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Short Messages/Tracts

 

COMPLACENCY TOWARD GOD 

Our complacency toward God is often hidden from us by our great zeal for our own “godly program.”

 How can I be complacent toward God, when I’m pouring myself out—

—saving the environment,

—crusading for the right to life,

—uncovering the hidden agenda of a popular cult,

—ministering healing and deliverance to many lives?

The issue is not: How zealous is your ministry?

But: Are you abiding in the Vine?

Have you died to your own agenda so that God can fit you into His?

“Not every one who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.'” (Matthew 7:21-23)

For followers of Jesus there is only one valid urgency:

Obedience to the Master’s voice.

Every other “urgency” is a distraction, concealing a heart that has become complacent toward God.

 “For you say I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Therefore, I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.” (Revelation 3:17-19)

Prayer: Lord, we admit our complacency towards you has left us wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. We have been so careless with what you offer to us…if we could just stop being so busy with things, even good things, even ministries… that distract us from you. Oh Lord, we come to you, to draw close, to buy what we need to cover our nakedness, to get salve for our eyes so that we can see clearly again. We repent of our complacency towards you… of being distracted from you. Nothing, nothing is more important than having hearts that are warm toward you, seeking you with all we have, and not satisfied with our own goodness and agenda. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber  September 2019  Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Kevin Carden
Website: Good Salt 

#Complacency #GodlyPrograms #PitiablePoorBlindNaked

THE COMPLACENT BRANCH

 There was a branch on the Vine that produced the most magnificent leaves.

People came from miles around to admire their beauty, which far out-shined any other branch on the Vine.  One day a stranger came to see this awesome branch, and noticed that for all its leaves, it was producing no grapes.

“Why aren’t you producing grapes on your lovely branch?” asked the stranger.

“Leaves are my focus.  And you can see the result.  Aren’t they beautiful?”

One day the Vinedresser came along and noticed the magnificent leaves.  He came closer to see if this branch was producing grapes.  The Vinedresser shook his head in sadness, pulled out a huge knife, and lopped off the branch.

The poor branch lay there on the ground with withered leaves, until the gardener came by, picked it up, and threw it into the fire.

“I am the True Vine, and my Father is the Vinedresser.  Every branch of mine that bears no fruit he takes away. And every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit…..

Whoever abides in me, and I in them, they are the ones who bear much fruit.  For apart from me you can do nothing.”

                        John 15

Prayer: Lord, open our eyes to our complacency and our satisfaction in our own accomplishments. Without you we are withered, lifeless branches. We desire to be part of you. May we abide in you each and every day. You are our source of life. As we stay open to your life, our branches will be filled with fruit, your life; Life that quickens and sustains all whom reach out for nourishment. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber February 2019  Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Signe Flink
Website: deviantart.com/signeflinkart
#Complacent #Complacency #NoFruit #Withered #AbideInTheVine

 I COULD LOSE EVERYTHING! 

If things keep going the way they are, I could lose everything!

The economy looks like a sinking ship.

My income is less certain with every day that passes.

World events are rocking the foundations of freedom.

People around me are starting to panic.

      I never dreamed such things could happen here!

Yet Jesus’ word to us is exactly what it has always been:

I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.  But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16)

 No matter what happens….

“I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you.” “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift  the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.  (John 14)  

Now is the hour to turn our hearts to the only sure anchor we have ever known.  

If things should turn out so badly that we lose everything….

…The Guardian and Keeper of our souls will still sustain us.

  In Him we are rich… when we have nothing.

  In Him we are strong… when we are weak.

  In Him we live… even when we die.

Were they to take our house, goods, honor, child, or spouse, though life be wrenched away….

They cannot win the day.

The Kingdom is ours forever!

“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (Matthew 6:30-33)

 
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us not to panic. Help us to reach for, to trust in, and to embrace the peace you promise us. Oh, help us not to be afraid. Help us to keep seeing and seeking your Kingdom…despite any lack, any loss, or any turmoil around us. Help us to be encouraged, to take heart because you will, you will sustain us. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber  2019 Printable/Shareable Copy  
Featured Artist: Michael Cook
Website: hallowed-art.co.uk/
#Overcome #Don’tPanic #TakeHeart

YOUR IMAGE OR YOUR HEART?

You have a choice:

You can work on your image,

 or you can work on your heart.

It’s impossible to do both.

A good image will take you far in this world—even in the “Christian World.”

Doors will open for you.

People will seek your company.

But when darkness falls, and you’re alone with your thoughts, what do you have?

After King David took Bathsheba and arranged to have her husband killed, his image was still intact.

      But his heart was a mess.

