Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late

Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away. This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:47-50

Jesus tells another parable, the last in this series of parables. This one has some similarity to the Parable of the Weeds, for its conclusion reveals something about the end of the age. Here we have fishermen as the example; they cast their nets and haul in a big catch. They drag their nets to the shore and sort their catch, for there are good fish, ready for market, and there are fish to throw back; Jesus likens this process to what will happen on the last day, when the angels of God will sort out the Kingdom. The “good fish” will enter, and the “bad fish” will be tossed out. To put it another way, the Kingdom of heaven is open to everyone, but not all will choose to enter, and when the day comes, many will find that they waited too long, and that the doors are now closed.

The above portion is a reblog from LifeReference @ wordpress

Don’t wait until it’s too late! Decide now that you want to be caught in God’s net of salvation and not the devil’s net of eternal separation from God. The choice is yours.

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Christian service outside of the church?

In yesterday’s post I talked about the difference between a believer in Jesus and a follower of Jesus. As I said, the first is sincere in accepting Jesus as Lord and savior of their lives but fall short on what it means to follow Jesus. To further define and provide examples of following Jesus, the remainder of this post discusses where you can provide Christian service both inside the church and in the community.

Any service that reflects Jesus’ love is “Christian service.” From giving a cup of water (Mark 9:41) to dying for someone (John 15:13), there are as many types of Christian service as there are needs in the world. Very few involve activity within the four walls of the church.

The Bible gives some specific examples of Christian service: show hospitality to strangers (Hebrews 13:2), remember those in prison (Matthew 25:36), provide for the needy (Matthew 25:35), and mentor others (Titus 2:2-8). Some examples speak to our day-to-day living: care for children (Matthew 18:5), tend families (Titus 2:5), treat employees fairly (Colossians 4:1), deal honestly with customers (Leviticus 19:36), and be diligent with employers’ resources (Matthew 25:14-30). As long as the act is done “in Jesus’ name”—that is, it is motivated by the love of Jesus—it is Christian service.

There are thousands of organizations outside the church committed to serving others. Homeless shelters, housing builders, and food banks always need volunteers and donations. Internationally, organizations like Compassion International provide food, clothing, and education for children in sometimes dangerous situations. Other ministries provide water, micro-loans, or resources such as farm animals to enable the child’s family to generate their own income.

The world outside the walls of the church offers many opportunities for those specifically educated in theology. Chaplains serve hospitals, military bases, and shipping ports. Foreign missionaries travel overseas to plant churches and train indigenous pastors. Parachurch ministries provide biblical guidance for families and others in need. And internet ministries like Got Questions are always in need of those who can explain the truth of God in a loving, easy-to-understand way.

The world is in desperate need of Christians willing to show the love of Christ through their actions. Jesus said the second greatest commandment was to love others—not sentimentally, but tangibly. Every action performed out of kindness, powered by the understanding of Christ and His love, is Christian service.

Believer Or Follower?

When it comes to your relationship with the Lord are you a believer or a follower? Some might ask what’s the difference between the two? Aren’t they basically the same? Well, yes and no.

A believer in Jesus Christ is one who has accepted Him as their Lord and savior, sought forgiveness of their sins, attends church and tries to live a Christian lifestyle. Some might ask, “Isn’t a follower of Jesus the same?” Let me explain the difference.

The difference in the two is separated by one’s actions and not just mental agreement or belief that Jesus is Lord. As I said above, the believer attends church and tries to live a Christian lifestyle. But that’s as far as it goes for them. The follower, however, does all of those things but also commits to action in following the Lord. They serve at church, give of their time to others, give money above and beyond their monthly tithe offering. In other words they are “doers of the word and not hearers only.” (James 1:22-25)

In today’s culture, with our busy schedules, parental responsibilities and attending church it is easy to get caught up in the world’s view of what it means to be a Christian. Our mindset is more on getting things done and getting more from this worldly kingdom than giving for heaven above. Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with having a nice car or home or even a large income but it’s what you do with those things that count in heaven.

In the end God looks at the heart of man and what he deems valuable. Don’t be one who stores up treasures on earth where moth and rust decay, but, store up your treasures in heaven and there your heart will be also.

If you are truly following Jesus then you are following your heart and laying up your treasures in heaven where it really counts. Your service, love, and action to others will be accounted for on judgment day and your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Living In True Freedom

Citizens in many countries believe they are free because their governments allow them to worship, speak, and travel as they desire. Yet despite the liberties a constitution may guarantee, countless people from those lands live in bondage. That’s because true freedom isn’t something that can be legislated. Rather, it is the ability to live a righteous life in the mercy, grace, goodness, and power of God.

True freedom means:

Through Jesus, we are redeemed from bondage to sin and its consequences.

Our hope is secure.

God has enabled us to become all that He intended.

Through grace, Christ has freed us to relate to one another in a godly fashion.

Is anything hindering God’s work in your life or interfering with your peace and contentment? Understand that the Christian life is a paradox: We are set free from bondage to sin yet choose to be bondslaves of Jesus.

Only when we fully surrender and sacrifice to Him can we truly live in freedom.

Forsaking Anger

Scripture Ref: Ephesians 4:30-32

The fleshly method for “curing” wrath is to either let it out or suppress it. Neither is effective for solving problems or relieving the anger. However, God’s way of dealing with this dangerous emotion dissolves it and sets the believer free. As today’s passage reminds us, we are to “let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from [us], along with all malice” (v. 31).

Whether we are annoyed at ourselves, another person, or God, we have to own that feeling. Pretending that the emotion doesn’t exist or that we’ve somehow risen above anger is useless. If you’re angry, admit it and then identify the source. Knowing who or what ignited the initial fury can prevent people from misdirecting irritation onto the innocent.

Once we know the source of our anger, it’s time to forgive. Fury and unforgiveness often go together, and both will drag us down. God calls us to set them aside and take up love and kindness instead. Forsaking anger means walking in His will with a light step.

God’s Help Is Readily Available

While Jesus was living on the earth, He couldn’t simultaneously be with everyone who needed Him. Now, however, God’s help is readily available through the Holy Spirit, who indwells all believers and is constantly present with each one.

Thanks to the Spirit, every Christian can become the person God designed him or her to be. Through the Helper’s knowledge and power, we can be devoted Christ-followers, even in a corrupt culture. The Spirit’s work includes opening our minds to God’s truth, providing supernatural energy when we are weary, and comforting us during heartache.

God loves people so much that He provided an ever-present Helper to all who place their faith in Jesus Christ. When we are in trouble or in need, we can call upon the Holy Spirit and instantly connect to the power of our heavenly Father.

You Don’t Have To Do It Alone

In the book, The Dance of Hope, Bill Frey remembers the day he tried to pull a stump out of the Georgia dirt. One of his chores as a twelve year old was to search for stumps of pine trees that had been cut down and chop them into kindling. But there was one root system he just couldn’t pull out of the ground. He was still struggling when his father came over to watch.

I think I see your problem,” his dad said.

What’s that?” Bill asked.

You’re not using all your strength.” Bill exploded and told him how hard he’d been working.

No,” his Father said, “You’re not using all your strength.”

When Bill cooled down, he asked his Father what he meant.

He said, “You haven’t asked me to help you.”

You don’t have to do it alone! Present the challenge to your Father—ask for help! Will he solve the issue? Yes, he will.