One of the first things we teach children is to say thank you when someone does something nice for them. “What do you say?” Say thank you. To be grateful does not come naturally to little kids; It doesn’t come natural to a lot of people who think they are entitled to things. Very soon they take for granted the source from which they got what they have. How often we go through life and forget to show gratitude to others; how about gratitude to God?
Every house or building begin with a foundation; they are as strong as their foundation.
The Bible tells us that Jesus promised to build his church and that the gates of Hell would not overcome it. Matt.16:18. The church belongs to Jesus because he is his architect, engineer, designer. It was his idea to build it. Have you ever wondered how Jesus began to build his church? What did he do to build it?
“Life is like an elevator a lot of ups and downs; people pushing your buttons and getting jerked around.” We all have experienced the ups and downs of life. The mountain top experiences and the valley. We get discouraged and hopeless when things don’t go as we anticipated. It is during those times that we may feel like giving up; you may be ready to throw the towel. If that is you today, I have a word from the LORD that will help you deal with depressing and discouragement in life.
Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Isa.6:9
This phrase tells us of a disease that was common before the time of Jesus, during his time and even in our time. It’s called “spiritual blindness.” it can affect anyone. It is predominantly seeing in those who don’t believe in God; however, there have been reported cases of this disease found in churches throughout the world.
Very often we think that having a blessed week means that things went well with us, no one got sick in the family; bills were paid on time. No conflict with anyone in the family and so forth. We tend to think of blessing only when things are ok with us. Some think that if you experience trials or hardship in life, then God is not blessing you.
What if I told you that at times it is through those trials that you get to experience the biggest blessings?
Everyone goes through difficult times in life. Some of you may be going through tough times right now. You may be in the middle of the storm seeking hope and it appears that hope is truly far away. We know that going through difficulties in this life is just a matter of time. We will all experience hardship. The question is not will trouble times come to you? But rather, how do you respond when they come?
We can learn how to respond by looking at how this king responded to a situation that had him against the wall. He felt helpless, just like many of us may feel at times.
You’ve probably seen the slogan “World peace” People dream about this concept of peace, which for them it means, not conflict or wars between nations and people. People have been pursuing peace for thousands of years, but their peace is based on circumstances. If there is no war, I will have peace; if people would like me, I will be a peace….If I could get that job, I will have peace… (circumstantial) I will like to tell you about a peace that is not dependent on the circumstance or situation you may be experiencing today.
The church was Jesus’ idea; he is her founder. Jesus said he would build it. He bought it by his own blood and promised that it will transcend time. Last week we talked about how the church began at the preaching of the apostles in Jerusalem. The proclaimed Jesus as Lord and Messiah and people accepted this message and were baptized into Christ, then they were added to the number of followers. The church is the gathering of those who profess faith in Jesus. Christ’s church is made up of local congregations throughout the world. Have you ever wondered what it means to be member of Christ’s church?
Maybe you have heard people say that they love Jesus, but don’t like the church. These people think they can have a relationship with Jesus apart from his church. There is even a book written entitled “They like Jesus, but not the church” by Dan Kimball. There are so many wrong things with claiming to love Jesus and then not loving his church. If you don’t love the church, then you don’t love God. IF you don’t love your brother and sister, how can the love of God be in you?
Tragedy tends to bring people together very quickly; we are familiar with slogans such as “united we stand” “Boston strong” It is in those moments that we realize that unless we remain united we won’t survive. It is during those times that we stop being selfish and think of others; it is in those times that we see people for who they are and not based on their skin color, political preferences, social status, etc. All of a sudden, people begin to care for each other in ways you never thought possible. The disheartening thing is that this is the only time some people experience unity or benefit from it.
One of the best ways for the church today to understand its mission is to take a closer look at the life of Jesus. Jesus was on a mission when he came and he was all about fulfilling his mission for the glory of God the Father. When we are not sure what our mission as followers of Jesus is in this world, we need to take a closer look at Jesus. Because the church is the incarnation of Jesus in the world.
Followers of Jesus are to imitate his teachings; there are many people who called themselves Christians, but their lives, behavior don’t reflect Jesus. I think people should stop calling themselves Christian if they are not going to love others the way Jesus asked us to love them. Another area in which many Christians misrepresent Jesus in our world, is when it comes to forgiveness. There are followers of Jesus who have a really difficult time forgiving a brother or sister. If you are one of those who really struggle forgiving their brother or sister, I hope you are ready to journey through God’s word so we can see why forgiveness really matters.