He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it. Matthew 10:39 NKJV
I have a desire to serve God. I want to live my life according to God’s will. The Lord has given me the desire to stand up and encourage other people to serve Him today. I still struggle with the desire to enjoy the brief and momentary pleasures of sin.
I like to remember this life is a very small part of our eternal existence. Everyone who is born again through faith in Jesus Christ will live forever. I remind myself the eternal rewards I will receive when Jesus returns for me are better than the cheap thrill of sin.
This verse of scripture reminds me that living for Jesus today means I will live with Him throughout eternity. It reminds me that joy comes by surrendering my life to Jesus so He can live His life through me.
My Pastor says a person can be born twice and die once or he can be born once and die twice. We need to be born again into the Kingdom of God so we will only die once and live on in eternity with Jesus.
The alternative is to be born only once. A person who is not born again into the Kingdom of God will die a physical death and then a spiritual death as well.
God is trying to convince us that living for Him is better than doing things our own way. God can use us for His glory and to bless other people. God wants us to be convinced that when we live for the glory of God we are not missing out on anything the world has to offer.
When we live our lives for the glory of God we gain everything our Heavenly Father wants to give us!
Nothing can compare with the joy of living for Jesus. When God’s Word takes root in my heart and becomes reality in my life I do not enjoy sin. I do not want to sin. I do not have to sin!
Take up the instrument of death to self so you can live for Jesus Christ!
Consider yourself dead to the sinful desires of your flesh, the deceitfulness of the world and temptations of the devil so you can live for Jesus today and with the Lord throughout the perfection and holiness of eternity forever!
And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. Matthew 10:38 NKJV
Life is not fair. Expecting chance and circumstances to deal us a fair hand to play the game of life with is an unrealistic expectation.
It is easy to look at other people and think their lives are much easier. We cannot see into other people’s hearts. We have no idea what other people’s lives are really like.
Each of us have our own struggles and hardships. The trials and tribulations we suffer are as diverse as we are. Nothing happens by random chance or accident. God is in control.
Not everything that happens to us is God’s will. We make mistakes. We suffer consequences for bad choices. God is in ultimate control of all things. He will not give us more hardship trial and suffering than our faith can endure.
What does that mean? It means we can continue to follow Jesus Christ regardless of trials and hardships!
The Lord chose to carry His cross as He was led to His crucified. Jesus wants us to carry our burdens as He leads us towards death to self. Jesus wants live His life through us today.
I have trials and struggles just as you do. Some of the crosses I must bear are in my mind. When I expect to write the story of my life according to my unrealistic expectations I struggle with disappointment frustration and anger. I am sure you do as well!
When I remember God has promised never to leave or forsake me I am transformed by the renewing of my mind!
How can we take up our cross and follow the Jesus today? By remembering what the Lord gives us is more than fair. It is far better than anything we could devise for ourselves!
God created us. He saved us. He loves us.
The Lord knows us better than we know ourselves. God custom designed the crosses we must bear. He can lead us to the place where we die to our selfish desires and live for Jesus!
Trust with Jesus your trials, hardships and the disappointments of life.
Trust Jesus to hold you up as you bear your cross and follow Him day by day!
Then He said to His disciples, The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore, pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest. Matthew 9:37-38 NKJV
Jesus is speaking to the spiritual elite. This verse of scripture comes from a special section of the bible reserved for people who have their names on signs in front of churches. Do not believe that lie!
The Body of Christ is not made up of two classes of Christians, leaders and followers. We are all called to follow Jesus. We are all called to lead people to Christ.
God is speaking to people who followed Him during the years of His earthly ministry and people who follow Him today. If you are a disciple of Jesus Christ He is speaking to you.
God wants you to pray for servants to take the message of salvation to people who have not received Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Lord wants you to pray for His disciples to share the love of God with people who do not know Him.
In the two thousand years since Jesus walked the Earth much has changed. I have heard it said certain passages of scripture do not apply to modern society. Some of the customs practiced in biblical times are not practiced today.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday today and tomorrow. Jesus Christ is the Way the Truth and the Life today. The world needs Jesus today as much as it needed Him two thousand years ago. Maybe we need Jesus even more today!
The bible is God’s written revelation to mankind. The names and faces of the people who share His message with the world are constantly changing.
The message remains the same. Jesus Christ came to the earth to live the life of a man. Jesus sacrificed His life so you and I could know the love of God and spend eternity with Him.
