Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Faith vs. Fear

Here we again see Peter's personality of boldness and rashness and his love for Jesus and faith in Jesus. Faith that is strong and fierce one moment but weak and doubtful next moment. But in the end, he knew Who alone could save him from peril.

O Lord, please increase our faith...please grant us vibrant, childlike faith...
faith that is shown by our action
faith that steps out in obedience even into the unknown or the impossible (the supernatural)
faith that does what You say even when it's against all odds or logic
faith that desires to go to You and to imitate You
faith that realizes You empower those You call
faith that focuses on You, not on circumstances or difficulties
faith that overcomes fear or gives us courage and confidence in spite of fear
faith that believes and trusts in Your goodness, faithfulness, love, and power without doubt
faith that sustains us in the midst of the storm
faith that gives us peace, knowing we are always in Your presence
faith that reminds us that all we need to do to get help is: crying out to You, Jesus
faith that reveals how weak & helpless we are and how desperately we all need You to save us; for without You, we all would be sinking in sin and death!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fishers of Men

These fishermen forsook all and followed Jesus. Complete devotion to Christ requires sacrifices and willingness to surrender all. Christ gave these men their new calling ("fishers of men") which is also the calling for all His followers. "'Behold, I will send for many fishermen,' says the Lord, 'and they shall fish them.'" (Jeremiah 16:16a) We are to cast out the net of the Gospel & God's patient love and bring people out of the sea of sin & hopelessness unto Jesus and His kingdom. The Greek word used here means to capture alive. We are to catch people/win souls to eternal life. Like fishing, soul-saving business (evangelism) takes patience, hard work, perseverance, and ultimately reliance upon the Lord (the miracle of Christ providing the fish demonstrates this truth). Jesus alone can save souls. The success comes from faith in Him, not confidence in our own skills.

"Like this netted arm, running far out into the busy world, is a genuine Christian life. It has none of the special gifts of a Finney or a Moody, but in the coming and going tides more than one soul is arrested by this standing net of a godly life. Unconsciously guided by the holy barrier in their way, they are drawn into stiller waters, and when the tide goes out at last, many, I believe, will be found taken for Christ, and taken by fishers of men whose chief skill has been to stand, to stand firm and without rent, in the midst of a restless sea." (J. B. Clark)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Peter, Surrender!

"'No,' said Peter, 'you shall never wash my feet.'
Jesus answered, 'Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.'
'Then, Lord,' Simon Peter replied, 'not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!'" (John 13:8-9)

"No" and "never" are such strong words, especially when spoken to the Lord of lords, King of kings. Peter was rash, audacious, and outspoken (often unfiltered). Peter meant well because he didn't want his Master to stoop down to wash his feet (a servant/slave's job). He didn't realize Christ's mission theme: "
For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)
We are not unlike Peter. How many times have we insisted in our own ways and resisted what God wants us to do? How many times have we thought we know what's best so we dictate what God should do (in our prayers)? We ought to humbly receive God's gifts of grace, surrender to God's will, and trust His doing even when we don't understand. Obedience matters!
Jesus replied to Peter with a lesson on spiritual washing/soul cleansing. Only those who are spiritually washed by Christ's blood and His Spirit have a part in Him, enjoy His fellowship, and share in His kingdom. He saves, justifies, and sanctifies us. By the act of washing the disciples' feet, Jesus also exemplified selfless, sacrificial love and servanthood that we are to imitate. 

Then Peter wanted Jesus to wash not just his feet but also his hands and head. He wanted to cover all the bases. Don't you just love Peter's personality :)? He certainly had weaknesses. We all do. It's wonderful to know that God does use all sorts of people with various personalities to do His kingdom work.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Life and Death

For my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ:
Life (on earth) is short! Don't waste your life!
Live for God, not selves...for His kingdom, not yours.
Live in the light of eternity.
Live life with purpose and passion.
Live by faith in Christ Jesus.
Live a life of love (love God and others).
Live to tell what Christ died to do.
Live each day with a heart of gratitude.
Live to make an eternal impact in this world.
Live to bless and bring joy to others.
Live fearlessly with blessed assurance and confident hope.
Live and rest in God's constant presence.
"Don't be afraid of death...Be afraid of the unlived life." (quote from the movie, "Tuck Everlasting")

Death has no dominion over those who are in Christ!
"Life is your business--not death!
Your only concerns are...
living on Christ;
living for Christ;

living like Christ; and then,
living forever with Christ!
(James Smith) 

