At The Cross, At The Cross

At The Cross, At The Cross of Jesus Christ.

Daily Spirit & Word, 475: At The Cross, At The CROSS.

Now, I AM Happy, All The Day. Every Day.

Jesus knew the Cross was getting nearer, and as it weighed upon His precious soul, so His message of the Kingdom grew more intense. The heart’s desire of the Lord of life is that, not just the Nation of Israel be turned in repentance back to their God, but the whole world come to know the offer of Salvation. The Nations will put their hope in Jesus.

 Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 12:18-21  “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19  He will not quarrel or cry out; no-one will hear his voice in the streets. 20  A bruised reed he will not break, and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21  In his name the nations will put their hope.”

These two passages above show us a definite full-stop, a switch in the message Jesus is giving. Up to this point the Lord Jesus and all God’s messengers had been teaching; “Repent, the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Having presented His CV as the Messiah and been rejected by the majority of religious leadership of the Nation. These cities which have been mentioned in chapter 11 of Matthew, turned their backs on Him, and so had Jerusalem. Now the Lord turns His back upon the nation of Israel, no longer presenting to them the Kingdom. He is on His way to the cross, and His invitation is to the individual and to the whole world. Listen to Jesus crying out:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.

This language is in stark contrast to what Jesus had been proclaiming in the rest of this chapter. And from that point on Jesus is headed for the Cross and instead of focusing upon the Nation, he’s revealing the Kingdom of God to the individual and to the world.

My friends, it’s really windy out this morning, I love it, but I had to hang onto my hat it’s just so strong. When we come into the warm from such a blustery storm, it’s amazing how warm the house seems, how calm when you can’t hear the raging of the wind.

The change in Jesus message is just like that; It is like coming out of a winter blizzard into the warmth of a spring day. Just like passing from a raging storm into a sea of calm. It’s like going from the darkness of night, into brightness of daylight. This is the same message from Jesus, but presented in a radical new way; He’d switched from a National perspective to a new message for the Individual. He changes from speaking to everyone in the Nation of Israel to EVERYONE in the WORLD. It is no longer the national announcement about a Messianic Kingdom but a personal invitation for everybody to find the much needed “rest” of Salvation.

When Jesus speaks of being “heavy laden,” He is referring to the individual being burdened with sin. “I will give you rest” Jesus is the one who will enable you to find rest from your struggle to be good.

This same idea and focus is used by Isaiah and the Psalmist:

Isaiah 1:4 (NLT) “Oh, what a sinful nation they are— loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him.”

Look back at chapter 11 of Matthew and you’ll see Jesus crying out to those Cities where He’d performed Miracles and they’d not REPENTED,  they’d not received the Message of the Kingdom.

Psalm 38:4 (NLT) “My guilt overwhelms me— it is a burden too heavy to bear.”

So when Jesus is crying out to everyone, come to ME ALL you who are weary of carrying your load of sin and I will give you rest from your struggle to try and be good, I will lift your heavy burden of sin.

My friends, sin is way too heavy a burden for you to keep carrying all your life. When you try and lift things that are too heavy for you, you can give yourself a hernia, and trying to live righteously without coming first to Jesus Christ to have the burden lifted is the exact same, you’ll really get a spiritual hernia if you try to carry your load of sin yourself.

The only place in this world to put that heavy unbearable burden of sin is at the Cross of Jesus Christ. When He died there, He bore your sin and took it away from you onto Himself. Now He invites you individually and the whole world to come individually  bringing your burdens of sin to Him. Jesus can forgive you because on the cross He bore the burden of sin for you and for everyone else in the world.

 But we must respond to Jesus Invitation:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” This is referring to the Salvation of the sinner through Jesus Christ. But the next phrase of Jesus, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” is referring to the practical sanctification of the believer.

Oh WOWzer! I’ve just come back into the study after a short break from writing this, and I’ve seen the LIGHT. What a glorious sunrise, great colours in the sky and clouds. The storm is still raging, but the sky is full of light. The LORD spoke to me, “That’s what it’s like for those who follow me, there is a storm still raging, but there’s more light than they can imagine for their souls”.

Jesus REST

There is a REST that Jesus gives, and it is the rest of Redemption and Salvation from the heavy burden of sin.

There is also a REST which the Believer Experiences, and it comes through; conversion, commitment and consecration of our lives to Jesus Christ. You don’t have to struggle to be Holy any more, because Jesus, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit, will enable you, but your part is to stay close to the vine, remain in Christ, to remain committed to living for Jesus, to be willing to submit to His burden of obedience to His commands. Remember what Jesus said, “My yoke is easy and My burden is light”.  Yes you will probably fall from time to time, but Jesus transforms your heart’s desires. Once He’s lifted your heavy load of sin from your shoulders and carried them to the Cross for you, you will not have to struggle ever again when you are in Him and He is in you.

 The VAST Majority Are NOT burdened with sin:

We go out every week and share the Gospel with people on the streets, the vast majority are NOT burdened by their sins, they don’t care, they love sin and don’t want to hear about it. They’re happy to be without church, Jesus or religion. They’ll happily declare and some quite loudly, “I’m NOT religious”, what they’re saying is, “I don’t need someone telling me how to live.” and “I don’t want a God in the sky, who’s trying to control my life”… That’s why they need to hear the LAW of God before we share the GRACE of the Cross of Christ.

 It’s Un-regenerate believers in Jesus who are burdened with sin:

It’s my experience that those who are burdened with sin are those who believe in Jesus, but have not yet been converted, regenerated or born again of God’s Holy Spirit.

Yes they believe all the tenets of the Christian faith, they’ll willingly ascent to the creeds, but it’s all head knowledge, because they’ve not got to the point of letting go of their burden of sin and receiving Jesus as their Lord. It’s a simple transaction, but so many have not taken that step of faith.

How have they come so far and a yet so far away?

Because they may have responded to a ‘false’ gospel. One that says “Simply Believe in Jesus and you are a Christian.” Without REPENTANCE and without RECEIVING Jesus Christ as LORD, we’re still in our sins no matter how much we believe in Him.

They’ll come in with their burden of sin, they’ll say confession in church, recite the creed and even receive Holy Communion, then they’ll walk out with their burden of sin still on their back. They are still trying with all their own strength to be good enough. It’s those un-regenerate believers in Jesus who’ve not been converted my friends, they are the ones who feel the burden of sin. They are like the Nation of Israel who had ‘religion’, but who didn’t know the Saviour and rejected the Messiah.

We must preach, preach and preach again CONVERSION: IT’S the GOSPEL that leads sinners to repent of their sins and trust the Saviour. It’s the Holy Spirit who works on their hearts to enable them to feel the heavy load of sin, and it’s the law that leads people to an awareness of their need of a Saviour. However, until they come to Jesus and finally put their trust in Him for their Salvation, turning away from sin in repentance and from their own efforts to be good enough, realising that they can’t do a thing to shift the heavy load, they’ll finally dump their burden of sin at the cross. At the Cross, At THE CROSS.

I love that old hymn: At the Cross, at the Cross… but we often miss out the most powerful first verse these days and just begin with the chorus, we’re happy to think of the cross, but not the conversion from sin that’s needed. Isaac Watts who wrote the hymn, knew what he needed to do to have the burden of sin lifted by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 Alas! and did my Savior bleed

And did my Sov’reign die?
Would He devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I?

Refrain:
At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Thy body slain, sweet Jesus, Thine—
And bathed in its own blood—
While the firm mark of wrath divine,
His soul in anguish stood.

