A Spirit Filled Christian

What does it mean to be Spirit Filled

Daily Spirit & Word: 822: A Spirit Filled Christian

“But be filled with the Spirit” Eph. 5:18

Now you wouldn’t go out without charging your mobile phone today, would you? Yet so many Christians are going out into the world without seeking the fullness of Holy Spirit.

People who know me well will know that I’m a man who’s possessed. Possessed by God’s Holy Spirit, but one of the mistakes I’ve made in the past is to seek Holy Spirit anointing, filling and empowerment for what I can get out of it. He does bring wonderful feelings, however it makes me cringe now to think of how foolish I’ve been.

But what does it mean to be “filled with the Spirit”?

There are many today who want to be filled with the Holy Spirit just for the kick, the experience, the feelings that they get when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and in them. Some want the Holy Spirit for the POWER He gives to believers. These things are all wonderful and amazing and awesome. However, as we’ll see from the whole counsel of God’s Word, when a person is filled with Holy Spirit, their whole life is transformed and turned up-side-down to make them into Divine, Holy and powerful witnesses for God, who will in turn transform their own world and those around about them. WHY? Because,

1) A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN:

             WILL WORSHIP IN THE SPIRIT

When you get filled with Holy Spirit your worship takes on NEW and Exciting aspects.

     “Worship him in Spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

Spirit-filled Christians are not in bondage to a form of godliness; they don’t follow religious rules and regulations, but at the same time, they are not fanatics or daydreamers. They are not bound by social pressures or by the spirit of the age. Their mind is renewed and changed to live a self-sacrificial life of loving service to Jesus Christ and His Mission.

Spirit-filled Christians worship with the anointing of God and the witness of the Holy Spirit. When you are filled afresh and anointed in Holy Spirit you’ll change inwardly and express it outwardly. HOW? because,

2) A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN:

              WILL WORK TOGETHER IN UNITY

     “Continuing daily with one accord” (Acts 2:46).

Spirit-filled Christians do not work against one another. They are working in harmony—no resentments, frictions, factions or divisions. Because they recognise that EVERY true believer in Jesus Christ has the SAME Holy Spirit within them too. They know He’ll be working for unity and there is no competition.

They are concerned about getting God’s work accomplished. Christians work together in unity when they love God and one another. (Eph. 4:3). They’ll be working to BUILD the body of Christ (His Church). They’ll be using HOLY SPIRIT GIFTS to BUILD the body of Christ to make it strong, and to enable the immature to grow towards maturity in the Holy Spirit.

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NIV) HOW HOLY SPIRIT GIFTS BUILD UNITY.
11  It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13  until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fulness of Christ.
14  Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming.
15  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

 

3) A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN:

             WILL BE WILLING TO FORGIVE OTHERS

“Forbearing… and forgiving one another” (Col. 3:13).

Spirit-filled Christians make mistakes, errors and blunders just like everyone else, but they possess a forgiving spirit. They do not hold resentments. As God forgave them, so they forgive others.

Forgiveness lifts burdens, brings joy and peace to mind and soul (Matt. 6:14-15).

From a human stand-point, forgiveness is hard, but when Holy Spirit comes, He’ll ENABLE you to walk in forgiveness. He’ll so fill you with love that you’ll not want to withhold forgiveness. Forgiveness releases more than just the person needing forgiveness, it releases you too. You’ll experience NEW freedom when you truly forgive others.

4) A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN:

             WILL WALK IN DIVINE LOVE

“And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us (Eph. 5:2).

Romans 5:5 (NIV) “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”

Walking in LOVE is not like walking around with a dream-like-look on your face.

You know that you are in Christ Jesus if you LOVE others. (Read 1 John 1 and 2)

God’s love is implanted and poured out into the heart of the follower of Jesus Christ by God Himself and it works its way out to bless others. You will overflow with God’s Holy, Gentle, LOVE…

When Christians surrender themselves to God, they are cleansed of sinful attitudes, bitterness is washed away, sinful desires turned into Holy desires, malice, hatred, envy and strife are washed away, and are replaced with Holy Spirit of love.

If you are struggling in any of these areas of life today, then you KNOW you need MORE of God The Holy Spirit in your soul. Turn to Jesus Christ afresh today, ask to be filled afresh with Holy Spirit, do it right now, because you KNOW you need Him inside you… Perhaps just reading this you can feel the Holy Spirit’s LOVE filling your heart. I can feel Him right now. Praise God!

 

5) A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN:

             WILL WITNESS TO THE LOST

“And ye shall be witnesses unto me” (Acts 1:8).

Spirit-filled Christians welcome opportunities to share what Christ means to them with others. Witnessing is a natural consequence of this infilling of the Holy Spirit of God. YOU WILL BE MY WITNESSES… It’s not an option. Some people imagine that ONLY evangelists are anointed to witness. Only an evangelist can share the Good News and bring others to Christ. This is a perversion of God’s Word and a convenient excuse that is given for not doing what should come super-naturally to every believer. The Evangelists purpose is to EQUIP others to EVANGELISE, not to be “The EXPERT”… (Romans 4:11-16)

When we WITNESS: We get a GREATER REVELATION of what it means to be IN CHRIST:

Philemon 1:6 (NIV) I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.

TOO MUCH ATTENTION:

Far too much attention and focus has been given to GETTING instead of seeing God’s primary purpose in giving and gifting believers for BUILDING and GIVING AWAY.

Though there are many more things A SPIRIT FILLED CHRISTIAN will do; Prophesy, Healing, Speaking in Tongues, Getting Words of Knowledge, etc… LOVE is the overarching, the highest point and the seal, mark and engraving of what it means to be FILLED WITH GOD, THE HOLY SPIRIT.

TOO LITTLE ATTENTION:

In some fellowships, too little attention or focus is given to being filled with Holy Spirit, instead, like many good Evangelical churches, their primary attention is given to acquiring knowledge of God’s Word. There’s nothing wrong with that, but to the exclusion of Holy Spirit empowerment and anointing it’s a grave error. We all NEED Holy Spirit as much today as ever before. If we’re not seeking the filling of Holy Spirit we’ll be POWERLESS. Now you wouldn’t go out without charging your mobile phone today would you? Yet so many Christians are going out into the world without seeking the fullness of Holy Spirit.

WHAT NEXT?

So what? What am I supposed to do now?

I hear myself asking that question and you might be too.

The answer is crystal clear by now, I hope;  Ephesians 5:18 (KJV) “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”

Cry out to the LORD: Ask your Heavenly Father and The Lord Jesus Christ to send the Holy Spirit into your being right now. When you ask, don’t doubt it, because He is PLEASED, HAPPY and WILLING to give Holy Spirit anointing to you.

Luke 11:11-13 (NIV)
11  “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
12  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?
13  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

BE FILLED: And;

  • You will worship in Spirit and Truth.
  • You will work together in unity.
  • You will be willing to forgive.
  • You will Walk in Love.
  • You will Want to Witness to the LOST and LEAD them to Jesus Christ.
  • You will RECEIVE; Holy Spirit Gifts to BUILD the Body of Christ….

Now do you still want to be FILLED with Holy Spirit?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father I can see that I need to be filled with Holy Spirit today. Please LORD send the Holy Spirit afresh into my being today, I know I need You. Come Holy Spirit and fill me to overflowing. Let me worship, walk in unity and love, enable me to forgive and anoint me so that I’ll want to witness and lead others to Jesus Christ. Please give me all the Spiritual gifts that I’ll need today to be the person you want me to be. Amen.

NOTES: What Does The Holy Spirit Do?

