Posts Tagged ‘The Good News’

“When Jesus returned to Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and in terrible pain.” Jesus said, “I will come and heal him.”  But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home.  Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed.  I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers.  I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come.  And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”  When Jesus heard this, he was amazed.  Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel!  And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world-from east and west-and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. But many Israelites-those for whom the Kingdom was prepared-will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”  Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, ‘Go back home.  Because you believed, it has happened.”  And the young servant was healed that same hour.” (Matthew 8:5-13)

“Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom.  And he healed every kind of disease and illness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.” (Matthew 9:35-38)

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety-nine that didn’t wander away! In the same way, it is not my heavenly Father’s will that even one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:12-14).

According to research done by The Joshua Project, there are over 6,550 people groups on earth who have not heard the Good News about eternal life through our Savior and Messiah Jesus Christ.  Want to know who they are and where they are?  Click here (But first count the cost of having access to this knowledge, as you will instantly realize your responsibility to intercede for these people through continuous prayer): http://public.imb.org/globalresearch/Pages/ResearchData.aspx

Let us pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his fields to share the truth of eternal life through Jesus Christ to the remaining people who have never even heard of Him.  Like the Roman officer, let our faith put events into motion in the heavens.  When we pray for the Lord to send workers into these fields, we must understand the power behind our prayers.  We know the will of God on this issue (that ALL would hear), so we know our prayers match His will.  And we know that our prayers are the vehicles through which He accomplishes his purposes on earth.  We are called upon by the Most High God to use our voice on behalf of the lost, to lift them up in faith, that God would reveal himself to them so that they may be saved.

Scrolling through the list of the unreached, we see that many of these people groups have less than 100 people; they are completely remote and tribal.  They live on remote islands, at the top of unchartered mountains, in unexplored parts of jungles, and wild habitats.  God loves them all and wants them in His family.

These are our future brothers and sisters; our future family.  We cannot let them down by failing to pray for them while they are lost.  We see that hundreds of thousands of these people are lost because they are physically deaf and cannot hear the Word of God.  Most are also illiterate, so how can they be reached?  God will reach them through our prayers.  In response to our prayers, God will say ‘Go,’ and His workers will GO!  God will say ‘Do this,’ and his servants will do it.  The Roman officer in God’s Word understood very clearly how it works.  Do we?

Here is an example of how we can pray for them:

Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for the gift of life and for saving me and bringing me into your family through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.  Somehow you made sure that I heard about Christ and you prepared my heart to believe in Him.  Lord, I know that it is your will that all would hear of the free gift you offer through your royal Son Jesus Christ and that none would perish.  In response to your love and for saving me, I long for all to experience what I have with you.  Today I lift up these unreached people groups [HERE, SPECIFICALLY NAME PEOPLE GROUPS IN THE LIST], that you would send your workers into their fields to proclaim the Good News about the Kingdom and Jesus Christ to them.  I pray for their salvation, that they may live in the House of the Lord forever.  May they praise your Holy Name and bring your Name great honor and glory through their praise and by living holy lives in honor of Christ Jesus.  May they acknowledge their sins, confess them to you, repent of them wholeheartedly, and follow Christ Jesus’s example in every way.  May they fellowship with each other to grow in their faith, pray for each other, and may they have access to the Word of God.  Lord, I also ask for your protection over them as they grow with you, that the enemy cannot come to kill, steal, and destroy the relationship they have with you.  Give their hearts good soil which receives your Word and causes it to grow deep roots that can never be uprooted by any force contrary to your will.  May your Holy Spirit do His work in their lives wherever they are and may your Kingdom come!

