Mathew 19:16-22, “16 Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 “Which ones?” the man asked. And Jesus replied: “You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. 19 Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied. “What else must I do?” 21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.”
It is so easy to fall into the trap of wanting to have stuff, the whole “Keeping up the Jones” has never been more real than today. Although it would be more realistic to call it
“Keeping up with the Kardashian’s”
We see that money and objects as rewards for doing well in life. You can find yourself getting lost in the idea that being successful means that you have expensive things, things that you place more value on than you do God. Jesus said, “”Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). So, just because you have an expensive home and with 1000 sheet tread count does not mean that you have made it… We are called to be like Christ and that is the only thing that will fill that void in our lives that we are trying to fill with useless goods (that will be out of date next week). Now I do not believe we are called to live in poverty (unless God tells you that directly) but I believe it is a matter of your heart. The rich young rules had a heart issue that Jesus was trying to help him with. Jesus did not tell everyone to sell all their stuff and follow Him but He did say you will have to sacrifice… “If anyone desires to follow me let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24).
To many think that money will raise them high on the pyramid of life…
Many people are constantly seeking success, wealth, possessions, or perfection. Sometimes people assume that if they could achieve one of these then the others will follow. Desiring to be better, have better, or do better can drive many to extremes in their life. One day, while traveling along the coast of Judea, Jesus was approached by a young man seeking to know how eternal life could be achieved. The Lord spoke to him about how he should follow the commandments of God. The young man quickly replied, “I have done all this from my youth up!” Sensing the young man was looking for more, Jesus told him that if he wanted to be perfect, he should go and sell all his possessions, giving the proceeds to the poor, and then return to follow him. We all know how this story ends! Having achievements in life can be wonderful and fulfilling. But they do not perfect us and can many times create difficulty in our life. Allowing achievement to overshadow our relationships with our family and the Lord can become very costly. Perfection is found in the Lord, and success is found in balancing our desire for achievement with those things in life that are more important, such as our family. How do you find this balance in your life? Is there a time or season when achievement may be more important in an effort to provide more for your family?
Light unto this world
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16)
This little light of mine I’m gonna let it shine, This little light of mine I am gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shiiiii-iiiiii-innnneeee…
This past week Pastor Jeff Schultz of Living Hope Worship Center preached on 1 Peter 3:8-16, he challenged us to look at what kind of light we are in response to that passage Peter wrote. In conclusion Pastor Jeff said there are many lights that we could be like for example a nightlight or a flash light… but those lights are for special occasions not for us to use all the time. He suggested that we should be like a Pilot Light. A Pilot Light by definition is a small gas burner kept continuously burning to light a larger burner when needed… And I agree we need to be continuously burning because we never know when we are going to need to be used by God for something greater than ourselves.
So this being said it really got me thinking about what kind of light that I think the Bible says we should be and what kind of light that I want to be. I like the idea of being a pilot light continuously burning…
So as I was thinking about it this week I believe (my opinion) we are called to be like a “STAR”…
I know right off the bat some will say that we are called to be humble and being a “STAR” sounds a little arrogant. When we think of stars we think of people that are all about themselves… I get that and that is not what I am talking about. I believe we are all “STARS” in God’s eyes and yes the Bible tells us to be humble… “
“Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God that He may EXALT you at do time…”
(1 Peter 5:6).
I think we can be “STARS” when God exalts us to be. It is a heart issue and we can never forget that what we have in life is because God’s grace and love.
Now here is the real reason I think we are called to be “STARS”
Stars burn so bright that we can see them from over 4.3 light years away… When we look up at the Stars at night we see the twinkling lights in the deep dark night sky but if we could look closer at a Star, we would notice that it is something so much greater… it burns with a fire that exceeds 18,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Like a Star we have something so much greater to offer than what you first see… We have the Holy Spirit burning inside of us! Which burns deeper and brighter than any star in the sky!
Another thing is enough Stars brighten the darkest night, we are called to be a light in this dark world just like the stars brighten then midnight darkness.
And the MAIN reason I think we are to be a light like a STAR is because Stars also never turn off…
(like the pilot light).
We may only think of the Stars in the evening but during the days it is not as if the Star is like a light switch and shuts off and on. The Star is still shining even during the day,
THE ONLY REASON THE YOU DO NOT SEE THE STAR DURING THE DAY IS BECAUSE THE SUN (SON) IS BRIGHTER THAN THE STARS…
So we to as “STARS” are to be out shined by the SON (SUN)!
So whatever light that you want to compare yourself to make sure it burns bright and is continuous. Always being ready to glorify God!
SO,WHAT KIND OF LIGHT ARE YOU?
