Sometimes we forget that our spiritual journey involves a downwardness. There are some who attribute this downwardness to direct attacks of Satan or lack of faith. In doing so, they bring much harm to those experiencing these downward periods.
We must always remember that Christ revealed the downward aspect of the journey when He left the realm of glory to come into our world and show us how to live and how to die. As Christ followers, we follow Him even in the downward periods of our life knowing that glory is ahead of us and the best is yet to come.
Thanks to my friend Milton W. Kliesch for this video clip of Parker Palmer talking about his spiritual journey that has included 3 bouts of clinical depression. He refers to a downwardness of the the journey in which he has learned much.
Does the compassionate life not demand that we be present to those who suffer; does it not require that we enter into solidarity with the poor, oppressed, and downtrodden; does it not motivate us both to move into the thick of life and to experience the hardships of existence in solidarity with the outcasts?
- Henri Nouwen,
Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life
Those who receive God’s grace are changed. They cease to do whatever they want to do and begin to do what Jesus Christ wants them to do. They no longer live their life for self. They deny self and follow Jesus.
There is no better example of this transformation than the one recorded in Acts 9:1-9 of God’s word. A dramatic, definable and undeniable change takes place in Saul.
Saul was living his own life believing in his interpretation of the Old Testament and the prophets. Jesus did not fit Saul’s and his religious buddies interpretation of what the Scripture said of the Messiah. They thought the teachings and claims of Jesus were too radical and threatened change to the Law and the Temple. Saul was at the trial of Stephen where frustrations with the early Christ followers came to a violent climax and ended in the stoning death of Stephen (Acts 7).
Saul created his own mission and purpose. He became a self led persecutor of Christ followers and was given all the authority that he needed by the religious institution of his day. He thought that he was doing God a favor. He was full of pride, but the One he persecuted brought humility to his life by the grace of God.
Saul’s transformation, as the transformation of all those who choose to follow Christ, was the result of God’s grace. Saul did not go looking for Jesus. Jesus went looking for Saul. Saul did not initiate the encounter. Jesus did. How amazing is the grace of God that seeks out sinners like Saul; sinners like me and sinners like you. Jesus picks us to follow Him and as we do, transformation takes place in us. It is dramatic, definable and undeniable. That is grace and it is amazing.
"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.” ~ John Newton (1725-1807)
Received grace will always bring needed transformation. Saul ends his travel to Damascus different than the way he started.
He went to arrest Christ followers, now he was arrested by Christ
He went having been given authority from man, now he had come under the authority of Christ
He went leading, now he is following
Only Jesus can bring about such a transformation. Only Jesus. And it’s all by His grace.
Grace is being poured out in our day. Jesus still calls people to follow Him. He brings radical transformation to those who receive His grace, deny self and are led by Him. Christ followers have a bright future and have been given a deposit of it now through the Holy Spirit. The best is yet to come!
“When we've been there ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.” ~ John Newton (1725-1807)
I believe that one of Satan’s greatest tactics that he uses against us is distractions. If he can keep us distracted, he will keep us from fulfilling our purpose and our mission here on earth. We must recognize this tactic and overcome it.
Throughout the Bible we learn of how people were distracted by Satan.
Eve was distracted by a quest for knowledge.
Adam was distracted by peer pressure.
Cain was distracted by jealousy.
Moses was distracted by anger.
Samson was distracted by self sufficiency.
Saul was distracted by human reasoning.
David was distracted by lust.
Solomon was distracted by all the stuff he had accumulated.
Judas was distracted by love of money or greed.
The disciples were distracted at the cross by fear and unbelief.
Please know that Satan will try his best to distract you and keep you from fulfilling your purpose and your mission. Distractions will come your way.
Jesus was in Capernaum. The Word of God says "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was." (Mark 1:32-34 NIV) In the first chapter of Mark we see Jesus entering into powerful ministry. People are healed and captives are set free. An entire city is impacted. What a powerful ministry
Jesus knew the source of His power
The Word of God says "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." (Mark 1:35 NIV) At this point in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, His followers did not understand the importance of prayer. Later on as they saw Jesus move and minister with a powerful anointing, they understood that Jesus received anointing and instructions through His prayer life and they asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.