  1. The Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8). 
  2. The Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). 
  3. The Spirit regenerates us (John 3:5-8; Titus 3:5). 
  4. The Spirit glorifies and testifies of Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). 
  5. The Spirit reveals Christ to us and in us (John 16:14-15). 
  6. The Spirit leads us (Rom. 8:14; Gal. 5:18; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1). 
  7. The Spirit sanctifies us (2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 5:16). 
  8. The Spirit empowers us (Luke 4:14; 24:49; Rom. 15:19; Acts 1:8). 
  9. The Spirit fills us (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17). 
  10. The Spirit teaches us to pray (Rom. 8:26-27; Jude 1:20). 
  11. The Spirit bears witness in us that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). 
  12. The Spirit produces in us the fruit or evidence of His work and presence (Gal. 5:22-23). 
  13. The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts and manifestations (the outshining) of His presence to and through the body (1 Cor. 12:4, 8-10; Heb. 2:4). 
  14. The Spirit anoints us for ministry (Luke 4:18; Acts 10:38) 
  15. The Spirit washes and renews us (Titus 3:5). 
  16. The Spirit brings unity and oneness to the body (Eph. 4:3; 2:14-18). When the Holy Spirit is operating in a group of people, He unites them in love. Therefore, a sure evidence of the Holy Spirit working in a group is Love and Unity. Not just signs and wonders (those are seasonal and can be counterfeited, I’ve known many who are supposedly filled with Holy).
  17. The Spirit is our guarantee and deposit of the future resurrection (2 Cor. 1:22; 2 Cor. 5:5). 
  18. The Spirit seals us unto the day of redemption (Eph. 1:13; 4:30). 
  19. The Spirit sets us free from the law of sin and death (Rom. 8:2). 
  20. The Spirit quickens our mortal bodies (Rom. 8:11). 
  21. The Spirit reveals the deep things of God to us (1 Cor. 2:10).  
  22. The Spirit reveals what has been given to us from God (1 Cor. 2:12). 
  23. The Spirit dwells in us (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 3:16; 2 Tim. 1:14; John 14:17).
  24. The Spirit speaks to, in, and through us (1 Cor. 12:3; 1 Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:11; Heb 3:7; Matt. 10:20; Acts 2:4; 8:29; 10:19; 11:12, 28; 13:2; 16:6,7; 21:4,11).
  25. The Spirit is the agent by which we are baptized into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).
  26. The Spirit brings liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
  27. The Spirit transforms us into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18).
  28. The Spirit cries in our hearts, “Abba, Father” (Gal. 4:6).
  29. The Spirit enables us to wait (Gal. 5:5).
  30. The Spirit supplies us with Christ (Phil. 1:19, KJV).
  31. The Spirit grants everlasting life (Gal. 6:8).
  32. The Spirit gives us access to God the Father (Eph. 2:18).
  33. The Spirit makes us (corporately) God’s habitation (Eph. 2:22).
  34. The Spirit reveals the mystery of God to us (Eph. 3:5).
  35. The Spirit strengthens our spirits (Eph. 3:16).
  36. The Spirit enables us to obey the truth (1 Pet. 1:22).
  37. The Spirit enables us to know that Jesus abides in us (1 John 3:24; 4:13).
  38. The Spirit confesses that Jesus came in the flesh (1 John 4:2).
  39. The Spirit says “Come, Lord Jesus” along with the bride (Rev. 22:17).
  40. The Spirit dispenses God’s love into our hearts (Rom. 5:5).
  41. The Spirit bears witness to the truth in our conscience (Rom. 9:1).
  42. The Spirit teaches us (1 Cor. 2:13; John 14:26).
  43. The Spirit gives us joy (1 Thess. 1:6).
  44. The Spirit enables some to preach the gospel (1 Pet. 1:12).
  45. The Spirit moves us (2 Pet. 1:21).
  46. The Spirit knows the things of God (1 Cor. 2:11).
  47. The Spirit casts out demons (Matt. 12:28).
  48. The Spirit brings things to our remembrance (John 14:26).
  49. The Spirit comforts us (Acts 9:31). 
  50. The Spirit makes some overseers in the church and sends some out to the work of church planting [through the body] (Acts 20:28; 13:2).

The Holy Spirit is God:

Jesus, The Father and the Holy Spirit are ONE:

He’s active in EVERY Believer and Follower of Jesus Christ.

However, we NEED to keep being FILLED….

ASK! ASK! ASK!

And you will RECEIVE… It’s HIS PROMISE…. Believe it, Receive it…

Far too many followers of Jesus Christ today are walking around EMPTY.

Some are half-filled and have gifted anointing, but no LOVE: 1 Corinthians 13… We need LOVE more than anything else… The GREATEST of all Holy Spirit Gifts…

 

God’s Secret Service Agents

through faith in Jesus you will become His secret change agents in this world

Daily Spirit & Word: 791: Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Fasting

How to Give & How to Pray & How to Fast & Why?

God’s Secret Service Agents.

Core Values in Kingdom Living: As Jesus’ Disciples we’re constantly Learning, we experience many Challenges, we get Curiosity to discover more about Jesus and His Kingdom, we know God wants Excellence, He encourages us to show Love and Respect to Himself and Others, He’s promised to watch our backs and be with us always on the journey through this life that He’s called us into by His Spirit through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

But How are we going to KNOW He’s with us?

And How can we KNOW we can do it?

Two Ways Today: Our Giving & Our Connection. When we get these two right, we’ll be following the Master’s way of Kingdom Living in Love and Security.

Intro: Secret Service: Like MI5 or the SAS and SBS. We’re to follow and serve the LORD from the HEART SECRETLY:

  • How we give: In SECRET
  • How we pray: In SECRET
  • How we fast: In SECRET

All are to be done secretly for Jesus and His Kingdom Glory. Then when we do these things in secret our Heavenly Father has PROMISED (God’s always faithful to all His promises) will REWARD you OPENLY (In public, in front of everyone). However, in Kingdom Living, we’ll see that our motivation won’t be because of His rewards, but because we LOVE Him. That is and will become even more our Kingdom motivation.

Today I want to see if we can come close to the CORE:

Getting to the CORE VALUES of Kingdom Living is essential for every follower of Jesus, you’ll soon see that when you put these into practice, Kingdom Living will become much easier.

 

True Christian Spirituality:

It can be found in some of the traditions of the Church.

However, if you want to fine PURE Christian Spirituality,

then we need to go to the SOURCE: To The Teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

 

You’ll find Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom in the Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Most notably in Jesus Greatest Sermon:

The Sermon (Teaching) On the Mount. Matthew Chapters 5 to 7.

 

In those Chapters you’ll discover most of what Jesus was teaching:

Matthew 5:3-12 – The Beatitudes: Be Happy Attitudes.

Matthew 5:13-16 – Salt and Light: You are Salt & Light.

Matthew 5:17-20 – Jesus fulfilled the Law: God’s LAW (Revealed in Moses first five books of Old Testament (Ten Commandments).

Matthew 5:21-26 – Anger and Murder: Peace and Harmony.

Matthew 5:27-30 – Lust and Adultery: Love and Faithfulness.

Matthew 5:31-32 – Divorce and Remarriage: Staying together as husband and wife.

Matthew 5:33-37 – Oaths: Promises: Telling the Truth Always.

Matthew 5:38-42 – Eye for an Eye: Not getting even with people. Not taking personal revenge, but forgiving others.

Matthew 5:43-48 – Love your enemies: The opposite of what the world teaches. PEACE if we really LOVE our enemies.

Matthew 6:1-4 – Give to the Needy: Not turning you back on anyone. Always being ready to be GENEROUS.

Matthew 6:5-15 – How to Pray: When you pray, not if you pray.

Matthew 6:16-18 – How to Fast: Why do you fast?

Matthew 6:19-24 – Treasures in Heaven: Storing up for your Eternal Future. (Not just thinking of your life here on earth).

Matthew 6:25-34 – Do not worry: Trust in the Father who knows all your needs.

Matthew 7:1-6 – Do not judge hypocritically: Use right judgement of others.

Matthew 7:7-12 – Ask, Seek, Knock: If you want something, you’ve got to ask for it.

Matthew 7:13-14 – The Narrow Gate: Finding your way to Heaven: Jesus is the ONLY WAY to Heaven.

Matthew 7:15-23 – False Prophets: False messages about God, Religion, Faith. Watch Out!

Matthew 7:24-27 – The Wise Builder: Getting the foundations of our Faith right.

 

Right in the MIDDLE of the Sermon on the Mount is the REAL MEAT (Just like a McDonald’s Burger has the meat in the middle, so does Jesus teaching on Kingdom Living in the Sermon on the Mount).

  • GIVING: The LORD’S GIVER (Matthew 6:1-4). Secret Service.
  • PRAYER: The LORD’S PRAYER (Matthew 6:1-15) Secret Prayer.
  • FASTING: Getting Even Closer (Matthew 6:16-18) Secret Devotion.

Our Giving & Our Connection & Our Devotion.

Today we’re going to FOCUS on just two, the most important two.

1) First, Our Giving

(Matthew 6:1-4)
1  “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2  “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
3  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4  so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
NOTE: Can you ever give in such a way that your left hand won’t know what your right hand is doing? “No!” You’ll always know, but Jesus is telling us about our WILLINGNESS / READINESS to be GENEROUS (Kind hearted towards others in need).

 

When you see a NEED: Are you ready and willing to help?

When you see a PERSON: Who needs the LORD’S help are you ready to respond?

 

My friends, Jesus has no body on Earth today except your body.

