Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Nail prints in the Heart……..

He suffered with them in all their troubles, and the angel of the Lord saved them. In His loving-kindness He paid the price and made them free.

He lifted them up and carried them all the days of long ago.”  Isa. 63:9 NLV

The strength of my devotion to Jesus is not measured by my speech, but by my sufferings.  

When Paul urged the Colossians on to great zeal for God, he did not argue; he pointed; “Remember my bonds [prison chains],” he wrote to them.  (Col. 4:18KJV)

If his suffering for Christ could not convince them, nothing could. 

Would Paul himself not know what started him thinking about Jesus Christ---Stephen’s speech or his death?  (Acts 7:60-81)

Paul has left us many memorials of his devotion to Jesus----letters, travels, sermons, miracles------but he left nothing greater than his chains, the symbol of his sufferings for Christ’s sake.

The measure of a person’s devotion to any cause, right or wrong, is the depth of the suffering and sacrifices he is willing to undergo for it.   That is why Paul could say, “I bear on my body the brand marks of Jesus.”  (Gal. 6:17)

What scars do I bear for Jesus?

Scars are not an end to themselves, but signs of an inward commitment.  I must not seek scars of the body, but seek scars that are more important, scars of the spirit.

The scars of the spirit are the sacrifices of self-dependence and self direction that I make for Christ’s sake.   Whether or not I ever wear physical scars for Jesus is not essential; it is absolutely essential that I wear spiritual scars for Him.

I think it is safe to say that chances are there are very few to none who have nail prints in their hands.  However, it is more important to know:  Are there nail prints in your heart?

Paul rejoiced in his scars, because then, he said, “The power of Christ may rest upon me.”  (2 Cor. 12:9-10)    He was willing to trade scars for the privilege of bearing fruit.

So will everyone who follows the Lamb wherever He goes.

“Listen, then, and learn what the parable of the sower means.   Those who hear the message about the Kingdom but do not understand it are like the seeds that fell along the path. The Evil One comes and snatches away what was sown in them.  

The seeds that fell on rocky ground stand for those who receive the message gladly as soon as they hear it.   But it does not sink deep into them, and they don't last long. So when trouble or persecution comes because of the message, they give up at once.

   The seeds that fell among thorn bushes stand for those who hear the message; but the worries about this life and the love for riches choke the message, and they don't bear fruit.

  And the seeds sown in the good soil stand for those who hear the message and understand it: they bear fruit, some as much as one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty.”     Matthew 13:18-23 GNT

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