Sunday, October 23, 2011

Look Beyond Yourself To Help Someone Else

Luke 23:39-43 (NIV)
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!" But the other criminal rebuked him. "Don't you fear God," he said, "since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong." Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise."


While JESUS was in tremendous pain and yet dying on the cross, HE took a moment to be concerned about another man's soul. Sometimes the hardest thing to do when we are hurting is to reach out and help someone else. When we are hurting, the most natural feeling is to look for someone to extend a helping hand to us. There is nothing wrong with wanting others to be concerned about our issues or seeking help for ourselves. However, when we can step outside of our own difficulties and reach out to others we will be surprised of the positive outcome.

I remember a time many years ago when I was very sad about a situation. I was praying to GOD about my problem when suddenly the phone rang. It was my niece and she said she really needed to talk to me. Before moving forward in the conversation I remember thinking, "JESUS how can I possibly be any help to her right now?" But I told her I would listen and she began talking. I didn't say much in our conversation. I listened as she told me about her problem and offered some advice when she was finished. At the end of the conversation she said, "Thank you Uncle Terrence. You really helped me a lot." After our conversation ended I realized I wasn't sad anymore. I felt much better too!

Sometimes our deliverance comes when we get beyond our own pain to lift someone else up. GOD loves us and is concerned about our problems. GOD often uses people to manifest HIS will here on Earth. Therefore GOD wants us to be concerned about others enough to reach out to help them. We don't have to be in the best condition for GOD to use us to bring good to another person. We do not have to be a perfect vessel. We only have to be a willing vessel to be used by GOD.

The Apostle Paul wanted to be in the best possible condition to be used by GOD. Paul asked JESUS 3 times to remove a thorn from his side. The "thorn" represents the thing, issue, or circumstance which came to make Paul feel less than perfect for the task. JESUS did not grant Paul's request. Instead JESUS replied by saying, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in your weakness." Let's look at the scripture . . .

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV)
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


Therefore we should not try to present ourselves as "all knowing" or "flawless" to anyone who comes to us seeking help. In fact we should do the opposite and be transparent about our humanity. It means so much to the person who is hurting to know that you are not perfect, but human just like them. So when you offer advice or step in to help in a situation which ends with a positive result, the credit must go to GOD.

So when I go back to the story about the phone conversation with my niece I realized that it was JESUS who was helping my niece (not me). Yes I felt good after that phone call knowing my niece was feeling better, but I was also at peace about my own situation. That peace came from JESUS as HE helped me during that same phone call. If we only step out to help others when things are good for us then we lose sight of GOD working in the situation. But if we rise above our own problems to assist someone else then GOD's light shines brightly. GOD blesses the person who is being helped and the person who reached out to help. It is amazing how GOD works! GOD is truly awesome!

I know it can be very hard to get beyond our own problems enough to think clearly about assisting someone else. However if we have the desire in our hearts to help others and make the effort to do so even while we are hurting, then GOD will do the rest. Helping each other is GOD's will for us. The beauty of GOD's plan is that we get blessed in the process. The next time you feel down, make an effort to help someone else and watch GOD work for them and for you! As we reach out to help others, GOD will reach out to help us!

James 5:16 (NIV)
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective."

Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ."

I pray these words have been a blessing for you as they are for me (bringing us in closer relationship with our FATHER). Please feel welcome to reply and share your thoughts by posting them here or privately at tpbiblestudy@comcast.net.

If this message has touched your heart and you do not know JESUS CHRIST as your Lord & Savior but want HIM in your life you can accept HIM right now wherever you are. Pray this prayer out loud, "Dear GOD, I ask forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that JESUS CHRIST is your son. I believe that JESUS suffered and died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected for me. I accept JESUS as my Lord & Savior. Come now and live in my heart. I accept you as head of my life. In the name of JESUS I thank you, Amen."

If you have just prayed this prayer I say to you "GOD bless you and Congratulations"! If you do not have a church home, pray and ask GOD to lead you to a local (Bible believing) church in your area where you can be baptized in the name of JESUS, fed the Word of GOD, and fellowship with other Christians.

If you have any questions please send an email to: tpbiblestudy@comcast.net

GOD bless you!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Did I Miss My Blessing?

Let's say a great opportunity comes your way, but then somehow you missed it (or simply messed it up). Perhaps you did the best you could to take the best advantage of the opportunity. Perhaps you were lazy and just let it pass you by. In either case it appears the opportunity has come and gone without you receiving benefits from it. Have you then found yourself asking the question, "Did I miss my blessing?"