Was it for crimes that I had done
He groaned upon the tree?
Amazing pity! grace unknown!
And love beyond degree!

Well might the sun in darkness hide
And shut his glories in,
When Christ, the mighty Maker died,
For man the creature’s sin.

Thus might I hide my blushing face
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.

But drops of grief can ne’er repay
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give myself away,
’Tis all that I can do.

Refrain;

At the cross, at the cross where I first saw the light,
And the burden of my heart rolled away,
It was there by faith I received my sight,
And now I am happy all the day!

Author: Isaac Watts (The Scientist and Inventor of the Steam Engine).

My heart’s plea and the LORD’S today, is that you, you who are reading this, you who may believe in Jesus, but are still burdened with sin, will come and be converted, changed, transformed and translated from darkness into the glorious light. Your burden will be lifted once you trust the Saviour and take Him as your Lord.

Matthew 11:28-30  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

I shared on Saturday at the Wedding in St Luke’s how people believe that Jesus died for them, but the vast majority of those who believe this, have NEVER been born of God’s Spirit, because they’ve NOT Repented, Trusted and Recieved The Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. All the right belief in the world will count for nothing when we stand before the judgement seat of Christ and He says, “Depart from me, I never knew you”…

Matthew 7:21-23 21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22  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 perform many miracles?’
23  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

My friends, do you know Christ? Does Christ know you? Do you know Him as your LORD? Is Jesus Christ your Saviour? Come to the Cross of Christ and let Jesus remove your burden of sin, of guilt and of shame, then you’ll be able to enjoy the Son’s Light and “BE HAPPY ALL THE DAY”.

AT THE CROSS, AT THE CROSS.

You believe that Jesus died for you, good and so you should, but Satan also knows this, but he’s not turned in repentance, he’s still a rebel against the cause of Christ. You must believe and repent and trust and take Jesus as your Saviour. Believe, Repent, Receive.

Stay blessed and keep close to Jesus today.

Don.

 

A Simple Prayer:

  • Lord Jesus Christ, I believe that you died upon the Cross for my sins.
  • I know that I’ve broken your Holy Law revealed in the Commandments, that you died there so that my heavy burden of sin could be lifted from me and transferred onto You.
  • I turn now from all sin in my life and trust in Your amazing grace and ask for Your forgiveness.
  • I receive You, Lord Jesus as my Lord and Saviour.
  • I believe that You will send the Holy Spirit and give me new birth, new life and everlasting life.
  • Please help me now Lord Jesus to live from now on for You and I want to serve in Your Kingdom.
  • Help me to find fellowship with other Christians.
  • I’m going to read and feed upon Your Word every day. Please open up the pages of the Bible by Your Spirit Lord, so that I can understand and apply them to my own life.
  • In your most blessed and Holy Name I pray, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

If you prayed that prayer, let us know by leaving a message here or on our Facebook Page, we’d love to be praying for you. It’s good that Christians or those who think they are Christians, re-visit this kind of prayer regularly, to remind ourselves of our commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ and His commitment to us. Read John’s Gospel today.

At The Cross, At The Cross.

 

The Triumphal Entry

The Triumphal Entry

Daily Spirit & Word, 474: The Triumphal Entry.

Jesus Arrives in Jerusalem.

 

Jesus Christ: The Son of David

Good morning my friends, today I’m posting yesterday’s theme for our Sunday worship. It was Palm Sunday 2015. Jesus Authority and Humility Revealed.

Celebrations sometimes signify honour being bestowed on one or more people. When it’s someone’s birthday, anniversary etc.

  • Think about the most exciting celebration, party or parade you’ve attended.

What / Who was it for?

What made it so memorable?

How did it make you feel?

Personally, I love parades and parties, because one of my other passions is photography and being a photographer there’s nothing more exciting for me that to see people happy, enjoying themselves and I try and capture the feelings and atmosphere of events. I got some great pictures of the Queen and many other royals as they passed me by on the Mall in London during the Trooping of the Colours. The crowds were also very happy to see the Queen, you should have seen their faces and waving arms with flags. So many had their mobile phones and iPads out ready to snap the Queen.A Palm Sunday

Bible Reading: Today’s Bible lesson shows how a celebration for Jesus signified not just His Royal Authority but also His Servant Humility.

Mark 11:1-11

1 As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2  saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no-one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.‘ ”

4  They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5  some people standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6  They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the people let them go.

7  When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9  Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10  “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

11  Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple. He looked around at everything, but since it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem.

This was a great celebration: But who was it for? Was it for Jesus, whom they perceived to be the Messiah, the Son of David or was it for themselves, because they thought His coming signified freedom from Roman bondage and restoration of their National identity? I’m sure that in the crowd out of the thousands gathered that day, there would be some on both sides.

 How Did Jesus Get Here?

First; There’s The Command:

Mark 11:1-3 “Go into the Town and bring me the colt”

Commanded, but Not Knowing Why:

Have you ever been asked to do something, when you don’t know the reason why? Or even after reflection you think it’s a foolish thing to be asked to do? Sometimes in life we’re expected to be obedient without knowing the reasons why. I was used to that in the Royal Navy, we were not always told why we were being sent somewhere or being commanded to do something, but we knew and trusted our leaders and that it would be for a good reasons. That’s trusting a respected authority. Jesus had obviously won the Disciples honour and respect, for they didn’t question Him, they didn’t say, “Why Lord?” They just did as the Master commanded. “Go”.

This signifies Jesus Authority: Over People. He demonstrated that He also had authority over many spheres;

Jesus Authority:

  • Over Nature: Commanding and Calming the Storms
  • Over Elements: Changing water into wine, a few fish and a few loaves to feed thousands.
  • Over People: “Come follow me” People left everything to follow Jesus as their new Master in life.
  • Over Sickness and Diseases: Jesus healed wherever he went.
  • Over Life and Death: Jesus raised people from death to life and the grave could not hold Him.

However, does Jesus have Authority over you? Is He your LORD? He’ll never force you to accept His Lordship, but one day the Bible tells us, “Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess; Jesus Christ is LORD!” He may give you freedom to choose if He’s your Lord now, but we don’t know when He’s coming back. It must surely be better to submit to His Royal Authority before He returns and everyone is compelled to bow before Him. However, if you won’t trust Jesus because of His Authority, perhaps you will because of His Humility.

Jesus can obviously be trusted and we’ve got an obligation once we know that, to willingly submit to His Divine Authority. Being obedient to Him when He commands, even though we don’t know the BIG PICTURE.

 2) There’s the Obedience to Jesus Command. Authority.

Mark 11:4-6. They obediently went into the town, found the Donkey’s Colt as Jesus had said and untied it and brought it to Jesus. WOWzer! That’s awesome.

 Modern Equivalent: Imagine if Jesus were here in London today and He commanded you; “Go down West Norwood Road and you’ll find a Volkswagen parked outside B&Q, you’ll find the keys in the ignition, get into the car and bring it to me. If anyone asks why you are taking the car, tell them the Master needs it” (Notice that it wasn’t a Merceedes or BMW, but a Volkswagen: Volkswagen means People’s Car or a car for the people). “If anyone asks you!” My friends if we were to get into a car in London, we’d probably be immediately arrested and questioned by the Police. Try explaining that the Master needs it as a reason for taking someone’s car these days. LOL

However, Jesus followers were obedient, they did it and were not aware of the reasons why, but this also reveals another Aspect of Jesus Authority: He knows things, He knew they’d find the Colt and how it would be tied. He knew the people wouldn’t object.