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all peoples will hear it, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14)

You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:3)

In the beginning the Word already existed.  The Word was with God and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with GodGod created everything through him, and nothing was created except through himThe Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.” (John 1:1-5)

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.  And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us.  The government will rest on his shoulders.  And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David.” (Luke 2:11)

“For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:3)

“I, yes I, am the Lord, and there is no other Savior.” (Isaiah 43:11)

“I am writing to Titus, my true son in the faith that we share.  May God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior give you grace and peace.” (Titus 1:4)

“Consult together, argue your case.  Get together and decide what to say.  Who made these things known so long ago?  What idol ever told you they would happen?  Was it not I, the Lord?  For there is no other God but me, a righteous God and Savior.  There is none but me.  Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other.  I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me.” (Isaiah 45:21-23)

“You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.  Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and he was born as a human being.  When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.  Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11)

“That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders.  Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.  As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side.  They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, ‘Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.’ Then he breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.  If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.’  One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came.  They told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.’ Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them.  The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them.  ‘Peace be with you,’ he said.  Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here, and look at my hands.  Put your hand into the wound in my side.  Don’t be faithless any longer.  Believe!’ ‘My Lord and my God!’ Thomas exclaimed.  Then Jesus told him, ‘You believe because you have seen me.  Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.’ (John 20:19-29)

I am the Alpha and the Omega–the beginning and the end,’ says the Lord God.  ‘I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come–the Almighty One.‘”(Revelation 1:8)

“‘Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds.  I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.’ Blessed are those who wash their robes.  They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life.  Outside the city are the dogs–the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshippers, and all who love to live a lie.  ‘I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this message for the churches.  I am both the source of David and the heir to his throne.  I am the bright morning star.'” (Revelation 22:12-16)

Occasionally, a rare opportunity to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ presents itself without any effort on our part.  Most people dread this because they know there is just enough technicality involved that if they are not well versed in Scripture, an argument may happen at their door where what they profess —that Jesus Christ is God and the Salvation that all the Scriptures pointed to— will be countered by the unbelievers who will use Scripture to try to show how Jesus is not God after all, but a “witness” or a “prophet” or an “angel” or some other “creation”.

It is critically important that we not allow ourselves to be trapped into an argument with these people.  They go from door to door equipped with the exact verses they have memorized to make their case, using the verses out of context and ignoring the plethora of verses that testify that Jesus Christ is God.

It is NOT the Christian’s duty to change these people’s minds.  That is the work of the Lord.

It IS our duty to open the door and share the Gospel of Jesus, thereby planting the seed that the Lord will use to call them home.

We have an obligation to open the door when they knock, as these people are lost; they are deceived, and classically deceived in that they study their Bible but have missed the most important element of all the Scriptures; that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and the only worthy sacrifice to redeem us from death is a PERFECT sacrifice, One untouched, unaffected and uninfected by sin.  Only God Himself meets the requirements of this Perfect sacrifice, as every created thing is affected by sin. And we know that Jesus Christ is that perfectly acceptable and worthy sacrifice Who meets this requirement once and for all time (Hebrews 9:14, Hebrews 10:12) and that He willingly gave His life as the atonement for the sins of the whole world, that whosoever believes in Him will have everlasting life.  (John 3:16)

Yes, the wages of sin is death.  The wages of sin is death even if we help the poor and donate all our money and time, fill our lives with good deeds, go out of our way to be kind to all, have a great reputation and lots of people who admire us, love puppies and kittens and never hurt anyone.  None of our good works can save us from death because we are sinners.  Yes, if there is just one instance in our whole life when we lied, stole, used God’s Name in vain, loved something or someone more than we love God, coveted someone else’s belongings, didn’t keep the Sabbath day of rest Holy, didn’t honor our parents or any other Holy command of God, we are guilty of sin.  And the wages of even one sin is death.

There is ONE Way, One Truth, One Life and that is Jesus Christ, Who is the Word and through Whom everything was created.  Jesus was already there in the beginning; He is NOT a creation.  It is Jesus, who became human, made His home among us, fulfilling the prophecies of the Messiah. It is Jesus Who worked mighty miracles, offered His life as a ransom for many, died, was buried, and 3 days later was raised from the dead, thereby conquering the power of death over us forever.  There is no other god or mortal who has done this and there never will be.

