Engraved Invitation

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Luke 14:12-14 (NKJV) Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.
But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.
And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Mark 2:16-17 (NKJV) And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

John 6:35 (NKJV) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

Revelation 3:20 (NKJV) Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voic and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. ~ Jesus

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Jesus IS the feast. He has been given freely to revive us poor, blind, deaf and lame beggars.

Those of us who have been given access to His table should remember how unworthy we are as we graciously invite others to join us.

We have no right to close them out or simply toss a few stale crumbs at them.

 

 

 

 

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Thoughts on Christian Culture 4: Testify

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Image property of Grammarly.  I’m borrowing it for non-profit, educational purposes 🙂

John 4:6-7, 28-29 (ESV)
(Please read omitted verses for essential context)

Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus, wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.”

28 So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,
29 “Come, see a man who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?


We all tend to talk freely and excitedly about the things that are most appealing to our hearts and minds.

Over time, I have become ever more convinced that “sharing Christ” should not be a learned, forced methodical activity.  Introducing others to our Savior should not feel like a burden, but a privilege. As we get to know Him better, offering His love to others should become more and more of a “natural” impulse, in the same way that a spring of fresh water simply flows down a mountainside.

Of course, there are times when some are not open to hearing, and God’s Spirit may direct you to keep silent rather than try to force-feed someone who does not believe (s)he is hungry.

But this type of restraint is subject to His discretion, rather than our own fear of rejection.

For God So Loved That He Gave…(John 3:16) (3)

 

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (ESV)
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 

I believe that all matters of “human” wisdom derive their source from our Creator.  But in order to be true, any popular, pithy statement must be found compatible with scripture.  It is only within the context of God’s revealed truth that such observations can be considered valid. 

Confession is Good For Any Soul

Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Proverbs 28:13 (ESV) Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.

2 Chronicles 6:24-25 (ESV) “If Your people Israel are defeated before the enemy because they have sinned against You, and they turn again and acknowledge Your name and pray and plead with You in this house, then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel and bring them again to the land that You gave to them and to their fathers.

Psalm 32:3-5 (ESV) For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah

I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

1 John 1:8-9 (ESV) If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

For God So Loved That He Gave ….(John 3:16) (2)

 

Love is not apathetic to the needs of others. Whether the lack is spiritual or physical, love will motivate an individual to relieve known suffering by whatever means is available.
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John 3:16-17 (NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Romans 5:6-9 (NKJV) For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Matthew 9:35-38 (NKJV) Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people.
36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

37 Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few.
38 “Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”

1 John 3:17 (NKJV) 17 But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?

For God So Loved That He Gave…(John 3:16)

 

True.

However, not all people who give are loving.
Motive matters.
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Mark 12:41-44 (ESV) And He sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums.
And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.

And He called His disciples to Him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box.
For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”

Matthew 6:1-2 (ESV) “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

1 John 3:17-18 (ESV) But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?
Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

The Truth About Truth

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Image courtesy Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Truth is beautiful, comforting, generous, gentle, freeing and healing to those who embrace it in its purest form.

It is also dangerously, destructively, unmercifully vicious when we try to cage and tame it to suit our own whims.

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the Truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. ~Romans 1:18-19 (ESV)

“But now, the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- The righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith.
This was to show God’s righteousness, because in His divine forbearance He had passed over former sins. It was to show His righteousness at the present time, so that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” ~Romans 3:21-26 (ESV)