“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” – Hebrews 12:2.
Once, a young man studied violin with a world-renowned teacher. He worked hard for several years to perfect his talent and finally the day came when he was asked to give his first important recital in public, in the big city where both he and his teacher lived.
After each selection that he presented with great skill and passion, the violinist seemed suspicious of the great applause he received, knowing that those in the audience were experts in music and not given to applaud any presentation that was not of superior quality. The young man acted as if he could not hear the appreciation that was spilled on him.
At the closing of the last selection, the applause was loud and many Bravos were heard. However, the talented young violinist had his eyes fixed on one place. At last, when an old man in the first row of the balcony smiled and nodded his head in approval, the young man calmed down and shone with relief and joy.
His teacher had praised his work! The applause of thousands did not mean anything until he won the teacher's approval.
Who are you trying to please today? You can never please everyone, but you can please Him who is more important, your Father in Heaven. Keep your eyes on him and you will not fail.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” – Galatians 1:10.
“not by the way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to man” - Ephesians 6:6-7.
- Jaime Restrepo
And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel's will save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul”? – Mark 8:34-36
There was once a king who had 4 wives. He loved the fourth wife more than the others and adorned her with rich garments, the finest delicacies and only gave her his best. He also loved his third wife very much and always exhibited her in the neighboring kingdoms. However, he was afraid that one day she would leave with another. He also loved his second wife. She was his confidant, was always kind, considerate and patient with him. Every time the king had a problem, he trusted her to help him out of the difficult times. The king's first wife was a very loyal companion and made great contributions to maintain both the wealth and the kingdom. However, he did not love his first wife and although she loved him deeply, he hardly noticed her.
The king became ill and realized that he was dying. He thought about his luxury life and thought: Now I have four wives with me, but when I die, I will be alone.
So, he asked his fourth wife. “I have loved you more than the others, I have endowed you with the best clothes and I have taken great care of you. Now that I am dying, would you be willing to follow me and keep me company?” She said, “Do not even think about it!” and she walks away without saying any more words. Her answer penetrated his heart like a sharp knife.
The sad king asked his third wife, “I have loved you all my life. Now that I am dying, would you be willing to follow me and keep me company?” His third wife answered. “No, life is too good. When you die, I plan to get married again.” His heart felt a strong shock and he was cold.
Then he asked his second wife “I have always come to you for help and you have always been there for me. When I die, would you be willing to follow me and keep me company?” She answered, “I'm sorry, I can’t help you this time. The most I can do is to bury you.” Her response felt like thunderous lightning that devastated the king.
Then he heard a voice, “I will go with you and I will follow you wherever you go.” The king looked in the direction of the voice and there was his first wife. She looked so thin, she suffered from malnutrition. Deeply affected, the king said, “I should have treated you better when I had the chance to do it!”
Actually, we all have four wives in our lives. Our fourth wife is our body. No matter how much time and effort we invest in making it look good, it will leave us when we die. Our third wife are our possessions, social status and wealth. When we die, they will go to others. Our second wife is our family and friends. No matter how we have been supported, the most they can do is accompany us to the tomb. And our first wife is our soul, often ignored in the pursuit of fortune, power and the pleasures of the ego. However, our soul is the only one that will accompany us wherever we go.
So, cultivate it, strengthen it and take care of it now! It is the greatest gift you can offer the world. Let it shine!
- Jaime Restrepo
It is popular to hear people say I have Jesus, I don’t need the church. There are many things driving that mentality. It might be that some have been hurt by imperfect people. Others don’t want the responsibilities associated with membership. A few think everyone in the church is hypocritical. What we need to understand is that you can't have Jesus without the church. Jesus is inseparably and intimately connected to it. It’s His body.
When life hits us hard, we are going to need more than ourself to rely upon. We need to realize that one of the ways God works to provide us comfort is through His church. If you are limiting your connection with the local church, you have essentially placed a roadblock between you and Jesus and one of the main ways He works to serve.
