Monday, June 27, 2011

Perseverance, Persistence, Patience, Prayer

Reading from the Book of Matthew 25:1-10, 21

 1 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
   6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
   7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
   9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
   10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

All ten of the virgins in Matthew 25:1-10 had the same opportunity, but only half were prepared to take. In a society where people needed oil to provide light, five virgins were wise and had extra oil on hand. The other five were foolish and lost out because they did not keep their lamps filled with oil. When the bridegroom came, the five virgins without the oil missed their opportunity to go with him because they were lazy when they should have been working and were out trying to buy more oil for their lamps at the wrong time.

God is an "equal-opportunity employer." It does not matter to Him what kind of background we come from, what kind of parents or family life we have, what color or gender we are, what kind of education we recieved, or what our physical handicaps may be. None of those things make any difference to Him. In Him, we all have equal opportunity. Anyone who will follow His guidelines and do what He tells them to do can be blessed and used by Him. God puts potentail in all of us and if we are willing to develop it, we will see wonderful things take place in our lives.

 21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

In Matthew 25:21, Jesus stressed the importance of being faithful to the work assigned us. We want to hear Him say, "Well done, good and faithful servant." It's not the amount of our work that's important, or the status of it, or the notoriety of it. It's the faithfulness with which we do exactly what He has assigned us. Our lives and labors call for perseverance, persistence, patience, and prayer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Am The Way!

Reading from the Book of John 14:5-14

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” 8 Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” 9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Have you ever been in a car with someone who doesn't know where he is going and who refuses to ask for directions? Many people think there are many ways to God, and they search for truth in different places, ignoring the directions that God gave us.

However, the reality is that there is only one way to God, and that is through Jesus Christ. As you follow Jesus, Who is the Way, He will lead you in truth and you will experience fullness of life.

To whatever degree we love God, to that same degree we obey Him. To whatever degree we obey Him, that is the measure of our love for Him. As our love for Jesus grows, so will our obedience.

It is important to see that Jesus has a certain way of doing things, and if we will submit to His way, everything will work out. So often we wrestle and struggle with Him, trying to get Him to do things our way. It just doesn't work. Let Jesus be the Way in your life.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Be A God-Pleaser

Reading from the Book of Exodus 18:17-18

17 Moses’ father-in-law replied, “What you are doing is not good. 18 You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.
Moses was a man of many responsibilities. All day, every day, the Israelites came to him for everything. Wanting to please the people, Moses tried to meet all their needs.When God told Moses through his father-in-law that his task was too heavy for him, the message came through loud and clear: "The thing that you are doing is not good...You are not able to perform it all by yourself."

One of the fastest ways for a person to grow weary is to be a "people-pleaser" rather than a "God-pleaser."
People-pleasers have a hard time setting boundaries. But we need to understand that setting limits is wise and is a sign of strength, not weakness. Like Moses we need to learn that we cannot do it all. We are on the road to burnout if we try to keep everyone happy and do everything we think they want us to do all of the time.

Seek to please God alone, and you will experience peace, freedom, and enjoyment you have never known. Be a God-Pleaser.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Stir Up The Love!

Reading from the Book of Matthew 24:8-14

8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

The twenty-forth chapter of Matthew deals with signs of the end-times. Most of them we are very familiar with---wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines and widespread deception. But there is another sign of the end times. Matthew 24:12 says that "the love of most will grow cold" due to the lawlessness and wickedness in the land.

The "great body" is the church, not the world. The pressure of rampant evil, difficult circumstances, and even the stress of our modern-day lifestyles produce an atmosphere so supercharged with problems that most people totally ignore their love walk with God. Instead they concentrate on themselves, look out for themselves, and try to solve their own problems.

This is something that God never told us to do. If we tend to His business, He will tend to ours. We are to concentrate on representing Him properly, and that is impossible to do unless we are walking in love. As we do that, He gives us wisdom to deal with our problems and brings deliverance from our foes.

Refuse to let your love grow cold. Reach out to others who are hurting and in need. Pray for people and bless them. Grow to the point that one of your first thoughts each morning in your heart is about how you can bless someone else that day. Express care and concern for your family, loved ones and friends. Stir up the love in your life!