Jesus placed priority on prayer. There were a lot of people to minister to as there were a lot of people in need, but Jesus always made time to get by Himself and pray. Here we see Him getting up early in the morning, going off by Himself and praying. He had ministered all day to needy people and now He was refueling through prayer; spending time with His God the Father.
Beloved, Prayer is vital for the follower of Jesus Christ. It is where instruction for our journey is given and strength for our journey is supplied. If we are to continue the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit, we must spend time in prayer. We must spend time with Jesus.
Distractions will come
The devil watched Jesus and observed His prayer life. The devil knows the power of prayer. He tried to distract Jesus. He will try to distract you.
God’s Word says "Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: "Everyone is looking for you!"" (Mark 1:36-37 NIV) Jesus is in prayer and Simon Peter comes looking for Him because he thinks Jesus should be back at the house ministering to people. What a distraction! Here we have the second person of the Godhead spending intimate time with the first person of the Godhead; the Son of God spending time with the Father refueling for the mission and Peter interrupts! I believe Satan used Peter to try to distract Jesus from His mission just as Satan tries to distract us from our mission.
Beloved, Satan will try everything he can to try to distract you from your purpose and your mission. Satan will try his best to get you so busy that you don’t have quality time to spend praying; having little or no intimacy time with Jesus. He will try to bring interruptions as you try to spend time with Jesus. You must identify this tactic and overcome this brazen scheme of the enemy of our souls. If Satan succeeds, he will get us off track and will keep us from fulfilling our mission in this life.
We must stay focused on Jesus for He is our mission
Notice Jesus’ response to Simon. Jesus replied, "Let us go somewhere else--to the nearby villages--so I can preach there also. That is why I have come." So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons." (Mark 1:38-39 NIV) Jesus refused to be distracted from his mission. He refused to buckle under the pressure of man. He had spent time with the Father and received instructions and anointing to move on in the mission. He was not going to stay in Capernaum. His message was that the Kingdom of God was hear; to repent and believe. There were so many more that needed to hear the message. He moved forward with anointing and continued to minister to people at their point of need.
Beloved, we must stay focused on Jesus. If we are going to impact our cities in our day, we must stay focused on Jesus. We can not be distracted from the mission. We must spend time with Him in prayer getting our instructions and receiving our anointing. There is no other way. We are called to continue the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit and we must keep our focus on Him. Satan will try to shift our focus, but we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. As we keep Jesus the center of our attention. As we focus on Him. We will make a difference for Jesus in our day.
(Heb 12:2 NIV) Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Praise the Lord Beloved. Overcome all distractions. Stay focused. Continue the ministry of Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit until He comes!
As one grows in their walk with Christ, they continually learn that the Holy Spirit directs their steps. They begin to be sensitive to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and rely on Him to prepare and design God encounters with others at their point of need.
In Acts 8:26-40 we see a Holy Spirit designed encounter take place that we can learn much from and it will help us be able to recognize future Holy Spirit designed encounters in our journey as we follow Christ and increase His kingdom. Please notice some things with me in these Scriptures.
The Holy Spirit caused the paths of two unlikely people to cross – a Jewish Christ follower and an Ethiopian non Christ follower.
Jesus desires for us to mix with people that are not like us. If we continually mix with only those who are like us, we will miss our Holy Spirit designed encounters. That is why Christ followers have allowed Him to remove all prejudices that they have learned from their heart. They love God and ALL people. They are willing to mix with people of all race, belief, and economic status.
The Holy Spirit prepared both individuals beforehand for this encounter.
Philip was full of the Holy Spirit and had developed a heart to help people (Acts 6:1-6). He followed the leading of the Holy Spirit to Samaria (Acts 8:4-8) and was used by God in a powerful way there and now he was led by the Spirit to just head south. Phillip had allowed Christ to break down all prejudices in his heart and he was willing to minister at the point of need to anyone, no matter who they were and where they were located.
