All posts by John (HFJ Director)

Jesus Is Calling You to Follow Him

When Jesus began His ministry He had no disciples, no followers, and no-one knew Him outside of His close friends and family. He was a humble carpenter.

What He did have was a strong relationship with God and a deep understanding of scripture because of years of careful study. He preached boldly and without apology.

In Matthew 4:18-22 we see Jesus call His first disciples, who were fisherman. He connected with them immediately by using a metaphor that they could understand.

18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him.

21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

Jesus’ disciples responded quickly and decisively when He called. There is no indication that they, as fisherman, had any previous relationship with Jesus upon which to draw to trust Him. They did not have a full understanding of His ministry and teaching when they chose to follow Him.

The disciples had to decide to follow Jesus first… and that led them to the opportunity to spend years growing to know Him and His teaching intimately. And later, with the Holy Spirit as their helper they were formidable indeed as they spread the good news of the gospel to sometimes friendly, but often hostile audiences.

The same is true for us today. If we decide not to follow Jesus until we understand all of His word in the Bible, we will never follow Him. It is only by the bold decision to follow Him that we will study and learn more about God’s word and develop that intimate relationship with God that transforms our lives in the image of Christ.

Are you following Jesus with all your heart or are you holding something back? He is calling each of us to come to Him wholeheartedly. Do not wait until you have all the answers… follow Him today!

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Repent of Your Sins and Turn to God

After successfully overcoming temptation by Satan as documented in Matthew 4, Jesus began His public ministry.

Ever stop to think about what message was so fundamental and important that Jesus would speak about it first?  Matthew 4:17 gives that insight.

 17 From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.[g]

Try not to read over it too quickly. Better to dwell on it.  Scripture does not say Jesus said this once, but rather “From then on…”. Jesus started with this key message and stayed on this point through His entire ministry.

We need to follow His example throughout our lives as well. God wants us first to repent, then to turn to Him humbly and seek Him wholeheartedly.

Some people struggle with the end of this verse, “… for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.” since Jesus said it two thousand years ago. We could have a good debate on it and I look forward to sharing more on that topic another time.  However, here is practical way to consider application.

Approximately 148,000 people around the world die every day. That equates to a pace of over 50 million people a year. For each of those who perished, they no longer have a chance to repent and turn to Jesus. Those who accepted Jesus wholeheartedly before they died are with Him in heaven.  Those who did not are in hell, eternally separated from God.

The point is that time may be short for each of us. Now is the time to repent and turn to God. None of us are promised a tomorrow on this world.

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Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Leading Cause of Death in the World

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 56 million people died worldwide in 2012.

The leading cause of death was cardiovascular diseases, killing 17.5 million people in 2012, that is 3 in every 10 deaths.

6.6 million children died before reaching their fifth birthday. The major killers of children aged less than 5 years were prematurity, pneumonia, birth asphyxia and birth trauma, and diarrheal diseases.

The world health organization has another category they track that they do not even count in the death totals. Every year an estimated 45 million children are killed inside their mother’s womb by someone carrying out an abortion.

If we were to add this number to the death total of 56 million above, we see that deaths from abortion account for an astounding 45% of total deaths worldwide… almost three times more than the next leading category (cardiovascular disease).

God clearly tells us life begins in the womb in Jeremiah 1:4-5

The Lord gave me this message:

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb.
    Before you were born I set you apart
    and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Medical science today undeniably confirms what God told us thousands of years ago. Life begins at conception and the human life grows inside the mother’s womb. The baby is defenseless and without a voice, but clearly a separate individual human life inside the mother.

If you or someone you know is considering abortion.  Please choose to save the life of the child, even if it is a hard situation. Reach out for help to God and fellow Christians.

If you or someone you know has already been involved in an abortion then you know how devastating it is emotionally. Remember that God is filled with grace.  He can forgive you if you turn toward Him with repentant heart and seek forgiveness. If you are struggling in grief, please reach out to God and to fellow Christians for help.

2 Chronicles 7:14

14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.

Let’s work together to stop abortion!

For information on finding resources to help, please visit our Crisis Help: Abortion page.

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Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Practical Advice for a Strong Marriage

The marriage covenant is the most sacred covenant we enter with exception to our covenant with God. Our world today provides much distraction and false teaching about marriage.