 3) There’s the Humility of the LORD:

He came into Jerusalem on a Donkey. Not as a normal Triumphal Procession: In a Chariot or on a White Charger. Even today when the Queen Processes down the Mall it’s either in a Golden Carriage or a Stretched Limousine, not a Volkswagen. 🙂

 Jesus is the Model of Humility:

Matthew 20:26-28 “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus didn’t come to earth to be served, but to serve and give His life.

Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Jesus is gentle and humble in heart.

Those who are truly following the Lord Jesus Christ will also be humble, gentle too. Look at the fruits of the Holy Spirit of God: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness and Self-Control. WOWzer! He’s making you to be more like Jesus Christ when you follow Him.

4) The People’s Response:

Shouting, cheering and Waving Palm Branches. Crowds can be so fickle: Don’t always follow the crowd.

Some crowds, parades, parties etc are good, but you’ll know from recent history that some crowds can turn nasty; The Tottenham Riots in London and countless Demonstrations around the world these days. The crowds can turn nasty, violent and very dangerous.

The Crowd: Was filled with JOY, Praise, Adoration. Why? Because their New King was coming into their Capital City Jerusalem.

Zechariah 9:9 (NLT)
9  Rejoice, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey riding on a donkey’s colt.

How Fickle This Crowd Was:

Just a few days after Jesus Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem we find large crowds, stirred up by their leaders, shouting with just as much enthusiasm for Jesus to be Crucified. Remember the crowds motivated to stone Stephen, to beat Paul within an inch of his life and left for dead. The Crowds cannot always be trusted to get things right. Mob mentality takes over and everyone follows like a sheep.

 The Modern Crowds:

The Popular Religious Writers: Some calling themselves ‘Christian’ say things the world and foolish Christians long to hear, but they are far from the revealed will of God. They’ll advocate things the Lord has condemned and say that they are good for you.

The Christian who chooses to live in sin: They want others to endorse their wayward way of life, and the world loves to hear of hypocritical believers, the crowd’s pressure is intense these days.

The Non-Christian: They’ll say all kinds of strange things about Jesus, about the Bible and about God. The World loves it and the pressure to go along is needle like too, it penetrates to all levels of the modern church. The fact of God’s Creation is being constantly attacked. Compromise and acceptance of false beliefs, because the glamour of the crowd is deafening. Christians are shutting their mouths and the world is getting worse by the day. Christians don’t want to appear odd or out of kilter with society, so they’ll accommodate and acquiesce. Christians are afraid of being made to look foolish when scientists and psychologist try and explain away our revealed faith. However, true science is nothing to be afraid of, for it will in the end, find God’s Word to be trustworthy and true. Soon they’ll discover that there was indeed a Creator and He still holds Creation in balance.

 The Triumphal Entry: If you were in that Crowd when Jesus came into Jerusalem, would you be shouting Hosanna (praise the Lord) just because everyone else was shouting or would it be because Jesus really was your King?

A week later, if you were there when Jesus was brought out and you were asked who should be released, Barabbas or Jesus, would you go along with the crowd or would Jesus still be your King?

When the Crowd today says things about Jesus, God, the Bible and Christianity that are NOT true, will you stand up for Jesus or go along with the crowd or worse still, stay silent?

 A Tapestry: If you look at the reverse side of a tapestry, all you see is knots and bits of thread, but turn it over and WOWzer, you’ll see the bigger picture in all it’s splendour.

Just like the Disciples of Jesus who were not aware of why they were being commanded to go get a Donkey’s colt, we too are not always aware of why the Lord wants us to do certain things, be certain places or speak His word in season; turning the other cheek, blessing our enemies and forgiving those who do evil things to us, etc, but because we know Jesus and love and respect and honour Him, we’ll do what He says, because He’s got the bigger picture, He knows the end from the beginning, because He knows the BIG PICTURE, even though to us it all looks like a mess down here on earth, one day we’ll observe and be overyjoyed by the splendour of the KING.

After the Triumphal Entry, Trial, Crucifixion and Resurrection; Jesus is now the Ascended King of kings and LORD of Lords, He’s on the Throne in Heaven, He’s coming back again soon, will you be in that Crowd cheering Jesus return? Are you longing for the return of Jesus in all his glory? He’s coming soon my friends at an hour we don’t expect.

The LORD NEEDS IT:

Sometimes we give to the LORD begrudgingly, but this man let Jesus have his Donkey’s Colt, because the Disciples said, “The Master Needs It”… Oh WOW! Is there anything you can give to Jesus today? Oh yes there is my friends; Jesus wants you to use;

  • Your TIME:
  • Your TALENTS:
  • Your MONEY:
  • Your THINGS:

All of these things for the KING and for use in the KINGDOM of Jesus.

You don’t need to be like that FICKLE CROWD.

You can be; Trusting Jesus today, because He’s proven to be TRUSTWORTHY.

You can live in Obedience today, because He’s your King and Lord and knows the beginning and the end.

You can be Serving Jesus today, because you LOVE Him: with all your heart, mind, soul, will and strength.

You cannot do it in your own strength, you need Jesus and the Holy Spirit’s help. If you try, even with all your own strength and might you’ll fail, but if you SUBMIT to His Authority, recognising His Humility, you’ll flourish and grow as a Christian, because He’ll give you all you need to be triumphant and victorious in the Christian life.

Have an amazing Holy Week and come and join us on;

  • Maunday Thursday: as we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper over a Passover Meal, then on;
  • Good Friday Walk of Witness: at 11.45am come and join with Christians from all over West Norwood and walk and witness for Jesus. Click Here for More Details of the Walk of Witness.
  • Resurrection Sunday at 10.30am as we Celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’m praying for you all today, that you’ll be able to resist the clamour of the crowds and continue steadfastly to follow the Lord Jesus as your King and Master, Saviour and Lord. Amen!

Don.

The Triumphal Entry.

 

Be Strong and Courageous

Daily Spirit & Word, 473: Be Strong and Courageous.

 “Be strong and of a good courage.” Joshua 1:18

Good morning my friends, it seems strange to me that the LORD would need to keep encouraging Joshua to be “Strong and of good courage”, because of all the people in the Nation of Israel, Joshua was probably one of the most courageous and strongest. Perhaps the LORD knew Joshua better than we do and outward appearances were not the same as his heart condition. Just look at how many times the LORD encouraged Joshua to be; STRONG and COURAGEOUS.

Joshua 1:5-9 “No-one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. 6  “Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. 7  Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. 8  Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. 9  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”

“Be Strong and very courageous” Joshua 1:7.

God knows each one of us intimately and what our fears and anxieties are, He knew Joshua better than he knew himself, but note the power of Joshua’s life, it was because he chose to spend time alone with God. Even after Moses had left the tent of meeting, Joshua remained in the tent with the Lord.

  • The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?
  • The Lord is the strength of my life: of whom shall I be afraid?
  • He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
  • Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
  • but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength;
  • they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
  • they shall run, and not be weary;
  • and they shall walk, and not faint. —
  • My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
  •  If God be for us, who can be against us? —
  • The Lord is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? —
  • Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. —
  • We are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  •  Arise therefore, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee.

Acts 4:13. Psalm 27:1. Isaiah 40:29-31. Psalm 73:26. Romans 8:31. Psalm 118:6. Psalm 44:5. Romans 8:37. 1 Chronicles 22:16.

My friends, there’s just one more verse from the Bible to share with you today, note that the Apostles were transformed and very courageous, but take note of why: Acts 4:13 (NIV) “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

 Joshua was very strong and courageous.

Peter and John were courageous.

