Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

When Jesus calls us, it's to repentance and faith in Him alone

Daily Spirit & Word: 776: Who’s that knocking at my door.

Good morning friends, I was awakened by a strange noise in the house this morning at 4.30am. It startled me out of a weird dream. In the dream I was back in Plymouth and some kind of strange earthquake was happening, I saw a bus falling over on it’s side and buildings shaking and some falling to the ground. People had their mobile phones out taking pictures to capture the scene and share on social media. Do you know what that noise was that woke me? It was a knocking at my door, but when I got to the door there was no one there. I was up now so decided to read some of God’s Word and this is what I read.

Romans 10:16-21 (NIV)
16  But not all the Israelites accepted the good news. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?”
17  Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.
18  But I ask: Did they not hear? Of course they did: “Their voice has gone out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”
19  Again I ask: Did Israel not understand? First, Moses says, “I will make you envious by those who are not a nation; I will make you angry by a nation that has no understanding.”
20  And Isaiah boldly says, “I was found by those who did not seek me; I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.”
21  But concerning Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people.”
Who’s That Knocking At My Door?

If “faith comes by hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ” then why didn’t the Israelites respond? Who knows, but they didn’t.

Then follows a series of question from Paul: “DID THE ISRAELITES HEAR THE MESSAGE?”

He answers each time with “Of course they did, but they REJECTED it”…

When someone is knocking at your door what do you do?

  • Do you sit there and ignore it?
  • Do you get up and listen at the door to what they have to say?
  • Do you open the door to the one with the message?

It’s The Insurance Man

Years ago my mum and dad had an insurance policy, the man would call around to collect the insurance money every week. There were quite a few times that my mum didn’t have any money to pay the installments, so she’d tell us to hide and stay quiet until the man goes away. The man would be knocking at the door. He’d be shouting through the letterbox “It’s the Insurance Man”… We didn’t dare move a muscle. I’ve been scared of Insurance Men since I was a child 🙂 LOL A few times the man could hear there were obviously people in the house, because you can’t keep seven kids quiet for very long. Or sometimes they’d pretend to go away and then once we’d all started talking the letterbox would fly open and he’d shout, “I can hear you in there, open the door”…

My friends, those Israelites didn’t open the doors of their hearts to God.

He called upon them many times and in so many different ways.

They might have been there listening to the message, but they didn’t respond.

Isaiah tells us, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and obstinate people”…

God is also holding out his holy hands to you today.

He’s calling you with the Good News of Jesus; “Come to me” said Jesus.

Jesus is not an Insurance Salesman, but He’s offering freely to each and every soul “Eternal Assurance: You can be SAVED from Hell if you’ll just repent and trust in Me”…

When we hear the Good News and don’t respond, it’s like knowing someone is at the door with a message that is so important for us, but we’ve got to open the door to respond to that message.

  • It’s no good knowing Jesus can save you, if you don’t respond in faith and receive Him as your Lord and Saviour.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus died for sin, if you don’t trust in Him and His death on the cross was for your sins.
  • It’s no good knowing Jesus was raised from the dead and believing it all to be true, if you will not repent of your sins and receive Him into your life.

He’s knocking every day, but have you opened up the door of your heart to Jesus?

Be Earnest And Repent

Revelation 3:19-22 (NIV)
19  Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent.
20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
21  To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Jesus is knocking my friends, so open up the door of your heart afresh today.

If there’s something in your life at this moment more precious to you than Jesus, you need to let go of it, because there’s NOTHING, nothing, absolutely nothing, that’s more important than your eternal welfare.

Once you open that door to Jesus, then and only then, will all His promises be yours: Abundant life (John 10:10), New Birth (John 1:12, 3:1-22).

Who’s That Knocking At Your Door?

It’s Jesus Christ: Open the door of your heart to Him today: Be earnest (sincere, heartfelt, solemn, clear,) and repent: Turn from living your life your way and begin to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit by turning to Jesus for forgiveness, cleansing and new life. Amen!

Have an awesome weekend.

Don.

 

Sitting At A Table

Faith Sharing on the Streets of London

Daily Spirit & Word: 775: Sitting at a table chatting…

Hearing The Good News

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

Imagine you’re sitting at a table with a friend you’ve not seen for years and two men come up to you and begin to talk about Jesus? Well that’s what happened last night outside Knowles of Norwood Pub in West Norwood, London.

Knowles of Norwood Pub, West Norwood. London.
Knowles of Norwood Pub, West Norwood. London.

As we were walking along sharing the Good News with folks last night (27th July 2016), we came to Knowles of Norwood. The pavement is wide and there are tables outside for customers to sit and have a nice drink. We got chatting with a few customers and we were able shar the Gospel with two men, then moved along to the next table and began to chat with another two. They were smartly dressed professional looking gentlemen. We gave them a Ticket to Heaven tract and asked them if they believed in Heaven. One did, but the other said he wasn’t sure there was a heaven or even a God. We got chatting about the possibility and he said, “I’m agnostic”, we then said, “Oh, you’ll love our Atheist Test then”… We gave them one and began chatting through the test, but they politely said, “We’ve not seen each other in a long time and we’re here just to catch-up tonight”. We apologised for the interruption, but my companion David said, “That’s OK gents, we’ll be back in about half an hour, if you’re ready to talk then, we can chat”… We heard them laughing out loud as we walked away.

So we went down the road, sharing Jesus with a few more folks, having great Gospel conversations along the way. As we turned around and proceeded back towards the table about 3/4 of an hour later, they were still seated chatting away. We asked them, “Have you caught up now? We’re back with Jesus”… They laughed and one said, “You know guys, my mum is a Born Again Christian, and she’s been praying for and trying to convert me for ages. I’ll definitely read all this stuff you’ve given me”… We’d given them three different tracts, one Ten Commandment Coin and a “Thank you for chatting” card. I replied, “Perhaps this is Jesus wake-up call, we don’t know how much time we’ve got left: The BIBLE is Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth: read that too, God bless you guys”… As we walked away I heard the Agnostic saying to his friend, “Those guys are persistent and funny”…

We met another man called Mark, he’d recently come over from Jamaica and we could see conviction coming over him as we shared. He knew the Gospel, said he believed in Jesus and knew all about the choice he needed to make, but was not ready yet. When we asked why, he said, “I don’t really know”. Then we asked, “Is there anything we can pray for?” He said, “I need a job, I’ve been looking for ages but can’t find work”… We prayed right there on the streets for him that the LORD would direct him to a job and that he would glorify God when he saw this answered prayer. When I asked him, “Do you own a Bible?” He said, “Yes and I read it most days”… I said, “That’s fantastic, do you know the Lord will be speaking to you through His Word?”… He said, “He definitely does”… Praise the LORD!

You know my friends, sharing the Gospel of Jesus can be; fun, friendly, full of faith and Spiritually forceful.

A Person is SAVED by: Believing in Jesus and by Confessing Him as LORD, but they can only do that once they’ve heard the whole Gospel of Jesus Christ. However, FAITH comes by Hearing the Good News. 

Romans 10:7-15 (NIV)
7  “or ‘Who will descend into the deep?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).
8  But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
9  That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
11  As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
12  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him,
13  for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
14  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
15  And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

We’ve got to leave some things up to the LORD, because He said that “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of the Lord”… Pray that He’ll continue to draw these three men to himself by the Holy Spirit, pray that everyone we shared with last night might be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of their minds, hearts and wills. Amen!

I’m praying for you all too, those of you who know Jesus Christ as Lord! That you will be active in sharing your faith in Jesus with those who don’t yet know Him as Lord. Don’t give up, be persistent, be persuasive, trust in the LORD that once you’ve shared the Good News, He will continue to draw people to Himself. Remember, faith comes by hearing the Good News, but we’ve got to go out and be obedient to Jesus command to share it.

Don.

 

A Change of Mind

Christians preaching Christ Good News in Damascus

Daily Spirit & Word: 774: A Change of Mind.

Good morning my friends, I know many of you have children on holiday from school and find it difficult to find time to read for long periods, so here’s a very short thought for today.

We’ve probably all observed Goldfish in a tank, they swim in one direction, then suddenly all change direction and go another way. I love watching fish, but that’s what we need in this world, to be that one fish that suddenly turns and goes in another direction, perhaps the rest will follow. Decide today to follow Jesus.

Acts 9:20-30 (NIV)
20  At once he (Saul) began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.
21  All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who caused havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?”
22  Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Christ.
23  After many days had gone by, the Jews conspired to kill him,
24  but Saul learned of their plan. Day and night they kept close watch on the city gates in order to kill him.
25  But his followers took him by night and lowered him in a basket through an opening in the wall.
26  When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple.
27  But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.
28  So Saul stayed with them and moved about freely in Jerusalem, speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.
29  He talked and debated with the Grecian Jews, but they tried to kill him.
30  When the brothers learned of this, they took him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.

WE NEED A NEW MIND…

A change of mind.

We see this supremely in the life of St Paul (Saul) in the passage above.

  • One day he’s spouting murderous thoughts and running around arresting and imprisoning Christians.
  • A few days later he’s preaching the Gospel (The Good News of Jesus Christ FEARLESSLY).
  • What brought about his complete change of mind?
  • An encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.

WE NEED AN ENCOUNTER WITH JESUS.