All we need to do is believe and we will have salvation in Christ Jesus. Jesus was raised from the dead and given a new eternal body and we who believe in Him will also be raised from the dead and given new eternal bodies.  This is our hope and what we rest in!

Indeed, if Jesus was a mere man or a creation, then he was flawed and as such was, by default, not a worthy sacrifice for the redemption of sin, for only one who is not under the power of sin and death can conquer the power of sin and death. “Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse.” (Romans 8:22)

Only God qualifies in His Perfection for this magnificent undertaking and that is the beauty and majesty of what Jesus Christ did for you and for me.  No creation qualifies for all of creation is under the curse of God due to sin.

Those who don’t get this part of the puzzle are deceived and blinded by the oldest trick in Satan’s book: deception by confusion whereby the victim has every piece of truth EXCEPT for the truth that saves their eternal life.  Their good deeds and kind hearts won’t get them there.  They need a Savior and they have One in Jesus Christ.

As followers of Christ, this is all we need to proclaim when opportunities come our way.  We don’t have to be Bible scholars.  We don’t have to have an arsenal of various scriptures at the ready.  We just have to stand on our testimony that we are saved through Jesus Christ the Savior and that ONLY God can save.  Anything else is a half-truth and half-truths have deceived countless souls to their doom.  We plant that seed into the ears and hearts of our visitors when they bring their religion to our door and let God Almighty do the rest.

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all people will hear it; and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14)

“He said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is great, but the workers are few.  So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.‘” (Matthew 9:37-38)

Below is a list of some nations that are in desperate need of prayer.  Please consider praying for these nations and ask the Holy Spirit of God to guide you.  Without a doubt, if the workers of the fields are few, then those praying for the workers are even fewer.

If you decide to pray, please establish a length of time for yourself that is acceptable to you and commit to praying for these people (not the duration of the prayer itself, as the Lord taught us not to babble on); commit to a week or a month, etc of praying daily for these unreached people groups.

–Afghanistan, 71 unreached people groups

–Bhutan, 32 unreached people groups

–China, 465 unreached people groups

–India, 2,200 unreached people groups

–Iraq, 21 unreached people groups

–Libya, 140 unreached tribes and clans

–Oman, 25 unreached people groups

–Sudan, 137 unreached people groups

–Vietnam, 63 unreached people groups

Some things to pray for in Jesus’ Name:

–For God to send more workers into his fields, specifically into the fields of the countries listed above, and that God’s Word will reach those who seek Him.  Pray for God’s Kingdom to come soon.

–For God to destroy the works of Satan in the hearts and minds of the people and the land and that God would not let them yield to temptation, but deliver them from the evil one.

–For Judgment on Satan.  Ask God to curse Satan afresh as he did in the Garden of Eden, so that he cannot do as he pleases.  Ask God to place Satan again under the power of the cross so as to immobilize him.

–For God to break the evil spirits of false religions and idols in these lands (Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism are all hostile to the truth of Christ) and set up His Kingdom.

–For the precious blood of Jesus to answer whatever comes from Satan in these places.

–For the hearts and minds of the people to be prepared by the Holy Spirit and made able to receive and accept the truth of Christ.

–For God’s will to be done and that the truth of the forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ brings light to the dark land.  Declare that Christ disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities and shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)

–For the protection of the workers the Lord sends and that they will boldly proclaim the truth of Christ and salvation

–For church planting and growth so that believers can fellowship with each other and pray together for their nation.  For a spirit of evangelism among the local Christian population so that they will desire to share their testimony with others

–For Bible distribution and Christian literature, and for trained pastors to shepherd and minister to the new believers.