The Ethiopian had just been to Jerusalem representing the queen of the Ethiopians and was now heading back home to Ethiopia. He was not yet a Christ follower, but God was working in His heart.
Scripture was used as a basis to reveal Christ.
The Holy Spirit had attracted the Ethiopian to the Scriptures and he was reading in Isaiah 53. He did not know that Isaiah 53 pointed to Christ. He did not know that Christ had already come and fulfilled the Old Testament. He had questions concerning Scripture. Phillip the Christ follower answered his questions and pointed him to Jesus.
Christ followers must know Scripture. It’s not an option. Scripture is our authoritative guide to our beliefs and our actions. The Holy Spirit works on people’s hearts through Scripture and for us to be used by the Holy Spirit, we must know Scripture and be constantly ready to lovingly point people to Jesus through Scripture as they ask questions. If they are not asking questions, the Holy Spirit has not prepared them yet and we are just simply to love them and take care of their felt needs. Christ followers know when the Holy Spirit has prepared an individual by the questions they ask and we must be prepared to give the answer of Christ.
The desire to follow Christ in water baptism was the indicator that something genuine had taken place within the Ethiopian.
After having Christ revealed to Him, the Ethiopian did not have the desire to go to a church service, walk an aisle and repeat a prayer after somebody asking Jesus into his heart. No, all of those things are man made and not found in Scripture. The Ethiopian did have a genuine desire to follow Christ in water baptism. Water baptism is the first step a Christ follower takes in their journey with Christ and it is an outside indicator of what has already taken place on the inside.
The kingdom of God grew that day. It grew by one on that road heading south, but when the Ethiopian got back to Ethiopia, the good news about Jesus compelled others into the kingdom and Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 continued to come to pass.
Is Jesus’ prophecy of Acts 1:8 being fulfilled through your life?
A Christ follower will always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and minister at the point of need resulting in Christ being exalted and the kingdom of God growing. They can not keep the joy and the good news of the kingdom to their self as they come across people that the Holy Spirit has already prepared to receive point of need ministry and the love of Christ.
We live in a world that is constantly changing. People change. Relationships change. Morals change. Fashions change. Trends change. We constantly have to deal with change.
In the workplace we have been introduce to terms such as reengineering and downsizing. In education and health care we are constantly seeing changes as new academic and scientific studies are completed. We are seeing changes in the environment with global warming. The world around us is constantly changing and the changes grow more rapid with time.
We don’t have to look far for change. You probably don’t have to think real hard to realize a change that you had to deal with just this week. Every day our bodies are changing as each day we grow older.
Who can you depend on in a changing world? God’s Word says "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 NIV) In the midst of a constantly changing world, you can depend on Jesus. Jesus has not changed! Jesus will not change!
Jesus continues to speak the same message
God’s Word says "After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"" (Mark 1:14-15 NIV)
Jesus came preaching good news. The people of Jesus’ day believed in two ages; the present age ruled by Satan and the future kingdom ruled by God. Jesus came telling them that the Kingdom of God was near. Jesus told His disciples that when He returned to glory that He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within them.
Praise the Lord Beloved! We can live in this present age which belongs to Satan with a deposit of God’s kingdom deposited within us now. It’s our down payment of that which is to come. As we follow Christ, He deposits within us His Kingdom. Jesus deposits the Holy Spirit in His followers.
What a message! And the message has not changed. The kingdom of God is near. God’s Kingdom is coming, and we have a deposit of that Kingdom now on our journey from earth to glory as we follow Christ.
Beloved, Jesus has not changed. He continues to speak the same message!
Jesus continues to call
Continuing in the first chapter of Mark we read "As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him. When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him." (Mark 1:16-20 NIV)
Jesus walked this earth calling people to follow Him. He is still calling people today. Notice with me that Jesus doesn’t call people to join a denomination. Jesus doesn’t call people to join a church. Jesus just simply calls people to follow Him. That’s all. Just drop the nets, get out of the boat and follow Jesus. As we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, He will take us on a wonderful journey from earth to glory.
