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Saturday, June 26, 2010

How are you doing on the Great Commission ?

The Saddest Words

And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness."
Matthew 7:23

Recommended Reading
Revelation 20:11-15

Suppose you had been living on a piece of property for twenty years and you decided to sell. When it was time to have an updated survey of the property prepared, the surveyor gave you bad news: You are not the registered owner of your property! Somehow, your name was never entered in the county's book of deeds and registrations. You know you own the property but the county registrar does not.

The absence of a name in a deed book can usually be remedied with supporting documentation. But there is one book of names that, once it is opened by God, cannot be changed. And that is the Lamb's Book of Life (Revelation 21:27). In that book are the names of all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. For Jesus to say, "I never knew you; depart from Me" will be the saddest words anyone could ever hear. The only thing that could be as bad would be for a Christian to hear those words spoken to a person he had the opportunity to influence toward a decision for Christ. What will Jesus say to such a person?

If you know someone to whom Jesus will one day say, "I never knew you," tell that person how to avoid that sad day.

Every single believer is a God-ordained agent of evangelism.
R. B. Kuiper

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Love of the Father

"How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (I John 3:1, NIV)

God gave us earthly fathers to emulate just a fraction of our heavenly Father's love and care for us. Maybe your father was faithful to this model, and maybe he wasn't. What's most important is that we learn to fix our eyes on the One who created us and who can love us, as we were meant to be loved.

Let's take a look at God's love for us as demonstrated in the parable of the prodigal son found in Luke 15. I would argue that this account is actually about the father more than it is about either of the two sons. Jesus shared this story because He wanted us to know what His Father is like. It richly portrays the love that our heavenly Father has towards us.

Christ wants us to know how God the Father feels when one of His children deliberately goes his or her own way, lives as if He doesn't exist or takes all of the blessings from the hand of the Father and then totally ignores Him. This is why Jesus tells us a story about two lost sons; one who was lost in the far country and the other who was lost at home.

The younger son deliberately and premeditatedly left home, while the father waited for him. In order to comprehend the depth of the father's sorrow here, you must understand that in Middle Eastern culture it would be unthinkable for a son to come to his father and ask for part of his estate. He basically would be saying, "Father, I wish you were dead. Hurry up and die so I can get my hands on your money."

Jesus impresses upon us how incredible, how indescribable, how inexhaustible the love and patience of God are. Even though the father is suffering in agony over the son's rebellion and rejection, he lets him go. The father could have tried to stop the boy, but he didn't. He could have sent a servant to follow the boy and report back to him, but he didn't.

But at last the son comes to his senses and returns home. The father could have told him, "You stupid, foolish boy. You caused me all this worry and pain. Now you're just slinking back to me when you're out of money and desperate." Or he could have said, "You thought you were going to be a big shot in the big city - now look at you. If you want my forgiveness, you need to prove you really mean it." But that's not what happened because it is not representative of how our heavenly Father relates to us.

The Bible says that the father "ran to his son" (v. 20). You say, "Well, isn't that sweet? Isn't that wonderful?" But there's an even deeper meaning here. In Middle Eastern culture, particularly in the days of Jesus, men never ran. In that culture, running is considered degradation.

Can you see the cross here? Remember how the Father humiliated Himself in the Son as He hung on the cross in order to provide forgiveness for sins?

What does the Father in heaven do when a sinner repents of their sin and says, "Lord, forgive me?" He embraces them and grants them forgiveness, and He puts His own robe on them. He gives them the assurance that they are a part of His family forever, and there is a celebration in heaven at the news (v. 10). Then when we join Him in eternity, He will wipe every tear from our eyes (Rev. 7:17), just as the father did for the Prodigal Son.

You - or someone you know - may be in the far country and away from God. In this state, you feel anxious and alone - maybe even fearful. I want to remind you this Father's Day that your heavenly Father is waiting for you and ready to receive you with open arms. All you need to do is surrender to Him, leave the wandering behind and come home.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is Stress getting to you ?

Isaiah 40:31 - “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”

Stress is nothing new. Noah had it when he was building the ark with no rain in sight. Martha had it when she was preparing a meal for our Lord. Stress is the gap between the demands placed on us and the strength we have in meeting those demands. It is not a sin to be stressed, nor a sin to be weary. It is a sin, though, not to seek a lessening of that stress which tears down the temple of the Holy Spirit, your body. Where is your answer? In waiting upon the Lord — waiting in the midst of demands. When you learn to wait on Him, God steps in to bridge the stress gap with His mighty strength.

Ask God to equip you to be a stress-buster today. Perhaps it will be your boss or your spouse that is “stressed out.” Rejoice in the opportunity you have to share God’s love.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Are you a disciple of Christ ?

1 Corinthians 1:9 - “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

John Calvin was one of the greatest theologians who ever lived. He said, “I gave up all for Christ and what have I found? I have found everything in Christ.” Do you wish you could say that too? You can. Just don’t get confused about what it means to “give up all” to find Christ. So many think that being a disciple means they must get into a movement or go to the mission field or attend seminary. Friend, being a disciple is fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ — knowing Jesus intimately and following Him wherever He leads. Fellowship with Christ comes before service for Christ. We must minister to Jesus before we can minister to anyone else.

Are you praying about where you fit in the body of Christ as His disciple? Spend some time fellowshipping with Him this week and the answer will come.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Abundant life

1 Peter 1:3 - “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Abundant life is God’s plan for you. In fact, it's God's plan for all of us as Christians. The Lord Jesus Christ promised us, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Now, what is abundant life? It is life where all of your needs are met. But more than that, abundant life is where you have enough to bless others. Not only do you receive a blessing, but you are a blessing. The abundant life that Jesus promised is not just life out yonder “in the sweet by and by.” It is abundant life right now in the nasty now and now. Every day in every way we are to be having victory in and through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Who in your life is not experiencing the abundant life? Your mother? Your husband? Your best friend? Take time out today to encourage them with this promise in 1 Peter.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Do you go to fellowship with other like minded believers ?

Hebrews 10:25 - “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Do you know what is happening in America today? People who claim to be Christians are not getting involved and becoming faithful to a church — the local fellowship of believers. Such a thing was unheard of in the Bible. If you were a Christian, you were faithful to the fellowship. You attended when everyone gathered together. If you stopped attending, they assumed that you were an apostate. What is more important than the local visible expression of the body of Christ? It is the way we stay “plugged in” to the needs of the body of Christ. It is the way we show honor to Him in worship. It is simply the way.

What do you have on your schedule this week that is more important than being a part of the blood-bought body of the Lord Jesus Christ?