FAITH ACTS!

FAITH ACTS!

Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.  Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” —Matthew 21:18-22

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you. —Luke 17:6

            Is there something our Lord wants of you, but you think it is too hard? If the Lord wants you to do something then trust Him, have the faith in Him that He will do it in you or through you. So… what is it? What is our Lord asking of you? Talk to Him about it and then trust Him, have the faith in Him to accomplish it!

            Just reflect for a few moments. What has the Lord desired of you in the past? Remember how you had the faith in Him to accomplish that? You did not doubt! Surely He did that in the past and surely He will do that in the present and future as He guides. Put your faith in Him and do not doubt what He desires to do in and through you.   Yes, put your faith in Him and don’t doubt!

Dear Father whatever it is You want me to be and do may I have the faith and not doubt to be that and do that. Oh, may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord.   So be it!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. —Hebrews 12:1-2 

BE LIKE JESUS— SERVE!

BE LIKE JESUS—- SERVE!

But Jesus called them aside and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them. It shall not be this way among you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” —Matthew 20:25-28

            It used to be said of government officials that they were “public servants.”   I cannot remember the last time that I heard that said of a government official. That is very sad. The greatest government official would be a servant to the people. They would have the best interest of the people in mind.

            But instead of being servants it seems that many of today’s government officials fall under what Jesus said of them—- “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them.” J. Warner Wallace, author of Cold Case Christianity, says that all crime motivations can be boiled down to three: 1- Greed for money, 2- Sexual lust, 3- Desire for power and he does add 4- insanity, but this is rare. “People plain and simply do crazy things, but they are not insane.” When Jesus said, “that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their superiors exercise authority over them” He is talking about their exerting power over the people. They love power! His followers are not to be like that.

            Jesus is the greatest example of servant hood.   Just consider Who He is! The Eternal Creator and yet He was willing to take on flesh and become a baby, live among us for 33 years, teach us for 3 years, allow His own miniscule creations to reject Him, beat Him, spit on Him, mock Him, make Him carry His own cross of execution and then execute Him on that cross!   And what do you have to complain about?   Who will you serve today?

Dear Father may I be like my Lord Jesus and be a servant. May it be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus.   So be it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzNyvnC2-1k

BE NOT A GRUMBLER!

BE NOT A GRUMBLER!

Your grumbling is not against us but against the LORD. —Exodus 16:9

Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD? …the people grumbled against Moses —Exodus 17:2-3

And he called the name of the place Massah and Meribah, because of the quarreling of the people of Israel, and because they tested the LORD by saying, “Is the LORD among us or not? —Exodus 17:7

And do not grumble, as some of them did–and were killed by the destroying angel. —I Corinthians 10:10

Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! —James 5:9

           To grumble is to complain, moan, protest, grip, object… When we grumble, who are we really grumbling against? When complain, who are we really complaining against? When we moan, protest, grip or object, who is this really against? This is a very serious thing as we consider Who it is against!

            When you grumble against God’s leaders you are grumbling against the Lord according to the verses above. When you grumble against the Lord it is a testing of the Lord according to the verses above. Because of grumbling many were judged unto death and we are told in James 5:9 that if we grumble against a brother or sister we will be judged! Wow… we need to be careful in this thing called “grumbling!”

            Are you grumbling? Beware as to Who you are really grumbling against. Yes this is very serious. Have we thought about this? May we do so and stop being a grumbler. We need to continually acknowledge Who it is that is Sovereign and that we are not!   We need to realize and acknowledge that God knows what He is doing and so often we do not. We need to trust Him in the difficult situations as well as the good.   Do we really believe that He has our best in mind at all times?

            Yes, we need to “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because YOU KNOW that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything  Now if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. He is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:2-8). We need to remember that the way we respond in trials affects all our ways and not just the trial we are in. Hmmmmmmm…. Do YOU KNOW?

Dear Father may I trust You in the good times and in the difficult times and not be a grumbler. Oh may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. So be it!

DON

LEADING AND FOLLOWING

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night. The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people. —Exodus 13:21-22

Then the angel of God who was going before the host of Israel moved and went behind them, and the pillar of cloud moved from before them and stood behind them, coming between the host of Egypt and the host of Israel. And there was the cloud and the darkness. And it lit up the night without one coming near the other all night. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the LORD drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. —Exodus 14:19-22

            Wow… imagine this pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night that led the Israelites… for forty years! They needed no map. The Lord was their map. They needed no way. The Lord was their way. Think about that. The Lord led them all the way to the Promised Land. Yes, because of disobedience it would take them forty years to reach His destination for them, but the Lord led them there. He brought them there on His terms and for His purposes and in His timing.   Though all the travel, trials and turmoil the Lord’s presence was with them and guided them.