There are so many that have heard the call and decided to stay in the boat. They hang on to the nets, the things of this world, with a white knuckled intensity. Beloved, we can not hang on to the things of this world and follow Jesus at the same time. We must constantly evaluate what we are hanging onto because the world creeps into our lives in subtle ways. Those that get out of the boat, drop the nets and follow Jesus will live an exciting life on a wonderful journey from earth to glory!
Beloved, Jesus has not changed. He continues to call people to follow Him!
Jesus continues to set the captive free
Let’s read on in this powerful first chapter of Mark. "They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are--the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek." (Mark 1:21-26 NIV)
Here we see Jesus setting the captive free. This man had been held in bondage by a controlling evil spirit. With just a Word, Jesus sets this captive free.
There are so many today that are held captive. Materialism holds people captive. Drug addiction holds people captive. Alcohol addiction holds people captive. Food addiction holds people captive. Sexual deviancy and perversion holds people captive. Pornography holds people captive. People are held captive by anger, jealousy, bitterness etc…. The good news is that Jesus continues to set the captive free. As we follow Jesus, He sets us free from what holds us captive. He fills us full of His Holy Spirit that empowers and enables us to walk in victory. God’s Word declares that if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify the desires of the flesh!
Beloved, Jesus has not changed. He continues to set the captive free!
Jesus continues to bring healing
We must read on in Mark Chapter one. "As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon's mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them." (Mark 1:29-31 NIV)
Here we see this woman that receives healing by coming in contact with Jesus. You see, Jesus is healing. God’s Word declares in Isaiah 53 that it is because of the stripes that Jesus took on His back that we receive our healing. Jesus did so much for us at the cross. Not only did He take the punishment for our sins, but He physically suffered for our healing.
I believe that Jesus still works miracles and brings His healing to people today. Whether it be an instantaneous miracle or a process through medical science, it is only God who heals. I believe in these last days we will see an increase in the miraculous as people place their faith in what Jesus did for them at the cross. As they come in contact with the suffering Christ, He imparts His healing to them.
Beloved, Jesus has not changed. He continues to bring healing!
Jesus continues to impact cities
We have to read just a bit further. "That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was." (Mark 1:32-34 NIV)
Jesus came to this world to not only touch individuals, but to impact entire cities. What our cities need in our day is to be impacted by Jesus. Jesus has left us here and He has filled us with His Holy Spirit to continue His ministry. That is what Loving God Fellowship is all about. People around the world that are loving God and loving people; touching people at their point of need and impacting entire cities for Jesus in our day.
Beloved, Jesus has not changed. He continues to impact cities in our day!
As everything around you constantly changes, you can hold on to Jesus who never changes. There are never any surprises with Jesus. He stays the same yesterday, today and forever.
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NIV)
I have had to do a lot of unlearning as a follower of Christ. I was raised in the church and have been a Christian all of my life. But I have not been a Christ follower all of my life (1 Peter 2:21). When I decided to follow Jesus, I had to unlearn a lot that the modern church had taught me that is not found in Scripture.
There is a big difference between being a Christian and being a Christ follower. Christians believe in Christ. Christ followers deny self and follow Christ continuing His point of need ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is possible and most probable in our day and within our culture to be a Christian while not being a Christ follower.
Matthew was a tax collector in Jesus’ day. Tax collectors in Jesus’ day were considered to be worse than sinners. They oppressed the people. Caesar would declare a tax to fund his luscious life style and it was up to the governors of provinces to collect the tax. The governors were allowed to add a tax to that tax in order to support their life style. They would hire tax collectors to collect these taxes and the tax collectors would be allowed to add onto the tax they collected an amount they desired to fund the way that they wanted to live. And they lived nice at the expense of oppressing people. That was Matthew. In Matthew 9:9-12, Jesus calls Matthew to follow Him.