When the Puritan Richard Baxter lay dying
, he said to his friends who visited him: "You come here to learn to die. I can assure you that your whole life, be it ever so long--is little enough to prepare for death. Beware of this vain deceitful world, and the lusts of the flesh. Be sure that you choose...
 God for your portion,
 Heaven for your home,
 God's glory for your end,
 His Word for your rule--
and then you need never fear but we shall meet with comfort.
He also said, "Lord, what is man? What am I? A vile worm to the great God! God may justly condemn me for the best duty I ever did. All my hopes are from the free mercy of God in Christ!"
 (taken from Grace Gems)
For those who have not surrendered their lives to Christ:
Life (on earth) is short! Do you know where you will spend eternity after death? There are only two options: Heaven or Hell. I hope and pray that you will choose Christ and Heaven. To not decide now is to decide against it. None of us is promised tomorrow or another second for that matter.
"To be almost saved--is to be altogether lost! There are many in Hell who once were almost saved--but who are now altogether damned! Think of that, you who are not far from the Kingdom. It is being in the Kingdom that saves the soul--not being near the Kingdom." (Charles Spurgeon) 

Jesus is the Answer; He is the only Way
Surrender to Him; don't delay
There may not be another day
I love you so this I must say
You'll choose Jesus I hope & pray

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Thinking Through Grief

I feel things very deeply; therefore, I tend to get emotional easily. However, I also like to process my feelings and thoughts through words/writing. January went by as a blur and a nightmare. My mother-in-law went to be with the Lord on Sunday, January 22. It was very unexpected. We had her celebration of life service on Monday, January 30. It's now a new month...a new day. I hope and pray that we all learn and grow through grief and other trials or storms of life.
- Value the gift of life. Each life is a precious gift from God! - Be thankful for families; cherish them now; show & tell them how much you love & appreciate them. Don’t wait to say, “I love you.” - Live for God, not self...for His kingdom, not ours. Live life with purpose and passion. Don't just go through the motions. God leaves us here for a reason. - Keep an eternal perspective always; life (on earth) is short but eternity is forever. And don't sweat the small stuff! Read Ecclesiastes every now and then; it's a great reminder for us all. - Trust God even when we don't understand. Trust in His infinite wisdom and loving heart. - We cannot change the past but we can do something about the future. Love God more. Love people more. Serve more. Pray more. Share the gospel more. Spend time, treasures, and talents more wisely and for God's glory. Keep shining His beautiful light wherever we go. - Open our eyes to see beauty everywhere and give thanks to God for all the blessings in our lives. Be more appreciative of what we have right now. - Be quick to listen and forgive. Be more patient. Be more gracious. Be more compassionate. Follow the example of Jesus Christ. Open our eyes to others' needs and provide support & comfort. - Don't compare our own unique path/journey with someone else. Stay strong and faithful to what God has called us to do. - Without Christ, life is meaningless. Without grace, life is hopeless. - We shall never lose hope when our hope is in Christ alone. Our eternal hope of being in Heaven with Him gives us strength, comfort, and courage to go on and assures us of our future reunion with our loved ones who are saved by grace through faith in Him. - Be a blessing. Enrich other people's lives. Love like Jesus...unconditionally, selflessly, & sacrificially. - Choose our thoughts, words, actions, and reactions wisely. May they honor and glorify God and draw others to Him! - Seek God in each moment and dwell & rest in His presence at all times.

Monday, January 30, 2017

See You Later, Mom!

We did not see it coming You were improving at our last visiting We were in shock and disbelief Words cannot describe how we have grieved
Our only comfort is: knowing you're in Heaven with Jesus Whom you dearly love and Who has saved all of us You shared His light by how you lived You were kind, generous, always eager to give
You exemplified how to love like Christ Unconditionally, selflessly, sacrificially day and night You always took care of those in need You were a beautiful & precious blessing, indeed
Your faith was authentic and strong You loved to study God's Word and praise Him in Psalm & songs We know you're ecstatic about your new home Without burdens of this world you freely roam
We miss you terribly and you'll forever be in our hearts We know you want us to be happy and not fall apart We shall continue your legacy of Christ-centered living We thank God for the time we had with you and for eternal hope to which we're clinging
By God's grace we will any storms get through God will guide and sustain us as He did for you This is not a goodbye; it's a mournful moment in time We always love you! See you later, Mom!
Written by your daughter-in-love who’s so blessed to know you and call you Mom 01/30/2017
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; the devout are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death.” (Isaiah 57:1-2)

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