Following Jesus Publications - October 2013


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Following Jesus Publications - October 2013

  1. 1. You can't get lost. Once I went with my family to a very large park with lots of woods and we decided to walk to enjoy nature. In a park so large and with so many forests, it could be easy to get lost, however, park officials had put signs marking all paths, so that no one gets lost. In addition, we had a GPS and we felt very safe to walk anywhere in the park without fear of getting lost. Likewise God who is the Universe Top Official, Creator, Owner and Head of all of us, has put signs and left us a GPS, so we would not get lost in this life. Al the beginning of the Gospel of Luke, we read that Jesus came to guide us. Later, Jesus says that now the Gospels guide us. Finally, Jesus states in the Gospel of John, that is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The Words of Jesus in the Gospels are our signage, the Holy Spirit is our GPS and Jesus said in John 6:39 that God's will is that no one should be lost. Then, don't get lost. Read the signs and use your GPS.
  2. 2. Forced Love? I met a couple in which the man forced the woman to say she loved him and she said I love you, but only said it out of fear. This kind of forced love is not true, or sincere. We all want to be loved, but we can not force anyone to love us. The best example is our heavenly Father. God loves us all deeply, but He does not force anyone to love Him. He gives us the freedom to love Him, if we want. The Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians: "Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance". We can not force anyone to love us, but we can love all without expecting anything in return, because true love is unconditional, like God's love.
  3. 3. If you do not trust, you do not walk. An architect friend invited me to see one of her construction sites, but I would not go for fear of the hazards in a construction site. She told me: I am going to take care of you. I made this construction and I know where the dangers are. If you follow my instructions nothing will happen to you. However, I did not go for lack of confidence and I missed seeing something wonderful that you can only see once. The same happens in life. God says: I am going to take care of you. I created the universe, I created you and I know where the dangers are. If you follow my instructions nothing will happen. However, due to lack of faith, we do not trust in God and we miss many blessings. Jesus said: And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. God will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Follow the instructions of God and you can be assured that you will lack nothing.
  4. 4. We Christians spend too much time preaching to ourselves in the churches. We need to go out and look for those who do not go to church. We should not not keep repeating the message among ourselves. Let's go and give it to those who have never received it or those who need to hear it again because they have lost their way. Internet, the Social Networks and other Media, are excellent ways to share the message. Jesus was criticized for hanging out with sinners and even eating with them. Jesus told them: If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, this man will leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it, because there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away and there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents. Luke 15:1-10. Let's go share Jesus!
  5. 5. God loves you. No matter what you've done, your heavenly Father loves you and awaits you with open arms to receive you with a fatherly hug. Repent and return home with Him. To illustrate this teaching, Jesus told the story of a man whomhad two sons. The younger son asked his father for his share of the estate and packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, where he wasted all his money in wild living. About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. When he finally came to his senses, he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him: Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. But his father said to the servants, we must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was lost, but now he is found. This passage is in Luke 15:11-32. Return to God. He is waiting for you with open arms to embrace you!
  6. 6. Are you on the list? We invited a friend to our house, but before he arrived we had to call the gatehouse, because we live in a closed community and no one can enter, unless their name is registered in the list of authorized persons. The same happens in clubs and in many important and exclusive places. Those who guard the gates do not check the personal references of who wants to enter. They just check if they are registered in the list. The same happens in heaven. Those who guard the gates of heaven, will not check our personal references, they will just check if our name is registered in the list. This is why Jesus said: Rejoice because your names are registered in heaven, and He also said: Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! What to do to be registered on the list? We read in chapter 1 of John that all who believed in Jesus and accepted Him, received the right to become children of God, and it is explained in chapter 3 that God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. Believe in Jesus, receive Him into your heart and register yourself in heaven.