I notice some interesting facts concerning Jesus’ contact with Matthew:
What Jesus didn’t do:
Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to go the synagogue with Him the next Sabbath
Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to repeat a prayer after Him and ask Him to come into his heart
Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to attend some evangelistic event
Jesus didn’t ask Matthew to participate in a synagogue designed and led program that would help him change his behavior and become a good person
What Jesus did:
Jesus went to where Matthew was (point of need ministry)
Jesus did not point out all the things that Matthew was doing wrong and did not condemn nor judge Matthew for what he had did in the past or what he had become
Jesus showed Matthew that he cared for him just as he was
Jesus spent time building a relationship with Matthew that included Matthew’s friends who were all sinners
What the religionists of Jesus’ day did:
Avoided all people who did not believe or act as they did
Only associated with people that attended their service at the synagogue
Questioned why Jesus was hanging out with sinners
Jesus only made one request of Matthew and that was “follow me”. Jesus makes the same request to us today. Yes the culture has changed, but not Jesus’ request or His methodology. He still is asking people to simply follow Him. He doesn’t ask them to join a church and utilize all of their expendable time volunteering for church activity designed to attract people into the walls of a building and the confines of a service. He just simply asks us to follow Him. As a person answers that call, they begin an exciting journey that will lead them from earth to glory and on the way, they will touch many people at their point of need as Jesus did. They can’t help it. It’s the fruit of following Jesus.
As we continually choose to follow Jesus and we keep our eyes fixed on Him, He changes us. We develop more of His mind and more of His heart which impacts our behavior each step of the way on our journey from earth to glory.
In Acts 8:14-25 we see Jesus changing three individuals as they make the right choices to believe, repent and follow Him. And if Jesus changed these people, He will change whoever decides to follow Him.
Peter was a fisherman who decided to follow Jesus. At the cross of Christ, Peter denied knowing Jesus although he had followed Him for three years. Jesus didn’t give up on Peter though. After the resurrection, Jesus went looking for Peter, not to condemn him or judge him, but to renew and restore him. After the ascension of Jesus, Peter stayed in Jerusalem to wait for what Jesus had promised – the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, Peter was used to deliver a basic message (Acts 2) and three thousand people decided to become Christ followers that day. But Peter still has some prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated so He is one of the Apostles that goes to Samaria to see if it could really be true that Samaritans and not just Jews could become Christ followers. As He sees that it is true, the racial prejudices that have gripped his heart begin to loosen and His heart becomes more like that of Jesus, the One he follows.
The apostle John joins the apostle Peter on this trip to Samaria. John like Peter, had prejudices in His heart that have to be eliminated. It was John who had wanted to call fire from heaven to destroy a village in Samaria when they had rejected Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth (Luke 9:51-56). Of course, Jesus rebuked John’s actions teaching John an important lesson at that time and directing his steps to Samaria this time to further purge the prejudices of John’s heart.
It was not by chance or accident that these two men were chosen as the delegation of the apostles to test the authenticity of the new non-Jewish Christ followers. They were following Jesus once again to Samaria. He was directing their every step and was going to bring more change to their heart and way of thinking that would impact their behavior.
Simon was a Samaritan entertainer who had just decided to follow Jesus. He had much to learn and it would require the rebuke of a fellow Christ follower to straighten his walk with Christ. Simon witnessed the effect produced by the laying on of hands, practiced by the apostles Peter and John, and offered them money in order to acquire the same power. Ever since that day, the attempt to turn the spiritual into the commercial has been given the term “simony”. Peter gave Simon a stern rebuke for his actions (Acts 8:23-24) and Simon’s motives were checked. He learned a lot about humility and repentance that day.
As Peter and John witnessed the authenticity of non-Jewish people who had become Christ followers, prejudices were broken down in their heart and their way of thinking toward others changed impacting their behavior toward others. On their journey from Jerusalem to Samaria, they did not bother communicating with those in the villages of Samaria. As they left Samaria to return to Jerusalem, they preached the gospel to the villages of the Samaritans (Acts 8:25). Jesus had brought more change to them. They now were looking at people through the eyes of Jesus instead of the eyes of the prejudices that they had learned all their life.