–Pray also for the protection of yourself (health, mind, time, spiritual life), your loved ones and your household and anything else that God brings to your attention. Pray that God forbid Satan from harassing you in any way.  Pray Daily for this protection, as what you are doing for God’s Kingdom through your prayers directly destroys Satan’s kingdom and you will be targeted by the rulers and authorities of the spiritual realm in retaliation for your work. Be ready. Prayerfully seek God in this matter.

teachinghearts.org

 

 

“Listen to this, all you people!  Pay attention, everyone in the world!  High and low, rich and poor — listen!  For my words are wise, and my thoughts are filled with insight.  I listen carefully to many proverbs and solve riddles with inspiration from a harp.  Why should I fear when trouble comes, when enemies surround me?  They trust in their wealth and boast of great riches.  Yet they cannot redeem themselves from death by paying a ransom to God.  Redemption does not come so easily, for no one can ever pay enough to live forever and never see the grave.  Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind. The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever.  They may name their estates after themselves, but their fame will not last.  They will die, just like animals.  This is the fate of fools, though they are remembered as being wise.  Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd.  In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates.  But as for me, God will redeem my life.  He will snatch me from the power of the grave.  So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid.  For when they die, they take nothing with them.  Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.  In this life they consider themselves fortunate and are applauded for their success.  But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day.  People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals. (Psalm 49)

“Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.  May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10)

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:33)

And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all people will hear it; and then the end will come.”  (Matthew 24:14)

Everything moves into its proper place when our first priority in our day is the Kingdom of God.  The Living Word of God says that where our treasure is, there our heart also is.

And we know by simple observation of human behavior that the things we treasure in our hearts, the things we hold dear and cherish are the things we think about the most, that we cannot help but talk about, that we worry about.

For some, this treasure is our family.  For others, it is our work, dreams, reputation and status, money, power, leaving a legacy behind, fighting for a cause we believe in, and the list can go on.  These things in and of themselves can be great treasures and worthy of pursuit, if pursued with the right attitude.  But we have to be discerning and wise about the place of these things in our lives.

We are to seek the Kingdom of God FIRST.  All other worthy causes should fall neatly under our pursuit of the Kingdom of God in our day-to-day lives.

Christ gave us one job: to get the Good News about the Kingdom of God to the whole world, so that all people will hear it.  Yes, God is Almighty and could do this all by himself and just get it done, but He chose His children to do it.  He gave us this honor and entrusted his Kingdom to us.

If we are seeking first our own kingdom, then God’s Kingdom is not our priority.  And there are so many things within our own kingdom that dominate our time and thoughts that days can turn into weeks, which turn into months, which become years that go by without us achieving the one thing that was delegated to us for our life on earth by God.

Paul tells us candidly in 1 Corinthians 3:13 that on Judgment Day, the refining fires of God will reveal what kind of work each person did in their life.  If our life’s work was of and for our own kingdom or the world’s kingdom, we will watch it burn up before our eyes.  We ourselves will escape the fire because of our faith in Christ Jesus, but we will have little or nothing to show for our life on earth.  Paul warns that we will suffer great loss if our work does not withstand the purifying fires.  We do well to think this over on a regular basis and apply it to our lives while there is time.

Many of us have nothing to give except our prayers, but we do not realize that our prayers are the most effective work we can offer the Kingdom of God.  God does not just go ahead and fulfill his will on the earth whenever He wants to.  He fulfills his will through the prayers of the followers of Christ Jesus.  Know this truth and pray.  Each one of us is the vessel by which the Kingdom of God comes to the earth.

Lord Jesus, may we have a clear understanding of the precious treasure you have given us, the trust you have placed in us to fulfill your will on earth.  May we firmly grasp the power we hold in our prayers and understand how we fulfill your will by praying.  Let us not fall into the trap of a life of fruitless pursuit of things that we must leave behind when we die, leaving this world as naked as the day we came into it.  But let us store up for ourselves eternal treasure in heaven by obeying what you have asked us to do.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear; give us wisdom and discernment and burden us with a deep desire to pray.  May your Kingdom come soon!