  • He has no hands today, but your hands.
  • He has no feet today, but your feet.
  • He has no eyes today, but your eyes.
  • He has no mouth today, but your mouth.
  • He has no hands to help, but your hands.

He’s called you, lives in you, equips and provides for you and gives you EXTRA in your life so that you can use it to help others.

How’s your heart of GIVING today?

  • We’re collecting for FOODBANK: You can GIVE (Time, Food or and Money).
  • We’re collecting for ROUGH SLEEPERS : You can GIVE (Money, Meals and Time).
  • We’re collecting for St Luke’s Church.: You can GIVE (Service, Time, Money and Love).

Oh my friends, let’s all be Jesus SECRET SERVICE AGENTS in the world today; his body, his hands, his eyes, his ears, his mouth, his feet, his hands today. Spreading His light, His salt, His goodness, His kindness, His forgiveness, His generosity… Let’s do it starting afresh today. Amen!

2) Second, Our PRAYER CONNECTING WITH OUR FATHER:

HOWEVER: We’ll NEVER Get Jesus Heart for GIVING until we make and maintain our CONNECTION with God our Father through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

Matthew 6:5-6. How We Shouldn’t and How we Should PRAY.
5  “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (OPENLY).
7  And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
8  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

NOTE: Our prayer should not be like a performance for others. We’re not praying to impress people, but to connect with God.

HOW: How to MAKE & MAINTAIN your Connection with Father God.
9  “This, then, is how you should pray: ” ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, (Recognising / Acknowledging God’s HOLINESS and Fatherly nature: We come into His FAMILY, we’re members of His Kingdom Family when we’ve trusted Jesus for forgiveness and Salvation from Sin)…
10  Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. (Your desire to live in OBEDIENCE to God’s will: Living according to His revealed Kingdom Values).
11  Give us today our daily bread. (All your needs).
12  Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Forgiving us our sins as we forgive when others sin against us).
13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’ (Keep us free from overwhelming temptations).
14  For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
15  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

FORGIVENESS: Is Key to the Kingdom Living.

First you are forgiven when you come to Jesus.

Because you’ve been forgiven so much, you’ll be ready and willing to forgive others who’ve sinned against and hurt you. (One Christian said to me this week; “It’s amazing, because we become a bit like God when we actually get to the point of being able to really forgive others and let them off the hook or our revenge or punishment”… It really is amazing.

The LORD’s PRAYER: Song… Our Father…

(To the Jamaican Spiritual Tune)…

Get the folks into groups of four at front of Service, and point to them to say their line. (We did this yesterday, and got the congregation to join it. Old but AWESOME). <3 🙂

The Golden Nugget of Christian Kingdom Living: SECRET SERVICE for Jesus.

Giving, Prayer and Fasting (we’ve not touched on FASTING yet).

All are to be done in SECRET: Then your Heavenly Father, who sees what’s done in secret will reward you OPENLY.

Connecting with God our Father in Heaven.

Once that connection is made through Faith and Trust in your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we’re in His Kingdom Family Forever. God become our FATHER IN HEAVEN.

So now we maintain that CONNECTION and become his secret change agents in this world. Amen! Amen!

We’ll get His heart of love for others.

Our HEART will be changed and we’ll desire to serve HIM first in all things…

PRAYER: Oh my friends, my prayer this week is; Father God, help us to change to become more like You, like Your Son Jesus Christ; When I look at Jesus I see what You are like Father; Loving, Gentle, Kind, Patient, Forgiving, Good, Full of Joy, Full of Power, Overflowing with awesome FAITH to move any mountain. O Father, I want to be just like Your Son Jesus. So I pray in His Name and ask for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.

In Your KINGDOM LIVING:

Help me to be Giving in secret so that only You can see.
Help me in Praying in secret so that only You know.
Help me in Fasting in secret so that I can came closer to You for sustenance.
I want to be out of my depth in Your Love Lord.
I want to feel you close to me.
I want You to be in me.
I want to worship You Father in Spirit and Truth. Amen! Amen! Amen!

Through faith in Jesus, you will become God’s secret change agents in this world. You’ll be His hands, eyes, ears, head, feet and mouth. You’ll be all that the Sermon on the Mount says; Salt, Lite, Giving, Forgiving and Devoted. You’ll be connected with the POWER of Heaven and people are going to know, because your Father who sees you being His secret change agent will reward you openly. Amen!

Don.

 

God’s Heart to Heal

Do you believe in the God of miracles?

Daily Spirit & Word: 753:

Can The God You Believe In Do Miracles?

“The smile on your face help me know you need me” (Knowing the Father’s Heart).

Good morning my friends, I want to put a huge wide smile on your face today. But not just on your face, on your heart too. The JOY of the LORD is my strength.

All this week we’ve been hearing about those who are sick and dying; friends, good friends, best friends, relatives: But do we actually believe in a God who cares, has compassion, is kind, gentle and loving? These are all attributes of God’s character, yes God is Holy, get’s angry as we heard yesterday, and can be full of wrath and anger against our sins. However, we also serve a God who fully revealed Himself in Jesus and before that in the Old Testament.

Listen with new ears, watch with renewed eyes to see what God is like today:

God Gives LIFE AGAIN to a Widow’s Son.

1 Kings 17:17-24 (NIV)
17  Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.
18  She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19  “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.
20  Then he cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?”
21  Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22  The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.
23  Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24  Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

Elijah had gone to a widow’s house, initially she thought she and her son would starve to death because of a famine. But Elijah arrived and the flour and oil didn’t run out, it was a miracle of God’s provision. Now the woman’s son, her only son, died. Just listen to her, the way she’s talking to Elijah: “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”

Often when tragedy strikes, because we’re hurting we strike out at others. Sometimes the ones who are closest to us, those who’ve been kindest to us, THEY are the ones who get blasted first. It’s both Elijah and God that this woman is shaking her fist at. “Man of God”…

But there’s more: The woman obviously had a past:

Like most of us, she’d not lived a completely righteous life, because somewhere in her past she knew she’d sinned. The knowledge of that sin had not left her, and because of her son’s death, she’d obviously been thinking to herself, “Who’s fault is it that my boy has died? Is it my fault? Did I bring this tragedy upon my son because of the things I did wrong in the past?”

We often do that too: I know I do. Whenever things go wrong, I think to myself, “Oh Lord, to what are you drawing my attention? Could it be something I’ve done?” It’s a good question. But to move from self-examination to attacking the man of God… as if God would be wrong somehow to exercise judgement at any time.

  • Perhaps the LORD was using her son’s death to get to the heart of her deepest issue in life.
  • Perhaps her son’s death was the only way the LORD would get this woman’s heart back to Himself.
  • Perhaps the LORD just wanted to show this woman most clearly that He is a God who FORGIVES SINS.

The Boy Comes Back To LIFE:

Just like Jesus who died and rose again from the dead; this boy’s life is restored by the LORD. Jesus was God’s ONE and ONLY Son, who died. The boy was the woman’s one and only son.

Elijah gives the boy back to the woman: Now listen to her response:

 1 Kings 17:24 Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.”

That “NOW I KNOW”: says a lot to me. because even though she’d been experiencing an ongoing miracle of God’s provision i.e. Her flour and oil never ran out: She’s been cooking with it for ages, but deep inside her heart there is an AVENUE OF DOUBT AND UNBELIEF. Those words “NOW I KNOW” shout out to me today.

“Donald, you’ve seen My miracles in the past, so why do you doubt today?”…

Oh LORD! “I have seen your miracles in the past, I know you goodness, kindness, mercy and love, give me a NEW HEART to believe in Your POWER to HEAL today” Amen!

The Oil and Flour Miracles wasn’t enough to move her to repent and trust the LORD completely.

The Resurrection of her son, moved the widow woman to a deeper knowledge and understanding of the LORD.

My friends, the RESURRECTION of God’s ONE and ONLY Son, Jesus Christ, moves me afresh today, to say with the woman, the widow, “NOW I KNOW”….

NOW I KNOW: God can do anything.

  • He can hear our prayer.
  • He can heal our sicknesses, diseases, blindness, deafness, hard-hardheartedness, coldness, stubbornness, sinfulness and rebellion.
  • He can deliver us from DEATH…

BUT: Do YOU Believe He WANTS to do it?

NOW I KNOW: He wants to Heal, Deliver and Forgive… TODAY.

I’m going to be praying much more, much more, for people to experience God’s HEALING touch in their lives. We are going to see miracles my friends.