When we meet with Jesus, just like St Paul, our minds are going to be RENEWED. We’re going to begin to think like Jesus, because we too will receive the mind of Christ through the indwelling Holy Spirit. We too will begin to SPEAK UP for Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is; his good, pleasing and perfect will.

WE NEED A RENEWED MIND:

Then just like St Paul (Saul of Tarsus) we will be TRANSFORMED.

So God’s Making us into TRANSFORMERS 🙂

Imagine being able to; test and approve what God’s will is?

Imagine being able to know what His; good, pleasing and perfect will is?

“He’s TRANSFORMING ME”

By His Holy Spirit, He’s making me like Jesus.

Could you imagine going to Damascus today and proclaiming the Good News of the LORD Jesus Christ? They’d probably want to kill you too, just as the Jews did St Paul. However, he preached Jesus fearlessly, will we? Will we be so transformed by Jesus that in our place, where we live, we begin to speak up for Jesus? It’s a scary thought for many Christians, but that’s what the Holy Spirit in us will be prompting us to do.

Let our minds be changed, renewed, growing every day, to become more and more like Jesus.

Have an awesome day with Jesus.

Don.

P.S. Last night’s (27/7/2016) street evangelism was AWESOME!

In West Norwood London, a few of us went out onto the streets to share Jesus Christ with the crowds; we did it through giving out tracts, sharing the Gospel, praying for folks, and all along the way enjoying singing the song, “I’ve got my mind made up and I won’t turn back, because I’m going to see my Jesus some day”…

P.S. Once Paul was converted, he gained new enemies, they seemed to always want to take his life, to stop him preaching and proclaiming that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), that Jesus is the Son of God (God), speaking boldly in the name of the Lord.

As long as Paul was belonging to the world, the world loved him as one of it’s own.

John 15:18-27 (NIV)
18  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
20  Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21  They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.
22  If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
23  He who hates me hates my Father as well.
24  If I had not done among them what no-one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. But now they have seen these miracles, and yet they have hated both me and my Father.
25  But this is to fulfil what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’
26  “When the Counsellor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.
27  And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

My friends, as long as you belong to the world, the world will love you as one of it’s own, however: As soon as you are converted, as Paul was converted, the world hated him and it will hate you too, because you no longer belong to the world, you are not of this world, your new citizenship is in Heaven, you are a member of God’s household, you are His ambassadore to this world, you’ve become a new creature in Christ, you are now a Saint, this world is NOT your home any more.

So you will proclaim Christ, just as Paul did, the Holy Spirit of Truth will motivate you to share Him. Then whenever Christ is proclaimed, the world is judged because of sin, it doesn’t want to hear that message, so it tries to squash the message of the Gospel:

  • By watering it down,
  • By making it into a religion,
  • By killing those who proclaim the true Gospel,

Satan: is the force behind all worldly efforts to silence the true Gospel of Jesus Christ: That men (mankind) are sinful, they’ve broken God’s commandments, without Christ there is no remedy for mankind’s sins, we cannot make ourselves clean and fit for heaven, because sin contaminates our souls, so the only way to be cleansed is by the blood of an innocent and pure sacrifice, something had to die in our place so that we could be saved. Jesus Christ, God’s one and only son is the full and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. So that everyone who believes that He died for their sins, who repents of sin and trusts in Jesus’ death, will be SAVED.

Now it’s no wonder that Satan and the world influenced by him, doesn’t want that message spread about too much. He’ll try and squash it, water it down, pervert and bend that message, so that as many as he can, he’ll take to hell with him.

There’s nothing worse that whole hosts of people calling themselves ‘Christians’ who’ve never been born again or come to Christ, broken and guilty and confessing their sins. Satan loves it when the ‘church’ if filled with false-converts, filled and convinced they’re saved by a false or partial perverted Gospel message. The watered down Gospel is this; “Just believe in Jesus name, and ask him into your heart”; no reasons are given for why a person needs to come to Christ, no sin, no hell, no judgement, no repentance, no receiving Christ as LORD. That’s the false Gospel that many are believing today. They are NOT SAVED yet, but don’t give up, because they can be.

However, my heart breaks at the thought of the countless thousands who’ll end up in hell, having believed and lived by this false Gospel message. Jesus died in order that many would be saved, let’s spread the true Gospel message and save as many as we can whilst there is still some time left before Jesus returns in Judgement. Amen!

 

 

 

Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

The Cost of True Discipleship, Denying Self, Taking Up Cross and Following Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 773: Do You Want To Follow Jesus?

It’s going to be costly.

If you do want to follow Jesus, then there are some things Jesus told us we must do.

Good morning my friends, when we eventually give in and surrender our souls to Jesus Christ, what’s next? Jesus said, “Follow Me”, but there are some requirements for following Jesus; Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross, Living For Jesus… The Christian life is a purposeful and self-sacrificial one.

Matthew 16:24-25 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Mark 8:34-35 (NIV)
34  Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
35  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it…”

Luke 9:23-25 (NIV)
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?

In three of the Gospels; Matthew, Mark and Luke, Jesus reveals HOW we are to follow Him by: Denying Self, Taking Up Your Cross and Following Jesus.

Here follows an explanation of Jesus requirements:

In the first few centuries the people we know today as Christians were first called “People of the Way” or “Followers of Jesus”… How they were known by non-Christians reveals a lot about how Jesus had transformed their lives. They were living in such a way that people were impressed by their total dedication to Jesus.

1) Jesus Said You Must Deny SELF:

Denying self requires us to give up anything that we would want, desire or crave that would or could hinder our doing the will of God. Many things we do are not morally wrong, but they might not be what God wants us to be doing. Many things we do are innocent, but perhaps they’re not in God’s plan for our life.

NOTE:

  • Denying Self: What it doesn’t mean: It does not mean that, if we want something, it is necessarily wrong.
  • Denying Self: What it does mean: It means we must take our wants and desires down from off the throne of our life and place The Lord Jesus Christ and His will as the governing power in our lives. When you follow Jesus you make Him your Master, King, Boss, Ruler… Once He’s ruler He’ll set your free to follow His will and guide you into His life and plan by the Holy Spirit.

There is room in your life for only one master (Matthew. 6:19-24). It means it’s either you who’s in charge of your life or Jesus. If God is to rule in your life, then your will, desires, wants, etc, must be made subservient to His. We must be willing to give up anything in life in order to please God. This is the teaching from the whole Bible, not just these few verses in Matthew, Mark and Luke’s Gospel.

Romans 12:1-2; Matthew 6:33; Luke 14:25-33; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

2) Take Up Your Cross Daily:

What does Jesus mean? The Jews were quite familiar with the CROSS even before Jesus’ crucifixion. They’d probably all seen people crucified, the Romans deliberately positioned crucified rebels along the roadways so people could see them as they passed by, it was a stark and horrible reminder of who’s on the Throne, who’s in charge, who’s the BOSS.

Many people will say things like “It’s my cross this bad back or arthritus” they think that “Take Up Your Cross” means bearing burdens of illness or suffering hardships for the Lord. I’m sure there are some hardships we will need to go through as Christians (God tells us they are for our character development and to give us faith and hope), but there is a fuller meaning to “Take Up Your Cross Daily” if we consider the context of those passages.

(1) What is a cross for? It was not just a burden to be carried along. Your Cross is far more than that, it was an instrument of death and total sacrifice.

(2) Jesus said take up our cross and follow Him. He carried a cross and we must carry our cross and follow Him. But where was He going with His cross? He had just told His Disciples that He was going to die. Now, if they want to be His followers, they must be prepared to die too.

(3) In the very next verses Jesus said we must give our lives for Him.

(4) Then He asked what good our lives would be to us, if we loose our souls at the judgment throne of God.

So, “taking up your cross” refers to giving your whole life to Jesus, just as Jesus himself was about to do on His Cross, He was going to give His life as a sacrifice for us and for our sins.

Taking Up YOUR Cross: is a total dedication of your life to Jesus Christ. Our whole life is given over into His service in anything He says. This will lead us to willingly, (of our own volition; not being forced or against our own will) purposefully, determinedly,  denying self.

Following the Lord Jesus Christ then requires us to live as He lived His life (1 Peter 2:21; Matthew 10:34,35; 1 Cor 11:1).

Only Luke’s Gospel adds “take up your cross daily” (Luke 9:23). There is a sense in which Christians must give their lives to Jesus every singl day.

NOTE: This doesn’t mean we must commit suicide for Jesus: He’s NOT talking about physical death. This is very important, we’re to LIVE for Jesus, by DYING to self.

There are times when Christians have died for Jesus at the hands of others, such as recently in Iraq and Syria, when they refused to deny Jesus, ISIS murderers killed those Christians. Sometimes Christians do give their lives willingly for Jesus, but in the context of these passages, Jesus is talking about living for Him, following His teachings and it was to be a daily sacrifice of self to do the will of Jesus instead of what we’d want or normally, habitually be doing.

  • Whatever He wants with my life is what must be done with it.
  • Whatever I want does not control my life; be sure you’re not addicted to anything. Is there something you feel you can’t live without?
  • What I want no longer matters, but I give myself for Him, just as He gave Himself willingly for me.