  7. 7. You must persevere. Do not give up. Never give up. God will surely give justice to his chosen people who persevere and cry out to him day and night. But, will you have enough faith to persevere, pray and not give up? One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up: There was a judge in a certain city, who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, asking for justice. The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself: I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests! Then the Lord said: Learn a lesson from this unjust judge. Even he rendered a just decision in the end. So don’t you think God will surely give justice to his chosen people who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will grant justice to them quickly! But when the Son of Man returns, how many will he find on the earth who have faith? Luke 18:1-8
  8. 8. Do not exalt yourself. Do you trust the rightness of your actions and disapprove of those who act in a wrong way? Be careful ... do not make the mistake to exalt yourself. Rather, be humble and seek God's forgiveness, because we are all imperfect children of God, who is merciful to their children who are humble. Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: Two men went to the Temple to pray. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying: O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner. I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 18:9-14
  9. 9. What do you want? If you seek Jesus with strength and faith, He will ask: What do you want me to do for you? For your faith I will give it to you! And Jesus will give you what you want, if it's for your own good. Study this passage: As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind beggar was sitting beside the road. When he heard the noise of a crowd going past, he asked what was happening. They told him that Jesus the Nazarene was going by. So he began shouting: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Be quiet! the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder: Son of David, have mercy on me! When Jesus heard him, he stopped and ordered that the man be brought to him. As the man came near, Jesus asked him: What do you want me to do for you? Lord, he said, I want to see! And Jesus said: All right, receive your sight! Your faith has healed you. Instantly the man could see, and he followed Jesus, praising God. And all who saw it praised God, too. Luke 18:35-43
  10. 10. Paralyzed by fear. As we walked through our neighborhood, we found a snake in the middle of the street and we become paralyzed by fear. We will never know who was more scared, if the snake to see us or we to see the snake. After a few seconds we decided to run away from the snake. Just as we become paralyzed by a situation that frightens us, we also get paralyzed by the problems that arise in life that cause us fear. But the solution is not to get paralyzed by fear, but to act on the situation that we fear and the strength to overcome fear is to know that God is on our side. When David went to confront Goliath, he said: The same God who has protected me before, will protect me from this Philistine. When the storm threatened to sink the boat, Jesus rebuked the wind and said, Why are you afraid? Why you have so little faith? If something frightens you, do not get paralyzed, but rather trust God and act.
  11. 11. You must say "NO". Rachel wanted to be free of her addiction and seek help from many sources, but she always fell back. What helped her out of her addiction was to recognize that her addiction was not dependent on external factors, but from her own decision and she learned to say "NO". This change in attitude made the difference and then, the help she received, gave her the tools to strengthen her will and continue saying "NO", to be free of her addiction. There are addictions to drugs, alcohol, tobacco, gambling, food and sex, among others. There is no instant or magic solution for any of them, because it requires decision, will and hard work. But you have help. Jesus said: You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. If the Son sets you free, you are truly free. He also said: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Years later Pablo said: For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. If you have an addiction, follow these three steps: 1) Recognize your addiction. 2) Say "NO" to your addiction. 3) Ask Jesus to help you.
  12. 12. Happiness is free. We seek happiness in the acquisition of material goods and activities to enjoy, but happiness is free and is a gift, a blessing of our heavenly Father. We have had the experience of acquiring things and be happy for a while, with nothing changed in our lives. Happiness is achieved when go from the state of beings created by God, to the state of the children of God and that is free because Christ paid a high price, so that we could receive that "Title". We all feel an inner emptiness that can not be filled by anything material. Only God and His Spirit, can fill that void and give us the happiness to which we are destined. Jesus said: Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and God will give you everything you need. Jesus did not say: God will give you everythint you want, but evetything you need and He knows what we really need. Happiness is to be children of God and act accordingly. In the Gospel of John says: To all who believed in Jesus and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. Believe in Jesus and receive Him into your heart, He paid for your happiness and for your eternal life.
  13. 13. If you focus just on tradition, you can damage the relationship. There are people who fully meet all marriage traditions, but do not focus on developing a personal relationship with their partner and unfortunately their partner often ends up looking for a personal relationship outside marriage. There are parents who fully meet all parental traditions, but do not focus on developing personal relationships with their children and unfortunately, their children often end up looking for a paternal personal relationship, outside the home. If you focus too much on following the traditions, you can damage your relationship with the people who are close to you. And the same thing happens with God, our heavenly Father. Jesus said to religious people: You cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And Jesus says to you: God is alive, is a person and is your Father, who wants to have a personal relationship with you. Do not follow traditions... Interact with Him and have a personal relationship with Him!