My friends, doesn’t that put a huge, a massive smile on your face today? Isn’t your HEART warmed and filled with JOY because the LORD is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

Last night, we had a meeting in church about “Oh Happy Day” West Norwood, London. A festival of JOY. Saturday 16th July (Put the date in your diary and come and see God move).

The Lord gave me this song, it’s a secular song, but it spoke to me of God’s TRUTH: When you say nothing at all:

The smile on your face
Lets 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
Whenever I fall
You say it best
When you say
Nothing at all

My friends, God NEEDS you to be His hands, His feet, His heart to go to this hurting world and bring His HEALING: Will you go and touch, speak and heal today?

Some people argue, God can do it, but my friends, He’s chosen a way to do it; through His people. He’s going to do it through YOU! Have faith in the God who wants to Heal today.

Have a fantastic weekend, full of faith, full of trust and full of the JOY of the LORD.

Knowing the FATHER’S HEART.

Don.

 

When the TV gets in the way of LIFE

seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness

Daily Word & Spirit: 724: Does God Get What He Wants?

Good morning my friends, it was such a privilege to conduct two funerals this week, one on Monday and the other yesterday. The first was for a wonderful Christian lady, the church was packed with friends and relatives from all over the world. I proclaimed the Gospel freely and called for a decision for Jesus Christ. Yesterday, an equally lovely lady, but who’s faith I knew very little about, the family said, “She was not a religious lady”… her family, as far as I knew, never attended church. What could I say to those grieving folks?

Matthew 6:25-34 (NIV)
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
26  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
27  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28  “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labour or spin.
29  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these.
30  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
32  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The second group of mourners were all giving wonderful stories about the woman’s life; she was full of fun, knew how to laugh at herself and loved people, she was generous to a fault, giving so much sometimes that she was in need herself, but just thinking of others. As I read the above passage,I believe the Lord guided me to say, “Just like …. we can all learn from this, she obviously didn’t WORRY about her life”.

The world we live in encourages us to WORRY: i.e. adverts about your weight, style, looks, have you got the right tools, is your home looking like a palace, have you got the right garden furniture, are you eating the right foods, etc, etc,,, You’d be excused if you walked to your bed so worried after watching TV for just one evening. I’m sure you’d dream and they’d be full of worries about life. But thankfully Jesus tells us DO NOT WORRY. Why? Because who of us by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

The Gospel of Luke covers the same teaching of Jesus, but gives us a little more details: Luke 12:25-26 (NIV) “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

I love the Bible (God’s) logic here, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?”

We may or may not have a long life, but worrying about it’s duration won’t guarantee it. I’m sure we can shorten it though, through folly, but we can’t extend it longer than God intends it to be. “The LORD gives and the LORD takes away”… Sometimes, like when you mum or dad confiscated a precious toy when you were a child, that confiscation really hurts. When the LORD takes someone we love, no matter how old they are, it HURTS us, but we can’t lengthen the duration of our lives by worrying about them.

So what are we to do?

Thankfully the Bible gives us the answers:

Matthew 6:33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

1) Seek First The KINGDOM of God.

(Remember that’s same priority in the Lord’s Prayer?)…

When we seek first the Kingdom of God, we’re putting God’s priorities at the TOP of the agenda of our lives.

The woman being buried yesterday loved to play CARDS: Have you ever played Patience? Patience is a game in which you are looking to line-up all your cards on the King, once you get the whole suit; i.e. hearts, spades, clubs or diamonds, onto your King, then that row is won.

My friends, God wants us to line-up our life along the lines of His KINGDOM. i.e. He wants to be our KING. Every aspect of our lives in-line with His Kingdom priorities. How’s your KINGDOM living going?

2) Seek His Righteousness:

Many (most) people already think they are “Good Enough For Heaven” i.e. ‘Righteous’). But the Bible clearly teaches there are “NONE righteous, no not one.” Romans 3:10.

Psalm 53:2-3 (KJV)
2  God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God.
3  Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

We do good things, but the GOOD the Bible is talking about here is “Seeking AFTER God” i.e. Putting His Kingdom agenda first. He looks down from Heaven and sees that there is “NONE” who do that. There are none who seek Him the way He wants to be sought.

So we NEED God’s Righteousness more than anything else in our lives, because we don’t have a righteousness of our own. It’s HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS we need. Yes we do good things for other people, sometimes we do magnificent acts of great kindness and self-sacrifice, but God’s idea of goodness and righteousness is to seek after Him. Apart from God every act of kindness is tinged with the flesh, i.e. there are fleshly reasons for acting in the ways that we do: To look good in the eyes of others, to be well thought about in society, but what really matters in Eternity is not what others think about us, but what God thinks. If we’re seeking a kind of self-righteousness, thinking that our good deeds will outweigh our bad ones, then we need to think again. The GREATEST SIN is living life without putting God first… i.e. Commandments 1 and 2. If we live without God or seeking after Him, we’re guilty of making ourselves into our own god, which is idolatry.

Imagine how God must feel when those He created and gave the gift of life worship everything else apart from Him?

The Gift Of A TV Set:

To live the life that He has given to us without ever thinking about the ONE who gave us life, that’s the greatest sin imaginable.

It’s like the loving father who bought a TV for his kids. Before he got the TV, they’d come running up to him for kisses and cuddles when he got home from work. Overjoyed just to see their daddy home. After he got the TV, he was hurt when they sat in front of it and paid him no attention at all when he got home. Even if he shouted out to them, they’d just sit there glued to the TV set. He missed the cuddles and kisses of his children. So he walked right in front of the TV and turned it off. The kids moaned and groaned, but he said, “I’m so upset that you love that TV I gave you more than me now”… My friends, have you ever thought how God feels when we love life more than the one who gave us life? When we love this beautiful Creation more than the Creator? When we’re so enamoured with the things in this world, rather than the one who gave us them all to richly enjoy?

To live the life that He has given to us without ever thinking about the ONE who gave us life, that’s the greatest sin imaginable.

A Man After God’s Own Heart:

Remember the Bible called King David, “A man after God’s own heart”… i.e. King David sought the Lord. He looked for God. He wanted God’s priorities to be first in his life. King David did many horrible things in his lifetime, but the Bible accords him “Righteous”, not because of what he did or didn’t do in life, but because he sought the LORD with all his heart, mind, will and strength.

So, do you seek His Righteousness? We become righteous in God’s sight, when we respond to the Gospel invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord by faith. When we see that Jesus died in our place upon the Cross for all our sins and wickedness, he died for us. When we see that Jesus rose from the dead three days later and ascended into Heaven. Jesus is calling all people in the world to REPENT and turn away from life without God. To turn in repentance, letting go of our old way of ignoring God and turning to Him in faith to be forgiven, cleansed and renewed.

God wants to GIVE US THE KINGDOM: However, for Him to do so, it was very costly indeed. Jesus gave his life.

All we need to do to receive God’s Kingdom and life is turn in repentance and faith and receive Him as our KING: Then we’ll want to live our lives seeking first the Kingdom of God and we’ll want to live a holy and righteous life with Him.

When we seek first His Kingdom and when we seek first His Righteousness, then He, our Heavenly Father, will give us His Kingdom, He will give us what we NEED in life and we needn’t worry about how long we’re going to live, because ETERNITY is in our hearts, we’re going to LIVE FOREVER WITH HIM. Your needs will be met by God once you seek His Kingdom and His righteousness in all things.

Being ‘good’ in our own eyes, is good and right, but when it comes down to it, God will be looking to see if we’ve been good from His perspective. It’s a matter of righteousness not religiousness. He won’t look to see if you’ve been attending church, reading your Bible, doing good to others and praying. His priority is righteousness, are you good enough for Him? The honest answer He’ll be looking for is “NO!” I’m not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven, because I’ve sinned and broken Your Commandments. However, Father in Heaven, I’ve put my faith and trust in Jesus, Your Son, and I know that His death upon the Cross was for my sins. I’ve asked for His forgiveness and turned in repentance and faith, I’ve received Him as my King. I know that I’m a member of His Kingdom Family.”

He’ll say, “Welcome, I’m PLEASED to give you the Kingdom”…

Praise the Lord!

Don.

 

I’m Going Home To Share The Good News

Jesus experienced rejection of his own family, friends, townsfolk, so don't give up or give in to the fear of rejection,

Good morning my friends, today I’m sharing the message I preached in church yesterday, but it’s even more impacting me than I thought, because there’s a principle that I’ve learned afresh, the importance of persevering in sharing the faith we’ve received no matter what kind of response it provokes in those who hear it. Don’t GIVE UP or GIVE IN when there’s a negative response.

