What Kind of Vessel are You?


gold_vessel

“But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” II Timothy 2:20-21

Do you own any items which are special to you? Maybe you have something that has been passed down to you over the years or something that once belonged to a famous person. How do you treat these items? Do you just throw them around or do you keep them protected some place?

How would you feel if you came home one day and your children were making mud pies in great-great-grandma Martha’s fine china? What if you came home from work to find your children playing outside with your limited edition football that had been signed by Joe Montana?

I love to collect vintage items. In my kitchen I have on display all of the many items which have been passed down by my grandmother. I also have a set of china that was given to me by my aunt. It is on display in my china cabinet. Only on very special occasions do I take it out and use it. You see, I have set these items apart for a special purpose.

Do you know that God sees each of us this way?

We were all created by God in His image. There are certain things about each one of us which make us unique and special. We have all been given different talents and gifts which are to be used to bring honor and glory to God.

The question I want us to think about this morning is this: What kind of vessel am I?

In the Bible we can read about certain vessels that were made for specific purposes. There were items made of gold that were never to be used for anything except the particular job for which they were created. It was a great dishonor if these items were ever used for anything else. You see, they were holy vessels, vessels that had been cleansed and committed to serving God.

We are all beautiful vessels yet we are all born with sin in our hearts. We are created by God but are naturally dirty on the inside. We must decide whether or not we are going to allow God to work in us and clean us up. It is our choice whether or not we allow God to use us for that special purpose for which He created us.

When we make the decision to accept Jesus into our hearts we allow Him to come in and cleanse us. We ask Him to forgive us of our sins and we are made new. We are empty vessels waiting to be filled.

Sadly for some people this is as far as they get. They somehow miss the next step, which is sanctification. Being sanctified is being completely cleansed and set apart for a special purpose. It means that we empty ourselves of everything that could hinder the Lord’s work in us and we give ourselves to God for His service.

I want to encourage you, today, to allow God to work in your life. Allow God to cleanse your heart and set you aside for a special purpose. Our verse today says that there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor. What kind of vessel will you be? Will you be an everyday vessel that is never really used for anything special, or will you bring honor to God by allowing Him to cleanse you and set you aside for a special purpose? The choice is yours to make. 

Advertisements

Warning: Danger Ahead


Warning

“For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

1 Thessalonians 5:2

 If you and I were walking in the woods and I said, “You need to be careful because I have spotted a bear here in the woods before,” what would you think?

What would happen as we walked along if, on the ground, you saw signs that indeed a bear had been in this area?

If I suddenly yelled, “RUN! There is a bear,” what would you do?

Would you run, or would you tell me I was crazy? Would you wait around to see just how close that bear would get to you before you would begin to run away?

 It is absurd to think that you would stand and wait for that bear to reach you before you ran. It is crazy to think that you would turn around and face it head on as if you could battle it alone.

Hopefully you would heed my warning. Hopefully you would trust me enough to run when I told you that you were in danger.

***************************************************************************************************

Friends, I am here this morning to warn you. I pray that you will heed my warning. I pray that you will trust me when I tell you that something is coming.

I am here to tell you that if you are not a Christian, if you are not covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, then you are in grave danger.

I firmly believe that Jesus is coming back very soon. Too many things are happening and too many signs are being seen to believe differently.

Just as you would never chance being chased by a bear, or just as you would never try to fight it alone, please do not think that you can handle being left behind. Please do not think that you still have plenty of time to get it together.

Today’s verse reminds us that we do not know when Jesus is coming back. His coming will be instantaneous. It will take everyone by surprise.

My question for you is this: Will you be ready? Have you made preparations to leave this world behind and be taken up in the clouds?

There will be no time to make this choice when Jesus does come back. It will be too late when you realize that friends and family are missing and you have been left.

The time to prepare is now. The time to get it together is this very second. We are not promised tomorrow. We are not even promised our next breath.