When God sends you to share His message with other people remember that you do not go in your own strength or wisdom. You will go in the power and wisdom of Almighty God. Jesus will be with you every step of the way. Jesus will show you what to say.
It is God’s harvest. He will do all the work. Your job is to trust Him to do what no man could ever do. Jesus will save people who call on the name of the Lord!
Ask the Lord to fill you with His love today. Let the love of Jesus overflow into the lives of people God calls out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of His glorious love!
Jesus told us there are few people to carry out His work upon the earth. Pray for the Father to send laborers into the harvest field of souls. Perhaps the Father will send you!
But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well. And the woman was made well from that hour. Matthew 9:22 NKJV
Jesus was on His way to heal the daughter of a religious leader. A woman with a bleeding disease came from behind Him. She touched the hem of His garment. She thought, “If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.”
The bible says the woman suffered greatly at the hands of physicians. She used up all her money seeking a cure. Her illness caused her to be an outcast among her people.
When she touched him Jesus He felt power go out of His body. Jesus looked around and asked, “Who touched me? She was trembling with fear when she confessed it was her and that she had been healed. Why was she so fearful?
A rabbi would not allow himself to be touched by a woman other than his wife. She would have been considered unclean. Jesus was on His way to the home of a ruler so He could heal his daughter. She was fearful because she stole a healing (laugh out loud)!
Jesus knew who touched Him. He knew why she touched Him. Jesus did not stop while on His way to take care of more important business. He was not victimized by an unclean woman who took something from Him.
Jesus made Himself available so He could heal her. He knew she would not approach Him the way the ruler of the synagogue did. He knew she was not going to invite Him to her house.
This woman is a great example of faith for us. She was not kept from Jesus by the culture she lived in. She was not prevented from coming to Jesus by the religious laws and traditions that placed heavy burdens on common people.
Jesus was not seeking a confession of guilt. He invited her to confess her faith publicly.
Jesus did not say to her, “Your sins are forgiven” or “Go and sin no more” as He did to others He healed. Jesus saw into her heart. He saw the faith to believe God would heal her on the day she reached out to Jesus. She knew Jesus would take away the sin and shame that clung to her like dirty rags!
I do not know what trials or hardships you may be suffering. I do know there are many things that can keep us from reaching out to Jesus. Jesus is available for you today. If you reach out to Him Jesus will provide the healing you need!
Jesus sees into your heart today. He sees your faith and fears. Invite Jesus into your home. Nothing is more important to Jesus than providing the healing of body, soul and sprit you need today!
When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means; For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV
There are good reasons to hate sin and love sinners. God commands it. We all sin.
The only difference between Christians and sinners is the forgiveness offered through faith in Jesus Christ. The redeemed of the Lord are not slaves to sin. We are no longer identified by our sins. That does not mean we never sin!
As the world spirals farther and farther from God’s will it is going to be even more important to hate sin and love sinners. We may not all agree on exactly what hating sin and loving sinners means. That is not a problem for the Lord!
Loving people who are ensnared by sin and hating the sin that leads to bondage will mean different things at different times. Relationships and people are unique.
How can we know we love the person and hate the sin? The heartache and pain we feel for people who are caught up in sin is the evidence of our love for them!
I know the heartache and pain of watching people I love walk into bondage. I know the gut-wrenching pain, loss of appetite and sleeplessness of loving someone who is living in sin. I have watched and waited for a prodigal to return only to see him leave again.
If I needed experiential evidence Jesus came to save sinners I need only look back to my life before I met Jesus. If I needed a miracle to prove Jesus can heal restore and transform a life I only need to look in a mirror!
Jesus wept when He looked out over the city. He saw hardness in the hearts of His people. His heart was broken by their sin. His heart aches when He sees sin in our lives!
If the great multitude living in bondage breaks your heart it is because Jesus is forming His heart in you. Loving sinners and hating sin is painful. If you have any doubt ask Jesus.
There will be a time to set boundaries. There will be a time to end relationships. There will never be a time to turn our backs on people who are enslaved by sin!
Jesus wants us to stand with the people He loves today. Jesus wants us to stand with them in prayer. Jesus wants us to wait in faith for people just as He waited for us to turn from our sin. Jesus wants us to love His people as much as He does!
The Great Physician is healing, restoring and transforming lives today. He can perform lifesaving heart surgery on any person anywhere at any time. Jesus can even soften the hearts of people who are religious, self-righteous and judgmental!
Ask Jesus to perform heart surgery on you today!
As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, Follow Me. So, He arose and followed Him. Matthew 9:9 NKJV
Jesus is calling us to follow Him today!
Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners? Matthew 9:10-11 NKJV
If Jesus was living among us today He would eat with alcoholics, drug addicts, gang members and dishonest businessmen. Would we wonder why? Would we realize we are all sinners? Some of us just happen to be saved!
When Jesus heard that, He said to them. Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. Matthew 9:12-13 NKJV
Jesus came to bring healing to the sick and lame. He came to restore people who were lost. God expects us to show the same mercy to the sick of spirit and eternally lost today.
Jesus is not calling us to sit in the pews of our churches and preach to each other. He is calling us to lead people to salvation through our witness of His mercy. Jesus is calling us to be people of tolerance and acceptance!
The words tolerance and acceptance have become distorted and misunderstood. Satan uses these buzz words to separate people from Jesus. He uses them to isolate Christians from people who have been deceived. He uses them to marginalize our witness.
The people of God should be the most accepting and tolerant of all people.
We can be a witness of God’s mercy if we are accepting of the lost the lonely and the brokenhearted. Accepting people means loving them as worthy of honor and respect.
Tolerance does not require that we compromise truth. It means loving people regardless of what they believe or how they live.
Love requires that we speak the truth of God’s Word. We must ask Him to help us speak the truth in love without judgment or condemnation. God loves sinners. He loves us!
The Lord is calling us to share the message of Salvation with people regardless of the sin that so easily besets all of us. Jesus is calling us to continue His ministry of reconciliation today!
Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Matthew 8:13 NKJV
A Roman Centurion pleaded with Jesus saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” The Centurion answered and said, “Lord I am not worthy that you should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.” “For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, “Go,” and he goes; and to another “Come,” and he comes; and to my servant, “Do this, and he does it.” When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, even in Israel!”
This story is about a Roman officer who believed Jesus had power to heal the sick, raise the dead and cast out demons. He was a leader in the most powerful army in the world.
What would his superiors say if they knew he turned to a Jew and showed mercy to a slave? The Centurion had to turn his back on all he was trained and taught to believe. He had to turn from the arm of flesh to faith in Jesus Christ!
Jesus saw in the Centurion the faith to believe in a Kingdom he could not see with his eyes. The officer did not ask for himself. He put his trust in an unseen God who calls us to serve other people regardless of their social status, race or color.
The Centurion believed he would be rewarded for his faith in ways he did not understand. He had faith to believe God opposes the proud of heart and gives grace to the humble in spirit.
Jesus said if we have the faith of a mustard seed we could say to a mountain move from here to there and it will move. He is not telling us we can ask for anything we want and it will be given to us if we muster up enough faith.
When we serve Jesus and walk in obedience to His will no obstacle can stand in our way. Only lack of faith can stop God from accomplishing His will for your life today!
Do you have the faith to believe in a Kingdom you cannot see with your eyes? Do you believe God opposes the proud and give grace to the humble? Will you trust God to do great and mighty works in your life today?
Will you live by faith in Jesus and not by what you can touch with the arm of flesh!
Do not look down on anyone. Don’t think too highly of yourself. Those who are first in the eyes of man will be the least in the kingdom of God!
Jesus can use the smallest acts of faith to accomplish the greatest of miracles. Jesus can use you to lift others up out of miry clay of unbelief into the eternal kingdom of Almighty God!
And behold, a leper came and worshiped Him, saying, Lord if You are willing, You can make me clean. Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, I am willing; be cleansed. Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:2-3 NKJV
The man with leprosy in this story was given the gift of a horrible disease. God blessed him with an eternal incorruptible blessing!
Leprosy caused people to become disfigured and scarred. People with leprosy were considered unclean. Lepers became outcasts separated from family and community. Leprosy was a disease of hopelessness and despair.
My wife and I served at a Halloween lighthouse. We shared the gospel with children. Three teenage boys stopped by. We asked if they would like to hear the wordless bible presentation.
I was surprised when they sat down. I was blessed and amazed when they gave their hearts to the Lord. None of us has any idea who will and who won’t be saved!
I could send out e-mails until my computer crashes and it would be a waste of time. We cannot talk people into the Kingdom of God. We cannot convince people to trust Jesus and walk by faith. Human effort never saved any one and it never will!
A person who comes to Christ must be drawn to Him by the Holy Spirit. Only God knows who will and will not respond to the gospel.
The man in this story did not enjoy having leprosy. Only another leper knows how horrible his condition was. God knew. He also knew what it would take to bring him to salvation.