Daily Spirit & Word: 722: Jesus Visits His Home Town.

The Incredible Unbelief in Jesus’ Home-Town of Nazareth.

“FEAR NOTHING”: Said Jesus. “Except: God…” We love all kinds of scary things: wild rides at the fair, scary rides a parks, pranks that make us frightened (the Bush-Man on Facebook), etc… but the one thing we should be afraid of we’re told, “we mustn’t tell people about that” because it’s not NICE to scare people. How is it OK to scare people with ghost, ghool, horror and thriller stories, but it’s NOT OK to scare them about God? My friends, “FEAR GOD”…Why? “Because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”.

Good morning my friends, we’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, this time our focus is upon Jesus visit to His home town in Nazareth. However, instead of receiving a warm welcome, like those who return from war, he encounters unbelief and criticism, but that has tragic consequences for his townsfolk.

Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)
1 Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.
2  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.
4  Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”
5  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6  And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went round teaching from village to village.

NOTE: 1: Their Initial Amazement.

The Situation: Jesus has just been thronged by thousands, news was spreading fast about all the miracles he’s been performing around the towns and villages and on the edges of The Sea of Galilee. The Deliverance of a man with thousands of demons, the woman who’d been sick for 12 years, the bringing back to life a girl who had died.

But then almost like a Train Hitting the Buffers at Land’s End in Cornwall: It all comes to a CRASHING HALT: Where? In a foreign town? NO! In a Roman Official’s home? No! Amongst the foreigners? No! Where? In Jesus’ Home Town.

He was in town accompanied by his disciples. 

One of the things that should have convinced his home town of Jesus’ status should have been the great entourage that accompanied him now.

Jesus Return Home: It’s like a Great General Returning from a Campaign: But instead of a Triumphant Rally, Jesus doesn’t even get a little party.

  • What does Jesus do? On the Holy Day: Sabbath: Jesus goes, like a good Jew would, to the Synagogue.
  • What does Jesus do in the Synagogue? “He began to teach”
  • What’s the initial response? “Amazement”...

Amazement: Is the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising. Another word could be ‘Astonishment’. (It’s surprise, stupefacation, admiration, wonder, wonderment). Modern words: Impressed.

Listen to their Questions: they asked;

  • “Where did this man get these things?”
  •  “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?
  •  “He even does miracles!”

Jesus teaching is backed-up by the Miracles and Signs and Wonders He performed: Initial response: Amazement.

How would you feel if Jesus was here right now, teaching you the Secrets of God’s Kingdom?

You’d probably AWESTRUCK right?

You’re mouth would fall open and you’d gaze in wonder and amazement.

A modern word for that is WOW or WOWzer! Jesus is AWESOME.

What would be your response?

However, before you answer that question, let’s look at how they responded.

NOTE: 2) The Unreasonable Unbelief of Jesus Townsfolk and Family Members.

They are initially amazed and awestruck, they knew about the Miracles, but what a SHOCKING and SADDENING result for Jesus.

Listen to the next set of Questions: They KNOW all about Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Isn’t this the carpenter?
  • Isn’t this Mary’s son?
  • Isn’t Jesus the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

That’s right, they KNOW Jesus background. They KNOW where he comes from? They KNOW his family? They KNOW his trade / employment.

  • He’s a Carpenter: The Son of a Carpenter… “How could a mere Carpenter get so much wisdom, and miracles making power?” … “We know He hasn’t attended any Rabbinical School”… They are offended / scandalised by a mere Carpenter having the audacity to teach them.
  • He’s a Son: Of a woman we know all about. He’s just an ordinary man…
  • He’s got brothers and sisters amongst us here. (Mary obviously didn’t stay a Virgin after Jesus’ birth, she had other sons and daughters. Only Jesus was Mary’s Divine child).

NOTE: 3) WHY They Refused To Believe or Trust in Jesus:

They were amazed at his wisdom, they knew about the miracles, but the FOCUS instead upon His (human) Personality. Who He IS…

What was their response to Jesus teaching and their questioning and reasoning? “They Took OFFENCE at Him”...

Instead of being so impressed and filled with JOY, as they most certainly should have been, they are simply OFFENDED.

OFFENCE: Is a feeling of anger caused by an offence: i.e. Jesus was only a Carpenter, a Son and a brother, so why is He here ‘preaching and teaching’? Their offence was anger cause by who they thought Jesus was.

The Reason For Their Offence Was, “What right has this Son and Carpenter to TEACH us?” … “Who does He think He is?”… It’s a feeling of being appalled, aggrieved, bruised, outraged, pained, scandalised, violated and wounded… (A litle girl in our gathering yesterday stated “they may have been jealous of Jesus”… Jealously is a powerful emotion).

We don’t even know what it was that Jesus was teaching them in the Synagogue in Nazareth that day: Have you ever wanted to be a “fly-on-the-wall”? I’d love to know what it was they were so Scandalised and Offended about, but we don’t.

The most important thing for Mark (and the Holy Spirit) is that we know that in Jesus Home Town: Amongst Family and Townsfolk: They were offended by His PERSON more than his actual teaching in their Synagogue.

  • Their UNBELIEF is UNREASONABLE: Because of the EVIDENCE. (i.e. His wisdom, His Miracles) (No right thinking person when given the evidence they had received would deny Jesus or refuse to Honour Him). It’s just totally unreasonable.
  • Their UNBELIEF is  INEXCUSABLE: on account of all the evidence. They should have responded with open heart and hands and voices, but they didn’t instead they lacked faith in Jesus because they remained offended.

NOTE: 4) THEIR UNBELIEF IS COSTLY.

However, their Unbelief and Offence: has a terrible consequence for them.

A)  They Get a REBUKE from Jesus For Their Unbelief.

Jesus STATEMENT: “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”

That’s not merely statement of fact: but of OPEN rebuke. i.e. Strangers welcomed and honoured Jesus. Complete Strangers showed Him respect. Complete Strangers listened and responded to His teaching, but His town’s folk and even some of Jesus’ own family: were offended and without faith. They remained in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

When there’s so much EVIDENCE: That kind of UNBELIEF is a Sin.

GRAVITY: It’s like saying, “I know that Newton Defined The Law of Gravity, but even though I can see an Apple falling from a tree, and every time I drop a cup it falls to the floor and smashed to pieces, I don’t believe in GRAVITY”… How foolish.

I remember an old Government Health and Safety Advert: About the Dangers we face a work:

“Sir Isaac Newton tells us why, an apple falls down from the sky,
and from this fact it’s very plane, all other objects do the same,
A brick, a boot, a bar, a cup, invariably it falls down; NOT up.
And every other working tool, is governed by the self-same rule.
So when you handle tools up there, let your watchword be; take care.”

The Evidence for who Jesus was, and backing up what He was saying and teaching was all around them: Yet even members of his own family and many in his home town remained in stubborn UNBELIEF…

You might be surprised by that, I am and So was our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 6 of our reading today; “He was amazed at their lack of faith”… Their Unbelief is unreasonable, inexcusable, brings a rebuke, but note what happens next…

B) Jesus Wasn’t Able to Perform ANY Miracles.

Except heal only a few people. Surely healing a few people is miraculous, but what the text is telling us is that Jesus was hindered by their UNBELIEF and lack of faith.

C) thirdly, Jesus MOVES ON because of Their Unbelief:

What happened as a result of their Unbelief? “Jesus moves on from town to town teaching”… He moved away from His Home Town: Nazareth. He leaves behind his own family, neighbours who’d known him all his life, and goes to other towns in the area, to strangers rather than friends and family. What a dreadful shame.

My friends, there’s a STARK WARNING for us here today.

If we’ve been CONVINCED: that Jesus is who He claims to be “The Divine Son of God”, The King of the Jews, The King of a KINGDOM not of this Earth, The Expected One. If we believe that He could and did perform wonderful miracles. That He had amazing insightful and wise teachings, but refuse to put our FAITH in Him, then we’re just the same as His own family members and townsfolk of Nazareth.

Their UNBELIEF: Was both UNREASONABLE and INEXCUSABLE and thirdly, very COSTLY: If we’ve become convinced of Jesus, then we’re just the same; If we remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

NOTE: 5) What’s A RIGHT RESPONSE TO JESUS?

Faith IS confirmed by our RESPONSE: How are we TRUSTING in Jesus today? (Not what we’ve done in the PAST).

It’s not so much about what we believe about Him. (As Nazareth did). But our HEART response to HIM.

It’s not about being impressed by Him. (As Nazareth was). But receiving HIM by FAITH.