Even Jesus struggled with what was about to happen to Him on the Cross (Remember the sweat of Gethsemane?) despite the fact His human nature did not want to have to do it. Compare Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16-18; Matthew 6:19-33; Galatians 5:24; Romans 6:6-23; 2 Timothy 2:11; 2 Corinthians 4:11; and Ecclesiastes 12:13.

The determination to give our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ in this kind of self-sacrificial, taking up your cross service, is called “repentance”.

When you are REPENTING: You determine to turn away from your own will and live your life to please the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s not possible to be SAVED without this kind of repentance. We cannot be saved until we’ve made Jesus BOSS, KING, RULER of our Life: There’s room for only one master: Is Jesus really the KING in your Heart?

For some people it takes TIME to make Jesus King: Others do it instinctively the moment they know Jesus died upon the Cross for their sins. For most it’s a progressive dying to self and living for Jesus. The Christian life really is a journey, but make sure Jesus is your KING today.

My friends, this is why repentance is so important in coming to Jesus. If you’ve responded to a Gospel message that simply says; “Invite Jesus into your heart” without talking about TRUE repentance from sin and from living for yourself, then there won’t be any salvation. Jesus will say to you on the Day of Judgement: “Depart from Me, I never knew you”… It also explains why so many people are not truly Jesus’ disciples today (whether or not they may claim to be His ‘Christians’): because they are not willing to live this life of total dedication to Jesus Christ as their LORD.

There’s a saying, “If Jesus is not LORD of all, then He’s not Lord at all”…

Is Jesus really your KING? You’ll know if’

  • You are willing to Deny Yourself (Living for Jesus).
  • Are you willing to take up your Cross Daily? (Die to Self).
  • Are you Following Jesus’ teachings? (Daily learning to be obedient to Jesus’ teachings). 

A wonderful lady in our fellowship in St Luke’s Church said, “I love the Hymn ‘I surrender all”, but I want to change it to, “I surrender nearly everything”. What she was telling us was, I want to give my whole life to Jesus, but I’m sure there are some parts I want to hang onto myself. “Lord help me to want to “Surrender All”…

3) Follow Me:

The next few verses then helps us understand Jesus’ point about denying self and taking up our cross and following Him, it also strengthens the application.

Matthew 16:24-28 (NIV)
24  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
25  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
26  What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?
27  For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.
28  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”

If someone claims to be a ‘Christian’ but still holds or clings to his old life, if it is so precious to himself that he wants to use it to please himself, to do what he wants, to do his own will, and accomplish his own purposes, rather than denying self, taking up his cross and serving God, then Jesus teaches us that person will, in the end, at the judgement, lose his life for all eternity. WOWzer! That’s a stark and stunning warning from Jesus Christ.

However, if anyone who loses his life for Jesus’ sake; i.e. who gives it in service and self-sacrifice to Jesus Christ by denying himself, as described fully above – then be assured of this my friends, such a person will save their life by gaining the awesome gift of eternal life.

True Repentance: Is coming to Jesus Christ and making Him the KING of your own life.

Is Jesus Your KING?

Who’s your King? Is it you or is it Jesus?

There can be no greater or clearer teaching anywhere in the Bible of the full meaning of being a true disciple or follower of Jesus Christ.

So will you (of your own volition and free will), Deny Yourself, Take Up Your Cross and Follow Jesus Christ as Lord?

 

Jesus Kingdom Increase

Kingdom Increase, from Baskets to Hampers.

Daily Spirit & Word: 772: Jesus Kingdom Increase.

You Need to Get A Kingdom: Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears.

“I’m On Kingdom Business: No Other Agenda”.

Kingdom Increase: Multiplication.

Kingdom Freedom: No Need to Worry.

Good morning my friends, what a FANTASTIC “Oh Happy Day” Community Festival we had. Five Churches committed to an joint event together for Jesus. There were so many Gospel singing groups, dancers, actors, artists, cooks, welcomers, photographers, face-painters, all gathering to make the day HAPPY for everyone. I don’t know how many hundreds came, I’m not a numbers-game-pastor 🙂 However, what I got from Heaven (revelation from Father) was that He was Happy. Happy that we His children were ONE in; Spirit, Purpose and Presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ. Everything was FREE for those who came, the churches all said, “This event should be free for those who come along, so we’ll commit to paying for everything”… We did, but I’m aware that there are some who’ve not had the opportunity to contribute. If you’d like to you can still do that? We will use it again for our Next “Oh Happy Day” Festival next year, the LORD willing (Get the DATE in your Diary NOW: Saturday July 2017)

Mark 8:14-21 (NIV)
14  The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat.
15  “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”
16  They discussed this with one another and said, “It is because we have no bread.”
17  Aware of their discussion, Jesus asked them: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened?
18  Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don’t you remember?
19  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.
20  “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”
21  He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”

HOW The “Oh Happy Day” event came about, was because one man had ears to hear what the Father was saying.
He was new to West Norwood, but came with a passion for Jesus and reaching out with God’s love and joy; Pastor David Catarino (Portuguese Fellowship).
He shared the vision and dream with one of our group, Peter Day (from Lansdowne Evangelical fellowship) then Peter asked me, we met with David Catarino and prayed about it, but the vision grew along with the conviction that Father God wanted us to do this thing together. So we shared with Pastors Dennis and Richard from Worldwide Mission Fellowship and Chatsworth Baptist Church. We fixed a date, arranged a prayer meeting and committed to being involved ourselves.

When Jesus was in the Boat with His Disciples:

He’d just had another run-in with the Pharisees and must have been thinking about it because He said to them “Be careful, watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod”…

However, the Disciples, as usual, had their minds fixed on worldly things and didn’t get what Jesus was going on about. They’d moved on to thinking about their own need for BREAD instead of worrying about the spiritual battles that were on-going. “It is because we have no bread”… they reasoned in earthly terms.

Yeast: Yeast to Jewish people is a symbol of evil. Yeast spreads throughout the whole batch of dough, and so evil can infect an individual and a community. It’s the evil teaching and tendencies Jesus wanted His disciples to see, but it went completely over their heads.

Why? Because their minds, hearts, eyes and ears were still on earthly things.

  • It’s like they were worrying about a cup full of water when there’s a large lake full of fresh water in front of them.
  • It’s like worrying when our petrol tank is on empty, when there’s an OIL Well full of petrol right in front of them.
  • Jesus is the fountain of life: Jesus is the light of the world, Jesus is the Good Shepherd, Jesus is the Miracle Makers who turns five loaves into Twelve Baskets full left over… He turns a few loaves into Seven Hampers full left over.

Jesus quite rightly was a bit frustrated with them: “Why are you talking about having no bread?” He asked them.

So often our minds are always on EARTHLY MATTERS; so much so, that we’ll MISS what God wants us to know about.

My friends, God is Speaking: But are we listening, are we looking, are we thinking and meditation on God’s will?

I do believe that we MISS so many of His Golden Opportunities because we’ve got a different set of priorities.

Jesus asked them pointedly: “Why are you talking about having no bread? Do you still not see or understand? Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear?”

Jesus Helps Us Get Our Focus Right:

By Taking them Back: “Don’t You Remember?”

Of course they had; a head to think and a heart to care. They had eyes to see and ears to hear; but they were transfixed on temporal matters.

So, Jesus purposefully takes them back over the last few weeks of ministry:

The Miracle Feedings: 5000 and 4000…

He begins by asking; “And don’t you remember?”

My friends, it’s often very good for us to REMEMBER what God has done for us in the past. Why? Because it stops us ever worrying again. When we think back to God’s miracles of answered prayer, miracle provision, miracle guidance in our lives, then we’ll STOP being completely transfixed by temporal matters. We’ll never again WORRY about worldly things; paying bills, getting out of debt, sorting relationships, Why? Because we’ll REMEMBER how God worked in these areas of our lives in the past and sorted things out for us.

Here, in our reading, Jesus goes over the MIRACLES: To get their minds, hearts, eyes and ears ATTENTIVE TO GOD.

Mark 8:19-20 (NIV)
19  When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many basketfuls (small baskets) of pieces did you pick up?” “Twelve,” they replied.
20  “And when I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many basketfuls (Hamper sized Baskets) of pieces did you pick up?” They answered, “Seven.”
Then he asked them; “Do you still not understand”…

Mark doesn’t tell us if they did or not. There’s a strange silence in Scripture at the end of Jesus’ questioning His Disciples. However, I think even the MOST DIM person could understand that.

What’s the difference between a small basked and a hamper?

A small basket could fit into a hamper many times.

The Difference between the Miracles of feeding 5000 and 4000 was the Kingdom Increase in what was left over.

That’s KINGDOM INCREASE:

My friends. Do you see? Do you have eyes to see? Do you have ears to Hear? Do you have a Heart to understand?

God’s in the KINGDOM INCREASE business. (No other agenda).

When we’re in the world, when we’re doing our stuff, the ordinary stuff; working, shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc etc… How’s our Kingdom Focus?

God wants to get your minds, hearts, eyes and ears OFF of Temporal Matters and onto His KINGDOM MATTERS.

What is it that MATTERS MOST to God? Kingdom Increase.

Jesus said in the Parable of the Sower:

Mark 4:8-9 (NIV) (Go back and REMEMBER).
8  Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.”
9  Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus also said, “The HARVEST is Plentiful, but the Labourers are FEW”: My friends, that tells me that not many of Jesus followers are getting His Kingdom Agenda.