      His only hope was to exchange his phony image for a clean heart.

   Which is what he did.

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!” he cried, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me!”

When you come face to face with Jesus the Messiah, you quickly discover that your only hope is to exchange your doubtful image for a clean heart. 

Jesus died on that cross to drain away the mess within you and give you a clean heart.  

Draw near, and ask him for cleansing.

He’ll wash you within as no one else can.

 ““Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.  You fools! 

Didn’t the one who made the outside make the inside as well?  But give from your heart to those in need, and then everything will be clean for you.”  (Luke 11:39-41)

What a relief to be able to walk through this world with a light heart, a clean heart…

 A heart at peace with God and man.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help us to let go of being so concerned about our image and to open our hearts to you instead. Like David we admit our hearts are a mess. We open them before you. Wash them. Clean the inside of us. Take our ugly thoughts, our unloving and vain attitudes, our foolish self-preoccupation and drain them away. Give us new hearts, change these dark minds Lord…so yes, we can truly be at peace with you and with those around us. Amen
Message: Richard E. Bieber 2019 Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Michael Cook
Website: hallowed-art.co.uk/
#Image #CleanMyHeart #FilthyCups #CleanTheInside

AN EAR THAT HEARS


It’s not that God is silent.

   It’s that we are hopelessly deaf.

When the Incarnate Word spoke with a human voice, he said.

“Whoever has ears to hear. Let them hear”.

Mark 4:9

Meaning that only a remnant would get the message.

Who are these people who hear the voice of God?

The woman, the man who has abandoned the judgment throne.

The person whose conscience is alive.

The soul who looks to heaven for forgiveness.

The ear that hears the voice of God finds the road to the City of God.

Without a hearing ear… we drift.

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.

Lord, give me an ear that hears.

Prayer: Yes Lord, give us an ear that hears. Oh, that we aren’t deaf to your voice as you speak to us. Keep us from drifting from you. Help us to abandon the judgment throne. Keep our conscience alive and repentant and open to change. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber  2016 Printable/Shareable Copy   Audio Version
Featured Artist: Jonathan Farrell
Website: Etsy and Facebook
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CONVICTED

The clearest sign that God’s Spirit is at work in your life is when the Spirit convicts you, jabs his flaming sword into your heart…

About an attitude.

An outright lie.

A distracting obsession.

The Spirit’s conviction is heaven’s mercy.

God is not “picking on you.”

  He is opening the door to freedom

All those I love, I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent! 

Listen! I am standing at the door and knocking! If anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into his home and share a meal with him, and he with me.

Revelation 3:19-20 (NET)

This thing in your life which the Lord has put his finger on—-

—It’s not an essential, it’s a distraction

Let go of it and start walking in the light.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for convicting us, for not allowing our hearts to stew in bitterness and darkness. Thank you for such love. We earnestly repent and let go of anything that you put your finger on, any distraction, any attitude, anything that separates us from what you have for us. Thank you for knocking at the door and calling us out of darkness. Oh, that we may continue to hear you, continue to open the door, and continue to invite you in to sit down and sup with us. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber 2015 Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Courtesy of  Neil Breebaart
Website: Art Refined
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GOD OF THE LIVING

 “I’m tired of this miserable world.  I’m ready for the long sleep before the resurrection.”

 “Who believes in a resurrection?  I’ll just be glad to melt into Nothingness and be no more!”

Everybody has an opinion about what happens over there on the other side of death.

Two questions:

Will we be alive beyond the grave?

Are we alive now? 

Jesus’ challenging answer to the second question:

“The hour is coming, and now is,  when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God.  And all who hear shall live.”  (John 5)

 He’s talking about the “walking dead”, who eat and drink and work and sleep, go to Facebook, watch TV.

They are dead until they hear the Shepherd’s voice and become alive to God.

Being alive to God is eternal life.

“ And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, 

 and Jesus Christ whom you have sent..”    (John 17)

Eternal life begins on this side of the grave.

If we keep walking with God on this side of the grave….

….. we will go on walking with God in the life beyond.

The cry of the forgotten ones.

“You keep talking to me about life after death.  What about now?  I can’t find work.  I can’t feed my family.  We’ve been evicted with no place to go.

 So don’t preach to me about eternal life when your stomach is full and your pockets are bulging!

Will this misery go on forever?

Will those tyrants face justice for the misery they inflict on us?”

The long view.

Jesus promises that at the End there will be a resurrection of the just and the unjust.


“Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.”
 (John 5)

Those who received God’s mercy and lived it, receive more mercy.

Those who rejected God’s mercy and refused to show mercy now face judgment.