Those people were impressed, but they REFUSED to Honour Him and Accept Him.

Remember what the Apostle John recorded in John Chapter One: ”

John 1:10-18 (NIV)
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. (Even the one’s who knew him best, his home town, didn’t not receive him).
11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (or believe him or trust in him or honour him).
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “
16  From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18  No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Jesus was the ONE: The ONLY ONE, to ever make God Knowable: How? Because He was God.

“If you’ve seen me Philip, you’ve seen the Father”… John 14.

Today is the DAY Of SALVATION: 

Before Jesus moves on from you, to go to another soul and begin to work on them some miracles, to convince them with His teaching, will you OPEN your heart, mind, soul and life to Jesus today?

Will you RESPOND by Accepting or Rejecting Jesus?

Reason It Out: (It’s NOT a blind-leap-of-faith). Look at Jesus teachings. Look at the Miracles recorded. Listen to the Testimony of Believers today. Examine all the Evidence in History from the time of Jesus. All that EVIDENCE is still with us. Enough to CONVINCE the most sincere or sceptical seeker today.

LOOK AT CREATION: The Bible tells us that in itself us enough EVIDENCE in CREATION for the EXISTENCE of God.

Stubborn Unbelief will BE COSTLY: Not just in this life, but in the life to come after death.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

CREATION ITSELF IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE.

Because if we CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE: On account of all the evidence we have been given. Jesus might just move on from trying by His Spirit to convince us… “He moved on from town to town teaching”

If we reject Him NOW: We will be rejected in ETERNITY.

Respond: Put you faith and trust in Jesus Christ today. Why? Because TODAY is the DAY Of SALVATION.

Don’t be like His own townsfolk and family; trust, believe and receive Jesus NOW.

For those who’ve never done that before or for those who’ve done it in the past but wandered away from Jesus.

I’m going to GIVE The A, B, C of Coming to faith in Jesus.

The Gospel: We want all our fellowship to know and be able to share the Good News.

  1. A) Accept: That you are a sinner, who needs God’s forgiveness. Without that forgiveness we’ll face God on Judgement day, carrying the weight of our own sins.
  2. B) Believe: Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for your sins. That He is the Son of God. That He is who He claimed to be GOD. That He died, but rose again and is alive now. You can know Him.
  3. C) Receive: ByREPENT & TRUST: We may accept we’re sinners, believe that Jesus died for those sins, but until we receive Him by Faith, we’re still just like those Townsfolk in Nazareth, Impressed, but still without TRUSTING FAITH. Receive Jesus by an act of faith. Repent and Trust in Him alone and God will grant you the gift of Eternal life, forgiveness of sins, cleansing from sin, New Life in Christ and Gifts of the Holy Spirit indwelling and renewal and power to life a good and holy and abundant life, useful and gifted for God’s service for evermore.

Repentance: Is a change of mind (Greek Word: Metanoia)  regarding our way of living: There must be an element of sorrow / regret for the way we’ve been living in rebellion towards God. Then when we’re broken and convicted it leads us to the decision / desire to want to live our lives in ways that a pleasing to God. True repentance therefore will lead to a change in the way that we live our lives.

Trust in Jesus: It like putting on a life-jacket when you jump from a sinking ship. or a Parachute from a Plane that falling from the sky. Without the life-saver or parachute, your demise is certain. Put ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: AND YOU WILL BE SAVED. Without Jesus Christ we’re doomed to face a holy and righteous God, who’s justly angered by our sinful rebellion and will give us His justice on Judgement Day. Those who’ve not trusted in Jesus Christ (Put on the Lord Jesus to be clothed in His righteousness), will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil and all demons.

BUT: God’s doesn’t want that, that’s why He sent his beloved Son to die upon the Cross, to take our punishment and save us from God’s wrath and judgement to come. That’s why it’s so important to have a right FEAR of God.

Finally: You may have similar responses from those who know you every well, when you give your life to Jesus and are transformed by Him. Your own family, townsfolk and friends might be initially surprised and then be offended by what’s happened to you, but when you begin to share the Good News with them, they may begin to say similar things to what they did about Jesus when He visited His home town.

(who does he / she think they are, they’re no different to me, they are just as sinful as I am, etc)… However, if it happened to Jesus, it can happen to us too. Don’t give up! Don’t stop following Jesus just because family, friends and neighbours don’t like it or won’t respond.

Remember how stubborn you were before you finally came to trust in Jesus Christ. I’ll bet that you didn’t trust in Him the first time you heard the Gospel. He had to draw you to Himself. He had to win your faith and trust in Himself. If it takes time with a stubborn person like yourself, then give those you love time to adjust to the claims of Jesus Christ. Coming to faith is often painful for people, because pride has to die first.

Don’t BE TEMPTED: (as much of our modern church has been) to water-down the hard parts of the Good News. Repentance is critical to true conversion. Without repentance from sin, we cannot be saved. A Satan-Blinded Sinner must see his / her sins for what they are; offensive to God, before they’ll see their need to let go of that way of living. Freely share God’s holy and righteous standards revealed in His Commandments, because you have an ally in the person with whom you are sharing, who’ll keep talking to them long after you’ve gone home to bed: it’s their own CONSCIENCE. Once you share the holy standards of God, the Conscience can be re-awakened and will begin to do it’s work. CONVICTION by God’s Holy Spirit will pull the sinner to his or her knees. It’s NOT all up to you, God wants them saved much more than you do.

Preach to them more than once, because their eternal souls are more valuable that your upset feelings or fear of further rejection. Our LOVE for them should compel us to give them as much GRACE as God has given to us.

So don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t be put-off by an initial hostile response. Persevere, sometimes people will get angry when you share Jesus. I’ve had that many times, but after responding in gentle ways, their initial anger subsides and they begin to open us to receiving the Good News. Anger is just one of Satan’s ways of trying to scare you into stopping short, giving up and going home.

So don’t give-up on them, don’t give-in to fear, don’t water-down, don’t be afraid of rejection, because Jesus followed His own advice to the man delivered from demons (Mark 5) who went home and told everybody the good news. The Demon Possessed man had a good response when he shared, Jesus had a hostile response (Mark 6), but the PRINCIPLE still stands, GO BACK HOME and share the Good NEWS. Share about all the good things God has done for you and how he has had mercy upon you by forgiving your sins, giving you a new life and the gift of faith and eternal life. Some might reject it, but others may just be ready to respond and put their own faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

A NOTE TO MYSELF: Remember how important it is to read the chapters before and after the one you are peaching upon, sometimes there are linked themes, i.e. The Going HOME of Mark 5 and Mark 6…

Have and AWESOME and AMAZING week with Jesus,

Don.

 

Christianity: Relationship NOT Religion.

Christianity is not just another world religion, but the only way to God

Daily Spirit & Word: 661:

Christianity is not a Religion or Rules, but a Relationship.

 Good morning my friends, it’s good to be back into our series going through the Gospel of Mark: We pick up where we left off in Mark 2:18-22. However, we must bear in mind that the Gospel of Mark is not just a selection of stories about Jesus life and teachings, but is carefully put together by God’s inspiration to communicate a message. When we read the Gospel as a letter all in one go, we’ll see that this section of Mark reveals the growing tension and opposition from the ‘religious’ people of Jesus time, because Jesus teaching and practice was stark in it’s contrast between what they both taught and did religiously, it also slowly begins to reveal what they were like on the inside.
  • Religion: Is a way of doing things to please / appease or entreat God: 
  • Rules (in religion) are the correct ways of doing these things.
  • Relationship: Christianity is God’s way of getting close to Him. 
If you look at the Bible as a whole, you’ll note that the people with whom God was most pleased were those who walked with Him: Noah, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Gideon, Samuel, David and Solomon. There are many, many more, but the reason God was so pleased with them, was not because they kept or followed the Jewish Religion to the letter, but because their hearts were set on being with God. Moses was a “Friend of God” and King David, was renowned as “a man after God’s own heart”. (Christianity: it’s all about relationship).
It was NEVER meant to be about how ‘religious’ you are: Yet even today, people mistake Christianity as a ‘religion’ first and foremost, when right from the time that Jesus walked, talked and taught His own disciples, it was all about how to get into and maintain a relationship with God as your Father in Heaven.
Christianity: Is viewed by the Media, Government and Education system as a “Religion”. Even in Church Schools today Christianity is taught as just ONE of the world’s religions. It’s as if we (the human race) have a smorgasbord (a collection of many different varieties of religion) of different religions that we can choose from; Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Seikism, Catholicism, Mormonism and Christianity. Today they are all labeled as “Faith Communities”, as if they are all different versions of the same thing. They are not the same, there is only ONE valid way of getting to know God today, it’s NOT through ‘religious’ practice, but in a relationship with and through His One and Only Son Jesus Christ.
My friends, at the START of 2016: I believe God wants you to KNOW afresh today, that Christianity, being a Christian: Is NOT a Religion or a Set of Rules and Regulations, but it’s all about your RELATIONSHIP with God through the LORD Jesus Christ.
In this section of Mark’s Gospel: We see that opposition to Jesus teaching of this FACT brought about fierce criticism, to the point that people plotted to murder Him. Mark 3, but let’s just focus today upon this;
Mark 2:18-22 (NIV)
18 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?”
19  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them.
20  But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
21  “No-one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse.
22  And no-one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.”
The Pharisees had been practising their religion for generations, following the traditions and teaching of men. You don’t find much fasting in the Old Testament: It’s only when people needed to get back to God. The Pharisees, of course, wanted to know why Jesus wasn’t following their religious practices. The way they saw it, if Jesus was a good Jew, He’d be even more religious than them or at least as ‘religious’.