  14. 14. Do you live in sin and have bad reputation? Jesus says he wants to come into your heart and give you the opportunity to repent. In chapter 19 of the Gospel of Luke, we read that Zacchaeus was a notorious sinner, but Jesus said to him: Zacchaeus!, I must be a guest in your home today. Zacchaeus, full of enthusiasm and joy, took Jesus to his house. People were displeased and grumbled: Jesus has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner. But Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said: I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!. Jesus responded: Salvation has come to this home today, for the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost. Lessons to learn from this passage: 1. Jesus seeks sinners, to give them the opportunity to repent. 2. No matter what people think, but what Jesus does. 3. Zacchaeus was saved because he received Jesus and repented with words and actions. Now, let us do the same.
  15. 15. Let's get down to work. Jesus was crowned King and ascended into heaven, but before ascending, He left us a task. When we meet again, He will ask us we did with respect to the task that sent us to do. Many rejected Him as King and for that reason, they didn't do as He commanded. Others accepted Him as King, but they didn't do the task that He commanded. Others, in addition to accepting Jesus as King, fulfilled the task, doing what He commanded before ascending to heaven. In the parable of the ten servants, we read in Luke 19, Jesus says that those who do well what they are entrusted, even more will be given, but to those who do not do anything, even what they have, will be taken away. And those who rejected Him as their King, will not get anything good out of it. Here we are not talking about salvation or punishment, because we all depend on the grace and mercy of God. However, if we want to be responsible and do our part, in obedience to our King, we must comply with the Mission that He entrusted us in Matthew 28:19-20.
  16. 16. Politics in the Kingdom of God? Do not mix politics and government affairs with the Kingdom of God. Jesus was once asked whether it was right for Israel to pay taxes to the Roman Empire, the foreign power that had invaded and colonized them. But Jesus did not fall into the trap and said: Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and give to God what belongs to God. This passage is in Luke 20:20-26. Jesus lived in a politically troubled time when his country was invaded by a foreign power that oppressed them politically, socially and economically, in addition to desecrate their religion. However, Jesus never gave a speech on such serious political issues. Also, once they wanted to make Him King, but He escaped and hid in the hills and when Pilate questioned him, He said: My Kingdom is not of this world. Jesus did not come to change governments, but to change the hearts of people. Neither He came to support a political idea or another, but to invite all tendencies to seek the Kingdom of God. Let's follow His Great Example.
  17. 17. Would you voluntarily enter in an extremely dark room, in which you can not see anything? Not really. Right? You would only enter by force, because darkness produces insecurity and fear in all of us. However, our mind can also create "virtual" dark rooms, with those areas in which we feel insecurity, fear and frustration, and simply decided not to go there. These dark rooms are produced by all those situations that made us feel inferior, inadequate, incompetent and not appreciated or loved. We just decided to close that area and not get into it. This process may generate anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, panic attacks, anger, aggressivity and violence, affecting our family, social and working relatioships. Do you have a dark room in your mind? Do not overlook it, you should illuminate it. You need to talk about your dark room and for that there is professional help. Also you have God, your heavenly Father who loves you and with whom you can talk about your dark room, to illuminate it and heal it. Jesus said: If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light. I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life. Ask Jesus to illuminate your dark room and live in the light.
  18. 18. Leadership Is Service: Break the world paradigm. Leadership is not political figuration, vanity and arrogance, putting personal interests above the interests of others. Those of us who follow Jesus must be leaders, but not following the lidership paradigm of the world, but as Jesus came to serve. Once the Apostles began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them, but Jesus told them: In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called "friends of the people". But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. We can read this passage in Luke 22:24-27. Jesus came to serve us and today He is the King of the Universe. Let us follow His example.