“After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.  For you have given him authority over everyone.  He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.  And this is the way to have eternal life — to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.  I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.  I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world.  They were always yours.  You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.  Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me.  They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.  My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.  All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.  Now I am departing from the world, but I am coming to you.  Holy Father, you have given me your name, now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.  During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me  I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.  Now I am coming to you.  I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy.  I have given them your word.  And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.  I’m not asking you to take them out of the world , but to keep them safe from the evil one.  They do not belong to this world any more than I do.  Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth.  Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world.  And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.  I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one — as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.  And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.  Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.  Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me before the world began!  O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.  I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so.  Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.'” (John 17)

The Living Word of God shares with us Jesus Christ’s last prayer before His crucifixion.  In it, we are allowed a glimpse into the mind, dreams and desires of God Almighty.

Why did Jesus do what He did?  Why did He do miracles? Why did he heal every sick person who crossed His path?  Why did He take the time to teach truth in the Temple every single day?  Why did he take the time to travel to those who didn’t go to the Temple, so that they too could hear the truth?  Why did He turn Himself over to suffer and die a terrible death when He’d committed no crime?

It all comes down to love.

Many of us have experienced the absolute bliss of loving someone and being loved by someone so deeply that we don’t want to be separated from each other even for a moment.  We want to always be in each other’s presence; we feel empty without the other.

Some of us have never experienced this, but long for it.

This ability and capacity for love is straight from the very heart of God.  This is His desire with us.  We see it clearly in Jesus’ prayer, “Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am.”  Christ was willing to do whatever it took to make sure we arrive home safely to be with him forever.  With his life, he fulfilled the requirements to make it so and he has entrusted us, whom he calls his friends, to follow in his footsteps and tell the world about him, so that they too may make it home to be with him.

The task is difficult, treacherous, full of suffering and persecution, but we are one with Christ and with each other.  And this is why Christians are also willing to pay whatever price is necessary for the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even risking and giving their earthly lives, just as Christ did.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

More than 19 million people in North Korea are forced to worship the Kim Il Sung family, wear their image on their bodies and praise them as they would God.  This ideology or religion is called Juche.

This video documents the task and difficulties of spreading the Good News of Jesus to people who live in North Korea.

Please pray for them, their efforts, their resolve, their protection and for the recipients of the Word of God, that His truth would take root in their hearts in such a way as to not be plucked from them when persecution comes.  Our Lord loves each of them and wants to be with them for all eternity.  Father, may Your Kingdom come!

 

“Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder.  Now others are building on it.  But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have — Jesus Christ.  Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials — gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw.  But on the judgment day, fire will reveal with kind of work each builder has done.  The fire will show if a person’s work has any value.  If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward.  But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss.  The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”  (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)

Finding our purpose in life is a deep-rooted human quest; we want to know why we’re alive, what we were created for.   Some people are so obviously blessed with talent, passion and drive for specific purposes that the rest of us may wonder how we missed the boat when it sailed through, laden with spectacular abilities for the choosing.

At any age, in any walk of life, for many of us, days turn into months and years that just seem meaningless and mundane.  We look back on our lives and cannot find much of any significance, nor can we realistically envision a big break through of clarity; the coveted “Ah-Ha!” moment where we know why we’re here and what we are supposed to be doing.

Meanwhile, we are bombarded with reminders of others who are chasing their dreams, making life count.  They are excellent athletes, entertainers, artists, business people, motivators, soldiers, parents, visionaries, inventors, adventurers, writers, the list goes on and on.  They seem to have been created for exactly what they are doing.  Good for them. We can celebrate that.

But, for those of us who are not enjoying the fruits of being truly excellent at something, for those of us who have always been just average (even less than average) in our ambitions and abilities, who don’t have a clear vision, who don’t have a clear passion that we can live out on a grand scale, lack of clarity in our purpose for living is a heavy burden we carry.  In truth, this is the reality of life for MOST OF US, not some of us.