Moses, Gideon, David, Elijah, Paul, James, Stephen; were all courageous.

WHY?

Because they spent TIME with the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

And God was with them.

Now, let’s get alone with Jesus and talk with Him, be with Jesus, soak in His Word, read and meditate upon His Word, pray to Jesus about your day, be strengthened and encouraged, be strong and courageous.

Then you too will be very strong and courageous and the world will be ASTONISHED.

“For the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

He’s with you to the end my friends.

I hope your Saturday is filled with great things from the LORD today.

Don.

Be Strong and Courageous.

 

Sermon. A Call to Prayer, by J.C.Ryle

A Call to Prayer, by J.C.Ryle

I found this on The Christian Mind Website (Copied here because so many sites seem to disappear after a while). Ryle’s writings are all in the Public Domain now.

This is an extract from a sermon by J.C.Ryle (1816 – 1900), a nineteenth-century preacher and Anglican bishop of the city of Liverpool.

I ask again whether you pray, because a habit of prayer is one of the surest marks of a true Christian.

All the children of God on earth are alike in this respect. From the moment there is any life and reality about their religion, they pray. Just as the first sign of the life of an infant when born into the world is the act of breathing, so the first act of men and women when they are born again is praying.

This is one of the common marks of all the elect of God, “They cry unto him day and night.” Luke 18:1. The Holy Spirit who makes them new creatures, works in them a feeling of adoption, and makes them cry, “Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15. The Lord Jesus, when he quickens them, gives them a voice and a tongue, and says to them, “Be dumb no more.” God has no dumb children. It is as much a part of their new nature to pray, as it is of a child to cry. They see their need of mercy and grace. They feel their emptiness and weakness. They cannot do otherwise than they do. They must pray.

I have looked carefully over the lives of God’s saints in the Bible. I cannot find one whose history much is told us, from Genesis to Revelation, who was not a person of prayer. I find it mentioned as a characteristic of the godly, that “they call on the Father,” that “they call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” I find it recorded as a characteristic of the wicked, that “they call not upon the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:17; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Psalm 14:4.

I have read the lives of many eminent Christians who have been on earth since the Bible days. Some of them, I see, were rich, and some poor. Some were learned, and some were unlearned. Some of them were Episcopalians, and some were Christians of other names. Some were Calvinists, and some were Arminians. Some have loved to use liturgy, and some to use none. But one thing I see they all had in common. They have all been people of prayer.

I have studied reports of missionary societies in our own times. I see with joy that lost men and women are receiving the gospel in various parts of the globe. There are conversions in Africa, in New Zealand, in India, in China. The people converted are naturally unlike one another in every respect. But one striking thing I observe at all the missionary stations: the converted people always pray.

I do not deny that a person may pray without heart and without sincerity. I do not for a moment pretend to say that the mere fact of a person’s praying proves everything about their soul. As in every other part of religion, so also in this, there may be deception and hypocrisy.

But this I do say, that not praying is a clear proof that a person is not yet a true Christian. They cannot really feel their sins. They cannot love God. They cannot feel themselves a debtor to Christ. They cannot long after holiness. They cannot desire heaven. They have yet to be born again. They have yet to be made a new creature. They may boast confidently of election, grace, faith, hope and knowledge, and deceive ignorant people. But you may rest assured it is all vain talk if they do not pray.

And I say furthermore, that of all the evidences of the real work of the Spirit, a habit of hearty private prayer is one of the most satisfactory that can be named. A person may preach from false motives. A person may write books and make fine speeches and seem diligent in good works, and yet be a Judas Iscariot. But a person seldom goes into their closet and pours out their soul before God in secret, unless they are in earnest. The Lord himself has set his stamp on prayer as the best proof of conversion. When he sent Ananias to Saul in Damascus, he gave him no other evidence of his change of heart than this, “Behold he prayeth.” Acts 9:11.

I know that much may go on in a person’s mind before they are brought to pray. They may have many convictions, desires, wishes, feelings, intentions, resolutions, hopes, and fears. But all these things are very uncertain evidences. They are to be found in ungodly people, and often come to nothing. In many a case they are not more lasting than the morning cloud and dew that passes away. A real hearty prayer, moving from a broken and contrite spirit, is worth all these things put together.

I know that the Holy Spirit, who calls sinners from their evil ways, does in many instances lead them by very slow degrees to acquaintance with Christ. But the eye of man can only judge by what it sees. I can not call anyone justified until they believe. I dare not say that anyone believes until they pray. I cannot understand a dumb faith. The first act of faith will be to speak to God. Faith is to the soul what life is to the body. Prayer is to faith what breath is to the body. How a person can live and not breathe is past my comprehension, and how a person can believe and not pray is past my comprehension too.

Never be surprised if you hear ministers of the gospel dwelling much on the importance of prayer. This is the point they want to bring to you. They want to know that you pray. Your views of doctrine may be correct. Your love of Protestantism may be warm and unmistakable. But still this may be nothing more than head knowledge and party spirit. They want to know whether you are actually acquainted with the throne of grace, and whether you can speak to God as well as speak about God.

A Call To Prayer: Expanded upon by J.C. Ryle in a Pamphlet he wrote after preaching to encourage Christians into a deeper prayer life and a closer walk with Jesus.

via A Call to Prayer, by J.C.Ryle | The Christian Mind.

Call no man Father

Call no man Father.

Daily Spirit & Word, 472: Call no man ‘father’.

Call no man ‘Master’, ‘Rabbi’, ‘Teacher’ or ‘Lord’.

or the modern equivalent “Call no one “Man of God””.

Good morning my friends, I’ve got that Friday feeling 🙂 Sunday’s coming, but we’ve also got a lovely wedding on Saturday. Anyway, each day has enough worries for itself.

On Wednesday we had the St Luke’s School visit the Church, they came for the Easter Service before they break up for the Easter Holidays. The children and teachers have been working hard in class to undergird the teaching and worship with a Bible understanding of the Cross, the Crucifixion and the Easter Message. I’ve been impressed by their efforts going around the school and visiting the classes whilst the teachers teased out the deeper meaning, so on Wednesday they communicated and worshipped with; Songs, Poetry, Dance and Bible Readings. It was clear they’d really grasped the full meaning of the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. Praise the Lord!

However, one thing spoiled it for me; It was all looking good at the start of the service, then one of the teachers welcomed everybody and introduced me, “I’m going to ask Father Donald”…. A shudder went down my spine. I hate being called ‘Father Donald’. Why? I hate it because of what the Bible teaches; I don’t know how many times I’ve told the school to call me Donald or Reverend, but don’t call me ‘Father’…. Am I being a little bit too sensitive? Let’s see what the Bible, the Word of the LORD, has to say about the matter.

Matthew 23:1-12 “Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2  “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. 3  So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. 4  They crush people with impossible religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. 5  “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. 6  And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honour in the synagogues. 7  They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ 8  “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. 9  And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. 10  And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. 11  The greatest among you must be a servant. 12  But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

I may do a weekly study after Easter on these Seven Woes of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 23.

By calling someone ‘Father’ or looking to them as a Teacher (Rabbi) or even as your Master, you are substituting them for the position that Christ alone must have in your heart and affections. You are giving attention to mere men as you should only give it to the Lord of Heaven. Christ must be your Lord, your Master, your Teacher, your Rabbi, your Messiah and God alone is your spiritual Father in Heaven. We are not to have earthly ‘spiritual’ fathers to replace or substitute the place of our Father God in Heaven. It’s also breaking the first of the Ten Commandments and possibly the second as well.