Will you heed my warning today? Will you trust me when I tell you that something is coming? Will you take the time right now to seek out God’s forgiveness and gain the assurance that you have a home in Heaven when that time comes? Only you can make that choice. No one can do it for you.

The good news is, it is simple to do. Let me tell you how:

1. Realize that you are a sinner. ( Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”)

2. Confess your sins and ask for forgiveness. (1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”)

3. Believe that you have been saved. ( Romans 10:9-10 “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”)

Once you have done these things, Jesus will begin to work in your heart and in your life. He will begin to grow you into the person He wants you to be.

If you follow God’s word and listen to His commandments, you can be assured that when the Lord comes back for His children, you will not be left behind. You will not have to face the many terrible things that are to come. You will have a home waiting for you in Heaven.

I pray, today, that you have taken these steps to prepare for what is to come. I want to know that I have done everything I can to warn and prepare those I love.  It breaks my heart to think of friends and family left behind.

Remember: The Lord is coming back as a thief in the night. I pray you will be ready.

Fighting an Unseen Battle


Sword_and_Shield

 “But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. 

 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, 

 and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.”

Colossians 3:8-10

As I sit here this morning and ponder these verses, I feel the need to share with you the burden that has been on my heart.

I was trying to think of some clever story I could tell, or some fun analogy I could use to grab the attention of my readers, but I feel this morning that I need to just say what is on my heart.

Friends, we, as Christians, are under attack. I am not talking about an attack from some foreign country, or from our government. I am talking about a spiritual attack that we can not see, yet one that is all round us.

 We are told in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

I firmly believe that the devil knows his time is coming to an end and he is fighting with every trick he has left in his book to destroy Christians.

If we do not open our eyes to these tricks, we are putting ourselves in danger of being defeated.

You may read the verses that I have chosen for today and ask, “Why did you choose these verses to talk about an attack by the devil?”

Friends, the devil wants to use us to defeat each other. You see, the devil in himself has no power, but if we allow him to, he will use us to do his dirty work.

The devil knows that if he can get us as Christian brothers and sisters to turn on each other then his battle will be won for him. He knows that we will defeat ourselves. We need to wake up to this reality and realize the threat that we are under every day.

Our verse today warns us against the very things that the devil wants to use to defeat us. He wants us to be angry, and to fight and bicker with each other. He wants us to talk about each other and lie to each other. He wants to cause discord between God’s people.

This is why we are told to put off these things. We can not grow together as Christians and encourage each other as long as we are holding on to things such as this.

We go on to read in Colossians 3:12-17:

 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering;  bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

These are the things that we need to be sharing with each other. Instead of anger we need kindness, meekness and long-suffering. Instead of talking about each other and telling lies about one another we need to be loving each other, forgiving each other, and encouraging one another.

Ephesians 6:13-18 tells us:

“Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”

In order to live as Christian brothers and sisters we need to put on the whole armor of God. This is the only way that we are going to be able to stand against the devil and the things he uses to defeat us every day.

We as Christians need one another. We need each other’s friendship, and prayers. We need to hold each other up and defend each other, not fight with one  another and tear each other down.

I would ask that you commit to pray with me about these things as we stand together as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I pray these verses have encouraged your heart today. Yes, the devil fights hard against us, but as long as we are under the shed blood of Jesus Christ, there is no fiery dart that can harm us. It is vital for us as Christians to recognize the things that the devil wants to use against us, but to also understand the things with which God has equipped us to stand together.

 

 

 

Two Wrongs do not Make a Right


peace lily 

See that none render evil for evil unto any man;

but ever follow that which is good,

both among yourselves, and to all men.”

 1 Thessalonians 5:15 

Have you ever been mistreated?

Has someone ever done something that hurt your feelings?

Maybe someone says something unkind to you. 

What is your first response?

If we are all honest with ourselves we will admit that the first thing we want to do is to give that unkindness right back to them. If someone says something unkind or treats us in a way that hurts us, our first response is normally one of defense. We put our dukes up and we are ready for battle. 

