Monday, August 27, 2012

And Greater Works Than These

John 14:12 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
As most Christians do, I marvel at the miraculous works that Jesus performed here on earth.  I often wonder how spectacular it would have been to follow Him around town, witnessing His divine power and His gentle nature.  How magnificent the healing experience if I could have but touched His clothes!
I get these 'nudges', I'll call them.  These whispers in my ear where the Lord asks "what about you?".  Excuse me, Lord?  What do you mean?  I read these scriptures all the time about abiding in the true vine and being a temple of the Holy Spirit.  Somehow, I tend to only view those things helping me to live everyday, but that's not ALL.
We have POWER!  We have divine abilities!  We have God's spirit within us to do these greater works that Jesus mentions.  What we need to do is exercise our faith in order to grow it to maturity.  It's our faith in God's ability to work through us that will heal the sick, bring lost souls to Christ, encourage the hearts of the down-trodden.
As we are tested, tried, and refined in the fire, our faith in God will grow.  We will be able to declare: "If You can use anything, Lord, You can use me!"  That's when we will begin to see miracles and wonders.  That's when our greater works will manifest themselves.  That's when we will refuse to allow anyone or anything to keep us from our God-ordained purpose in this life.  Have faith in God!  Believe in Jesus Christ!  Let the Holy Spirit dwell within you!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Salvation Isn't Hard

Romans 10:9-10 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

I'm trying to figure out where the "but" or "except" is in this passage.  So many people make salvation so much more difficult than it is.  There are people in some of these churches that would probably tell Jesus He wasn't saved if He was walking the earth in the flesh today!  (Sounds a lot like some religious people that were living in Jesus' day, huh?)

I challenge you to STOP adding stipulations onto salvation, and just tell people the truth.  Once they have received the gift of salvation, the work begins in them by the aid of the Holy Spirit.  Some of us are making sin out of things Jesus never would, and we are hurting people and turning them off from the church.  Ask the Lord to show you how to deal with people.  I promise He will, if you will yield to Him.  Stop diving headlong into your own brand of righteousness and forcing it on everyone else!

I further challenge you to develop the heart of the Master.  Who would Jesus condemn?  How many religious rules and regulations did Jesus institute?  What denomination did Jesus start?  It's time out for us thinking we are holier than Jesus Himself.  He was meek, humble, and ACCEPTING of ALL people.  You don't need to agree with everyone, but you are commanded to LOVE.  Love does not condemn.  I Corinthians 13 gives you a perfect view of what love is.  I John 4:8 tells us that God is love.  If you don't have love, you might want to re-evaluate your relationship with God.

Finally, I leave you with the words of our Lord and Savior with regard to how difficult it is to follow Him:  "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."  Matthew 11:29-30 (KJV)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hope Exists

Lamentations 3:21-25 (KJV) This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.

There are so many people drowning in a sea of despair in this world.  Sometimes it seems that nothing will ever get better.  Marriages are failing, children are going astray, illnesses are consuming, jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed, bills are mounting..........  BUT there is hope.

Every morning we wake up is because of the Lord's mercies.  That should give us hope in itself.  He saw fit to wake us up this morning.  He has a plan for our lives; that's hope.  He provides our daily bread; that's hope.  He gives us grace to make it through each day; that's hope.  Your days may be dark right now, but joy comes in the morning.  God is working on your behalf, if you love Him and are called according to His purpose.

There is hope, my friends.  Jesus Christ, our blessed hope, our redeemer, is standing with arms outstretched, waiting for you to cast your cares on Him.  Hold on and be strong; you can make it. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Putting "Church" in its Place

I read a blog post this morning entitled "Give Up Your Good Christian Life and Follow Jesus".  That title immediately struck a chord with me because I have been so turned off by church denominations and religion.  It was nice to confirm that I'm not the only one.

There are so many "good Christian" people out there hurting people that it's downright disgusting.  In our various denominations, you have to walk this line or join this or that group to be accepted.  You have to hold this political view, or belong to that movement.  Just following Jesus Christ isn't good enough for some people.  You have to attend services, belong to ministry groups, and tithe to be in good-standing in some churches.

Church membership is not a bad thing, but what people have turned it into has become a burden for a lot of people.  If your goal in life is to become more and more like Jesus Christ everyday, that's enough!  Jesus never put all these rules, regulations, and requirements on people.  He came to deliver us from those very things.

I will leave you with a scripture for thought from a parable that Jesus used.  When it comes time for you to stand before the King, what's going to matter?

Matthew 25:40 (NASB) The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’