 Modern Terminology “Man of God”…

There is a tendency amongst some of my African brothers and sisters, both here in the UK and in Africa to do the same thing Jesus is warning us about today. They don’t use; ‘Master’ or ‘Rabbi’ or ‘Father’ or anything like that, but they’ve now invented another title; they call people who are, they suppose, ‘anointed’ with the Holy Spirit; “Man of God”… They’ll say, “The Man of God says this…” or “The Man of God instructs such-n-such” as if the so called ‘Man of God’ was a god himself. He’s taken over the place reserved for Christ alone in the hearts and affections of the People of God. The Holy Spirit who interprets God’s Word in our hearts is crying out to the Church today, let those who have ears to hear, listen to the voice of the Spirit of God. He’s a jealous God and He hates it when others get His glory. He knows how bad and evil it is for human beings to let themselves or others be in the place of God. That was the first sin in the Garden of Eden and it’s the sin that will make men stumble even in the body of Christ today. Whenever we place a man or woman in such a position of affection, we’re substituting mere human beings for our precious Lord of Heaven.

When the Bible refers to the term, “Man of God” it’s normally warning Believers in the Lord Jesus to flee from worldly affections, sins, seeking riches, desiring to be wealthy, staying pure, holy and contented with life. Something, that very few of the modern, so called, “Men of God” actually model for their followers.

  •  Christ Alone – Cornerstone. 

  • Christ Alone is the Capstone.

  • The Stone that makes men stumble.

  • The Rock that crushes.

So my friends, we’re not to call anyone: “Father, Rabbi, Teacher, Master or Lord” for we have already got ONE Master, Lord, Saviour, Rabbi, Teacher, Father in Heaven: The Lord Jesus Christ. Remember yesterday’s teaching, “He and the Father along with the Holy Spirit are ONE”.

Each member of Father God’s family is a Brother or Sister; nothing more, nothing less.

Stay blessed my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Don.

Call no man Father.

Sharpened and Polished For Kingdom Service

Daily Spirit & Word, 471: Sharpened and Polished for Kingdom Service?

Are You The Lord’s Sharpened Sword? and His Polished Arrow?

Good morning my friends, I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to cut ripe tomatoes with a blunt knife, they just don’t cut through the flesh and if you try and force it, you’ll end up with a squished mess of a tomato. I know, I’ve tried and it just makes a mess of a perfectly ripe tomato. No my friends to slice through fruit and vegetables, meat and poultry properly with a kitchen knife, you need to sharpen it in the right way. I learned this whilst working in various cafes and restaurants as a boy whilst still at school. Sometimes I’d have to prepare hundreds of tomatoes for the rush hour customers, but soon learned that before I began my knife needed to be ready and sharp as a razor.

Today, we’re going to see from God’s Word that the Lord wants to use you in His service of the Kingdom, but to be useful to him you’ll need to be razor-sharp and ready for the Master’s use.

 Sharpened Sword:

Isaiah 49:2  “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.”

In the Isaiah verse above we can see that it’s the LORD himself who does the preparing. “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword” Our words can be either flattering, smoothing or penetrating in the way that God intends. No self-respecting soldier would enter the battle field with a rusty, blunt or un-honed sword.

What comes out of a person’s mouth? Silly question? 🙂 Of course it is WORDS that come out, speech pours forth from our mouths. The words that come out from your mouth can be from different sources. Our Lord Jesus said this, John 12:47-50 47  “As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. 48  There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day. 49  For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. 50  I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”

Can you see it? Jesus only EVER spoke the Words His Father commanded Him to say. He didn’t speak on His own. Remember there are many verses that indicate that Jesus and the Father are united or one: He said to Philip, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” John 14:10, 11, 20. In many places in the Gospels it is recorded in similar ways, that Jesus only ever spoke what His Father wanted Him to speak.

Remember: The only offensive weapon for the Soldier in Christ is the Sword of the Spirit; the word of God (Ephesians 6:17). If the LORD is making you into His sharpened sword, then you’ll be useful to Him. He’ll give you the words to say in any given situation, but we must learn to trust Him, we’ll become like a sword in the LORD’S hands.

 Polished Arrow:

Secondly: “He made me into a polished arrow, and concealed me in His quiver”

What do arrows do? They fly and to fly straight they need to be ready for flight. A little bit of grit or rust on the tip can send an arrow far off course and miss the target. God wants your very words to Hit home to the target my friends, but it’s a target that He’s aiming at, not you. You must be prepared, hidden in the Lord’s quiver (Arrow Container), ready to be pulled out in His own good timing.

 Hidden Weapons:

Do you remember how the Iraq war began? It was because the West didn’t believe Saddam Hussein, when he declared “we have no weapons of mass destruction hidden away.” We sent teams of investigators into Iraq to try and find them, but none were ever found. Perhaps Saddam was telling the truth after all.

 But our LORD does conceal His Weapons:

Isaiah 49:2  “He made my mouth like a sharpened sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me into a polished arrow and concealed me in his quiver.”

Just like the Sword; Hidden in His hand and the Arrow Concealed in His Quiver: The LORD has concealed His weapons of war, they are hidden from the enemies of the Lord.

Dear believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Lord’s secret, concealed and hidden weapon: Sharpened and Polished: Ready for use.

That’s what happens when you dedicate your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. After repenting from your sins and forsaking them, and then trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ and His death upon the cross for those sins, He fills you with the Holy Spirit and gives you a real HUNGER for His Word. You’ll begin to feast upon His Word and Hide His Word in your heart. So when it comes time to be used by the LORD He’ll pull out of you His Word at any given moment to be thrust deep into the foe or His arrow ready to fly straight to His intended target.

 God’s Weapons: They are not to destroy or win arguments, to to turn men’s hearts and win them for Christ.

 Blunt and Dirty Weapons:

A blunt sword and a dirty arrow are of no use to the LORD:

2 Timothy 2:19-22 “Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness.” 20  In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21  If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument (Sword or Arrow) for noble purposes, made (Sharpened and Polished) holy, useful to the Master and prepared (Sharpened and Polished) to do any good work. 22  Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

Just as Jesus only ever spoke the Father’s Words and we all know just how powerful the words of Jesus were, sometimes people were cut to the heart, stopped in their tracks and turned back in shame, so we too, become useful in the Master’s service: Sharpened Swords and Polished Arrows.

I’m praying for everyone reading this today, that you’ll be SHARPENED, POLISHED and READY for use in Jesus Kingdom today.

Don.

 Related Scriptures:

Every Believer in Jesus Christ is an Instrument prepared by God’s Spirit and concealed and ready for the Master’s use.

You’ll be like:

A  A SHARP THRESHING INSTRUMENT Isa. 41:15

B  A “VESSEL FIT FOR THE MASTER’S USE” 2 Tim. 2:21

C  A “SHARPENED SWORD AND POLISHED ARROW” Isaiah 49:2

D  A “FRUITFUL BRANCH” John 15:5

E  An “INVITATION LETTER” 2 Cor. 3:2

F  A “FAITHFUL WITNESS”  Acts 1:8 (NIV) “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

G An “AMBASSADOR FOR CHRIST” 2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV) “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.”

 More Scriptures About; THE WORD & JESUS & THE FATHER:

Matthew 26:39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

John 5:30 By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.
John 8:28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.
John 12:49 For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken.
John 12:50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”
John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.

 Future Study Note: Jesus entrusted with future judgement:  John 5:22-23 22  Moreover, the Father judges no-one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23  that all may honour the Son just as they honour the Father. He who does not honour the Son does not honour the Father, who sent him.

