“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.
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.
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.
If the Lord’s silence is good for us, then how should we respond when we feel as if there’s a wall blocking our access to Him? The only way to break through is to keep on praying. It’s important that we remain on our knees and continue talking to Him.
First, pray to God, requesting that He let you know the reason for His silence. While Jesus was on the cross, He demonstrated that we can approach the heavenly Father with our questions. (See Mark 15:34.) Our Lord invites us to talk with Him about anything because He understands us perfectly. He knows the motivation behind what we’re asking and has an accurate read on where we’re at spiritually.
Second, ask Him to reveal His will for your life and to guide you. Remember that His timing may not match yours.
Third, trust Him. Be still in the Lord’s presence as He works in your life, and believe that He always sees the way clearly, whether or not you do. Be aware that God desires for His children to listen—even when we feel as if He’s not talking, even when we feel like giving up.
Finally, open the Bible and start reading. The Holy Spirit living within you will interpret God’s Word to your heart, and you’ll begin to hear Him speaking to you.
In addition to talking to God, practice being silent in His presence. When you listen carefully, He will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart with a sense of Himself. Then feelings of anxiety will give way to peace.
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.
How many disasters have been averted because one person refused to buckle under the strain? It’s this kind of composure Paul is summoning when he says, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything…” (Philippians 4:5-6 NIV).
The Greek word translated here as gentleness describes a temperament that’s seasoned and mature. It envisions an attitude fitting to the occasion, levelheaded and tempered. This gentleness is evident to all. Family members take note. Your friends sense a difference. Coworkers benefit from it.
The gentle person is sober minded and clear thinking. The contagiously calm person is the one who reminds others, “God is in control.” Pursue this gentleness. The Lord is near– you are not alone. You may feel alone. You may think you’re alone. But there is never a moment in which you face life without help. God is near—be anxious for nothing!
Horatio Spafford wrote the lyrics to the song “It is well with my soul”, never imagining they would become the words to one of the world’s best-love hymns. The lyrics he wrotewould become an anthem to the providence of God. “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say. . .“It is Well with My Soul!”
Is it “Well with your soul” today? If not, seek God’s everlasting, loving arms and rest in His peace.