So, from an eternal perspective (the only perspective that matters), it is important to get clarity from the Scriptures.

If we feel like our work is meaningless because we aren’t on the fast track to or do not even want to achieve the ‘Big Title’, let us remember that, while some people in the Bible held high status in society, most did not.  Jesus was a carpenter, His disciples were fishermen, tradesmen, and a tax collector.  Rachel was a shepherdess.  Paul was a tent maker.  David was a shepherd and musician before God elevated him to another purpose as soldier and King.  Scripture places no importance at all on these people’s work titles, but does highlight that they were all hard workers, setting their hands to work daily to earn their living. 

Contrary to the popular belief that people’s work should be in line with their passion, it does not matter what our occupation is as long as we treat it as though we are working for the Lord Himself.  When we approach our work from this eternal perspective, when we are dependable to our employers and perform our tasks with integrity, we will always find happiness and satisfaction in our work.  We work for the Lord and we are where we are supposed to be. Our work becomes a testimony to our relationship with Christ and we bring His Name glory in this way without even speaking a word about our faith.

So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work.  That is why we are here!” (Ecclesiastes 3:22)

Again, “Everything has already been decided.  It was known long ago what each person would be.  So there’s no use in arguing with God about your destiny.  The more words you speak, the less they mean.  So what good are they?  In the few days of our meaningless lives, who knows how our days can best be spent?  Our lives are like a shadow.  Who can tell what will happen on this earth after we are gone?” (Ecclesiastes 6:10-12)

So we can break free from the burden of the lie that if our profession isn’t our passion, we are somehow on the wrong path.  We are right where we are supposed to be.  So if our work isn’t necessarily our purpose in life and we don’t necessarily have any clear direction on what our purpose is, what is the answer?

“Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.  Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.  And be sure of this:  I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:16-20)

Yes, it is that simple.  We have one purpose: to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. 

All else is vanity, entertainment, fleeting.  All else goes to the grave with us when we die.

Lest this revelation spark some drastic thought that we need to quit our job and leave our family and go be a missionary in some remote, dangerous part of the world, we are exactly where we are supposed to be.  Our very lives are a testimony to Christ Jesus if we are living in obedience to His commands.  Christ lives inside of us so wherever we are, anyone we engage with, the opportunity is always there to share the Gospel just by living our lives.

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener.  He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.  You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you.  Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.  Yes I am the vine; you are the branches.  Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.  Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers.  Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.  But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted!  When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples.  This brings great glory to my Father.  I have loved you even as my Father has loved me.  Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy.  Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves.  Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me.  I chose you.  I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.  This is my command: Love each other.”  (John 15:1-17)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.  And having chosen them, he called them to come to him.  And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself.  And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.”  (Romans 8:28-30)

“God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)

‘Everything is meaningless,’ says the Teacher, ‘completely meaningless.’ Keep this in mind:  The Teacher was considered wise, and he taught the people everything he knew.  He listened carefully to many proverbs, studying and classifying them.  The Teacher sought to find just the right words to express truths clearly.  The words of the wise are like cattle prods — painful but helpful.  Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.  But, my child, let me give you some further advice.  Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out. That’s the whole story.  Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing.” (Ecclesiastes 12:8-14)

So let us make our lives truly count.  Let us fulfill the purpose we were created for.  And along the way, let us enjoy the many passions, things, talents and entertaining moments that make life fun.  That is what they are there for.  Just don’t confuse the importance of the things in this life with the infinitely greater importance of the things of our eternal life.  When it comes to finding our purpose, our Purpose already found us and gave us our assignment. 

If we are called to pray, we must pray.  This is our purpose in life.   If we are called to give, we must give faithfully and according to our ability.  If we are called to care for others, to encourage others, to protect others, to be the best friend we can be, to be the best employee we can be, to be the best parent we can be, to be the best child we can be, whatever we are called to do, this is our purpose. Own it. Our example is Christ Jesus and we represent Him in this world.