Even amongst Christian communities and families there is often little or no Biblical teaching to help guide how we should select a spouse and prepare us to live a godly marriage.

The most important principle to focus on is that we should each try to grow closer to God, and by doing so we will also grow closer to each other.

Seeking a godly spouse:

  • Study the Bible to understand what character traits to develop in yourself and look for in a spouse.
  • Become the type of godly person that you want to find in a spouse. Continue maturing in your personal relationship with Jesus Christ and live as a godly example in your life.
  • Take your time in selecting your spouse. Ensure you know them well and share a similar depth of faith in Jesus Christ.
  • Pray for God to give you confirmation of whom you should marry and then make sure what you hear is from God by seeking godly counsel and comparing it to God’s word.

Growing a godly marriage relationship:

  • Study the Bible independently to continue your personal growth in relationship with God.
  • Maintain an active prayer life between yourself and God. It should be two way communication.
  • Spend time together with your spouse daily (or as often as you can to start) studying and applying the word of God to your lives
  • Spend time in prayer together with your spouse daily.
  • Invest in your marriage relationship before you have difficulty. Seek resources (e.g. books, conferences, online ministries, etc.) that can help you grow closer to your spouse over time. Do not wait until the relationship is struggling to work on improving it.
  • Seek out and partner with another godly married couple you respect and trust that know Jesus. You can serve as accountability and prayer partners for each other before God.

I have started a list of some good resources that provide practical help for growing in our marriage. You can find these on our website under the “Resources” tab under “Marriage” in the top header.

Focused Ministry

  • Focus on the Family is a ministry with specific focus around marriage and family. There are many resources available including material on strengthening or repairing your marriage.

Books and Other Resources

  • For Men Only and For Women Only by Jeff and Shaunti Feldhahn reveal eye-opening truths and simple acts that will improve your relationship with your spouse.
  • The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman shows us how to keep our marriage relationship fresh and growing amid the demands and conflicts and just plain boredom of everyday life.
  • The Love Dare  personally leads you through daily devotionals, records your thoughts and experiences, and ends each day daring you to perform a simple act of love for your spouse.

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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How do I hear from Jesus?

Many of us want to hear from God to ensure we are following His direction rather than our own desires or falling into traps laid by the enemy. The good news is that God also wants to talk to us and He wants us to hear his voice.

God speaks to all of us through the Bible. It is a complete guide to help us understand who God is and how He wants to relate with us as His people. Studying the Bible helps us understand the character of God. The Bible is available free of charge on the internet at multiple sites. Please look under our Study the Word section on www.HearingFromJesus.org and find several links to online Bible resources available in many languages.

The second most common way that we as believers can hear from Jesus is by accepting Him into our hearts as lord and savior, seeking Him wholeheartedly and learning to listen to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, the advocate that God has sent to be with us while we are in this world. We have several devotionals highlighting the role of the Holy Spirit on our website. You can look them up by  the category “Holy Spirit” or type “Holy Spirit” into the search function on our header bar of www.HearingFromJesus.org.  

When we wish to hear from God it is important to seek Him in prayer. Prayer is an important means of communication between God and His people. It should be a two way communication. It should not just be a list of “wants” we demand of God. Similar to the topic above on Holy Spirit, we have a devotional category to help you on our website simply called “Prayer”.

When we feel we are receiving specific guidance from God, the Bible encourages us to seek godly counsel, perhaps from a friend or family member that you know is close to God. It is very important to check the guidance we think we are receiving from God against His word in the Bible. God will not contradict Himself. If the direction we think we are getting contradicts the character of God or His holy scriptures in the Bible then we can know that guidance is not from God. It may be from our own desires or from the enemy trying to lead us into a trap.

We will come back to each of these aspects of hearing from God in future posts over the coming weeks to further develop this important topic and dive a bit deeper into specific scripture.

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Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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The Future Glory

There is much sin and suffering in this world. As we go through our daily walk with Jesus Christ, we have confident hope that we will be released from this suffering when we leave this world to join Jesus for eternity in heaven. While we are still here God has given us the Holy Spirit to help guide and support us through these difficult times.

Romans 8:18-30

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. 19 For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are. 20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope, 21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. 22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 And we believers also groan, even though we have the Holy Spirit within us as a foretaste of future glory, for we long for our bodies to be released from sin and suffering. We, too, wait with eager hope for the day when God will give us our full rights as his adopted children,[j] including the new bodies he has promised us. 24 We were given this hope when we were saved. (If we already have something, we don’t need to hope[k] for it. 25 But if we look forward to something we don’t yet have, we must wait patiently and confidently.)