I have personally agonized over this very question, wondering if I have missed the greatest opportunity of my lifetime. Did I miss my blessing? Did I disappoint GOD by not taking proper advantage of the opportunity I was presented with? Now is my life doomed to go downhill? The answer is no, you have not missed your blessing. No you have not disappointed GOD. No your life is not over. Have you ever considered perhaps GOD sent the opportunity to teach you a lesson? We always think GOD only allows bad things to happen in our lives to teach us lessons. There are times GOD sends a good opportunity along to teach us something about HIM (GOD's love for us) and ourselves (how much we need GOD in our daily lives).

Let's take JESUS' parable about the prodigal (lost) son as an example (Luke 15:11-32). In this parable, the son asks his father for his inheritance. Normally one receives an inheritance (the practice of passing on money, property, and rights) upon the death of an individual. In this case the son wanted his inheritance now while his father was still living. The father without hesitation granted his son's request. Did the son then go forward making wise investments with his new wealth? Did he spend or save his money wisely? No! In fact he did the very opposite. He squandered his wealth eventually losing it all. However that is not where the story ends. Here is what JESUS says happens next . . .

Luke 15:14-24 (The Message Bible)

"After he had gone through all his money, there was a bad famine all through that country and he began to hurt. He signed on with a citizen there who assigned him to his fields to slop the pigs. He was so hungry he would have eaten the corncobs in the pig slop, but no one would give him any. That brought him to his senses. He said, 'All those farmhands working for my father sit down to three meals a day, and here I am starving to death. I'm going back to my father. I'll say to him, Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son. Take me on as a hired hand.' He got right up and went home to his father. "When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him. The son started his speech: 'Father, I've sinned against God, I've sinned before you; I don't deserve to be called your son ever again.' But the father wasn't listening. He was calling to the servants, 'Quick. Bring a clean set of clothes and dress him. Put the family ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Then get a grain-fed heifer and roast it. We're going to feast! We're going to have a wonderful time! My son is here; given up for dead and now alive! Given up for lost and now found!' And they began to have a wonderful time."


While the son learned a valuable lesson concerning how he poorly handled the wealth he received, the bigger lesson came in the mercy and grace the father showed toward his son. Although the son did apologize, his father was not focused on his son's words. The father had already forgiven his son though he may not have deserved it (which is mercy), and gave a huge gift in making a celebration for his son's return (which is grace). So did the son miss his blessing, or did he receive a far more valuable blessing in the end? I have learned that sometimes GOD sends a good thing into our lives not for the sake of the thing being good, but for the sake of a bigger lesson to be learned which is far more valuable than the thing itself.

So how do we recognize a "blessing from GOD"?
Here is what the Bible says . . .

Proverbs 10:22 (NIV)
"The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.

My father, mother, and many others who I consider to be wise have often said to me, "What GOD has for you, surely you will get it." In other words, when GOD blesses you, it is not something you struggle for. It is presented to you like a wonderful gift which we have not earned nor deserve. In the case of the prodigal son, the blessing of the LORD was not the inheritance. Instead, it was in the mercy and grace shown to him by his father.

So the next you feel somehow you have missed out on a good opportunity in your life, do not ask if you have missed your blessing. Instead ask, "What should I learn from this?" Then look for GOD's mercy and grace in the situation. It is there in GOD's mercy and grace where you will discover the true blessing of the LORD.

I pray these words have been a blessing for you as they are for me (bringing us in closer relationship with our FATHER). Please feel welcome to reply and share your thoughts by posting them here or privately at tpbiblestudy@comcast.net.

If this message has touched your heart and you do not know JESUS CHRIST as your Lord & Savior but want HIM in your life you can accept HIM right now wherever you are. Pray this prayer out loud, "Dear GOD, I ask forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that JESUS CHRIST is your son. I believe that JESUS suffered and died on the cross, was buried, and was resurrected for me. I accept JESUS as my Lord & Savior. Come now and live in my heart. I accept you as head of my life. In the name of JESUS I thank you, Amen."

If you have just prayed this prayer I say to you "GOD bless you and Congratulations"! If you do not have a church home, pray and ask GOD to lead you to a local (Bible believing) church in your area where you can be baptized in the name of JESUS, fed the Word of GOD, and fellowship with other Christians.

If you have any questions please send an email to: tpbiblestudy@comcast.net

GOD bless you!