Quiet and at Rest

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What is there to worry about?

Plenty of things.

Yet, worrying won’t change them.

It won’t help at all.

Sometimes, it’s just good for me to walk around outside–even if it is just in my own yard–and look at the fascinating creations of God that are right there.

Flowers, butterflies, tiny blooms on weeds.

Birds flying overhead, lizards scurrying about, dragonflies that come to hover near me.

There, I find a calm and a respite from responsibilities, if only for a short while.

I have been praying lately about many things, wanting to trust God with people and situations, instead of worrying.

God is in control.

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Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank Him for his answers.  If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.

—Philippians 4:6-7

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Save the World

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It was quite by accident that I saw it.

There was something I had just passed down the highway that I wanted to photograph.

While turning into a new housing development area, there was quite a bit of acreage with wild grasses and trees.

It was a lovely scene, made even more interesting by its contrasting centerpiece–an abandoned construction machine.

This type of equipment is quite costly and very specialized.

Why was this one left behind?

As it rusts in the harsh sun each day, the moments that it was once in use become more of a remnant of times gone by.

It appeared useless and condemned.

I suppose that if the right person came along, this big piece of machinery could be restored.

Like machinery rusting out in the elements, people need to be restored.

Not just some people—all people.

The rust and corrosion of sin affects everyone.

There is only one remedy.

Only one redemption.

Jesus came to save us.

When He died on the cross and rose from the dead, He paid the penalty for our sin.

God doesn’t want us to be lost and separated from Him forever.

He doesn’t want us to be in a condition of condemnation.

Instead, He wants us to be restored—to be made right with Him.

To be forgiven, whole and well.

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For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.

–John 3:17

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Much Fruit

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Am I abiding in Jesus today?

Am I bearing fruit in my life that is pleasing to Him?

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I am the vine,

you are the branches;

he who abides in Me and I in him,

he bears much fruit,

for apart from Me

you can do nothing.

—John 15:5

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Name Was Not Found

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If you’ve ever tried to get a visa on your passport in order to enter a particular country, then you know it can be a complicated matter.

It’s likely that you’ll have to answer a lot of questions on a form.

Maybe more than one form, even.

Some of the questions might turn out to be pretty hard to answer.

Questions about your job.

Your parents.

Your grandparents.

Your driver’s license.

Where you were born.

The list goes on and on….

Even after you send in the information, it is always possible that your request may be denied.

You’re not allowed in.

No particular reason.

Just, “No.”

But what about getting into Heaven?

There aren’t any forms to be filled out.

Your job status doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t matter who your parents were.

It doesn’t matter who your grandparents were, either.

Really, it doesn’t even matter when you were born.

The only thing that matters is if you have believed in Jesus and repented of your sins, asking for forgiveness.

Look at these verses:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

—Ephesians 2:8-9

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.

—Romans 10:9

That leaves us with a question.

So, what if you don’t believe and repent?

It’s not a popular topic and it can certainly cause some divisive arguments.

In the book of Revelation, the Bible speaks of the book of life:

Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.  The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done.  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.

–Revelation 20:11-15

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Not many people want to talk about the “So, what if you don’t” question.

Not many people want to talk about the passage above from Revelation.

It’s frightening.

I believe that my name is written in the book of life because I have believed in Jesus and repented of my sins.

Still, I am frightened for those who have not.

If you feel that your name would not be there, why not change that right now.

God is ready to hear your prayer.

It’s not too late…..

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The Bread of Life

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As my friends and I settled down in the crowded restaurant, we were given complimentary loaves of bread.

It was the custom of the restaurant to give each patron bread before the ordered meal was presented.

If we do not have food and water for a long period of time, we will die.

The food and water we ingest and the air we breathe sustains us.

If we do not have Jesus, we will die a spiritual death for all eternity.

It is Jesus, who is the bread of life, that sustains our souls.

The restaurant was offering bread that would satisfy physical hunger, but only for a time.

Jesus is offering Himself as the means of our salvation, satisfying our spiritual hunger forever.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.

  And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

—John 6:35-40

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What Shall I Do?

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While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.

 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.

“Barabbas,” they answered.

 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.

They all answered, “Crucify him!”

 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.

But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”

 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”

—Matthew 27:19-25

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There is a question that every person must ask themselves.

It is simply this—

What shall I do, then, with Jesus called the Messiah?

Will we believe in Him and His gift of eternal life?

Or will we refuse to acknowledge Him as the Son of God, leaving His gift for us behind?

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Their Lack of Faith

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There is a certain scripture passage that is very sad to me.

Matthew 13:58 reads,

“And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.”

Here is more of the passage in context:

Coming to His hometown, He began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed. “Where did this man get this wisdom and these miraculous powers?” they asked.  “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t His mother’s name Mary, and aren’t His brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas? Aren’t all His sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?”  And they took offense at Him.

But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home.”

 And He did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

—Matthew 13:54-58

The people were “amazed,” yet many must not have believed.

Think of all the accounts in the Bible of Jesus healing people.

Blind people.

People who couldn’t walk.

People with demons.

People with fever.

Jesus even brought people back from being dead.

But in His hometown?

Not so much.

He would have, but instead of everyone running to Him, bringing their loved ones to be healed, they had a lack of faith.

Is it any different today with some?

Jesus is ready and willing to bring many facets of healing into every life that believes.

Does everyone who hears about Him take advantage of that truth?

Not so much.

Instead of running to Him, bringing their broken hearts and broken lives to be healed, they have a lack of faith.

Jesus is ready and willing.

Are you?

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