Insightful, encoraging words for the end of the year, and life in general. Read, and be blessed.
Just sharing a post from the blog
rich sinners poor saints – Putting Purpose and Prosperity back into Christian Stewardship
Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
“Lord, do not hold this sin against them”.
If I’m clearly in the right, and I KNOW I’m in the right, yet people decide to wrong me anyway – because of the good I am doing, I’m not 100% sure I’ll be so willing not to hold it against them. If people are THROWING STONES at me because of the good that I’m trying to do, I’m definitely not feeling like Steven – don’t hold this against them.
But in Matthew 5, Jesus gives us instructions to be just like Steven was. He admonishes us to be meek (vs. 5) and merciful (vs. 7). He goes as far as to say in vs. 10-11,
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It’s tough to swallow, but it’s what Jesus wants. Steven’s words mirrored those of Jesus at His crucifixion. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
What exactly this means for your life and your personal situation, I do not know. Have a conversation with Jesus and ask Him to reveal His personal message to you.
I want to be like Jesus. Do you?
Do you ever compare yourself to others – their life, their family, their education? No, don’t answer out loud. Just think about it and answer in your heart. It is so easy to play the comparison game, even when you don’t plan to, don’t want to, don’t think about it. I know
I do it I’ve done it (hopefully I can keep that past tense)
Peter also fell into this trap. In John 21:21 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”, referring to John, the beloved disciple. Jesus had just admonished Peter to follow Him. But Peter was more concerned with John, and whether the Lord’s admonition to him would be different.
“What is that to you?” is Jesus question in vs. 22. “You must follow me.”
This is a lesson to all of us as well. What is it to you what somebody else does or doesn’t do? Does it matter if their lifestyle may seem more appealing? So what if God’s calling on their life seems more convenient than yours? What is that to you?
Jesus says to all of us, “You must follow me.”
Even if it’s difficult, “You must follow me.”
Even when it hurts, “You must follow me.”
If the path is different from the one you expected, “You must follow me.”
If someone else seems to have it easier, better, whatever…
“What is that to you? You must follow me.”
As we traverse this new year, let us remember to always follow Jesus, regardless of the circumstances
(My brief transcript/notes on this sermon that has tremendously blessed me)
8 steps to know God’s will for your life
- Have no will of your own on the matter
- Matt 26:39
- Don’t go simply by feeling – but by principle
- 2 Tim 1:7
- Study God’s word – be in daily communion with God
- Ps. 119:105
- Consider providential circumstances – how has God led you in the past?
- Deut 8:2
- Failure is neutral. It’s your relationship with failure that makes the difference
- Consult with godly friends
- Prov 11:14
- Ps. 1:1
- Ask God in prayer to reveal His will
- James 1:5
- Make a decision
- Josh. 24:15
- Tell God your decision before you tell anybody else
- Don’t get into the “paralysis of analysis” – don’t think too much
- Proceed with your decision. Ask God to stop you if you have not chosen the right thing. If it is not his plan, Ask God to “shut the door”
- Rev 3:7,8
- Nobody plans to fail. They simply fail to plan