Multiplying: Multiplication: Baskets / Hampers.

It’s like God is saying to all of us today: Become Kingdom Mathematicians: Think about KINGDOM INCREASE (Kingdom Multiplication)…

Multiplication is very different from Addition… Addition adds ones and twos, multiplication goes from 10s to 10000000 very quickly. (Exponential Thinking).

Do you now have minds to understand, hearts to care, eyes to see and ears to hear?

What happened yesterday at “Oh Happy Day”  when we gave away FREE Kingdom Burgers, Free Photography, Free Face-Painting, Free Music, dance and singing… It was ALL ABOUT KINGDOM INCREASE (Multiplication: NOT Addition)… You do the maths and God will do the increase.

Let’s get our own eyes OFF Temporal Matters (Stop Being Transfixed by the Temporal).

Let’s get our eyes ON Kingdom Business. God’s KINGDOM INCREASE.

David Wilson and I had a coffee in a cafe during the week: Oh we’d met up a few times: Tuesday for Fellowship, Wednesday for Morning Prayer Gathering, Wednesday Evening for Witnessing on the Streets and Friday in a Cafe for Coffee… We talked about KINGDOM Business.

We had a laugh and said, “I think we should have a T’Shirt made up “I’m on Kingdom Business” with a strap line “NO OTHER AGENDA”…

My friends, as Christians that really should become our Motto for Jesus.

“I’m on Kingdom Business” and “No Other Agenda”….

How’s your KINGDOM; mind, heart, eyes and ears today?

Let’s Get:

  • Kingdom Mindset: To Understand.
  • Kingdom Heart: To Care about God’s Agenda.
  • Kingdom Eyes: To See God’s Opportunities.
  • Kingdom Ears: To Hear God’s Calling Today.

 

Jesus did TWO MIRACLES feeding Thousands: 5000 and 4000…

We’re going to do TWO “Oh Happy Day Community Festivals”… Next July is going to be TOTALLY AWESOME (God willing). We’ll see Kingdom Increase: But only if we get our own eyes off our agenda and onto God’s agenda. His Kingdom Business…

Now, the next time, if your eyes are still on worldly matters (Disciples in the Boat: Eyes on Bread), I’m going to be a bit cheesed off like Jesus was… LOL.

God NEEDS all of us here at St Luke’s Church to get into HIS KINGDOM BUSINESS: Minds, Hearts, Eyes, Ears… So we can all say with JOY “I’m on Kingdom Business, no other Agenda”…

Will you be on God’s Kingdom Increase Business?

I truly hope so… Praying for Kingdom Increase in all of our lives today. Amen!

Get this today: “We’re on God’s Kingdom Business, with NO Other Agenda.”

Pray the LORD will OPEN Your Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears to what He’s showing you in this world, how He wants you to work for Him and His Kingdom. Amen!

Be blessed in Jesus,

Don.

NOTE: Those who’ve been translating the Bibles over the years have made a mistake or at least not given us the full picture. Size Matters to God: Kingdom Increase is a theme running throughout Scripture. Go back to the GREEK TEXT and you’ll see the difference in size of the baskets used in the miracles of feeding 5000 and 4000; it’s in Matthew and Mark and… When we see that Jesus first miracle there was 12 small baskets full of broken pieces left over… In the miracle of the feeding 4000 there were 7 (Seven) Large Hampers of broken pieces left over…. That’s KINGDOM INCREASE: minds, hearts, eyes and ears to see….

GREEK WORDS:

5000 (12 Baskets: Kophinos (Kof-ee-nos). = Small Baskets.

4000 (7 Baskets: Spuris (Spoorace) = Hamper Basket… Like the one Paul was lowered down the wall in Acts 9:25.

How many small baskets would fit into just one of those Seven Hampers? Kingdom Increase.

How many people will you, who are the ‘good soil’ hearers, lead to Christ in your life? How much fruit will you produce; 30, 60 or 100 times what was sown?

YEAST: Of the Pharisees and of King Herod:

Remember to the Jewish people, yeast represented evil, and the way yeast spreads it’s influence throughout the whole batch of dough, it can spread it’s influence on the un-suspecting and un-aware, that why Jesus said, “Be on your guard”, “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

Doubt, Suspicion, Hatred, Murder, Distain, Jealousy, Questioning, Plotting, Planning: Evil worldly trans-fixation. Worring about worldly matters instead of God’s Kingdom Agenda: Kingdom Business with no other agenda…

Get this today: “We’re on God’s Kingdom Business, with NO Other Agenda.”

Pray the LORD will OPEN Your Mind, Heart, Eyes and Ears to what He’s showing you in this world, how He wants you to work for Him and His Kingdom. Amen!

 

Oh Happy Day

The smile on your face lets me know you need me, there's a look in your eyes saying you'll never leave me

Daily Spirit & Word: 771: Oh Happy Day

You Have the POWER to Deliver.

With Jesus ALL THINGS Are Possible.

BUT:

  • No Prayer = No Power.
  • No Fasting = No Feasting.
  • No Faith = Nothing will Happen.

Good morning my friends, just ONE more day and the “Oh Happy Day” Gospel Festival will be here. Praise the LORD! What a Golden Opportunity to share Jesus with the whole of West Norwood.

The idea came from Pastor David of the Portuguese Fellowship meeting at Lansdowne Evangelical Church. He shared with Peter Day and I, then with the two other Ministers we pray with regularly: Richard from Chatsworth Baptist and Dennis from Worldwide Mission Fellowship. His vision was “Reaching out to our community with the Love and Joy of the Lord”, The Lord had given him some Scriptures to back up the vision too and as we shared the vision took on form and substance. Now we’re committed to going ahead in St Luke’s Church and grounds together. We’re giving away free food, free music, free face-painting, free fitness fun, free fun photography, free art activity, free children’s games and activities. It’s going to be AWESOME! (However, we need to PRAY: There’s a gathering tonight at Lansdowne Church: 8.00pm: Come and let’s give this EVENT some POWER).

I was praying and reading God’s word today and this passage jumped out at me;

Luke 9:37-45 (NIV) Disciples Failure To Deliver.
37  The next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met him.
38  A man in the crowd called out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child.
39  A spirit seizes him and he suddenly screams; it throws him into convulsions so that he foams at the mouth. It scarcely ever leaves him and is destroying him.
40  I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”
41  “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you and put up with you? Bring your son here.”
42  Even while the boy was coming, the demon threw him to the ground in a convulsion. But Jesus rebuked the evil spirit, healed the boy and gave him back to his father.
43  And they were all amazed at the greatness of God. While everyone was marvelling at all that Jesus did, he said to his disciples,
44  “Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you: The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
45  But they did not understand what this meant. It was hidden from them, so that they did not grasp it, and they were afraid to ask him about it.

Verse 40: “I begged your disciples to drive it out, but they could not.”

I knew from my reading of the Bible that other passages in Scripture tell us why they couldn’t do it, but hadn’t noticed before that Luke’s account, doesn’t even dwell upon the reasons why the Disciples couldn’t deliver the boy.

Luke’s doesn’t go into the reasons WHY the Nine Disciples couldn’t drive out the Demon when Jesus, Peter, John and James returned down the mountain.

When Jesus was away there was an opportunity to act in faith and continue the word to which they had recently returned from with great joy; Healing, Delivering, Casting out Demons in the name of Jesus. But now they couldn’t do it. WHY?

Thankfully Matthew and Mark give us some more details that fill out this account of Deliverance from Evil Spirits.

They also reveal the reasons WHY they couldn’t set the boy free of the Demon.

Matthew 17:14-21 (NKJV)
14  And when they had come to the multitude, a man came to Him, kneeling down to Him and saying,
15  “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.
16  So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him.”
17  Then Jesus answered and said, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.”
18  And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour.
19  Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out?”
20  So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.

21  However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

Mark 9:14-29 (NKJV)
14  And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them.
15  Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him.
16  And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?”
17  Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit.
18  And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.”
19  He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.”
20  Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth.
21  So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood.
22  And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
23  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
24  Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”
25  When Jesus saw that the people came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “Deaf and dumb spirit, I command you, come out of him and enter him no more!”
26  Then the spirit cried out, convulsed him greatly, and came out of him. And he became as one dead, so that many said, “He is dead.”
27  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
28  And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”
29  So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Both Matthew and Mark reveal to us: It was the Disciples lack of; faith, prayer and fasting.

They both tell us the Disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t do it. And He tells them. My friends, if there is something you are perplexed about or don’t know why you are not able to do something, learn from Jesus’ Disciples, go to HIM to find the answers. He will guide you and show you any reasons why something is not happening in your life.

Jesus Reveals: It was lack of Faith, of Prayer and of Fasting.

Lack of FAITH: Having a faith that can move mountains: I’ve never moved a mountain, but sometimes the LORD gives me the gift of faith to pray in a certain way that things happen. I do sometimes sense the Spirit’s power in prayer and when that happens, things happen too. It’s not all the time, sometimes I’m praying for someone, and I know in my Spirit, the Lord is not going to give them what they want. He hears all prayers, sometimes He’ll give us faith to move those mountains. But sometimes, it’s not His will or it’s not the right time or He’s going to answer later. He always hears us when we pray in faith.