Jesus changes us. He changes our way of thinking towards others. He changes our behavior towards others. He changes us to be more like Him as we continually deny self and follow Him. The best is always yet to come as we follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.
The number of casualties of the 7.6-magnitude quake in West Sumatra of Indonesia has reached to 704 and some 295 others are still missing, the provincial Disaster Management Agency said Wednesday. Also 102,646 houses collapsed and 1104,770 were damaged.
Many schools, hospitals and roads were also affected by the quake and are in a bad state. ~ Thaindian News
I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa, showing them the love of God. With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
Will you demonstrate your love of God and people by clicking here and joining us in helping survivors?
A massive quake and tsunami struck the Samoan islands on September 29, 2009, killing at least 500 people and trapping survivors beneath debris and rubble from collapsed buildings. Support is needed to get emergency aid to survivors.
I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa. With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
Will you click here and join us in showing the survivors the love of Christ?
Health workers fanned out across Padang on Tuesday to douse the Indonesian city with disinfectant over concerns about disease outbreaks six days after a deadly earthquake rattled Sumatra.
The rescue mission in Padang, a port city of 900,000, and in surrounding hills devastated by landslides has now turned to a huge relief effort to help thousands who have lost their homes. ~ PADANG, Indonesia, Oct 6 (Reuters)
I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa. With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
Becky and I have been in contact with one of our pastors in the Philippines impacted by the typhoon that has devastated that area.
"We were very busy for serving 300+ Manila flood victims who evacuate in our campus. 1000$ cost of food and materials had been distributed. We will distribute 800$ cost foods and school used to 200 families tomorrow. Please Pray for us.... 300+ died already." ~ Rev. Thang
I am raising funds this week to help as many disaster survivors that we can in Indonesia, Philippines and Samoa and show them the love of Christ. With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
The kingdom of God is good news to all who will listen, repent and believe that it is here through Jesus Christ. Entertainment will bring temporary satisfaction, but becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom provides eternal fulfillment.
Many today have turned to entertainment which appeals to the flesh, but does nothing to reconcile us to God and man, nor does it grow God’s kingdom. What is needed today is a genuine move of God through Christ followers who are willing to reveal God’s kingdom through their words and actions resulting in people repenting, believing and being baptized. In Acts 8:9-13 we see a contrast in the impact that an entertainer and a Christ follower has on the public.
Notice the contrast between Simon the magician and Peter the Christ follower.
Simon the Magician:
Was a popular entertainer
Drew attention to himself
Amazed the people with his magic
Peter the Christ Follower:
Revealed the good news about the kingdom of God through his words and actions
Pointed people to Jesus instead of self
Baptized believers as a sign of conversion
The great conclusion of Acts 8:9-13 is that even an entertainer realizes that there is need for something more and that they desire the real over the entertaining.
May God lift up those in our day who will choose the genuine over the entertaining. May we be those who will reveal to our city God’s kingdom through words and actions resulting in repentance, believing, baptizing and social change.
We will be demonstrating the love of Christ to those affected by these disasters by partnering with those already on the ground providing the medical supplies and relief that is so desperately needed.
Indonesia Earthquake - At least 1,100 people are dead in Indonesia as a result of two large earthquakes in as many days. Hundreds more are believed to be injured. Thousands of people are trapped under damaged houses and buildings.
Philippines Typhoon – Typhoon Ketsana recently dumped twice as much rain on the Philippines as Hurricane Katrina did in New Orleans. More than 250 people have died, 500,000 are homeless and almost 2 million are affected. Another "super typhoon" threatens to hit the same area. There's a huge risk that communicable diseases will take many lives.
Samoan Islands Earthquake and Tsunami – Large areas along the shores of the Samoan Islands have been devastated by vicious tsunami caused by an 8.0 earthquake. Entire villages have been wiped out.
With three major disasters occurring in the same week, we need the help of as many generous and compassionate people as possible at this time.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge cloud of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
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