Christianity is a totally DIFFERENT way of being with God.

All other religions in the world: Follow, rules and regulations to be right with God. (the Pharisees were no different).
Only Christianity is shown to be a way of faith where God came to make man right with Himself.
The Drowning Man:
It’s like this: A man was drowning in the middle of the wildest ocean on earth; the Atlantic. He began to shout for help;
Moses chirped in first: I’ll give you ten ways to swim in the ocean: follow these instructions and you will be safe: The man tried to follow Moses teachings, but still he was still drowning and shouted again for help. 
Mohammed: who was sitting with Moses and the others, chirped in: just find the direction of Mecca, Kneel down and pray five times a day; and you’ll be safe. The man tried, but every time he did so the water went up his nose. 
Buddha: shouted, no don’t try and save yourself, be still, accept your karma and just empty your mind. 
The man tried to be still, but each time he did so, he began to sink. He cried out for help, his situation was getting serious as he was too weak to carry on.
Then the Lord Jesus: pushed the others aside, saw the man’s predicament, that he was drowning, Jesus dived in to SAVE the man. He lifted him up and they both walked on the water to the shore. The man was SAVED by Jesus.

What use is RELIGION to a drowning man?

What’s the difference: Each and every world religion teaches that we must follow a set of rules and regulations in order to please or appease God, to be right with God, but through the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can see that it’s all about how we RELATE to God. It always was, even in the Old Testament, but the Jews missed it or misunderstood it. But God had made it clear from the outset;

God Chooses to be With People:

Exodus 6:6-8 (NIV) Moses was to tell the Israelites: (Relationship).
6  “Therefore, say to the Israelites: ‘I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment.
7  I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am the LORD your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.
8  And I will bring you to the land I swore with uplifted hand to give to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob. I will give it to you as a possession. I am the LORD.’ “
(NOTE: Can you see that this is exactly what God did when He sent His Son Jesus Christ to SAVE mankind? He rescued us from the cruel bondage to sin, satan and the world; set us free and gave us new life in the promised land; the Kingdom of God)
Jeremiah 30:22 (NIV) ” ‘So you will be my people, and I will be your God.’ “
Jeremiah 31:32-34 (NIV) The Promise of the NEW Covenant (Agreement).
32  It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.
33  “This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
34  No longer will a man teach his neighbour, or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Leviticus 26:11-13 (NIV)
11  I will put my dwelling-place among you, and I will not abhor you.
12  I will walk among you and be your God, and you will be my people.
13  I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt so that you would no longer be slaves to the Egyptians; I broke the bars of your yoke and enabled you to walk with heads held high.
2 Corinthians 6:16 (NIV)
16  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Revelation 21:3-5 (NIV)
3  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4  He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5  He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
God Makes It Possible for RELATIONSHIP: Between those He chooses and those who respond to His invitation.
In Jesus teaching here in Mark’s Gospel: Mark 2:21  “No-one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the new piece will pull away from the old, making the tear worse. 22  And no-one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, he pours new wine into new wineskins.” Jesus is NOT giving us a NEW religion, He’s revealing that trying to maintain the OLD religion will NEVER work. It will be like pouring new wine into old wineskin, the wine and the skin will be ruined.
Have you ever had an old pair of jeans with a rip? Did you ever try and repair that rip with NEW denim? If you did, then you’ll know that when you wash it, the NEW denim will shrink and make the tear even worse. I did that myself in the 1970s. I learned the hard way that you need old denim to mend old jeans. No my friends, to repair old jeans you need old denim that’s been washed a few times, but is still OK. Then you’ll be able to wear you jeans until they wear out.
However: Christianity is NOT just sticking a patch of ‘religion’ on an old religion, it’s a totally different way of being right with God. Jesus didn’t come to give us another ‘religion’ but a relationship that lasts forever.
Christianity, the way of being right with God, is TOTALLY different from the Old World Religions: You can’t get right with God by following; rules, religious rules and regulations. There’s no way to pray to be right with God. There’s no way to do right, to get right with God. Because trying your best still leaves you the same inside. You can’t erase sin by doing more good. You cannot become pure by praying more. There is a way to be purified though, to be washed clean and be right with God forever. All you need to do, to get right with God today, is get into the RELATIONSHIP that He’s always wanted with mankind from the beginning of Creation: However, He waited until the time war right to send Jesus Christ, His One and Only Son into the world, to make the way possible.
  • REPENT (turn from sin, trying to live without God, turn to God)
  • Believe (Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross to pay the price for your sins so that you can be forgiven, set free from sin, given new life and be filled with God the Holy Spirit),
  • Receive: receive Jesus Christ as your LORD and Saviour, then Jesus will be your friends, God will be with you, God will walk with you, He will be your God and you will be one of His people.
  • Relate: What do you do after Repenting, Believing and Receiving? Do you follow a religious code or rule of life? NO! It’s all about a continuing relationship, following the teachings of Jesus Christ in which He shows you how to live in such a way that God will continue to be pleased with you and you will be a PEACE. Things like; love your neighbour, enemy, wife, family, the stranger, the alien, the poor, the weak, the widow. Love your fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, love the Lord… It’s all about a RELATIONSHIP of LOVE.
Jesus teaches that once we’re in God’s Family; we’ll want to be holy, honest, righteous, good and true. He’ll change our heart’s desires so that we will not want to sin anymore. He does this or it is accomplished by the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit. Therefore, He tells us to be filled afresh with Holy Spirit.

Repent; Believe; Receive; Walk; Live; Relate….

Note: None of that is anything to do with a ‘religion’. It’s relationship from beginning to end.
NOTE: It’s ONLY through Jesus Christ that we can have or enter into this relationship with God. He paid the price, we receive the benefits.
So: When you next hear someone saying, “To be a good Christian you must; wear these clothes, practice this form of religion, fast regularly, pray this way, do it like this,,,” You’ll KNOW they are trying to ADD ‘religion’ onto the FREEDOM that Jesus came and won for you on the Cross to bring you into a relationship with God as Father that lasts forever.
It’s no wonder my friends, that Jesus taught those ‘religious’ Pharisees so clearly; you can’t sew a new patch on old cloth, you can’t pour new wine into old wineskins… the tear will get worse, the skin will burst… both the skin and the new wine will be ruined. Jesus way was NOT just a patch on the old way, it was NOT new ‘religion’ into the old religious system.
If you try to be religious after getting saved and set free by Jesus Christ, it’s like pouring your new wine of God’s Kingdom into the old wineskins of religiosity. Don’t be tempted to do it.
Yes: A believer in Jesus will; pray, read God’s Word daily, fast occasionally and live righteously in the world, but He’ll be doing it to be closer to God. A believer will do it because He loves God and wants to serve and give his life for God. He’ll not be doing it to try to earn a place or the favour of God. God LOVES you once you are His child. He’ll be your God, you will be one of His people, He’ll be with you forever. No amount of religious practice will ever add anything to your relationship with God.
1 Peter 2:6-12 (NIV)
6  For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”
7  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” 8  and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
10  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
12  Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
My friends, Jesus came, not to pour the new wine of the Kingdom of God into the old winskins of ‘religious’ practice, but to give us a NEW WAY of being right with God. You, if you’ve responded to the Gospel, are God’s Chosen People. You are holy because Christ has washed you clean from your sins when you accepted His sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross, not because of religious practice or observance. You are Royal: Because you are a member of the King’s family now. LIVE then as God’s royal, holy, redeemed people. In the freedom from religion that Christ came and died to win, it’s a freedom that will outlast this Earth. Live, walk and love in RELATIONSHIP with Jesus Christ and His holy and redeemed family.
I’ll say it again; My friends, at the START of 2016: I believe God wants us to KNOW afresh today, that Christianity, being a Christian: Is NOT about Religion or a Set of Rules and Regulations, but it’s all about your RELATIONSHIP with God through the LORD Jesus Christ, it lasts forever with God as your Father.
Question: Do you want the New Wine of Jesus Kingdom within you? Do you want Him to forgive you and change you on the inside? Do you want His love to fill you to overflowing, so that you’ll long to follow His ways? Or do you still desire a religion that is HARD like the old wineskin of Judaism, Islam, Hinduism etc, etc? You cannot have both!
Jesus did not come to give us a new religion, it’s not even a patch that you can stick over an old religion, but a relationship with God the Father that will last for all eternity from the moment you make Jesus Christ your Lord and Saviour.
Have an Awesome Sunday with Jesus your LORD. Amen!
Don.

