And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants. And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him (Luke 15:17-20)~ No matter how far anyone has wandered away from God, no matter how deep we have gone into sin, whenever we turn around…God is right there to receive us with open arms! God doesn’t care what we’ve done in our past! He only cares about what we’re doing right now and what we will do in our future! Thanks to the finished work of Jesus, no one ever has to be lost because of their past sins. We are only lost because we will not surrender, repent, and accept what Jesus has done for us. If you have strayed away in your life, just turn around and come back. YES, it’s that simple…no working it off, earning forgiveness or proving yourself worthy! Christ has done the work, by Grace He has forgiven us. We in our guilt tend to feel like we’re not worthy of His grace, but my friend, we’re SO worthy that He gave His life to prove it! YOU are restored in relationship and covenant; redeemed of everything that separated you and reconciled to FULL authority and inheritance as a child of the Lord! God is eagerly awaiting you and will see you from Heaven as soon as you start to return to Him and He will draw you back to Him and meet you on the way! Child of God…Come on Home!
….And He said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he (Jacob) said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me (Gen 32:26)~~ Ever feel like quitting? “Are you kidding?” you ask, “A better question would be, ‘How many times TODAY have I felt like quitting?’ ” Sure. We’ve all felt like “throwing in the towel” at one time or another. If you haven’t, I suggest that you check your pulse quickly. And here’s a real shocker for you: the notion that “winners never quit” is a joke! Everyone – even (insert successful person here) – has not only felt like it, but has even quit at one time or another. Get over the notion that it’s supposed to be easy! The “road of life” that we each travel isn’t one endless stretch of flat, paved expressway, but rather, is filled with curves, crests, valleys, detours, potholes and bumps. It is this very unpredictability that makes it so interesting and alluring. We just have to have faith in what God’s Word says about what’s around the next curve. Many of us quit when things don’t happen quickly or easily! Just remember: The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all (Ecc 9:11) But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved (Matt 24:13). The greatest inspiration I’ve heard in a while was from a friend dealing with some personal adversity. In my offering encouragement to him I said to him “you will be fine man, just don’t give up” to which his response was “Give up? I don’t know HOW to do that!”- now if THAT’s not faith and perseverance, I don’t know what is!
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh (Luke 6:45)~ Just like The tree is known by its fruits; what the mouth “commonly” speaks, generally agrees with what is most in the heart. If you ever want to really know a person, listen to them when they “really” speak .. off the cuff as they say. God knows the heart, But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8). We are so full of unruly evil in our tongues that we have to script ourselves and write down our conversations to make sure we say what sounds good for the situation. But the truth will be revealed when we are just “being ourselves” and the words that come out will be spoken from the heart. That which is in the heart is sometimes so strong, even our own minds can’t control that which heads toward our mouths! Knowing all this, we each have a responsibility: May the word of Christ be so grafted in our hearts, that we may be fruitful in every good work…and word!
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Heb 11:3)~ Faith is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it causes the truth to be received. By it we have a firm expectation, that God will perform all He has promised to us in Christ. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. Because of Faith we can enjoy the reality of those things now as we wait on their manifestation! What we KNOW in Him from what we HEAR in Him is our strength to be confident regardless of what we SEE in the world! When things are happening, we tend to react and base our faith and ultimately our comfort on what we SEE, even overshadowing what we’ve always known and what we hear! When we do this we are putting aside what God promised in His word and trusting our own understanding; literally saying “I’ll believe it when I see it”; even though God said it. Just remember this, God created all things…from NOthing. By His very words, all that is….became. We can believe we will see it BECAUSE He said it! Just because it LOOKS like things are a certain way, you can’t give up on what God said…”And God Said “Let there be…”; and it was! Everything is under His command and subject to His word! Even “nothing” has to listen to Him! KNOWing this, have Faith!
Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king’s household (2 Kings 7:9)~~ Four leprous men sat at the city gate, dying of starvation. Asking themselves, “Why do we wait here until we die?” they took a great risk and approached the enemy camp of the Arameans, praying for grace. God was more than gracious when he made the footsteps of these four lepers to sound like a mighty approaching army, causing the Aramean’s to flee in fear. The lepers had the camp to themselves! As they enjoyed the feast before them they realized that the city which had been besieged needed to know about this work of the Lord. The city was in such great famine that its citizens were resorting to cannibalism. These four brave lepers decided, “We are not doing right…we are keeping silent”. God has done an equally great work in our lives! As we were lost without Him, He sent Jesus to redeem us through His perfect life, sinless death, and empowered resurrection. If you have confessed Jesus as your Lord and you believe God has raised Him from the dead, you are saved! In your life, God’s mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:22-23) and His blessings are indeed so abundant in your life it’s no wonder that your ‘cup runneth over’ (Ps 23:5). But too many times, “we are not doing right…we are keeping silent.” We get selfish and try to put a saucer under that cup as it ‘runneth’ over so that we can catch and keep our own overflow. We’d rather keep the glory of God in our lives to ourselves than share the Word He puts in us. Psalm 1:3 describes those of us that find delight in the Lord: And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. That fruit we bear is an abundance to feed others with what God has placed in us…by Him we bear those fruits of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) and those who are hungry for God will partake in those fruits we bear…and when they taste and see that the Lord is Good, they will be so inspired to seek their own ‘planting’ in Him. Friend, don’t try to harvest all of your fruit to your own greed and satisfaction – You will not be at a loss if you share the fruits God has given you. Even today God will give you opportunity to do the right thing and make the Good News known. THAT’s how you get blessed…. TELL SOMEBODY about God in your life…share and share alike. You’re getting yours and God is looking to use you to inspire others to theirs… When God gets other people blessings through you, He continues sending blessings TO you! Be Blessed…Be a Blessing!
For BY GRACE are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9)~ Sin is the death of the soul. A man dead in trespasses and sins has no desire for spiritual pleasures. As we come to realize the nature and severity of our sins, we are thrown into an endless cycle of disappointment when we realize that we, no matter how much we resolve to repent, cannot meet the standards of holiness God demands. Our own guilty conscience simply reminds us of our failures! But WHILE we were sinners – with our dead souls, Jesus covered the wages of our sin and died for us; His unselfish and ultimate act of grace. The grace that saves is the free, undeserved goodness and favor of God; and He saves, not by the works of the law, nor by the penance of man, but through faith in Christ Jesus. His grace to our soul is new life to our soul. Regenerated, we become a living soul; to live a life of holiness, through being born of God; being delivered from the guilt of sin, by pardoning and justifying grace. Our faith, our conversion, and our eternal salvation, are not of our self promoting but frivolous efforts, that we would find glory in our own vain achievements; no, all boasting is shut out. Instead, it is the free gift of God, and the effect of being quickened by His power. It was His purpose, to which He prepared us, by blessing us with the knowledge of His will, and His Holy Spirit producing such a change in us, that we should glorify God by our good conversation, and perseverance in holiness. When we realize what He has already told us, that we can’t on our own meet His standards, we turn our dependence to Him and accept and trust His grace to be our saving measure! Rather than the act of trying to do something to oppose the sin, His work, not ours, diminishes the impact of desire for that sin.. HE changes us…by His grace, we are that we are.
Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do ye see it now? Is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts: According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you: fear ye not. For thus saith the Lord of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the Lord of hosts. The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts (Hag 2:2-9)~~ Many of us look at the state of the world today (pick your concern) and we feel SO discouraged because we remember how life used to be – what we saw as better times. It’s so apparent that the “world” is truly the enemy of God because in every instance we see, the “world’s” way of doing things is in total disregard to Him! It’s like there is nothing that can get the attention of today’s culture in its rampant persuasion of its inhabitants! But we must stay encouraged to continue in the goodness that God gives us though, no matter how hard or discouraging it may seem. Every day is a new mercy from Him and a new encouragement to continue on because His faithfulness is great and His compassion for us is unfailing. We must not grow weary in well doing for “His” due season is coming…a time when “He” will set the state of things once and for all. In progressing to that time though we must endure convulsions and changes; great revolutions and commotions. Jesus shall again come; as the desire of all; and desirable to all. The promise is that in Him shall all the earth be blessed with the best of blessings; and this is long expected and desired by all believers. We may have some good places even in this terrible time, but He went and prepared a place for us; a new ‘house’ in which we will spend eternity. So let us be comforted that the glory of this latter house shall be greater than that of the former, in what will be beyond all the glories of the first house, far beyond any that we could imagine; in the presence of the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of glory, personally, and in absolute perfect nature. Nothing but the presence of the Son of God, in His own form and nature, can fulfill this. Jesus is the Christ, is He that should come, and we are to look for no other. This alone is enough to silence the “ways of the world”, and condemn the obstinate rejection of Him. Finally as God is with us, peace is with us. The promise is fulfilled in that spiritual peace which Jesus Christ has by His blood purchased for all believers. All changes shall make way for Christ to be desired and valued by all. And the “world” shall have their eyes opened to behold how precious He is, whom they have until then rejected! It is fixed and it is finished!