Christians, have an important role to play, in accomplishing this purpose of reaching out to man-kind, and bringing people to salvation, in Jesus Christ. Do you see yourself this way. This is how the Lord, sees you.
The greatest work in the world, is the work of reconciliation. Reconciling people to Jesus Christ. How involved are you? The disciples learned three steps in their Journey with Jesus. I pray that we will learn what is involved in our commitment to Him, and faithfully stay on course. GP
Foot prints of Jesus, that make the pathway glow, We will follow the steps of Jesus, where er they go."
Thursday, February 23, 2017
How would you feel if one day you walked into your place of work, and was told that you were replaced by someone else? That would not be a good experience.
Kathleen Elkins in her article entitled: "Experts predict robots will take over 30% of our jobs by 2025 - and white-color jobs aren't immune" writes this: "Many people fear a jobless future — and their anxiety is not unwarranted: Gartner, an information technology research and advisory firm, predicts that one-third of jobs will be replaced by software, robots, and smart machines by 2025." (Businesssinsider.com)
How does God feel when we step ahead of Him, and try to be self-sufficient? We won't believe that God in His time, and in His way, will provide for the things we need. The Apostle Paul was confident when he wrote: "And my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19)
There's no reason why we shouldn't place ourselves in a position to receive the blessings of God. But for us to step ahead of Him, and try to do His job for Him, will be very disappointing for us. And the reason is, that quite frankly, we won't be able to do it.
The Psalmist says: "Be still", stop trying to do it all. Get out of God's way, and watch Him work. It may not be overnight, but He will provide (at the right times) what we need. God is faithful, and His faithfulness will cause Him to be exalted in all the earth. GP
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Wednesday, February 22, 2017
I have heard of the word "Synergy". I didn't know what it meant, so I researched and found that *"Synergy" is defined as this: “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” In other words, you can do more with less. A laminated beam is an example of synergy. If 10 boards had a breaking point of 10 pounds each; when you laminated them together, the breaking point of the 10 boards together far surpasses 100 pounds (the sum of the parts).
We can accomplish more than we realize in the church, when we combine the sum of our love and abilities. What one horse can do pulling a load, two or more can do it more effectively and efficiently.
Enough of the power struggles in the church. It's time to pull together to effectively pursue the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) Matthew Henry said "the the more lowly minded we are, the more like minded we will become."
It will take all of us working together to accomplish the greatest work of the ages. Reconciling the world to our Savior Jesus Christ. Let's get together, and do it! GP
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Tuesday, February 21, 2017
1. A Key For Every Problem.
"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The key to every problem is knowing that in our Lord Jesus Christ, we can have peace, because He has overcome the world, and He will help us to have victory.
2. A Light For Every Shadow
"Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
If we follow Jesus, instead of the world, we will have the Light of Life, to light our way, through the shadows of uncertainty and despair.
3. A Plan For Every Tomorrow
"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope."
What God has planned for our lives, is not an evil scheme to hurt us, or to destroy us, like that of Satan. But His plans for us is to give us a bright future, and a bright hope to hang on to.
4. A Joy For Every Sorrow
"For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning." (Psalm 30:5)
Whether it is because of the Lord's discipline, or because of the trials of life, sorrow does come for a time, but God replaces that sorrow with joy, because of the hope He gives us.
Four wonderful gifts God gives us.
In faith embrace them today, and be truly blessed! GP
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Labels: God's Provision
Monday, February 20, 2017
When God said "Let there be light", and there was light..." in Genesis 1:3, God had not created the sun yet. So where did the light come from? I have read a few possibilities from various Bible scholars. But I don't want to spend this short time looking at them.
But what I do want to do is have us look at a very important point, in our Christian lives. To those who feel self-sufficient, and to those who become impatient, and feel the need to step ahead of God, our text is a good reminder of the fact, that we need to seek God first, who is our source for our needs, and what we need to accomplish His will for our lives.
The Apostle Paul says that "God is able" He has the provisions, and the power to "make all grace abound" to us. In His time, in His strength, and in His way, He will provide that which we need. And that which He provides will be "sufficient in all things, and for all times."
As I mentioned there are those of us, who feel that we don;t need God to provide what we need, we can do it all by ourselves. And there are those of us, that can't wait for God to provide these things, so we try to provide them; and in the process, we become disappointed, because we couldn't achieve it.
We need to have faith in our divine source. Yes, we must do our part. But we must wait for the goods to come (in what ever form God provides) and then be good stewards of the grace provided to us.
When we put God's business first, He will provide what we need to get His business done!
(Matthew 6:33) GP
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Labels: God's Provision
Friday, February 17, 2017
(1 John 2:11)
Can we disagree with people without hating them? That is the question that many are wondering about these days.
We've seen in the election of our new president, such avid hatred directed towards him, and his family. I do not want to make this post political, or have it be an endorsement for President Trump. I don't agree with everything he has said, or done.
But I do not hate him.
I want to address the attitude of hatred, and how damaging and destructive it is. The Apostle John writes in our text that if someone hates his/her brother, he/she is in darkness. This is spiritual darkness. They are destitute of spiritual light. They are not walking a path that is lit by the Jesus, (The Light of Life - John 8:12) but they are walking a path of selfish destruction.
Where hate is a destructive attitude, love is a building virtue, and one of productivity. How can get rid of the hatred in our hearts? By looking to Jesus, who is our great teacher of love, and concern. He did not agree with the Pharisees & Sadducees (The religious governing body of Israel, Matthew 23) but He did love them.
When we read Matthew 23:37, we see Jesus mourning over the city of Jerusalem (It's leaders, and the people) because of their lack of love and mercy, and their sins. He wanted to gather them to Him, as a hen gathers her chicks, but they would not let Him.