26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[l] in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that God causes everything to work together[m] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 29 For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn[n] among many brothers and sisters. 30 And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.

What a wonderful God we have that is so vast He created and rules over everything and yet he cares so much for each of us He provides us the help we need to live out our daily lives. Praise God!

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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The Leader Should Be Like A Servant

As the disciples sat at dinner with Jesus celebrating Passover in what has now become known as the Last Supper they began to argue about who would become greatest among them. [Luke 22:25-27 NLT]

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.”

 

Jesus “walked the talk” throughout His time of ministry on earth. He spent His time among us teaching, healing, serving and then dying for us … not creating comfort and luxury for Himself. We should remember His example when we prioritize our lives and determine where we will spend our time and money.

Please check out our website Acts of Service page under our Testimonies section to be encouraged by practical, real life acts of service that honor God as shared by our community members. Or post examples you have witnessed to encourage others and give them ideas for practical ways to help others through service.

Together we can encourage each other to honor God through conducting and sharing acts of service!

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

Understanding how much God loves us is best put in perspective in that Jesus Christ died for us, for our sin… so that we could be made right before God. Nothing can separate us from His love except if we choose to reject His offer of salvation through grace and therefore reject a right relationship with God.

Romans 8:31-39

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[o]) 37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[p] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 Nothing can separate us from the overwhelming love God has for each of us, unless we turn our backs on God and choose not to accept Him. All we have to do is to come before God with humility, ask His forgiveness through grace, repent of our sinful nature, and seek God wholeheartedly as we ask Jesus to be lord of our life.

If you have not done this in your life… now is a great time to do it.  Take a few moments to come humbly before God. He is always available with no waiting required.

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Let the Children Come

During His ministry in this world Jesus was very busy. It was at times difficult for Him to find quiet time or rest because He has such a heart to teach and heal people who seek Him. Jesus consistently put others’ needs ahead of His own… as demonstrated in Matthew 19:13-14.

13 One day some parents brought their children to Jesus so he could lay his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples scolded the parents for bothering him.

14 But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.” 15 And he placed his hands on their heads and blessed them before he left.

Jesus has a special place in His heart for children. In particular He rejoices when we help children to understand His word and to be surrounded and raised with Jesus as a central part of their lives. Please do not overlook children and the example you set as you interact with them and lead your daily life. They need our example as Christian adults to set them on the right course… a path leading to a lifelong relationship with Jesus Christ.

Please check out our website Kids Zone section for a collection of material we have found helpful to share Jesus with young children in a way they really enjoy. We have divided into several sections:

We invite you to share with us other resources you have found that are helpful as well. Just add a comment to one of those pages. Together we can raise godly children for the next generation!

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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Prayer Request – Orphanage in Nepal

Please pray with me for an orphanage in Nepal named “Rejoice and Salvation in Trinity Services”. (www.rejoiceandsalvation.org.np.) A member of our community has shared with me that they are a Christian focused ministry that has a great need. It is run by an ordained Pastor and his family and now has care of 63 children in the orphanage.

When the major 7.8 earthquake hit Nepal April 25th 2015 there was minor damage to the main building of the orphanage. However since the first major earthquake there have been over 40 aftershocks above 4.0 magnitude. This has damaged all of the orphanage’s buildings and they are now condemned and uninhabitable. Their only water well has been damaged and no longer produces water. The 63 children and all adults are now trying to live in makeshift tents and must buy water to drink and cook with. Starting in June to September is the monsoon or the rainy season of Nepal and this is going to cause even more hardship unless they can get a more substantial structure to live in than canvas over tree limbs that they now are using as shelter.

Prayer requests :

– For fresh water and food to keep the children healthy. Sickness at this time would greatly compound the severity of the situation.
– For better temporary shelter and finances to repair or rebuild the orphanage buildings.
– For their leader (Suresh), his family and the workers to have wisdom to make decisions and the strength to endure and protect the children.
– For Suresh to have the means to provide a safe and secure environment that will take away the fear and anxiety the earthquakes have caused the children.

Help us to share the good news of the gospel! Please visit our Support Us page at HearingFromJesus.org to find out more.

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