Sharpened and Polished for Kingdom Service.

 

Proclaim The Year of the Lord’s Favour

Daily Spirit & Word, 470: PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR.

The Jubilee Year: Proclaim The Year Of The Lord’s Favour.

Leviticus 25:10 “Consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you; each one of you is to return to his family property and each to his own clan.”

I’m not certain if you are aware that 2015 is, according to the Jewish calendar, a JUBILEE year? What happened was a year of LIBERTY was to be proclaimed throughout the land of Israel. All debts were to be cancelled and any of the Jewish people held in bondage were to be set free and allowed to return to their own families.

Imagine that, what must it have been like? Can you imagine if our Governments today did this every 50th year?

You see in God’s thinking, he never wanted his chosen people to live under bondage to anything or anyone, and he doesn’t want it for anyone today either. Listen to the way God’s Word speaks about His desire to set people free from bondages of all kinds.

 The Day of Vengeance:

Isaiah 63:4 (NIV) “For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and the year of my redemption has come.” The LORD wants to pay back all the injustices of His chosen people. In His Holy Justice; He’s longing for the time when the day of vengeance will come and every evil person will get their just deserts, but in His mercy God doesn’t want to have to punish anyone. But it’s coming soon.

 The Resurrection Promise:

Isaiah 26:19 (NIV) “But your dead will live; their bodies will rise. You who dwell in the dust, wake up and shout for joy. Your dew is like the dew of the morning; the earth will give birth to her dead.”

Many Christians are not even aware of this, but the Old Testament prophesied about the Resurrection as in the verse above, a time when the dead will live again. The Bible tells us in the New Testament that when the Lord returns, the dead will arise and meet Him in the air. WOWzer! This give us even more confidence and a deep convinced conviction that the whole Bible is the WORD of God. We can believe ALL His promises. He’s even going to set people free from the prison of DEATH.

 Believers Will Meet The LORD First:

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (NIV) “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever.”

 How will Jesus come?

  • With a LOUD Command.
  • With the Voice of the Archangel.
  • With the Trumpet Call of God.

In days gone by, Christians who were hard pressed, for whom life was not easy, used to sing and praise the Lord with hymns that focused upon His return and their coming freedom. They looked forward with a great sence of JOY for the Lord’s return. Today, Christians are so in love with the world that they’d hate it if the Lord came back right now, it would be far to inconvenient for them, because they are enjoying the life they have here on earth soo much. They can’t see that life with Jesus is going to be even better than it is here on earth and that we should speed the day of His return. We can only do that by getting more people saved, because when the full number has come in, and we don’t know how many that is, the Lord will return. Let’s get busy filling up heaven with God’s precious, chosen souls.

 A Word of Caution on Freedom (Liberty).

Galatians 5:13 (NIV) “You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.”

So many Christians today are getting into things that they know deep down the LORD hates and detests. We’re so lax in our moral attitudes today, we’re all so into “GRACE” that we forget “HOLINESS of LIFE”. We’re meant to be a living witness that the LORD has transformed our lives… Many are aware of this, but are at a loss to know what to do about it. Seek His wisdom and He’ll gladly and freely give it to you. God wants you not only to know how to live, but He also wants to give you the POWER to be able to live. It’s available in abundance too, so turn quickly and stop using God’s GRACE as a lie to live by and indulge your sinful natures.

 Released from the POWER of the Grave:

Hosea 13:14 (NIV) “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion…”

WOWzer! God’s going to set people free from the POWER of the Grave. What’s that? Well DEATH is so powerful that millions are convinced that there is nothing after death. If God had not planted eternity into every human being’s heart, then I’m convinced there would be many more people who don’t believe in life after death. Praise be to the LORD for His great wisdom, planting eternity into everyone’s heart means; we know that his life is not the end. Once day God is going to break that POWER of the grave, oh yes, He’s done it already, “Jesus rose from the grave” He’s the first-fruits of those who will also be raised.

 The YEAR of the LORD’S FAVOUR:

God’s really, really into this business of setting you free my friends;

Jesus proclaimed and fulfilled Isaiah’s prophesy:

Isaiah 61:1-3  “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, 2  to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, 3  and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendour.”

Jesus Fulfilled the Prophesy Above:

Luke 4:14-21 ” Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. 15  He taught in their synagogues, and everyone praised him. 16  He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. And he stood up to read. 17  The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: 18  “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, 19  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” 20  Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, 21  and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Again this creates in my heart an awesome WOWzer 🙂 Jesus was the YEAR of the LORD’S FAVOUR.

 Jesus is the YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR:

Today there are Believers who are filled with the Lord’s compassion for those who are in bondage, they too want to see people being set free;

Good News to the POOR: i.e. those who are in POVERTY of the Spirit. The man without the spirit is DEAD and Jesus wants to give them LIFE.

Freedom for the Prisoners: Those locked up in the PRISON of SIN, kept locked in by SATAN. Jesus died so that we might be released from SIN and set free from SATAN’S grip.

Those who are blind to their spiritual condition without Jesus, to have their eyes opened.

They are out Proclaiming THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR.

Are you filled with Jesus compassion? Are you alive with the hope of the Gospel, the Good News for the poor, the prisoner, the blind and those needing His favour?

Let’s get on our knees this morning and pray for the Lord’s forgiveness if we’re not filled with His love, compassion and grace for those who don’t know Him yet.

Let’s get out into the world and begin proclaiming loudly and freely with grace, humility and gentleness, that this is THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR. Amen!

Have a great Wednesday, in Jesus and in the POWER of the Spirit.

Live for THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR.

Don.

Today: We’ve got St Luke’s School coming to church for their end of term Easter Service. Pray for us please that the message will leap into young hearts.

Tonight: We’re going out into the streets of West Norwood and we’ll be PROCLAIMING THE YEAR OF THE LORD’S FAVOUR. Hopefully, like last week, leading people to faith and trust in Jesus Christ. (Please pray as we enter the Harvest Field).

Proclaim The Year Of The Lord’s Favour.

 

How to get your Glory Glow

Daily Spirit & Word, 469: How to get your Glory-Glow.

Come Up To The Mountain Top.

How to get your Glory-Glow.

Good morning my friends, it’s good to be up early today, it’s still dark outside and it’s drizzling, but it’s warm rather than the cold of winter. I love the smell of the fresh rain on the grass. The foxes scampered away today when I approached, they might have young pups again, but I’ve not seen them yet. I prayed the Lord’s prayer in the rain this morning 🙂

Now I’m back in my study and I’ve got one verse on my heart today;

Exodus 34:2 “Be ready in the morning to climb up Mount Sinai and present yourself to me on the top of the mountain.”

You’ve heard of Mountain-Top Experiences right? They are the moments in life when we’re overjoyed with something; it might be landing that dream job, getting pregnant, having a baby, getting engaged to your dream girl, your wedding day or the day you left college with a qualification. Each one of us has had at least one moment in life when we felt elated, full of high-spirited delight and it’s a truly awesome feeling.

Moses was invited to get ready early in the morning to climb up the mountain and be with the Lord. You know my friends, we’re invited too; every day we can get up early, get ready and climb up the mountain to be with the Lord. We don’t know how Moses felt, but we can imagine, however, we do know that Moses was not the same when he came back down the mountain, because he shone with the glory of the Lord. Moses got his glory glow.

You’ve received a Mountain Top Invite From The LORD.

How? How do we climb up a mountain when we live in the City or on the flat plain? How can I climb up the mountain when I’ve got five kids to look after? How can I climb up the mountain when I’m getting ready to go to work?