Everyone’s life and deeds will be subjected to the refining fires of God on judgment day and we may be surprised to see what survives the fires and what does not.  May God’s Kingdom Come!

The people in this video are gathered in a room where suitcases full of Bibles have just arrived.  How remarkable, their excitement, vocal displays of joy, the way they step into their own little space in the room to have their moment holding the precious Living Word of God, how they press their faces to it trying to get as close as they can.  They’ve dreamed of this moment; the moment they receive their very own Bible.  The woman who speaks says, “This is what we needed the most. This is what we needed,” as her breath catches in her chest.  The video ends with reverent silence as everyone sits in awe.

The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul.  The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart.  The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living.  Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.  The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.  They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.  They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.  They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.”  (Psalm 19:7-11)

“The Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure that a man discovered hidden in a field.  In his excitement, he hid it again and sold everything he owned to get enough money to buy the field.  Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls.  When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46)

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.” (Matthew 6:21)

If you would like to help get Bibles to people in persecuted countries, who have ACTUALLY ASKED FOR THEIR OWN BIBLE and are waiting expectantly for it, go here: www.biblesunbound.com.

www.vombooks.com/May2014

From The Voice of the Martyrs:

vomso_201310_01_email_Syria_2

“Thousands of Syrian refugees have poured into Iraq to escape war in their homeland.  One area where refugees have settled has 41 established mosques.  Of those 41 mosques, not one has provided assistance to the refugees, even though they are virtually all Muslims. 

The refugees fled Syria with little more than the clothes on their backs.  As the war drags on, there is little hope that they will be able to return home anytime soon.

“Ferhad,” a former Muslim, witnessed the desperate need of the refugees, including many children.  He encouraged them and prayed about how he could make a difference.  Ferhad then began to share his faith with the refugees and distributed help provided by The Voice of the Martyrs.

“Even when Muslim neighbors refused to help their own brothers, it was Christian outsiders who met the needs of the refugees,” said a refugee that Ferhad helped. “When I witnessed the love of Christians, I saw what I was missing in Islam and I decided to follow Christ.”

The Voice of the Martyrs has met many Christians like Ferhad who are using this incredible opportunity to share the love of Christ with Syrians who have lost everything in the war.  As Christ told His disciples:  The fields are white for harvest!

“Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’?  Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest!” –The words of Jesus Christ (John 4:35)

There are 3 ways to help:

1) PRAY for the refugees.  Thank God for their precious lives and ask that they be made able to receive the Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus.

2) You can pack your own Syrian Outreach Packs.  Simply order the empty packs and fill them with items from an enclosed list. For example:  Blanket, Knit hat, bed sheet, socks, solid color t-shirt, towel, bar of soap.  Please do not include anything other than the listed items —  no notes, literature, etc.  Also, do not include clothing items with images or text (such as a t-shirt with an image or words).  Do NOT include your name, return address or other contact info.  Each Outreach Pack is $7.

3) If you do not want to fill the bag yourself, you can sponsor a Syrian Outreach Pack and it will be filled for you in the country where it is distributed.  Each sponsored pack is $30.

Go to  www.vombooks.com/May2014 or call 800-747-0085.

 

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.  You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil–the commander of the powers in the unseen world.  He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.  All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our evil nature.  We were born with an evil nature and we were under God’s anger, just like everyone else.  But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead.  (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.  So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.  God saved you by his grace when you believed.  And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.  For we are God’s masterpiece.  He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:1-10)

One of the great mysteries of God and spirituality is the notion that we are all born dead because of sin.  It’s difficult to fathom that people can be physically alive, hearts beating, minds thinking, walking, doing, working, but dead.  Without Christ, we are spiritually dead.  Without Christ, we naturally and of our own free-will obey the devil, the commander of the powers of the unseen world and the spirit at work in our dead hearts.

Since all creatures eventually physically die, the only hope anything has is that its spirit will live on when its body succumbs to death.