            We may not see the pillar of cloud or the pillar of fire guiding us in the way, but we do have His Holy Spirit within us and Jesus said, “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you.  All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:13-15).  “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). It is a marvel to think that we do not have a pillar of cloud or fire that is out front guiding us, but we have His Holy Spirit within us guiding, revealing and teaching us. Wow!   How fortunate we are. Oh that you and I would follow His guidance!

            Praise God that we have called on the Lord Jesus and He saved us from sin, death and hell to a relationship with Him. We know where we are going when we die and can live for Him now.   We are all going to die and we do not know when, but people need to be ready for that day— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVb77Nc2CR4. Be faithfully following Him now to be ready to meet Him after death! We know not when death will come to us…

Dear Father may I faithfully follow Your guidance in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus my Lord. Yes, may this be so! I so look forward to being with You in glory!         

LISTEN AND PERSEVERE!

LISTEN AND PERSEVERE!

He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” —Matthew 17:5

            Our Father spoke, bearing testimony to His Son and the disciples heard. The disciples were told to “listen to Him.”   So also it is with us. We are to listen to Him. Are we? If so, what is He saying?

            In Egypt Moses listened to the Lord to bring plagues on the land of Egypt.   Each time Pharaoh would not let the people go because of his hard heart. Nine times Pharaoh would not let the people go. Even so, Moses obeyed and did what our Lord wanted him to do each of those nine times… without the result of letting the people go. No, Pharaoh still would not let the people go. Then there were results after the tenth judgment, the death of the first-born in all the land of Egypt in the households that did not apply the blood of the Passover Lamb to the door frames. All the first-born in the homes without the applied blood died. Pharaoh’s own son died. He that was thought to be a god could not even save his own son. Then Pharaoh let the Israelites go.

            Moses listened to what the Lord said nine times without the resulted promise of Pharaoh letting the Israelites go.   During that time the Israelites got angry with Moses because their workload got heavier because of Moses being obedient to the Lord and upsetting Pharaoh. But Moses continued to listen to the Lord, even with his doubt— “So Moses returned to the LORD and asked, “Lord, why have You brought trouble upon this people? Is this why You sent me?  Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in Your name, he has brought trouble on this people, and You have not delivered Your people in any way” (Exodus 5:22-23). The Lord reassured Moses that He would indeed bring the people out from Egypt. “Moses relayed this message to the Israelites, but on account of their broken spirit and cruel bondage, they did not listen to him” (Exodus 6:9). Moses stayed committed to the Lord and persevered.

            Moses had heard the Lord, but things were not going as he expected they would.   God’s plans and purposes through this all were beyond what Moses knew. But Moses continued to obey and did nine times what the Lord told him to do.   He did so even when the people got angry with him. He did so even when the people would no longer listen to him. He continued to listen to the Lord and then saw the expected results after the tenth judgment. Moses was not a perfect man, but he typically listened to our Lord and obeyed. Yes, he had times of failure and there were consequences for them, but his life showed he was a faithful servant of our Lord.

            How about you and me? Are we listening? Are we committed to listen over the long haul? Will we be faithful in service, keep listening until He answers according to what He has said?  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith” (Hebrews 12”1-2).

Dear Father please help me to have a stick to what You say attitude. Even when things do not make sense to me may I be committed to what You have told me.   May I serve You as You desire me to now and then tomorrow, the day after and for the rest of my life. Oh, that I would listen by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May it be so!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLX83HbefrI

ATTENTION FOCUS

ATTENTION FOCUS

Make the work harder for the people so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies. —Exodus 5:8

            This is what Pharaoh said to his slave drivers to try to keep the Israelites from listening to Moses and Aaron and the message our Lord God Almighty had given to them.  The people were not given straw anymore, but had to go out and collect their own.  In doing so they were still required to make the same about of bricks.  More work was required, but they were expected to turn out the same amount of “product.”  Pharaoh’s desire was to keep them busier than ever to keep them from listening to God’s message through God’s messengers.

            Can you imagine working for someone and then one day they tell you that you must now also collect much of the material on your own to make your product?  But you are also expected to turn out the same amount of finished product and you would still get paid the same.  Wow… how would you feel?  What emotions would you have?  Especially when you find out that another person was the excuse for giving you this extra workload.  How would you feel toward them?  The Israelites were not happy with Moses when this happened (Exodus 5:21).

            Satan would like us to have a very hard workload to keep us from listening to God’s Truth through God’s messengers.  Work is good.  We were designed to work, but when it consumes us then that is not God’s intention.  That is not to say that we are not to work hard, but when the work is harder than the Lord’s desire for us, then that is the world’s, the flesh or the devil’s evil influence in our lives.  But it is not just business with work, it is also business with other things.  Things that may be good, but not the best.  Things that could distract us from what is God’s best.  Do I truly want God’s best or what I think is best?