Oh my friends; if we were invited by our favourite artist, actor, singer or sports hero to come and spend some time with them, how eager would we be to be ready? to be there on time? to get as close to our favourite personality as we possibly could? I’d love to meet some of the ‘Stars’, but we must be careful what we wish for.

Once, whilst attending a Christian Conference in London at Westminster Hall, it was glorious and awesome. We’d been singing in the morning for about an hour; praising and worshipping the Lord, and then being fed with God’s word for over two hours. As we walked around the corner to look for a place to have some lunch you’ll never guess who I literally bumped into? It was my favourite comedian from the 1970’s, every time he walked onto the stage on TV I’d be rolling around the floor laughing, I love and laughed at his every move. To me he was just so funny, tears of joy would stream down my face watching him perform. And I longed to meet him to watch him live. Well here he was, I’d bumped into him. He was shorter than I imagined, he stank of booze and was unshaven, he could hardly string a sentence together and I felt so sorry for him. My STAR had faded, but he was still a human being, just a human being. His name? I’ll save him embarrassment for now.

I think the LORD was showing me something that day about the things we treasure and value and take delight in here on this earth. I’d just been praising the Lord and being fed by Him, I’m not joking, it was truly awesome to be in His presence with hundreds of other Christians, then I saw what worldly fame could do to an once great Nationally popular man. In my heart I knew right there and then, “What the LORD gives in praise, worship, adoration and when we give Him our undivided attention to His Word, far exceeds the glittering promises of this world”

It was already a habit of mine to get up early in the morning to be with the Lord, but now after that Conference and meeting my fallen hero, I was convinced that my eternal hero, my joy and delight was waiting for me every single day, and Jesus would enthral, enchant, enrapture me far more than anything the world could ever offer.

So for me, going out into the garden or the woods whilst it’s still dark to pray and walk with the Lord, then come back and praise Him and get into His Word is like Moses encounter on the Mountain Top: Except I can do it every single day, not matter where I am or what I’m tasked with doing that day. If I’ve got a lot on on any particular day, I’ll get up to be with the LORD even earlier. Why? Because once you start meeting with Jesus in the mornings, you’ll never really want the sun to come up. You’ll want those precious mountain-top moments to last for ever, but time ticks, the sun rises and the day approaches and we reluctantly leave the Master’s presence, but full of JOY and ready to face the day with our Glory Glow shining for the world to see.

This Mountain Top Invite is for you today, to come and meet with Jesus, meet with Him every day, to be filled with His presence and to know Him and experience the JOY He desires for your life, He’ll give you the Glory Glow.

Will you come? Will you come and worship the Lord on the Mountain Top?

Do it on the bus, on the train, in the car or as you walk to work.

Come up to the mountain top and experience the fullness of LIFE Jesus wants for you. As you praise Him, your Heart is going to be filled with His glory and you’ll come down from your Mountain Top just like Moses; radiant with the glory of the Lord. He got his glory-glow from being with the LORD and you will too my friends. It may not be obvious to everybody, but you’ll be transformed into the likeness of the Lord.

How’s your glory-glow today?

You may also wish to visit my NEW PAGE: Discover The Spirit Filled Life.

Have an truly AWESOME Tuesday on the Mountain-Top with the LORD.

You may like to sing along with these fantastic worship songs today: 10000 Reasons, This is my desire, Lord I give you my heart, To Be In Your Presence.


How to Get Your Glory Glow?

“Come Up To The Mountain Top and Present yourself to ME” says the LORD.

 

Believer: The LORD Is Your Protector

Daily Spirit & Word, 458: Believer: The LORD Is Your Protector.

It takes courage, unity and determination to defeat the enemies of the LORD.

Exodus 17:15 “Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).”

Israel had been attacked by the Amalekites. It’s an amazing incident, for when Moses tired, his hands were supported by others. We need to remember that Moses by now was a very old man, but he was still God’s chosen man to lead the Nation of Israel from Slavery to Freedom in the promised land.

Joshua was the commander of the army of Israel: He was a faithful warrior for the Lord, but this battle plan had a strategy; Joshua would fight and Moses would stand.

 

Exodus 17:8-16

8  While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them.

9  Moses commanded Joshua, “Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand.”

10  So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill.

11  As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage.

12  Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset.

13  As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

14  After the victory, the LORD instructed Moses, “Write this down on a scroll as a permanent reminder, and read it aloud to Joshua: I will erase the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”

15  Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-nissi (which means “the LORD is my banner”).

16  He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.”

To Help Defeat The Enemy:

  • Joshua needed Moses
  • Moses needed Aaron and Hur
  • Israel needed the Lord

When they attacked Israel it wasn’t just Israel’s army they were attacking; He said, “They have raised their fist against the LORD’s throne, so now the LORD will be at war with Amalek generation after generation.” Verse 16.

My friends you, those of you who have been chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ, are members of God’s Holy, Heavenly Family forever, so whenever you are attacked from any source, they are attacking the “Throne of the LORD” Therefore, the LORD will be engaged in the battle with you. That’s why King David had such confidence in the LORD, because he knew that with the Lord no enemy need be feared.

Psalm 60:4 “But for those who fear you, you have raised a banner to be unfurled against the bow.”

Psalm 27:1-3 (NIV) [Of David.] “The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2  When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall. 3  Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.”

As believers we’ve also got the same kind of assurance that Moses, Joshua, Aaron, Hur and King David had; God is with you.

Revelation 17:14  “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” My friends, when you trusted in Jesus Christ and turned in repentance and faith to receive His forgiveness, did you realise that you were; “Called and Chosen?” WOWzer! Sometimes we think our walk with Jesus is all down to us, but He’s the one who called you, you simply responded. He’s the one who chose you. Out of all the people on the earth today, you were called and chosen by the Lord to be a member of His family forever, so He’s going to fight for you when you need His divine help.

Here is the Confidence we can have that Jesus is with us in every single battle that we face as Christians.

Romans 8:28-31 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29  For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. 31  What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

“If God is for us, who can be against us”

Oh WOW! “If God is for us (on our side) who can be against us?”

A NOTE of Caution: Our battle is NOT against flesh and blood (  ) but when we are attacked by other human beings the LORD will watch your back.

Be sure that you never attack one of the Lord’s chosen, anointed, justified and sanctified people, because if you do then He’ll become your most fearsome enemy.

For the Believer in the Lord Jesus Christ:

The Lord will help you in every battle, against every enemy.

My friends, I hope you have an AWESOME week, knowing that you’ve been called by Jesus, chosen by Jesus, justified by Jesus and that you are also protected by Jesus and the LORD’S Army. Fight valiantly dear warriors of Jesus.

Don.

 Bible References: Romans 8:31. Psalm 118:6. Psalm 60:4. Psalm 27:1,3. 2 Chronicles 13:12. Psalm 46:7. Revelation 17:14. Psalm 2:1,4. Isaiah 8:10.

Daily Spirit & Word.

If you like or have been helped by today’s devotions in Daily Spirit and Word, then why not share it with your friends on Facebook or Twitter or Google +? Spreading the Word. God bless and keep you today. Don.

 

Flesh and Spirit at War

Daily Spirit & Word, 467: Flesh and Spirit at War.

or Mankind’s Inability to LIVE According to God’s Standards of Righteousness.

Good morning my friends, I was reading through Paul’s letter to the Romans again this morning, chapters 7 to 9. I was struck again by how Paul illustrated the struggle to live righteously in chapter 7 and though his whole heart’s desire was to live the way he knew he should, he just couldn’t. No matter how hard Paul tried to live according to God’s ways, there was always sin in his heart to bring him back down to earth with a great crash. In the end, he saw the utter futility of trying to obtain righteousness in his own strength or willpower alone.