Jesus did not have to touch the man with leprosy to demonstrate His compassion and love. Jesus touched him to demonstrate His authority over creation!
Jesus met this man’s need for physical, emotional and spiritual healing. He was cleansed. He was healed. He was made whole in ways we can see with our eyes. He was also made whole in ways we cannot see with our eyes.
The man in this verse was blessed with leprosy because it made him aware of his need for the great physician!
I do not know what your needs are today. I do not know your condition today. I do know Jesus is available today. He wants to heal you in ways you can see with your eyes. Jesus also wants to heal you in ways you cannot see with your eyes.
Jesus wants to touch you today. Jesus wants to cleanse your soul. God wants you to have the faith to believe Jesus can bring healing and restoration into your life!
Jesus is holding out His hand to you today. Are you willing to receive His loving touch?
“Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” Matthew 7:22-23 NKJV
Why would Jesus cast a person out of His presence who has done great works in His name? When we stand before Jesus He will not judge us by the works we did in His name. Jesus will judge us by the motivation for the things we do in His name.
Jesus said we would know what is in a person’s heart by what their lives produce. The secrets in a person’s heart cannot remain hidden. Everything is eventually exposed.
When we stand in judgment before God our eternal destiny will be decided by one simple fact alone. Did we or did we not live by faith in Jesus Christ!
Jesus is the doorway that leads to relationship with God. He created us to live in loving relationships. The Lord created us to be loved by Him. He created us to love and care for each other. The capacity to give and receive love is one of the ways we resemble God.
God did not create us to go to church on Sunday. He did not create us to read our bibles. The Lord did not create us to pray. Those activities in themselves do not please the Lord.
God is pleased when we stay actively engaged with Him. He is pleased when we allow Him to live out the life of Christ in us and through us. The Lord is pleased when our love for each other is revealed by how we live!
God wants us to know Jesus Christ and make Him known to the world. Do you know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Does the Lord know you? Take drastic measures to know Jesus and be known by Him today!
We all sin. Not all of us are sinners. What is the difference? People who live by faith in Jesus Christ are forgiven of sins past, present and future. We are no longer slaves to sin. Sin has no control over us. We are no longer identified by our sin
Years after meeting Jesus I returned to a sin God delivered me from. A Pastor reminded me that I did not need to be set free. I was already free. I dropped that bad habit like a stink bug!
If you have not been forgiven turn to Jesus today. Jesus will wash your sins away. If you know Jesus but have turned back to sin let it go. Jesus set you free so you could walk in freedom today!
When Jesus looks deep into your heart He wants to see love and devotion for Him. Please your Heavenly Father today through faith in Jesus Christ!
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Matthew 6:34 NKJV
Life is hard. God is good!
Jesus does not want us to worry about the trials and hardships tomorrow may or may not bring. Jesus wants us to focus on our relationships with Him and each other today.
My wife had surgery. She developed an infection. She was transferred to a rehab center. Conditions at the facility were deplorable. She came home. I became her caretaker.
My wife needed constant care. I needed to work. I thought I could do both. I could not. I took my vacation and sick days. I tried to meet her needs before work and after. I tried to accomplish more at work in less time. I failed miserably at both.
At home I was thinking about work. At work I thought about my wife. I promised to care for her even if I lost my job. I didn’t think it would come to that. It almost did.
I gave up trying to do both. I focused on my wife’s care. I did the best I could at work. If there was a conflict she came first. I felt guilty. I started to worry. I wondered what tomorrow may bring. Did I do the right thing? Would I do it again?
I am at peace with the decision to put my wife’s care before work even if I do lose my job! A double minded man is unstable in all His ways.
God gives us clear priorities in His word. What are they?
God’s greatest commandment is, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” The second is, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” My wife would not consider herself my neighbor, but no one lives closer to me than she does!
We will suffer tribulation in this life. There will be times when we need to prioritize our time and activities. God wants us to work. It should never be our number one priority. The people we love should be. That starts with Jesus!
Life is complicated. There is much to worry about. It does not help. Worrying makes circumstances worse. It clouds our judgment. It affects our physical, emotional and mental health. It makes us easy prey for the enemy of our souls!
Worry is the opposite of faith! Do not worry about tomorrows trials and troubles. Trust God to lead you and guide through life on planet earth today!
I wrote this message four years ago. The winds of adversity still blow into and out of our lives. Jesus promised our time on earth would be filled with trials and trouble. Jesus also promised to be with us every step of the way as journey through a fallen world.
Jesus overcame the world so that your heart can be full of peace and joy today!
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