On Sunday, we’ll focus on Philippians 4.10-20. Here we learn about Paul’s contentment and the church’s role in supplying his needs. If we are to find comfort in this life, we’ll need to reorder our perspective - as an individual and as a church. In our lesson we will examine:
- Paul’s difficult circumstances.
- How to find comfort individually, 4.10-13.
- How to find comfort through God’s people, 4.14-20.
As you get ready for worship, be thinking about these things:
- Read Acts 28.11-31. In what type of situation did Paul find himself?
- How can trusting in God’s ordering of our circumstances to supply our needs fill us with comfort? See Romans 8.28-30.
- What are some things you can do to resist the culture’s influence of defining your needs?
- What does Philippians 4.13 & Isaiah 40.29 tell us what happens when we have no more human strength?
- What are some ways God has worked through your spiritual family to bring you comfort?
Sunday Scripture Reading: Tommy Ray
Sunday Song Leader: Jim Rutter
TEXT: Philippians 4.10-20
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he a them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength’. Mark 12:28-30
The Pig and the Hen
To explain the difference between being committed and being involved, it is important to note the nuance that distinguishes them and that is very clear with the fable of the pig and the chicken:
A hen and a pig walked along the road one day, when the hen told the pig, “Hey pig, what do you think about joining and opening a restaurant?”
The pig considered the proposal and replied, “I think it's a good idea. What would we call it?”
The hen thought a little and answered: “Why don’t we call it 'Eggs with ham'?
The pig stopped, paused and replied, “I think I'm not going to open a restaurant with you. If so, I would be committed, but you would only be involved."
ARE YOU A PIG OR A HEN? Eggs or ham? When a chicken lays an egg, it gives something of itself ... it delivers something important but a pig is given, it is sacrificed ... it is given entirely.
It is said that on one occasion a woman who had a farm, asked her husband at night, my love, what do you think you want for breakfast tomorrow? To which he replied, I feel like having eggs with ham, to which she responded very well and they fell asleep.
The story tells us that the animals of the farm quickly spread the word (tomorrow they will have breakfast with ham). When this came to the ears of the pig, the only pig of the farm, he began to cry inconsolably, "no, it can’t be, eggs with ham, my God, please, eggs without ham." Listening the hen plead says, “It's not that bad". To which the pig replied, "for you it does not mean much since in that breakfast you are only involved, you are going to give an egg, but I am committed".
Do not settle for just being involved in the purposes of God commit to the dreams of God and then if you truly find fulfillment of joy in your daily life. Egg or Ham? It's up to you.
- Jaime Restrepo
Hear my prayer, O LORD; give ear to my pleas for mercy! In your faithfulness answer me, in your righteousness! – Psalm 143:1
What would happen if God…?
What would happen if God ... installed an automatic telephone answering machine in heaven?
Imagine praying and listening to the following message: Thank you for calling my Father's House. Please select one of these options:
* Press 1 for requests.
* Press 2 for thanksgiving.
* Press 3 for complaints.
* Press 4 for any other subject.
Imagine that God used this well-known excuse: At the moment all our angels are busy, attending to other clients. Please keep praying on the line, your call will be answered in the order that was received.
Can you imagine getting these types of answers when you call God in your prayer? ….
If you want to talk to Gabriel, press 5.
With Michael, press 6.
With any other angel, press 7.
If you want King David to sing a Psalm, press 8.
If you want to get answers to foolish questions about dinosaurs, the age of Earth, where Noah's Ark is, please wait to get to Heaven.
Can you imagine the following in your prayer?
Our computer indicates that you have already called today. Please clear the line for others who also want to pray ... Or:
Our offices are closed for Easter, holidays and weekends. Please call again on Monday.
Thank God this does not happen ...
Thank God you can call him in prayer as many times as you need ...
Thank God that at the first call, He always answers you ...
Thank God because the Jesus line is never busy ...
Thank God that He answers us and knows us by our name ...
Thank God that He knows our needs before we manifest them ...
Thank God because it is up to us to call him in prayer ...
Thank God for reading (listening to) this message …
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer …. 1 Peter 3:12.
- Jaime Restrepo