This reveals the futility of the works based effort of all who try to earn Heaven by human determination or by their own goodness. Let’s look at those verses again in Romans 7.

Romans 7:7-25  “What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8  But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9  Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10  I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. 11  For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death. 12  So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good. 13  Did that which is good, then, become death to me? By no means! But in order that sin might be recognised as sin, it produced death in me through what was good, so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful. 14  We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15  I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17  As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18  I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19  For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20  Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it. 21  So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23  but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24  What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25  Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

 The Struggle Against Sin:

This very struggle that Paul recognized within himself before he was regenerated (made new, born again, transformed) by the Holy Sprit, after he came to faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ when his eyes were well and truly opened. This is what’s leading people to the Lord today, because there a many people in the world who sincerely desire to live righteously before God, and many devout people from other faiths who struggle to live righteously. They know God’s Holy Standards, because He’s revealed His LAW of righteousness to every single human being alive today. He’s written His LAW upon every human heart so that we know the good we should do, but honest people, people who’s hearts are open to God, know that though they try their best, they are still, like Paul was before regeneration, prisoners to sin.

 The LAW of God is good: but it’s POWERLESS to enable anyone to be good.

All the LAW does is REVEAL God’s Holy Standards of Righteousness.

God’s LAW awakens in mankind a desire to live in holiness, but doesn’t give the power to enable it.

 That’s WHY Jesus Christ came, to set the captives free.

Satan blinds people to their need of a Saviour, but the LAW of God brings about a transformation of understanding, it awakens within the human soul an awareness of our need that something needs to happen within to enable us to live according to God’s LAW revealed in our hearts.

Many Muslims, Jews and other Religious People are coming to the Saviour today. They come because they’ve tried to live righteously, they’ve tried to seek God and to live according to His ways, but they’ve recognised they just can’t do it. So when they hear the Gospel or read the Bible their eyes are opened and hope springs to life. Because in the Gospel is revealed the POWER of God to enable people who seek Him with all their hearts to truly LIVE Righteously.

The Power comes, not through human effort, not through religious observance, but through FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ. Once we trust in Him, He comes to live in our hearts by His Holy Spirit, now when people live according to the Spirit they find the freedom from sin and it’s ability to control them and keep them captive to it’s will, is broken.

2 Corinthians 4:3-7 “And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4  The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6  For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 7  But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.”

Paul was well aware that the power to live righteously, to know the Gospel, was from God.

Of course there is an Enemy who doens’t want that to happen. Satan longs to keep people in the darkness. He’s overjoyed when people are unconscious of their need of a Saviour. He loves it when people get religious and try to be good enough for heaven in their own strength. And He’s dancing with joy when they perform, try and struggle to live according to God’s revealed standards of Holiness. Because as long as he can blind them to their need of Jesus, their need of freedom, their need of Salvation, they belong to him. Satan knows that if religious people die in their religious state, he’ll have them with him for all eternity instead of the place that God wants them to be, in Heaven.

 

In Romans Chapter 9 Paul reveals the predicament of ‘religious’ Jews / Israelites.

Romans 9:30-33 “What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; 31  but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. 32  Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the “stumbling-stone”. 33  As it is written: “See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

Can you see it my friends? They or all people who try to pursue RIGHTEOUSNESS (Being right in God’s sight, or holy, goodness, ) by following ‘religious’ practices or by sheer human resolve will never attain the very thing they seek. Because, religious practice without FAITH in Jesus Christ is just human effort or works. As the Corinthian reading above revealed, those who don’t understand the Gospel are perishing, even though they try with all their might to be good, they will never be able to be good enough, because they’ll still continue to sin.

 Pockets of Resistance:

When the Second World War was over and Japan had surrendered, their were still pockets of resistance, soldiers who would not accept defeat. Some Japanese soldiers continued to fight on for many years even though they’d lost the war.

For the Christian, there are still pockets of resistance within to the Holy Spirit’s will, within our fleshly nature. But the BATTLE is OVER the WAR is WON: Satan and Sin are DEFEATED.

 How do we get the FREEDOM from sin? How can we LIVE Righteously?

It begins the moment we trust in Jesus Christ and we’re born again by God’s Holy Spirit.

The pockets of resistance against the Holy Spirit, human fleshly nature is not completely over, but the WAR is won. Jesus defeated Satan when He died and rose again from death. He defeated sin and it’s ability to control humans. His death upon the Cross made it possible for people to become RIGHTEOUS in God’s sight the moment they trust in His death, because all their sins are washed away.

Romans 8: Reveals the way that Believers in Jesus now must choose to live. We are filled with the Holy Spirit, but we still have a responsibility to live according to the Spirit and not according to the desires of the flesh. It’s a moment by moment choice; there are two ways to live and He’ll enable us to live His way if we let Him. One day we’ll see the Lord in Glory and the remaining pockets of resistance will be completely wiped out, we’ll be totally pure and holy like Jesus, but until then, we’ve got little skirmishes to fight along the way. We will win, if we live according to the Holy Spirit and not according to the sinful nature.

The Reality:

Out of the vast ocean of humanity on the face of the Earth today, there is only a small trickle who desire to live righteously before God. The majority are happy to be in the darkness and to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, they don’t want people to shine the light of the Lord and His ways upon them, they do not desire to be enlightened and Satan loves it too.

We know this, because every week we come across many people who’ll say, “I’m NOT religious” as if that is the end of the conversation, but when we say, “Good, you are the very person we need to talk to tonight”, they are stopped in their tracks. You see we’re not out to make people ‘religious’ but to help people see their need of Salvation and of a Saviour from sin. We’ll open up conversations with things like, “Do you know what Easter is all about?” or “What’s Christmas really about?” at these times of the year. We’re off into a Spiritual conversation, not a religious one.

Most people are unaware that they are like people on the Titanic who whilst the boat was sinking, they were enjoying the music and dancing, until it was too late to save themselves. They are also like a group of people having a party in a house that’s ablaze with roaring fire. They are going to die in their sins and if they do, then they’ll be judged according to God’s Holy Standards of Righteousness. That’s why they need to be awakened out of their slumber and ignorance. I’m sure many more could have been saved on the Titanic if they’d been made aware of the condition of the vessel. Satan hates it when we open the eyes of those he’s blinded.

Conclusion:

For those who’ve trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ; Instead of using, “I’m human” as an excuse to live according to the sinful fleshly desires of your heart. As a believer in Jesus Christ you must begin saying, “I’m SAVED so I’m going to live according to the Holy Spirit”. Then you’ll know that the mind controlled by the Spirit is LIFE and PEACE. (Romans 8:6).

Are you walking with the Spirit today? Read Romans 7, 8 and 9 again. You’ll see what condition your soul is in. If you need to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and we all do, then I encourage you to come and be made righteous by God’s Spirit and then to walk through the rest of your life here on Earth living according to the Spirit’s desires.

Galatians 5:16 “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

If you’ve never heard these things before, then read about what Jesus Christ came to do in the Gospel of Mark, it’s one of the shortest Gospels and through reading it, you’ll discover God’s desire for you is good. He wants you to be saved from sin, from Satan and from self.

Galatians 5:16 (NIV) “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”

Have an Awesome Sunday worshipping Jesus Christ as you gather with the saints in praise and adoration today.

Seek to be filled afresh with God’s Holy Spirit right now.

Every blessing,

Don.