Lack of PRAYER: Prayer is the vital connection with Jesus in faith. Without prayer we’re powerless to do anything. Perhaps the Disciples were not operating under Jesus’ authority, but out of past experience. They were probably thinking, “We did it before, we can do it easily again”… They didn’t seek the LORD in prayer or even pray to the Father as Jesus would later instruct them… (The Lord’s Prayer Luke 11).

Lack of FASTING: Fasting teaches us to rely upon the LORD more for our daily needs. It brings us closer to Jesus and enables us to see things we’d never see unless we go without. When I fast it’s wonderful. When I get hungry, I turn to Jesus and instead of going to the cupboard or fridge for food to the Bible and Prayer and Praise. It’s totally awesome when you experience Jesus feeding you at these times. And they do equip you for situations that are happening in your life.

So my friends, if you’ve got some little mountain that needs moving, someone that needs some deliverance, a problem that seems un-resolvable in normal ways, then turn first to Jesus and get the Faith you need, turn to prayer and fast regularly. (Fasting is known to be good for us medically too).

MORE DETAILS: Primary Focus:

There are many other details that all the Evangelists bring out of this account; Matthew, Mark and Luke bring to this account of Deliverance: Some highlight the arguments with the Crowd and the Disciples, some highlight the Amazement and Delight of the Crowd at Jesus. Some highlight what Jesus said afterwards to His Disciples (Luke omits that completely). However, what they all tell us is that this BOY was delivered immediately at Jesus’ command.

When we’ve got FAITH and when we pray and fast (regularly) we’re going to have the POWER too.

  • How’s your faith today? Come closer to Jesus.
  • How’s your prayer life? Come closer to Jesus.
  • How’s your fasting going? Come to Jesus to let Him feed you from Heaven.

By all three; Faith, Prayer and Fasting; we’re going to see our NEED to come regularly to Jesus if we want the POWER to live and operate as His Disciples in the world today. Following Jesus is NOT easy, but there’s POWER in the Spirit available for every Christian today. Not only that, but we have the added security and assurance that Jesus will never leave us alone as He did the Nine, He’s with us always to the very end of the age. Amen!

I’m looking forward to an awesome “Oh Happy Day” Festival tomorrow in St Luke’s Gardens. Come and join us if you can, between 1.00pm and 4.00pm. St Luke’s Church, West Norwood, London. SE27 0HS.

Have some fun and let the smile on your face let the world know that God’s LOVE is in you.

Give them some HOPE in a world that’s devoid of real hope.

Give them some JOY in a world that needs true JOY today.

When the people saw Jesus and his disciples coming down the mountain, the ran to Jesus (Mark 9:15) They ran to Jesus and greeted Him. I’m sure it was the SMILE on Jesus face that drew the crowds to Him that day. It was the JOY in His person. My friends, when we’re full of the glory of the Lord, it will put JOY in other people’s hearts too.

People in the UK and the world have experienced great turmoil, they all need renewed HOPE, renewed JOY in their daily lives. Let’s go out and give them a GREAT BIG SMILE on their faces.

Have an AWESOME Weekend with Jesus, be FULL of Faith in His POWER to Deliver.

Don.

Pastor David’s Scriptures: The Vision for “Oh Happy Day”…

Job 29:23-24 (CEV)
23  My words were eagerly accepted like the showers of spring,
24  and the smile on my face renewed everyone’s hopes.

Proverbs 15:30 (CEV)
30  A friendly smile makes you happy, and good news makes you feel strong.

What the LORD Gave me: “The Smile on Your Face” At a prayer meeting for the event.

The smile on your face let’s me know that you need me,
There’s a truth in your eyes saying you’ll never leave me,
The touch of your hand says you’ll catch me wherever I fall,
You say it best, when you say nothing at all…

NOTE: You’ll probably see in your modern versions of the Bible it says, “Some ancient manuscripts don’t have verse 21 “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Some will keep it in with a note and others remove it. However, I do believe that this verse is indeed in the original Greek. Over the years the Church (all be it imperfect) kept the best manuscripts and threw away corrupted or those with mistakes, I believe what modern archeologists are discovering are not the BEST and MOST ACCURATE, no we are not discovering “The Oldest and most original” but those that had been rejected by the church. The people who translated the Bible at the time of King James had access to the most reliable texts the church possessed at the time. These had been preserved and carefully collated and many others, perverse texts discarded. The LORD preserves His Word: Let the Spirit guide you into the Truth.

 

The Free Gift

Cost Jesus Everything to give us the FREE gift of LIFE

Daily Spirit & Word: 770: Jesus Invitation Is Free.

See The Kingdom Of God… The FREE GIFT…

Luke 9:20-27 (NIV)
20  “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “The Christ of God.”
21  Jesus strictly warned them not to tell this to anyone.
22  And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
23  Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24  For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.
25  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?
26  If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.
27  I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God.”

A banker or investor will take risks, but they’ll only take a calculated risk. God will invest in you in accordance with the faith you are ready to use.

The Kindness Of God: The Free Gift Of Salvation.

A Sunday School Teacher wanted to show his class how free the gift of Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is.

So he felt prompted to give someone his solid silver watch; given to him in his retirement. He took it from his pocket and offered it to the eldest boy in the class.

He said, “It is yours, if you will take it.”

The little boy sat and grinned at the teacher. He thought he was just joking.

So the teacher offered it to the next boy, and said, “Take my watch: it is yours.”

The little boy thought everyone in the class would laugh at him, if he held out his hand, so he shook his head.

In the same way the teacher went around almost the whole class; but not one of them would accept the free gift of the silver watch.

However, when he came to one boy and held out the watch, he grabbed it immediately and shoved it into his pocket with a smile on his face.

Suddenly the class erupted in laughter, but the teach stopped them and said to the boy who took it, “You can keep my watch” He returned to his teaching seat, the whole class were amazed.

He said to the class: “I am so thankful that just one boy in my Sunday School Class has believed me and now owns my watch. Boys to you believe me when I tell you that Jesus will save you, He will come into your life and give you new life when you believe in Him, turn from sin and receive Him as Lord?”

When you trust in Jesus, just like the watch, which must be wound up every day, so you must take care of your own Salvation by coming back to Jesus every day to be refilled with Holy Spirit.

Son he said, “Take good care of your new silver watch. Wind it up every day, but not too much or you’ll break the spring.”

The rest of the class looked on in amazement; and one of them said, “Teacher, you don’t mean that the watch is his? You don’t mean that he doesn’t have to give it back to you?”

The Teacher said, “It is his watch now, he doesn’t need to give it back to me.”

The boy said, “WOW, it really is free”… “Oh, if I had only known that, I would have taken it too!”

The Sunday School Teacher said, “There was only one silver watch, but Jesus offer of Salvation is free for everyone, will you take that offer of new life with Him?”

 

 

I had a picture of deep, rich soil and God investing in that soil, He’s expecting a return on His investment. (The Parable of the Sower).

The seed that falls on the other three soil types; they are a bit like Venture Capital. Risky, but sometimes those risky investments pay BIG dividends for those willing to take a risk.

God takes a RISK when He offers Salvation Freely to ALL.

When seed falls on rocky ground, it grows up and looks good for a short while, but watch out, when the sun comes up and scorches the plant, it’s going to wither and die, because it has no root, it’s roots don’t go down into deep rich soil and it can’t get the moisture that it needs to survive. (Too often Ministers are trying to prop-up shallow soil hearers, rocky ground hearers and hard-soil (path) hearers, they get exhausted and worn out doing this, but they should instead be tending, supporting and investing their time and energy in those who’ve been receptive to the Word of God, and are producing a good crop.

My friends, keep winding-up your faith, it’s FREE: You didn’t earn it, God gave it to you for free, it’s yours to keep forever, but look after it.

  • Jesus said, “If any man follows me, He must obey my commandments”
  • Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

It is a DAILY walk with Jesus. We’re not to be Sunday Christians, but DAILY followers of the LORD Jesus Christ. It’s a costly walk, it begins and ends with the offer of Salvation, Free to us, but costly to Jesus. Then we prove we are His followers when we begin to walk in His teachings daily.

Prayer:

I’ve been praying far more for people lately. The LORD was guiding me and I’m now taking RISKS in Prayer. When someone says something NEGATIVE, I’ll listen, then chat around the complaint, then say; “Let’s pray about that right now”… I’m going to be taking everything to Jesus. When someone tells me they are hurting or feeling ill or tired or weary or upset; then I’ll say, “Let’s pray about that right now and get God on your case” …

Evangelism:

I’ve learned from Ying Kai: He said, “I’m not going to ask permission to share the Good News, because I’ve already been given all the permission I need, God has told me to go out and share the Good News, for too long we’ve been suckered by the politically correct world, asking people permission to share Jesus, we don’t need that permission, because God has given it to us.”

Also, people don’t want to know, they’re happy with their life of sin, so if you ask permission you are going to get a lot of rejections. If you don’t ask for permission, then you can preach the Gospel to many more people. You’ll be able to get the seed of hope into their hearts.

