“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.
Have you noticed it can take thirty minutes (or less!) to get outside the will of God, and thirty years (or more) to get back to the place you were before sin invaded your life? When we lose spiritual ground, when we retreat before the enemy, when we revert to our old ways, it is tough going back. We may confess, make restitution, and start over again with a clean slate, but somehow we don’t feel the presence of God like we did before.
Joshua experienced this. He led Israel to a great victory at Jericho. Then God’s people suffered a crushing defeat at Ai. When the sin at the root of that defeat was exposed, Joshua dealt with it. Then he humbly received instructions on how to win back the city he had just lost. It was nothing like the way he won Jericho. Joshua learned that following a holy, awesome, powerful God is not a cookie-cutter proposition. One day is not just like the next. One victory does not become the prescription for all victories.
Not only did God have a plan for the re-capture of Israel’s lost ground—He had a word of tender encouragement to his defeated leader. “Do not fear or be dismayed,” He told Joshua. Defeat is no cause for fear or depression. We will experience defeat in the Christian life, but it is not a permanent condition. It is only a temporary setback. Even when a Christian loses the battle, his God has won the war.
Praying specifically about a problem creates a lighter load. Many of our anxieties are threatening because they are ill defined and vague. If we can distill the challenge into a phrase, we bring it down to size.
It’s one thing to pray, “Lord, please bless my meeting tomorrow.” It’s another thing to pray, “I have a conference with my supervisor at 2:00 PM tomorrow. She intimidates me. Would you please grant me a spirit of peace so I can sleep well tonight? Grant me wisdom so I can enter the meeting prepared. And would you soften her heart toward me and give her a generous spirit? Help us have a gracious conversation in which both of us benefit and your name is honored.”
There! You have reduced the problem to a prayer-sized challenge! As God’s children we honor him when we tell him exactly what we need.
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.
The Holy Spirit is a practical helper. He is part of the Trinity, which means He’s one with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ. And He is all-powerful and all-knowing, just like the other two members of the Godhead. In other words, the Spirit dwelling within us knows exactly what God in heaven wills for our life.
Since even the most intelligent people operate with limited knowledge, it is wise to depend upon the Holy Spirit’s guidance, especially in prayer. We do not know what the future holds; as a result, our desires may not fit God’s plan. Or it might never occur to us to request something that the Lord knows we will eventually need.
There are believers who give up on prayer because our human limitations prevent fully understanding how it works. But those who stop communicating with God miss out on the awesome work of the Spirit. He directs our prayers, impresses upon our hearts the truth about what we have asked, and ultimately opens our minds to God’s will.
Believers never have to worry about offering up a wrong prayer. In our humanness, we often ask for something that we think will satisfy our fleshly need. But the Holy Spirit won’t present a request that goes against the Father’s will. Instead, He intercedes to ask for what is right. And at the same time, He whispers to our heart that what we have requested is not suitable.
If God’s will is our true desire, then we’ll be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. He is our prayer link to the heavenly Father, and where He leads, we must follow.
(reblog from Charles Stanley | In Touch Ministries)
Scripture references: Philippians 2:3-4 and Matthew 25.
In yesterday’s post I introduced the question that might be asked of you by the Lord on the day you stand before Him and account for your life. The question asked was, “What have you done with the life I’ve given you?” If you take time to reflect on this question, it really makes you think.
In today’s times we get wrapped up in doing our thing. You know, going to work, watching TV, going out to eat, and partying with friends to name a few. But, where in the midst of all this activity or just “doing”, have you spent time reading God’s word and/or praying to him? By doing this you’ll discover what God says.
The bible gives us direction on that. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Did you catch that last part? Do not merely look out for your personal interests, but also for the interests of others. What interests you might ask? Food, clothing, a place to live, money to live on to name a few. Have you given lately to the poor and needy? I don’t mean just giving money but being present yourself when giving.
Matthew 25 discusses a lot of this through parables that Jesus told. They are the parable of the ten virgins, the parable of the bags of gold and the parable of the sheep and goats. This chapter is pretty intense when you realize that God is saying to you, us, that we should always be prepared for his return (10 virgins); we should give more than we receive which results in having more (Bags of gold); and finally the sheep and the goats. This is where the rubber meets the road.
The sheep and the goats represent those who did things for the least of these which is Jesus and those who didn’t do anything for the least of these which are the goats and Jesus separates them to eternal darkness.
The life we have on this earth is short compared to eternity. God is giving us his direction on how to live a fulfilled life while at the same time giving of yourself to those in need. Living a life of selfless giving results in spending eternity with God and all that He has prepared for you.
Take time today to schedule time for reading the bible and prayer. Listen to and do what God is telling you and you will come out on top every time. You’ll be in with the sheep and not the goats. Guaranteed.
No amount of Christian activity compensates for the failure to be an authentic Christian. Our authenticity (or lack thereof) is made evident by the fruit that our lives are bearing. If we’re to be recognized as Christ’s followers, we need to be producing the fruit of his Holy Spirit.
Going to church or praying a prayer doesn’t automatically result in the fruit of the Spirit being produced in our lives. Rather, the condition of our souls strongly influence the fruit that comes out of our lives. Quite simply, if there are areas of our souls that have been damaged in some way, we will inevitably produce bad fruit in those areas. And keep in mind that bad fruit doesn’t necessarily point to a horrific past or abuse—it can simply mean that there are areas of the soul that are still not Christlike (and we all have these).
How can identify these areas by examining our responses to the people and events in our lives. For example, when we hear that a coworker has received another promotion, do we have the fruit of kindness and rejoicing, or do we talk about why someone else could do a better job? When we see a grim report on the news, do we freak out, sell our stock portfolio to buy gold, and fill our cellars with a six-month supply of imperishable food? Or do we respond with a strong peace in our hearts, knowing that God will take care of us?
If we want to bear good fruit, working on our soul muscle is imperative, regardless of whether or not our past looks like a train wreck (like mine). The goal for all of us is developing the kind of prosperous soul from which flows the qualities listed in Galatians. This fruit cannot be manufactured or externally generated; It results only from soul transformation and an authentic relationship with Jesus.
It’s great to know that we can choose to change our spiritual core by strengthening and healing our soul muscle. We have God’s power working within us to bring about our transformation into the image of Christ that each one of us—and, more important, God—desires.
No matter where we’ve come from or what negative habits we have created in our lives, we have a promise from God that we can be someone new. From that soft, responsive heart he has placed within us and his Spirit living on the inside of us, we can learn to live a life that is controlled by the Holy Spirit and not by our flesh.