Christians understand that sin makes this impossible.  Sin is the great divide between a creature and its Creator, Who knows no sin and Who, by His very nature, cannot abide it.  The price that must be paid to cancel the debt of sin is death.  Physical death and Spiritual death.  No list of our good deeds can be long enough or adequate enough to pay the debt of sin and save us from death.  There is nothing we can do to avoid meeting our doom.  We are tainted; born that way.  We had no control in our birth into this world and we are absolutely helpless in our efforts to live on when our time is up.

But God loved us so much that He had a plan to save us from our doom; an answer that conquered death.  Since only one who is not tainted by sin can help those who are perishing from sin and since the price of sin is death, only God could pay the price to cancel our debt and redeem us from the grave.

And His plan all along was to do just that, which He did through Jesus Christ, who gave Himself up as a sacrifice in our place, the ultimate price of death paid in full.

But that’s only part of the beautiful mystery that converts us from dead men walking to living heirs of the Eternal Kingdom of God.

The second part of the mystery is that Jesus Christ was physically raised from the dead after 3 days and He walked out of His tomb in His new resurrected body.  He lived in the community for 40 days after this and was plainly seen by hundreds of people, not as an apparition, but in His body which bore the wounds and evidence of His death.

Those who saw him were willing to die for their testimony that He was alive and many of them were killed over this.  But they understood that their life was sealed in eternity because of Jesus, and physical death could not take it away from them.

Lastly, Scripture says that those who believe this story of God’s plan of redemption are saved from death.  We are believers, not dead men walking.  We are the light of Jesus Christ on this earth and have eternal life through Christ, forever.

To this day, believers are being persecuted and killed all over the world because they will not renounce their belief in the eternal salvation they have in Christ Jesus.  Physical death is being forced upon them by the powers of evil in this world, but their physical death is a 100% guarantee anyway.  They lose nothing.  They gain everything.

 

 

Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before.  Then the people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)

“We are confident that we are meant for better things, things that come with salvation.  For God is not unjust.  He will not forget how hard you have worked for him and how you have shown your love to him by caring for other believers, as you still do.  Our great desire is that you will keep on loving others as long as life lasts, in order to make certain that what you hope for will come true.  Then you will not become spiritually dull and indifferent.  Instead, you will follow the example of those who are going to inherit God’s promises because of their faith and endurance.”  (Hebrews 6:9b-12)

As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work” (John 9:4)

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable.  Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.”  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

“I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold.  I wish you were one or the other!  But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!  You say, ‘I am rich.  I have everything I want.  I don’t need a thing!’  And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.  So I advise you to buy gold from me–gold that has been purified by fire.  Then you will be rich.  Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.  I correct and discipline everyone I love.  So be diligent and turn from your indifference.”  (Revelation 3:15-19)

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us.  For you know that you ought to imitate us.  We were not idle when we were with you.  We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it.  We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you.  We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow.  Even while we were with you, we gave you this command, ‘Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.’  Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.  We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living.  As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.” (2 Thessalonians 3:6-13)

There are certain behaviors that even unbelievers inherently understand and judge others by.  Two clashing behaviors that become the mark of the one who practices them are diligence and idleness.

A diligent person is appreciated and respected worldwide by everyone in every culture.  They are trustworthy and counted on.  Their presence brings confidence and assurance to others.

An idle person is troublesome to everyone.  To the family, an idle person is a burden that others must take care of.  To an employer, an idle person is an un-trustworthy cost.  To a community/country, idle people are life sucking leeches on the backs of society.  The Scriptures say that an idle person is just as bad as someone who destroys things. (Proverbs 18:9)

Idle behavior stems from the idea that nothing is worthy of time or effort.

What is God’s stance on life and how to live it?  “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others.  Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.  Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4)  This is the attitude of Christ our Lord and it is worthy of our interest, time and effort.  Our work ethic and interaction with others should always reflect the quiet diligence of Christ.