Last night, outside Knowles of Norwood:

A new pub in West Norwood with tables outside, there were three ladies sitting enjoying a drink in the Summer warmth. I gave them an invitation to our “Oh Happy Day Festival”. They seemed interested, so I gave them a Ticket to Heaven… I said, “Here’s a FREE Ticket, it will get you into Heaven”… They all laughed, I asked them, “Are you going to Heaven?” Someone said, “I don’t believe in Heaven, but another said, “I believe God will let everyone in because Jesus died on the Cross so we could all get in”… “WOWzer” I said, “That’s amazing, do you really believe that?” She said, “No, but If it’s true then we’ve got nothing to worry about”…

I said, “There’s a little test we’ve got that will show you if you’ll get in”   I gave them a Ten Commandment Coin, they all took it and were looking at the commandments. I said, “Those Commandments are like a mirror, they show us what we are like on the inside, and they are the measure God will use to detect our goodness to qualify for Heaven.”

“Do you think you’ll be good enough to enter into Heaven?” Well, to cut a long story short, we went through the Commandments and they all admitted they were liars and thieves… They said, “It’s getting a bit serious, but thanks for telling us.” I said, “Wait, before I go, let me tell you the GOOD NEWS, do you know what God has done so that you won’t go to Hell?” “He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die, as you have said, but it’s not automatic, we’re not all just saved, we’ve got to believe in Him and turn from our sins, seeking His forgiveness, then receive Him as our Lord in this life, before we die.”

I asked them, “Does that make sense to you ladies?”, they said, “Yes it does, thanks so much” I gave them all a card with a dog with big ears (they giggled and thought the dog was cute) and thanked them for listening. They laughed when another member of our team came along and offered them another card…

My friends, Evangelism is FUN if you will just take the risk and share Jesus with folks. They’ll thank you when they see you in Heaven.

From now on I’m going to be sharing Jesus without asking permission. However, there is a balance to this: We should always be gentle and humble in our approach. We should show respect and let people go if they want to end the conversation. It’s just we’ve been a bit too polite for too long, Jesus gave us permission to share, let’s get bolder and share a bit more.

With respect:

Evangelism FEARS:

  • FEAR: Not knowing what to say,
  • FEAR: Not knowing enough,
  • FEAR: Not getting a good reception or being rejected,
  • FEAR: Not getting the response you’d hoped for,

 

It’s not what you know but who you know that you are sharing. You are not sharing KNOWLEDGE but JESUS… Knowledge puffs up,

It’s not the amount that you know, but the greatness of the one whom you have trusted that you must share; Jesus is LORD.

Last night we had a few people on our team who’ve only been Christians a very short while. It was good, because we met a man who’d just come out of prison, who was a new convert to Jesus, but was struggling with smoking and pornography in his life. We were able to share with him, encourage him and pray with him. He was so open and honest and ready to turn to Jesus Christ. As we prayed for him, he began to cry. It’s good to share Jesus!

It’s not about how the message is received, that’s not up to you, your task is to share with EVERYONE. It is NOT dependent upon how it is received. In fact we should share it with those who don’t want to know, because you never know, that SEED that you sow into the soil of their heart may lie dormant for a few years, but after a while, they will be brought back to the that point and remember what you said to them…

Sinners will not come into the LIGHT on their own, they HATE the light, because they know their DEEDS are EVIL… John 3:17-24…

My friends, those sinners are; trapped, bound, blind, deaf and frightened… Have pity on them, and bring the LIGHT of Jesus Christ into their lives by going with Jesus to share the Good News that they can be set free from sin and darkness.

Thought: “Well done, good and faithful servant, but you are only doing what’s right, you don’t deserve praise for doing what you should be doing anyway, but you will be allowed to continue to serve the master even more, because you have proven to be worthy, He will continue to invest in you”

Chicken Feed:

I know today’s teaching is a bit like Chicken Feed: Too many disjointed thoughts, stories and sayings of Jesus. I did it on purpose my friends. Read it again and you’ll see, there’s method in my madness. LOL.

If you’ve ever watched chickens eating, some will eat one kind of grain and leave the others, then another chicken will come and eat the grains left by the others. You take the bit of today’s teaching that applies to your life and let God give you nourishment from it. Amen!

Finally:

Jesus loves you, has a plan for your life, go and share Jesus. He gave you the gift of eternal life freely, so you must give it away freely too. It’s like a precious silver retirement watch, but there is NO retirement in the Kingdom of God, we don’t let the watch wind-down, we keep it wound-up every day and let it tell the time: “Now is the day of Salvation, Now is the day of Repentance, we get one life then we face the judgement. Turn and Believe in Jesus Christ, He’ll give you the gift of life freely”.

  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But it cost Him His LIFE to give it to us.
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He tells us to take up our Cross Daily and Follow Him…
  • Jesus offer of LIFE is FREE: But He Commands us to Go and share it with others… Share the Good News of Jesus.

Use the FREE GIFT of LIFE Jesus has given to you.

Have an AWESOME Thursday.

Don.

 

Fan into Flame The Gift of God

Peter and John, they took note, these men had been with Jesus

Daily Spirit & Word: 769: Time With Jesus Every Day.

“FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF GOD…” Timothy.

“They Took Note: These Men Had Been With Jesus.” Peter and John.

Good morning my friends, very soon I’m going to begin studying Paul’s Letters to Timothy. These are some of Paul’s warmest and yet most challenging letters in the New Testament. Timothy needed the Apostle’s tender encouragement, we do too. I’ll go through them systematically and you can follow them here at Daily Spirit & Word. However, let’s wet our appetites today with Paul’s encouragement to Timothy, and also Peter and John’s experience of having their GIFT fanned into flame.

2 Timothy 1:3-7 (NIV)
3  I thank God, whom I serve, as my forefathers did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.
4  Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy.
5 I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.
6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.
7  For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.

That “Gift Of God” sometimes called “The Anointing”: is the passion, zeal and desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul, mind and strength in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Each and every Christian needs ENCOURAGEMENT: Because this calling is a tough one, we need it to get our flickering flame glowing from a spark into a burning flame of light for Jesus.

One of the things that keeps me on fire is being with Jesus in Daily Study of the Bible. It’s something I’ve been doing since I started following the LORD. Oh yes there have been times when I’ve stopped for a short while, but I can testify from sometimes bitter experience that I’ve been my weakest when I’m not with Jesus every day in His Word.

Daily Bible Study: Is just ONE of the ways you can “Fan into Flame the Gift of God”. How? Because God’s Word FEEDS your soul and spirit. It moves you to praise, prayer and seeking the power of the Lord. You don’t have to read much of God’s Word to soon realise that you NEED His personal presence with you and in you every day.

There are many wonderful gifts the LORD has given His followers that will ignite our faith; here are the main ones, neglect just one at your peril:

How to FAN into FLAME the Gift of God:

What is the gift you’ve been given? First and most important is the GIFT OF FAITH to believe in the LORD Jesus Christ for Salvation.

Here are some of the ways my FIRE keeps going;

1) Prayer, Praise and Thanksgiving…
2) Bible Reading / Study.
3) Fellowship: Gathering in some way with God’s people every day.
4) Worship: Singing, Praising and giving thanks to the Lord.
5) Discipleship: Helping others to grow closer to Jesus with you.
6) Evangelism: This not only brings others into the Kingdom Family, but it also strengthens the faith and gifts that the LORD has given you. Philemon 1:6.
7) Generosity: When you are close to Jesus, you are going to be kind like Jesus. You’ll long to give and give…
8) LOVE: When we’re filled with God’s Holy Spirit daily, we’ll be FULL of His LOVE… This will enable us to LOVE others.
9) ……. I’m open to anything else being added here 🙂

I try and incorporate these things into my life almost every single day, and in that way, the FLAME is ignited and kept burning brightly for Jesus.

Whilst I know and acknowledge that this would be and is very difficult for most people, you have commitments; family, children, work. You have responsibilities; cleaning, caring, cooking. You have hobbies and need time to relax as well. Non-the-less, time spent with Jesus in one of these ways every day will transform your life. You will notice that suddenly you’ve actually got more free time, more energy, more self-control. You’ll notice that your desires will be changing and you’ll begin to love the opportunities that the LORD is bringing to you.

So many people testify to the fact that they get the POWER from the LORD they’ve been looking for for ages, when they follow these simple steps and put into practice some of the teachings of Jesus every day.

Here’s the verse the LORD put on my heart to share with you today. (NOTE it’s verse 13 from the passage below). Peter and John had healed a man and the commotion that followed led to them being arrested and thrown into prison.

Acts 4:5-14 (NIV)
5  The next day the rulers, elders and teachers of the law met in Jerusalem.
6  Annas the high priest was there, and so were Caiaphas, John, Alexander and the other men of the high priest’s family.
7  They had Peter and John brought before them and began to question them: “By what power or what name did you do this?”
8  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!
9  If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a cripple and are asked how he was healed,
10  then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
11  He is ” ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’
12  Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
13  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.
14  But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say.

What do I get from this passage?

When you are WITH JESUS EVERY DAY: You’ll soon see miracles happening all around you too. The miracles might seem small to start with, but they’ll encourage you and “FAN INTO FLAME THE GIFT OF FAITH GOD HAS GIVEN YOU”… even more.

When you do things, good things, for Jesus; then it can lead to persecution. Jesus promised this would happen. It’s happening today my friends, to Christians all over the world. In England too; the other day in Bristol a man who was being abused by a large crowd when out preaching the Gospel and was arrested. He was exercising his freedom to speak publicly (something we can do legally here in the UK), but he was arrested instead of the ones abusing him. Don’t be surprised when persecution comes, but still; be gentle, be loving, be kind and compassionate, because it happened to Jesus as well.