The King will divide the sheep from the goats with a simple question:

What did you do for the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner?

The sheep cannot remember.

The goats cannot remember.  

   But the King remembers.

Between now and the resurrection.

Many believers are convinced from scripture that there is no consciousness between the moment of death and the resurrection. There are passages of scripture which support this belief. 

Yet the final word on the issue comes from the mouth of Jesus, who is Lord of scripture.

To the thief on the cross Jesus says, 

“Today you will be with me in Paradise,”

To religious men with hard hearts Jesus gives the parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, the Beggar. Lazarus, who had nothing to offer God but his suffering, dies and is carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom—Paradise. When the Rich Man dies, he descends to Hades, and gets a taste of the beggar’s suffering. 

And to the Sadducees, who claim, “When you’re dead you’re dead!,”  Jesus speaks of a resurrection of glorious beings, who are like the angels, adding that….

“ God is God, not of the dead, but of the living. They are all alive to him.!”  (Luke 20)

The kingdom journey.

According to Jesus our physical death is simply the beginning of a new journey under the eye of God. 

Wherever we are at this moment, God is there.

Wherever we land on the other side of death, God is there.

Wherever we find God….

We encounter love.

We encounter mercy.

We encounter judgment.

There is no escape from God’s love, or his mercy…. or his judgment….

….In this world or the next.

Pray
er: Lord, we call to you the God of the living. Call us to life now so we can encounter you now and after we breathe our last breath. You promised the penitent thief that today he would be with you in paradise. Today! May each day be today for us. May each day we hear your voice, rise from our tombs, come forth and receive and live in your mercy. And when our last day comes may we find ourselves with you… alive and wrapped in your love and mercy. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber  September 2021  Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Eularia Clarke
Website: eulariaclarke.co.uk
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THE CALL

They went down to the Jordan to check out John the Baptist. 

There they also met Jesus of Nazareth.

“Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.   (John 1:38-40)

Andrew and Peter returned to Galilee, convinced that they had met the Messiah.  The short time they had spent with Jesus told them all they needed to know.

But life went on as it always had, until one day it was interrupted.

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. 

But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. 

And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him.     (Luke 5:4-11)

Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.

This was their “Follow me” moment. Without a second thought they left everything and followed him for the rest of their lives.

 We can go to church and Bible studies, serve on committees, and still be stuck “down by the Jordan” —listening to Jesus, but not engaged.  

   Life goes on as it always has.

 Then comes the call. “Follow me,” says the Master.

We “bring our boats to land”, leave our past behind, and follow him for the rest of our lives.

No longer spectators, we are engaged.  We are under a call.

 Our call is the  point.

Once our heart hears the Master’s words, “Follow me”, a radically new life has begun. 

This “Follow me” could be an awakening while staring out the window at the rain.

It could be a few words spoken by a stranger.  

It could come while helping a neighbor in need.

“Follow me.” 

Once we answer that call, our life is no longer our own.  It belongs to the Master.

From now on the Lord will guide us on a path known only to him.  

A path that will glorify God.

Our call brings with it the authority of heaven.

“All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me.  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”

Once we are under the yoke of the Master, learning from him to be meek and lowly in heart….

….We are wrapped in the authority of heaven.  

As we abide in him, draw our strength from him, we bring living souls from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God.  

Our call is sustained by the power of the cross.

Our hearts are nailed to that cross.  We acknowledge no other power, but the power of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

By that power we bring good news to the poor, deliverance to the captives, sight to the blind, freedom to the oppressed. 

Daily we deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow the Master. 

“I am crucified with Christ.  It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life 

I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.   (Galatians 2)

Until our dying day our focus is on two words which the Lord speaks to us day and night:

“Follow me.”

Prayer: Jesus, thank you, thank you for your kindness to us. Truly you have loaded our nets with so much. We like Peter, fall before you knowing we are unworthy of such an honor. Lord help us to believe your assurance that we don’t need to be afraid. Help us to stop being spectators, help us to follow your command to “put out into the deep”. And like Peter, may we let down the nets, not in our own prowess …but just because you ask us to. It doesn’t matter if we have caught nothing up until now, the catch is by your command. We acknowledge that we cannot do this alone, the power is yours, not ours. The job is too much, it’s impossible for us to catch men without your lead, without your intervention and power. Keep us clinging to the power of your cross, to keep following you, so in this we will have the authority of heaven to bring others to your throne of mercy for the deliverance and healing they so desperately need. Amen.
Message: Richard E. Bieber February 2021  Printable/Shareable Copy
Featured Artist: Courtesy of  Peter Koenig
Website: www.pwkoenig.co.uk/
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