Many times the wrongs done to us go unnoticed. Often times the one who hurts us never even realizes what they have done or said. 

I know in my own life I have said or done things that have hurt someone who I love and never realized it until it was brought to my attention.

Many times in life we are going to be hurt by another person’s words or actions and it will be up to us to decide how we are going to handle each situation.

I would urge you to first bathe the situation in prayer. I have found many times in my life in which I prayed about a wrong that was done to me and God took care of it without a word ever being said about it.

There have been other times, however, when I prayed about a situation and I felt that God wanted me to take it to that person and discuss it. Thankfully, with God’s help, the situation was resolved.

Whichever way God sees fit for you to handle a situation, I can assure you of this one thing: Two wrongs do not make a right. No matter how badly we may want to lash out and strike back at the one who has hurt us, this is never God’s plan. I know sometimes it seems like the easy thing to do and as humans it is what we want to do. But, God has a better plan.

God has told us in Romans 12:18: “If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men.” God desires for us to do our best to keep the peace with other people. Sometimes this means praying about the situation, letting go and letting God handle it. Other times it means speaking your piece and leaving the results up to God. 

I want to encourage your heart today. When we are wronged by word or deed, it hurts. I understand this. But God has told us to never repay evil with evil. Two wrongs do not make a right. If you have been wronged, cover it in prayer. Seek God’s will in each situation and allow God to lead you in the way that He would have you handle it. I can promise you this, any situation we face will ultimately turn out better when God is allowed to take control rather than us trying to fix it ourselves. Remember: With God, all things are possible.(Matthew 19:26)

 

 

 

Motivational Monday: Keeping it Simple


serve Him

“Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”           I Samuel 12:24

Have you ever wondered why living for God has been made so complicated? Is it really as hard as people have been made to believe? Let us look at some Scriptures that will help us better understand what serving God and living for Him is all about. Let us keep it simple.

Our verse today says to “consider how great things He has done for you.” So what has been done for you? John 3:16 tell us: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God loved you so much that He sent His only Son to die for your sins and my sins. If you had been the only one on earth, however, I believe that He would have died just to save you. What great love.

So, what does serving God require? Let us look at some other Scriptures that I believe will help us paint a better picture of what it means to serve God:

First, we must understand that we are all sinners. Romans 3:23 tell us:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Does this mean that we are all hopeless? No, because God has made a way for us. Romans 6:23 reads: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  The wages of sin is death, but God has made a way for us, through His Son, to have eternal life.

The next thing you must do is be saved. A lot of people want to know what they have to do to receive this gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is free to whomever will accept it. We are told in  Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”  All you have to do is to simply believe in your heart that Jesus died for your sins, and confess your sins to Him and you will be saved. This is the gift of salvation.

After you have been saved God will begin to work in your life and He will help you to live for Him. Mark 12:30-31 tells us the first things we must do as Christians: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”

Living as a Christian is simply loving God and loving each other. As we do these two things God will work in us and begin to make us the men and women He wants us to be. Living for God is not complicated at all if you will allow Him to come into your heart and do a work in you. God loves you and wants what is best for you. He wants to save you from your sins and help you to grow into the person He has planned for you to be.

I pray today that this will encourage your heart. If you have not been saved, if you have never asked Jesus to live in your heart, I pray that you will stop and simply ask Him to forgive your sins. Ask Him to live in your heart. It will be the best decision you have ever made. If you have been saved but seem to be having trouble figuring out what to do next, simply do as God has commanded us to do. Love Him and love each other. Allow God to work in your life. If He shows you something in your life that needs to be changed, ask Him to help you and then begin to work on that area of your life. As you grow as a Christian, God will continue to do a work in your life. Paul said in Philippians 3:12: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” We need to understand that salvation is an instant thing. When you ask God to forgive your sins He does it immediately. Living and growing as a Christian is a process. It takes time. We simply have to allow God to do that work in our lives.

Being a Christian is not complicated. I pray today that this has helped you to better understand what it means to live for Christ. I pray that I have kept it simple.