We think today that the Methodists are very peaceful people, indeed they are, but when John Wesley visited a town or village in Cornwall, there were riots, he was often chased out of town, with all sorts of things being thrown at him. He noted in his journals, “It was a good day today, only three rotten tomatoes and a dead cat thrown at me”…

John Wesley was a Holy Spirit anointed and gifted preacher, thousands were moved to tears and repentance when he spoke, but his experience in Scotland (Accross the Tweed) needs special note.

“The applications of Wesley’s sermons were never slurred (He strove for simplicity and application). The discourses in the Scotch kirks (churches) struck him as specially defective in this respect. 1 On one occasion he speaks of the excellent truths he there listened to, but adds, “As there was no application, it is likely to do as much good as the singing of a lark.” His own experience in Scotland was not encouraging. Though he never met with people who loved preaching like his friends across the Tweed, he often felt helpless in the presence of those self-contained hearers. “Use the most cutting words, and apply them in the most pointed manner, still they hear, but feel no more than the seats they sit upon !” http://wesley.nnu.edu/?id=102

Sometimes, even the most gifted, powerful and Spirit filled preachers can’t break through the hardest hearts. It might be helpful to note that in the Scottish Borders at the time of John Wesley that Freemasonry was taking root. It was growing into a powerful organisation with influence in many spheres of society. It’s no wonder that even Wesley found it hard to break through into their hearts: ““Use the most cutting words, and apply them in the most pointed manner, still they hear, but feel no more than the seats they sit upon !”

PETER & JOHN

Peter and John, now filled with Holy Spirit POWER (Power to heal a man crippled from birth), but like the anointed Wesley, they also couldn’t break through into the hard-hearted high priestly family and the leaders in Jerusalem. Even though they’d witnessed a great and obvious miracle… Sometimes, there are people in this world who are so hard-hearted it seems almost impossible to break through into the soft-flesh of their hearts. That’s when ONLY PRAYER and sometimes FASTING will work. Why? Because every conversion of any soul is a work of the Holy Spirit upon that individual. And often before we see a breakthrough, the LORD wants us, those who love and follow Him, to draw even closer to Himself. When we do, we’ll soon discover that it’s not our anointing or gifting or strength, but His divine moving upon the hearts of men. When we do we’ll have our own FAITH IGNITED “Fan into flame the gift of God”…

I’m going to study Timothy, because I see that he needed encouragement from the Apostle Paul to fan into flame the gift of God, I need that too. We all need encouragement my friends, and as I study Paul’s letters to Timothy I hope we will all be set-ablaze with God’s GLORIOUS GIFTS too. Perhaps as we draw close to Jesus this week, we’ll see awesome miracles like Peter and John did on the way to the temple to pray.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, as I draw close to Jesus every day this coming week, I pray that the gift of faith you’ve given me will become a burning fire. I want to serve you with zeal, love, devotion and power. Help me to make use of those things that will ignite my faith; prayer, praise, worship, Bible reading and study, fellowship, witnessing and love… I’m praying that You will be glorified with my life this week. Come afresh into my life in the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Through Jesus Christ my Lord and Saviour I pray. Amen!

Acts 4:13  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.

2 Timothy 1:6  For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God…

They took note that Peter and John had been with Jesus, they were just ordinary men, they knew HOW to fan into flame the gift of God. By being with Jesus, so we can do the same things every day.

Haven an awesome week WITH JESUS my friends,

Don.

 

God Is At Work In YOU.

You are Christ's living letter of recommendation, epistle, to the world,

Daily Spirit & Word: 767:

You Are Jesus’ Living Email: Recommending Christ to Others.

IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU TO WILL AND TO ACT 

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

Not many people send handwritten letters these days, most of our friendly communication is done through social media and emails. People read through their emails most days, some skim-read through Facebook or Whatsapp etc… You are a LIVING FB Message. What you do and say will either lead men and women to Christ or away from Him. The other day I felt a complete and utter failure, keep reading below.

It’s Saturday, so only a short share today 🙂

That’s a sobering thought isn’t it, the WAY WE LIVE is like a letter of recommendation?

You know when you go for an interview for a job, you give them your CV and some letters of recommendation?

D.L. Moody was a great evangelist in the 19th Century. He said, “I remember reading of a blind man who was found sitting at the corner of a street in a great city with a lantern beside him. Someone went up to him and asked what he had the lantern there for, seeing that he was blind, and the light was the same to him as the darkness.

The blind man replied, “I have it so that no one may stumble over me.”

Dear friends, let us think about that: Where one person will read the Bible, there are another hundred that will read you and me. Are we recommending Jesus by the way we live? People in this world, who are not Christians, are watching those who profess to be Christians, to see if we are living according to what we profess.

That’s what Paul meant when he penned 2 Corinthians 3 below.

2 Corinthians 3:1-6 (NLT)
1  Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not!
2  The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you.
3  Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts.
4  We are confident of all this because of our great trust in God through Christ.
5  It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.
6  He has enabled us to be ministers of his new covenant. This is a covenant not of written laws, but of the Spirit. The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life.

Sometimes I’m asked to write a character reference letter for people, I’ll always think and pray and ask the Lord to show me what’s great about that person. We are all Christ’s letter of recommendation to the world. It’s as if Jesus Himself is making His appeal to those who don’t yet know Him as Lord and Saviour through us.

Most Christians who love Jesus as their Good Shepherd, Lord and Saviour, want others in their circle of friendship (OIKOS) to come to know Him too. But the people that know us best are either being won to Christ by our changed lives or driven further away from Him. They either see our holiness, goodness, kindness, gentleness, peacefulness etc or they’ll see a reflection of themselves in us, will they see someone without Christ?

How’s your witness going? Getting The Balance Right:

Are you “Christ’s letter of recommendation”?

I don’t know about you, but there are times when I think I’ve blown it.

The other day I was in the garden, I stabbed my belly with some sharp cutting shears, I cried out in pain, but I said a “SWEAR-WORD”, immediately I felt guilty and looked around to see if there was anyone who could have heard it. I know Jesus heard me, what was it in my heart that made me swear instead of praying to Him?

You know, there are times when I feel a complete and utter failure, then someone will show me something of my changed character, how Jesus has been working quietly in the background of my personality, ripening the fruit of the Holy Spirit in my flesh, they’ll say, “I don’t know how you can be so calm or so kind, etc”… Then I think to myself, “They’re right, before I knew Jesus I would not have reacted like that”. So my friends, you may not be perfect yet, but Jesus is working in you to will and to act according to His great purposes today. Amen!

I love these two verses from Paul’s letter to the Philippians:

Philippians 2:12-13 (NIV) “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed; not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence; continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.”

IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN YOU TO WILL AND TO ACT

ACCORDING TO HIS GOOD PURPOSES

My friends, God is working in your life, the moment you came to Christ as Lord, He began that good work in you. He’s going to keep working, changing your “Wants, Desires, Will” so that you will begin to ACT like Christ, behave like Jesus, you will be Jesus’ letter of recommendation to the world. Amen!

I’m praying you really are or want to be. To be consistent daily is difficult, it’s a battle, I KNOW. And sometimes you will feel a failure too, but Jesus wants all of us to be WINNING in this battle my friends. So He sent a wonderful gift to you and me to enable us to overcome all our weaknesses: The HOLY SPIRIT. I’m going to get filled up today, because I NEED HIM. I’m sure you’re going to see just how much you need Him too, it to be His living letter of recommendation to others.

Let’s all be like that blind man, keep the light of Christ shining brightly for all to see, so that they won’t stumble, trip and fall over you. Amen!

Don.

 

The LORD is my Shepherd

no fear in death when Jesus is the Good Shepherd

Daily Spirit & Word: 765: The LORD is My Shepherd.

The Lord is MY Shepherd:

Good morning my friends, it was such a wonderful privilege to conduct the funeral of one of the oldest saints in St Luke’s Church, June Bailleau. She died in full assurance that Jesus Christ was her Good Shepherd. So we could celebrate her life and be comforted with the assurance she’s gone home to be with her LORD forever. There were awesome testimonies about June, the kind of woman she was, her dedication to the Lord, her love and service in church and community, but most importantly how she longed for everyone she knew to come to the point of knowing Jesus for themselves. She wanted me to proclaim the Good News of Jesus at her funeral. So I did, here’s the message that I gave.

A few days before she died, June couldn’t speak clearly, but she mouthed the words of this Psalm perfectly from memory as I read it out to her.

SCRIPTURE READING: Psalm 23

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters, He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou anointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

I just love the way that King David has used the imagery of a Shepherd and his flock to describe the CARE and COMFORT which every one of God’s sheep can experience. However, it’s not just a group of sheep, but an individual sheep, my friends, Jesus wants to take the greatest care of your life too.

He begins by describing the comfort and care of His Lord for him in life.

He sums up all of God’s care in one phrase, “I shall not want.”

“I shall not want”

King David LACKS NOTHING, because his Shepherd cares for all of his earthly needs.