“Hulk Smash!” The Incredible Hulk may smash but John Wycliffe broke down the walls of the Bible for everyone to see what God really wants in our lives…
John Wycliffe was a man who believed that everyone should be able to read the Word of God. We take for granted today that we can open up a Bible or more likely a Bible App like You Version and read the Bible whenever we feel like it. This was not always the case however, 150 years before the reformation this man John Wycliffe believed that everyone should be able to go to God themselves without a priest. During this time period no one besides the priest had Bibles and it was also written in a language that was not common for people to read. Bibles were very expensive for people to buy and believe it or not they were sometimes chained to the pulpit so no one could take them. That sounds strange I know because at my church they encourage you to take a Bible if you do not own one. His power over the 14th century was that of a conscience captured by the Word of God. Unlike his peers, he denied that men must go through a priest to get to God. Before the time of Jesus we had high priests who would go before God and speak for the people to Him (God) but after Jesus came the story changes you see…
Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
We no longer need a high priest like the Pope because we have a Great High Priest in Jesus who gives us access to the throne room of God. It says it right there in verse 16… “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence…”
Like I said above Wycliffe also believed that everyone should be able to read God’s Holy Word themselves. After all scripture says that…
“16All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for correcting, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16, 17)
So if God’s Word is useful for teaching, correcting and training we must first be able to learn from it and not just what the priest wants to teach you. You need to know God’s Word. This however was nearly impossible when you cannot read the language the Bible is written in or could not have a Bible yourself. So Wycliffe a man of industry and academic ability, admired by friend and foe alike who also worked at Oxford and was acknowledge by them to be their leading theologian decided to translate the Bible into English. With the help of Oxford friends, Wycliffe translated the Bible, all 750,000 words, from Latin into English—an immense undertaking. His revolutionary conviction that the average Englishman should be able to read the Bible in the common language threatened the power of the English state-church. It meant that the Bible, rather than the counsel of a state-controlled priest, would mediate Christ to the believer’s conscience. Therefore, his translation threatened the glue that held medieval civilization together, the church’s power to bind men’s consciences. He was consider a heretic, but before he could be arrested, tried, and burnt at the stake, he died of a stroke while saying Mass in 1384.
So before you think to yourself oh great I am supposed to read the Bible everyday?! Remember that one man’s struggle and conviction from God made it possible for you to be able to read it.
All things are possible through God and just think you could do something greater than you could think or imagine for God’s glory all because you were able to grow closer through His living Word!
“You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Luke 1:45. Because you heard from God and waited for it to manifest and believed you are blessed…
The book of Daniel gives us glimpses into the future. This prophecy would take place throughout Daniels life and many things he spoke of happened hundreds of year after they were spoken by Daniel. Daniel never got to see them manifest…In the ninth chapter of Daniel says, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.” “Daniel 9:24. What we should know as a beginning to the correctly understanding this prophecy, that in Daniel’s view, those weeks represented years, so the 70 weeks of Daniel represent 490 years -70 times 7 years- that ended with the death of Jesus the Christ. Daniel spoke these things around 457 B.C. If we extract this number to 490 (490-457=33) so, here we see that the 70 weeks of Daniel were completed with the death by crucifixion of Jesus around the year 33 A.D. Continuing on in that chapter, “Yet shall he confirm the covenant with many for one week.” Daniel 9.27. Did Jesus confirm His covenant of love and mercy with Daniel’s people for 7 years? There was a 7 year period between the death of Christ and the time the Gospel was sent out to the Gentiles at the calling of Cornelius. This is the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy.
Later in DANIEL 11:3 it says, “Then a mighty king shall arise, who shall rule with great dominion, and do according to his will.” After the military defeat of Xerxes by the Greeks, a number of additional Persian kings ruled the empire. But Xerxes had set the stage for a strong Greek ruler to arise. This ruler was the Macedonian Alexander the Great, who defeated Persian King Darius III Codomannus in 333 BCE at the battle of Issus (located on the Mediterranean coast in what is now southeast Turkey). This defeat signaled the beginning of the end of the Persian Empire.
At the height of his power, Alexander conquered and ruled an empire that stretched from southern Europe to North Africa to central Asia. But the Greek empire of Alexander was not destined to endure. He fell ill and died on June 10, 323 BCE in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon.
So throughout the life of Daniel there are some compelling things that God spoke to Daniel that Daniel himself did not even have a chance to see fulfilled… The question that pops into my head then is what is God telling you that you think is never going to be fulfilled? Do you think that it is impossible for it to happen? Well when God speaks something into your life sometimes you have to give it time to manifest into reality and not give up so easily because you do not see anything happening right now!
After all when you plant a seed you do not see it pop out of the ground the moment you cover it with dirt, it takes time for the seed to sprout and mature then it bears fruit!
In the Orient young bulls are tested for the fight arena in a certain manner . Each is brought to the ring and allowed to attack a picador who pricks them with a lance. The bravery of each bull is then rated with care according to the number of times he demonstrates his willingness to charge in spite of the sting of the blade. Henceforth recognize that each day you are tested by life in like manner. If you persist, if you continue to charge forward, you will succeed.
Sometimes you have to feel the sting of the blade to get to the ultimate goal…
Think about Jesus in the garden right before He was betrayed by one of His very own followers. Jesus knew the sting that was about to come even to the point that He asked His Father to take that cup from His hands. Jesus knew that to suffer ment He would succeed in His mission to save you and me. Yet in spite of the sting of the nails He preceded to charge forward…
The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to us to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach our goal. Failure you may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will you know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.
Sometimes you have to suffer a little to succeed… pain brings on change! Take the bull by the horns and
BRING ON THE PAIN OF CHANGE!
William A Horton