            Here’s a test…  When was the last time you talked with our Lord?  When was the last time you listened to our Lord?  When was the last time you were still before our Lord?  How did you last serve our Lord in obedience to Him?  What really are your priorities?

            I’m too busy…  I didn’t have time…  I meant to…  I had something to do…  I got up late…  I’m not as young as I used to be…  Ever hear these before?  Ever said them before?  How will I change my priorities?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zaaiFp4RSM

Dear Father please help me to have right priorities.  Please help me to listen and obey.  Please help me to be more sensitive to Your guidance and desires for my life.  Please help me to be more of an encouragement to others.  Yes, please help me to be a better listen and server of Yours.  May this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Your Son.

GATHERED TO OUR PEOPLE AT DEATH

GATHERED TO OUR PEOPLE AT DEATH

When Jacob finished commanding his sons, he drew up his feet into the bed and breathed his last and was gathered to his people. —Genesis 49:50

            We also will breath our last one day and then we will “be gathered” to our people! This is the great hope that we have. After death we will be with Jesus and all who love Him.

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. —II Corinthians 5:6-10

            Why are we still on the planet? Why have we not drawn our last breath yet? The Apostle Paul understood why. Here is what he said,

If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. —Philippians 1:22-26

            Do I know why I am still on this planet? Do I know why I have not drawn my last breath yet? I am not here to be comfortable. I am not her to focus on worldly things. I am not here to build my own little empire. I am here to serve my Lord Jesus and to serve His people and to share the gospel with those who have yet to call on His Name. That is why I am here. Now, may I be faithful in this work my Lord has called me for (Ephesians 2:10) and be zealous about it! (Titus 2:14). May I do so for the “progress and joy in the faith” of others!

Dear Father what do you have for me today? May I be sensitive to Your desires for this day as I walk through it.   May I honor Your Name by the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. May it be so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MDL85-FoJWg

TWO TYPES OF SEEDS, TWO DIFFERENT SOWERS

TWO TYPES OF SEEDS, TWO DIFFERENT SOWERS

“Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. —Matthew 13:36-43

            Jesus sows the good seed in the world and that good seed are the sons of the kingdom. This good seed are those who follow Jesus. Then there are the weeds. These weeds are the sons of the evil one sown by our enemy, the devil. Since good seed are the ones who follow Jesus then only good seed can be sown by them in return. The same is true of the weeds. Since the sons of the evil one are sown by the devil only weeds can be sown by sons of the devil in return.

            This will be all sorted out at the end of the age. We are told that our Lord will send angels to harvest at the end of the age. The weeds will be thrown into the lake of fire “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.” Yes, the day is coming when all this will come to pass.

            Let us who are the “good seed” be sowing the good seed of His Word to produce fruit that will bring honor and glory to His Name. Dear Father may this be so in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yBzIt_z8oY

FRUIT-BEARING EVIDENCE OF THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS

FRUIT-BEARING EVIDENCE OF THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS

“Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” —Matthew 13:18-23

            Don’t be surprised or discouraged when you share the gospel with people and they do not call on the name of the Lord to be saved (Romans 10:13). Also, don’t be downcast when people do, apparently, call on the Lord to be saved and yet after awhile they drift away. The parable of the sower is very clear that a small percentage of people will believe. Jesus said, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the way that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

            In the explanation of the Parable of the Sower above there are commonalities with the four groups of people mentioned. The first is that they all HEARD THE WORD.   They heard because someone had “beautiful feet” and proclaimed the gospel to them (Romans 10:13-15). The question I have for myself is— Am I faithfully sowing the Word of God? People can only hear/read (John 20:31) as we share the gospel with them verbally or in written form. The second commonality is that there was a response and the response was because of a CAUSE. The first three groups mentioned did not respond with positive results. Satan, persecution, cares of this world/deceitfulness of riches CAUSE the Word of God to be UNFRUITFUL. And, Jesus said, “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:20).

            The only group of people mentioned that is GOOD SOIL is the last group. This group “hears the word and understands it. He indeed BEARS FRUIT and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”  See the difference?   This group of people not only HEARS, but they understand. Their fruit gives the evidence that they truly have understood. Hmmm… what fruit is in my life that gives evidence that I have truly called on the Lord to be saved? What evidence is there in your life? Fruit in the life is the evidence. Just saying words is not evidence. James 2:14-26 makes this very clear. Action and not just words show whose I really am. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zaaiFp4RSM

Dear Father may I faithfully proclaim Your Word and in the power of Your Holy Spirit and in the authority of Jesus to bear much fruit for Your Honor and glory. May it be so! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0llCZypNQG4