Let’s Look at the ways the Shepherd Looks After His Sheep in this LIFE:

  • He Leads me besides still waters: Jesus said, “NEVER THIRST AGAIN” & “Calmed the Storms” & “Walked on Water”…
  • He makes me lie down in green pastures: “NEVER HUNGER”

John 6:35 (NLT) “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”

These two phrases tell me Jesus is concerned about my earthly existence as well as what follows next, my SPIRITUAL life.

  • He leads me in paths of righteousness: “I AM The Way, The Truth and The LIFE: No man comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.

How does the Good Shepherd lead us? With His ROD (Rod of correction: A small rod that shepherds would use to prod the sheep and keep them on the right path) With HIS STAFF (The STAFF is a bigger stick that shepherds would use to rescue the sheep when they got into difficulty).

My friends, Jesus is caring so much for those who become His sheep today. He disciplines, prunes (Luke 15, John 15) He guides (John 16-17 by His Holy Spirit).

LOOK AT THE WAY THE GOOD SHEPHERD LOOKS AFTER HIS SHEEP IN DEATH:

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is not just concerned with our life down here on the earth: When we’re going through the doorway of death, He’s right there with His sheep too.

DEATH: King David’s Shepherd doesn’t ABANDON Him through death, so he goes on to describe the Lord’s presence in death.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

Passing through death, David says, is like walking through dark shadows. That would normally be very frightening indeed. I’ve been called out to people who are just about to die and they are petrified, scared to death of dying. They call on a minister out of FEAR: I always come to them and proclaim the Gospel: When faced with DEATH people always REPENT of their sins.

Going through DEATH for everyone of us  is not pleasant experience, that’s why nobody wants to die.

However, if we are one of God’s Sheep, when we do pass through the dark shadow of death, there is NO FEAR…

Here we are COMFORTED with this TRUTH: That our LORD JESUS Christ, The Good Shepherd, who provided for all our earthly needs in life, is also with us as we pass through the dark doorway into ETERNITY.

For those who are passing through DEATH with Christ, there is NOTHING to FEAR: Why? Because Jesus is right there with us.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me.”

 

HOW DO WE GET JESUS TO BE OUR GOOD SHEPHERD?

WHILE THIS PSALM ASSURES US THAT GOD IS WITH US AS WE PASS THROUGH THE SHADOW OF DEATH, IT DOES NOT TELL US HOW THIS HAPPENS.

King David was specially chosen by God, he was unique and had amazing experiences of God in life and knew and trusted God. But it wasn’t until Jesus came to this world, that ordinary people could also have that same kind of assurance.

One thing I am assured about June Bailleau is this, She KNEW JESUS as her Good Shepherd. She’d repented of her sins and trusted Jesus as her Lord. She loved the LORD, and would be singing His praises until her last breath, which I can testify that she did.

Well, Jesus described Himself as the Good Shepherd:

He said,

John 10:10-11 (NIV)
10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
11  “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

Notice The LINK: The Good Shepherd: The LORD is MY Shepherd.

Jesus died on the CROSS for the Sheep. “The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”…

John 10:14-15 (NIV)
14  “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me, (June KNEW Jesus)
15  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father, and I lay down my life for the sheep. (June was assured Jesus had given His life for her).

Jesus is the Good Shepherd: He lays down His LIFE for the Sheep.

But why? Why did Jesus need to give His life for the Sheep? 

It’s because without Jesus DEATH on the CROSS: We would all still be in our sins, we would be frightened on our way through the DARK SHADOWS of DEATH. We most certainly would be frightened.

ALL HAVE SINNED: God’s WORD, The Bible, tells us clearly, “ALL HAVE SINNED”… 

YBH: Yes! But how?

We’ve all broken God’s Commandments: Lied, Stolen, Cheated, Disobeyed Parents, Murdered (Hated), Not kept the Sabbath, Not put God first in our lives.

God’s Commandments reveal just how much we’ve all sinned. NO SINNER can enter into the Kingdom of Heaven: If we were able to creep into Heaven with our sins still on us, we’d contaminate Heaven.

We THINK We’re Good Enough: Most people think they are ‘good enough’.

I’m reminded of a time when as a young Electrical Mechanic recruit waiting to be drafted to my first ship, having finished my courses, I was put to work on the Royal Navy Pig Farm: About 40000 pigs to look after: It’s a very smelly affair. You’d only need to be with those pigs for a few minutes and you’d begin to smell like them. After working with the pigs I’d take a shower, spray myself with deodorant and put on clean clothes. Then going to the Dining Hall with all the other Sailors, we’d line up to get in. There was a Petty Officer at the Door: He was controlling the entrance, letting in a few at a time, there were hundreds of us. I noticed there was something strange happening in the queue, there was a gap in front of me and a gap behind, I didn’t take any notice, but when I eventually got to the front of the queue, the Petty Officer said, “Go and get a shower, you stink, you can’t come into the Dining Hall smelling like that”… I was so embarrassed, I’d had a shower, sprayed myself with deodorant and thought I smelled clean, but the stench of the PIGS was still on my body.

My friends, I thought I was clean enough, I thought I could get in, I’d cleaned myself up: Oh My friends, there are so many people who’re hoping that they’ll be GOOD ENOUGH to get into Heaven when they pass through the dark shadow of death. They’ll be sadly shocked, because, JUST ONE SIN in your life: Will contaminate your SOUL and you’ll be unfit for Heaven for all eternity.

It’s my experience from going out to share the Gospel with folks on the streets every week, people who don’t go to church, people who are not religious, that they do believe in Heaven and they think they are going to be good enough to get in. My friends, we’re encouraged by God’s Word not to fool ourselves: No SINNER can get into HEAVEN.

Listen to what God’s Word tells us: DON’T FOOL YOURSELVES…

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NLT)
9  Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10  or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.
11  Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Don’t FOOL YOURSELVES: We may think we’re ‘good enough’ but the Bible, God’s Word, reveals that JUST ONE SIN will keep us out of Heaven.

Like Adam and Eve, who were banished from God’s presence for ONE SIN, so we too will be sadly shocked and embarrassed to discover, we can’t get in.

Thankfully that same passage that tells us not to FOOL OURSELVES, and lists those who can’t get in, it also reveals who can.

It’s those who’ve made Jesus their Good Shepherd.

1 Corinthians 6:11 ” Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God (HOW?) by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

 

  • When you TURN: In Repentance (Turn away from Sin) Confess your sins to Jesus.
  • When you TRUST: In Christ’s DEATH Upon the Cross, paying the price for your sins. (The Good Shepherd can become your Shepherd today).
  • When you RECEIVE Jesus Christ: By and act of Faith you say “Jesus, I believe you died upon the Cross for my sins, I repent of those sins (Name them, renounce them, and leave my life of sin) I turn to You Lord and I receive You as my LORD, My Shepherd, Come into my Life and be my Lord today. Amen!”

When you Turn, Trust and Receive Jesus Christ: You will be saved, your sins will be washed away, you’ll be made holy by Jesus Christ’s death and precious blood, you’ll be made right with God and you’ll be free to enter into Heaven. When you die you will not FEAR. When you pass through the Dark Shadows of Death, because Jesus become your Good Shepherd, He will be your Shepherd and He will be with you too.

ALL FEAR IS GONE:

When Jesus Christ is YOUR Good Shepherd.

 

JUNE KNEW Psalm 23 by HEART: June KNEW Jesus as her Good Shepherd: The LORD of her life.

You can cry out with confidence as June Bailleau has done countless times in her life, she knew it by heart, just a few days before she died, she mouthed the words;

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

You’ll have such a confidence that Jesus is your Good Shepherd, that you’ll KNOW you are just going to go through THE DARK SHADOW of DEATH, you won’t be afraid, because Jesus will be with you, and then once you’ve passed through, you’ll be with Him FOREVER.

You will receive the Gift of Eternal Life:

Death has lost it’s sting, when Jesus is your Good Shepherd.

John 3:13-18 (NIV)
13  No-one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven, the Son of Man.
14  Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up (Jesus died on the Cross),
15  that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (Those who TRUST that His Death was for their sins).
16  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
18  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.

It’s NOT ENOUGH to KNOW that Jesus died for your sins: We can all believe that easily enough, but we must TRUST IN Jesus Christ. i.e. Trust that He will forgive you, cleanse you and give you new life, by an act of faith.

It’s like a man called Charles Blondin: A World Famous Tight Rope Walker.

He would walk across the Niagara Falls with a wheelbarrow. Back and forth (17 Times: Even Blindfolded). Then He asked the Crowd, “Do you believe that I could push a person in a wheelbarrow across the falls?” The Crowd responded “Yes”.

Charles Blondin asked, “Who’s going to get into the wheelbarrow?”

The Crowd was silent… He famously pushed his own mother across the falls in that wheelbarrow. She trusted in her own Son, enough to get into that wheelbarrow.

My friends, we’ve got to GET Jesus into Us if we are going to be SAVED: Will you TRUST the Son of God? Will you Receive Jesus Christ as your LORD today? He’ll take you across the Dark Shadow of Death all the way to Eternity with Him in Heaven Forever.. Trust Him.

Have you made Jesus your Good Shepherd yet?

Believe, Repent, Receive, LIVE….

Turn, Trust, Receive Him Today: And you will have HIM with you through life and through that doorway of death too. Amen!

I hope you all have a fantastic Friday and wonderful weekend.

Looking forward to gathering on Sunday with the Saints in St Luke’s Church,

Don.