Potential

How many times have we heard it? “He/She just isn’t living up to their potential.”

I’m sure that we all can recall times where we have either said it, or we have heard someone say it, and we have wondered what we can do to help them realize it.

First I think we need to look at what potential truly is defined as, “latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.”

As Christians we all have a potential to become something greater than we are right now…we all have the opportunity to be greater than we may even think we can be. The first thing that we must do is realize the potential we have.  We must overcome our mental blocks that keep us from realizing what we could be, but how? Plain and simple, we must set goals.  But more than that, we must also pursue them with no hesitation.  If we want to see ourselves become what we could be, we must first put away that which is holding us back.

Second, we must realize our need for others along this journey…we can’t go at it alone.  We must accept Christ into our lives as our provider and our energy source, and then strive to be like him.  If we want to become better in athletics, we find an athlete that has perfected the trade and then strive to apply the same things they have applied.  The same is true for our Christian walk…for us to find that drive in ourselves; we have to look at the life of Christ and attempt to be like him.

Along with our attempt toward becoming like Christ, we must also align ourselves with others who are also striving to put on the same mind as us.  If we can do this, we will never be alone in the battle that seems to follow us.  Christ tells us in the book of John that we can do this when he gives us the words in verse 33, “In this world you will have trouble; but take heart, I have overcome the world.”

If Christ has overcome, why do we accept mediocrity? Why do we accept anything less than our full potential if Christ has proven that we have more than we could even imagine in what He has already done for us?

Today, I challenge you, as well as myself, to accept potential and strive for it.  We have potential because Christ has already overcome…but it is up to us to seize the opportunity and attack it head on.  Today, you can overcome because he overcame.  Today you can be everything that you were designed to be by simply embracing the one who created you to be everything you are! And what you are is a Child of the One, True God!

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The Time is Near

Over the past few days/weeks, many things have been on my mind, but it has all come back to one central thought that I feel led to share about today.

That thought is this, “You never know when it all could end.”

And I feel that we as Christians need to wake up and realize this.

What do I mean?  Too often today we see many who are complacent in their faith; they seem to think they have forever, or in many cases, they just don’t realize the decision that they need to make in their life. Jesus tells us in His Word that not all who say, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of heaven.  But there are too many of us who seem to forget that we are called to a higher standard.

Just because you say you are a Christian doesn’t mean that you follow Christ with your life.  It might mean that you have tasted the milk, but have you moved past the infancy stage? Are you attempting to live for Christ in all things that you do? Or, do you live with the mentality that just because you know who Christ is that you are set to go to heaven?

God makes it clear in His word that not all who simply say Lord will get to heaven.  Look with me at Matthew 7:21-23 – “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

But we must also beware of those who are ministering in the Name of God who are not also sold out to His ultimate goal.  Matthew 24 reminds us of this in verses 4-5, “Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.”

Do not be deceived today, because none of us know the time or date that Jesus will return; none of us know when life could be ripped away from us and it will be too late.  Today, we must choose to live for Him wholeheartedly or we may find ourselves standing there hearing the same words, “Away from me, I never knew you!”

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” – Matthew 24:42-44

Saving Just One

I came across a story and I felt it would be something that hopefully will inspire someone today. The author is unknown:

“After a few of the usual Sunday evening hymns, the church’s pastor slowly stood up, walked over to the pulpit and, before he gave his sermon for the evening, briefly introduced a guest minister who was in the service that evening. In the introduction, the pastor told the congregation that the guest minister was one of his dearest childhood friends and that he wanted him to have a few moments to greet the church and share whatever he felt would be appropriate for the service.

“With that, an elderly man stepped up to the pulpit and began to speak. “A father, his son, and a friend of his son were sailing off the Pacific Coast,” he began, “when a fast approaching storm blocked any attempt to get back to shore. The waves were so high that, even though the father was an experienced sailor, he could not keep the boat upright, and the three were swept into the ocean as the boat capsized.”

“The old man hesitated for a moment, making eye contact with two teenagers who were, for the first time since the service began, looking somewhat interested in the story. The aged minister continued with his story. “Grabbing a rescue line, the father had to make the most excruciating decision of his life: to which boy he would throw the other end of the life line. He only had seconds to make the decision. The father knew that his son was a Christian, and he also knew that his son’s friend was not. The agony of his decision could not be matched by the torrent of the waves. As the father yelled out, ‘I love you, son!’, he threw out the life line to the son’s friend. By the time the father had pulled the friend back to the capsized boat, his son had disappeared beneath the raging swells into the black of night. His body was never recovered.”

“By this time, the two teenagers were sitting up straight in the pew, anxiously waiting for the next words to come out of the old minister’s mouth. “The father,” he continued, “knew his son would step into eternity with Jesus, and he could not bear the thought of his son’s friend stepping into an eternity without Jesus. Therefore, he sacrificed his son to save the son’s friend. How great is the love of God that He could do the same for us. Our heavenly Father sacrificed His only begotten Son that we could be saved. I urge you to accept His offer to rescue you and take hold of the life line.”

“With that, the old man turned and sat back down in his chair as silence filled the room. The pastor again walked slowly to the pulpit and delivered a brief sermon with an invitation at the end. However, no one responded to the appeal. Within minutes after the service, the two teenagers were at the old man’s side.

“That was a nice story,” politely said one of the boys, “but I don’t think it was very realistic for a father to give up his only son’s life in hopes that the other boy would become a Christian.”

“Well, you’ve got a point there,” the old man replied, glancing down at his worn Bible. Sorrow began to overtake the old man’s smiling face as he once again looked up at the boys and said, “It sure isn’t very realistic, is it? But I’m here today to tell you that I understand more than most the pain God must have felt to give up His only Son. For you see, I’m the man who lost his son to the ocean that day, and my son’s friend that I chose to save is your pastor.”

This story has floored me more than once in life because it shows us the purpose that God may have for someone, even when we don’t know; and essentially the old man had to make the same choice that God did. God looked down and realized he could only save one, and in that He had to sacrifice His own son to do that. He knew that Jesus’ blood would save us, but in order for that to happen he had to let Him go.

If we are faced with the same situation … What would we choose? Would you be willing to sacrifice one to save another? Share Christ today. Love with the love of God.