The path of hatred will never lead to peace and unity. That is what the Lord prayed we would have (John 17) Isn't that what we should want too? GP
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Thursday, February 16, 2017
For us as Christians, prayer is our lifeline to heaven, straight to the throne of grace. In his letter, James shares how Elijah was a man of righteousness, and that his prayers had great effectiveness.
Remember the incident that is found in 1 Kings 17-18, with wicked King Ahab and Jezebel his queen. They had led Israel into the worship of Baal. God punished Israel by holding back the rain. For three and a half years there was no rain to support the crops, to produce any food. And then Elijah challenged the priest of Baal on Mount Carmel. All day long the priests cried out to their god, but no answer came. When the time for the evening sacrifice came, Elijah repaired the altar, and prepared the sacrifice. And then with one prayer, fire came down from heaven to consume the sacrifice. God heard Elijah's prayer.
I believe that God hears our prayers, and answers them according to His will for our lives. Prayer is not the least thing we can do, but it should be the first thing we do, and it will be the best thing, that we can do.
While we wait for the Lord to perform His will, we will be encouraged by His promises to take care of us, and His presence in our hearts, and in our lives. It is not a waste of time to pray. Prayer will accomplish more that we realize.
But it's up to us to make it a priority practice. It is a step of faith on our part, believing that this act of fellowship will accomplish much for us, for others, as we journey towards eternity. GP
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Wednesday, February 15, 2017
A pay phone is ringing in the middle of the hall. Some of the residents don't have time to answer the phone.
Others, don't feel it will pertain to them, so they ignore it. And then there are those who answer, to see if it might be for them, or for others.
In the Bible, we have the call of the Gospel; it is ringing for whoever will answer, and respond to the invitation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is a call to receive Him as Savior, and to commit to a life of faith and service.
The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christians at Ephesus, encourages them to walk in a manner worthy of their calling. It is a walk of humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with others in love, and having an eagerness to maintain unity in the bond of peace. This is what the Lord Jesus has called us to.
To profess to be a Christian, and ignore, or neglect what is involved in our calling, is being disobedient to the will of God, for our lives. Our calling is not just a call to salvation, but it is a call to a Christian lifestyle and a life of service. We were not called to a walk, that we are to be apathetic about. We are called to a walk, that is steadfast and sure, just like the walk that Jesus took all the way to Jerusalem, and to a cross, for you, and for me! GP
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Labels: Our Calling
Tuesday, February 14, 2017
We are not what we appear to be. We are spirit, soul, and body. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
The Apostle Paul writes about the "outward man" perishing, but the "inward man is being renewed day by day." To try to explain all this in a short time, would be very difficult. I don't know if I could explain it, even if I had all the time in the world. But my belief is that according to what the Apostle Paul teaches here: Our soul is the heart of the spiritual part of us. That inner part, that through the help of the Holy Spirit, can make a connection with God, and can be "renewed day by day."
The spirit is our spiritual body, as we have a physical body. As we move, and have our being, our spiritual body moves with us. And this spiritual body, where the soul is at the heart, will someday, go to be with the Lord, for eternity. (John 14:1-3)
We are to take seriously, that which is within us, and make sure that this part of us, is as healthy as it can be. Through our feeding upon the Word of God, and the fellowship through prayer, we will keep the inner person spiritually healthy and strengthened, the further we go along our spiritual journey! GP
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Labels: Spiritual Learning
Friday, February 10, 2017
America has always laid out the welcome mat for those wanting to immigrate to our nation. Many stood, with tears in their eyes in Ellis Island, when they saw the Statue Of Liberty for the first time.
It was a sign of hope for new opportunities to achieve productivity and prosperity.
But the word that I have trouble with today, as I watch the news, and hear what is going on with the issues of Immigration, is the word "Illegal" There is nothing in the Bible that gives specific restrictions on immigration. In Deuteronomy 10:19 it says: "And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt."
America is made up of many foreigners, who contribute to the muti-culture attributes of our nation. But the fact remains that here in America, we have immigration laws. Romans 13:1-7 makes it clear that God expects us to obey the laws of our governemnt, unless the law forces us to disobey a command of God. (Acts 5:29)
Too me, if you come to America, you are to respect the laws, that are in place. If you choose to stay, you are to follow the guidelines for citizenship. To be here "Illegally" is the breaking of national law. And God is not pleased with that. God called us to be the "United States Of America." Let's not continue to be divided about this issue.
And above all, let's do what God would have us to do....together! GP
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Thursday, February 9, 2017
I have shared these familiar words in other posts concerning the past. "The past is a good place to visit, but certainly not a good place to stay."
The past is the place where we take a look at our good and bad memories. A place where we can learn from our mistakes. It is also a place where we can see the hand of God working in our lives. Through life's past experiences, God was with us, and helped us to grow, and mature, and develop a confidence that is stronger than before.
God had worked mightily in delivering the nation of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. But now He says (through the prophet Isaiah) "Behold, I am doing a new thing" Yes, the former mercies
must never be forgotten, but the new mercies must be embraced.
Israel was in Babylonian captivity because of their idolatry, and their disobedience to God's will for them as a nation. But God's promise to them was:"Now, I am doing something new", Not only would He bring them out of Babylon, but He would get them to their homeland.
I know in my life, I am not the same person I used to be. God has brought deliverance and change. But He is working all the time on something new for me, and for you. The key is to submit totally to the will and purpose of God.
In trials, the Lord pulls us back like an arrow, and then in His time,
He lets us go, to hit the target of His will, and purpose for our lives.
Let us never be discouraged, because God is always doing:
"A New Thing!" GP
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