God’s Way Of LOVE: Practical, Practicable and Possible.

Practical Love, Possible Love

GOD’S WAY OF LOVE:

Daily Spirit & Word: 567:

LOVE IS NOT A GETTING: IT’S A GIVING

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

 

Good morning my friends, I love that old song by “Wet, Wet, Wet” the Pop Group. “Love Is All Around Us”.

“I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes”

The phrase that stands out for me today is; “And So the “Feeling” Grows.”

How many of us today want to FEEL more in LOVE? Answer: “ALL OF US” Am I right?

I want to say right now: Real LOVE Is: Practical, Practicable & Possible: LOVE.

Questions: What DOES the Bible Say About LOVE? What Does God want us to understand about LOVE?

TYPES OF LOVE IN THE BIBLE:

Bible Question: How many words are there in the Greek language for love?

Bible Answer: There are four major GREEK words for love:

AGAPE, PHILEO, EROS, and STERGO.

There are also a number of variations of these words such as AGAPETOS, ASTORGOS, KATAPHILEO, PHILADELPHIA, PHILANTHROPIA, PHILEMA, PHILIA, PHILOS, PHILOSTORGOS.

Four Main Words. (In Ancient / Classical Greek)

AGAPE is the most common word for love in the New Testament. It occurs 259 times as a verb or as a noun.

PHILOS and PHILEO occur only 54 times.

EROS and STERGO do not occur at all in the New Testament.

English Form Meaning
AGAPE This word was used in Greek literature to refer to someone who was generously favored by a god. It has the idea of a person giving all his or her love or favor to another. It was used to speak of parents giving all of their love to their only child. So in the New Testament it is used to make the same point. God gives each of us all of His love.
PHILEO This Greek word has the idea of emotional love. While AGAPE emphasizes the complete giving of love to another person, PHILEO emphasizes the affection, emotion, a fondness one person has for another.
EROS EROS refers to love between a husband and wife. It is more than sexual ecstasy because it also includes embraces, longing, and caring.
STERGO STERGO primarily refers to love between parents and children. It sometimes refers to love between people and their ruler and to love between a dog and his owner.

The Other Words. The other words for love combine different words to make a special point. The meanings of these words are briefly given below.

English Form Meaning
AGAPETOS Beloved or loved one.
ASTORGOS Without love.
PHILADELPHIA Brotherly love.
PHILANTHROPIA Love for mankind
PHILEMA A kiss.
PHILIA Friendship love.
PHILOS A love for a friend or relative.
PHILOSTORGOS Tender love or affectionate love.

Conclusion:AGAPE is the most common word used in the GREEK New Testament. The greatest example of love is Jesus Christ who died for our sins. God shows His love by rescuing us from our sins.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (NASB) John 3:16

It is the word God uses to call us to love Him and others.

He is calling us to give Him all of our love and give others all of our love.

The emphasis is not an exclusive love but a total love.

Otherwise, we would only be able to love one person.

And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ (NASB) Matt. 22:37-39

God calls us to give ourselves completely to Him in every way – heart, soul, and mind.

HOW ARE WE TO LOVE?

In our Bible reading today, we discovered that God wants us to LOVE: But in a very special way.

1 Corinthians 13: Emphasises HOW we are to LOVE EACH OTHER. (AGAPE = Sacrificial / Giving LOVE).

Can you see that LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

Real LOVE: is not what you get out of a person, but what you give to them.

To be “Really In LOVE” is to want to give your all to another.

“But what about emotional love?” (Fondness, Feeling and Affection).

WHAT ABOUT EMOTIONAL LOVE? AFFECTIONATE LOVE?

Yes! The Bible does speak about that kind of love too.

God wants our EMOTIONAL AND AFFECTIONATE LOVE and expects it to be EXCLUSIVE (Complete).

He also asks us to have an emotional love for Him in 1 Corinthians 16:22.

1 Corinthians 16:22 (NIV) “If anyone does not love (Phileo) the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord! (Maranatha)”

God wants our Emotional LOVE too: So when He’s calling us to Agape (Sacrificial) LOVE for Him & Others, He’s also calling us to have an Emotional LOVE as well. (It’s our whole being, total and complete affections that God wants and expects to see).

THE BELIEVER’S LOVE AFFAIR.

UNFAITHFUL: To the Lord and Each Other.

“If anyone loves the world, the Love of the Father is not in Him” (1 John 2:15)

i.e. You cannot be loving God and having a LOVE AFFAIR with the World at the same time.

  • But you cannot DEMAND Love:
  • It’s got to come from the heart.
  • It’s got to come from your relationship with the LORD.

You will NOT be in LOVE with the LORD if you are in love with the world.

Let’s admit it! Many of us have been carrying on a secret love affair for years!

And doing a pretty good job of MASKING it from our BROTHERS AND SISTERS, FELLOW Believers in Christ.

And why do we continue the “affair WITH THE WORLD”?

Simply because we love how it:

  • Panders our appetite for sensual gratification
  • Entices our eyes and caters to the greedy longings of our mind, and
  • Fosters our desire to live a life of pretension.

The “love affair” to which I am referring is our surrender (giving in) to the evil values of this world system that governs the goings on of mankind; a system which is headed by none other than Satan himself – “The Prince of this world.” (John 12:31; 14:30)

If we have GIVEN IN (SURRENDERED) to this Prince by fostering and feeding a “love affair” with his domain (THE WORLD), we have a serious problem. You see, as professed followers of Jesus Christ, God will not allow us the luxury of two loves:

“If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

We simply cannot have it both ways: Loving the “world” and loving God.
HOW CAN WE GET OUT? 

How can we escape the trap of our love affair with the world?

Jesus’ prayer to the Father for His follower on the night before the cross, gives us insight into the answer to that question:
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:14, 17)

As the Disciples and Followers of Jesus were given the WORD’S of Jesus (Word of God) they were TRANSFORMED.

It was that inner transformation by the receiving of the Word of God that showed the whole world that they were no longer one of them, they were DIFFERENT (SANCTIFIED = SET APART / DIFFERENT). So the world “hated” them.

PAUL WAS DEAD TO THE WORLD:

(Paul had escaped the “love affair”).

Galatians 6:11,12-14,15 11 See what large letters I use as I write to you with my own hand!
12  Those who want to make a good impression outwardly are trying to compel you to be circumcised. The only reason they do this is to avoid being persecuted for the cross of Christ.
14  May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christthrough which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15  Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation.

PAUL had grown to hate the “world system” THAT WAS GOVERNED BY SATAN.

WHAT COUNTS? Dead to the world: NEW LIFE in Christ: (In Baptism: death to old life, rises to live a new life).
SO… THE BIG QUESTION IS: Just as the Disciples were transformed by Soaking in God’s Word (And later on by the Holy Spirit) Are you resisting the world’s seductive charm by the inner change that results from consistent, and disciplined meditation upon God’s Word? Are you seeking the in-filling of the Holy Spirit?

If you are a Phileo, Lover of the LORD, then you’ll want to become more of what He’s called you to be.

It’s NOT like a Demand, but an INNER-TRANSFORMATION: Your affections will change, the more you give yourself to ACTING in LOVE. (1 Cor 13).

REAL LOVE IS:

1 Corinthians 13.
Practical, Practicable & Possible: LOVE.

IF YOU DON’T: 

If not, you are choosing by default to foster your “love affair” with the “Prince of this world’s” dominion (This WORLD and ALL it has to offer). And in so doing you have become God’s adversary, because

“Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.” (James 4:4)

IF YOU DO: 

We’ve seen today:

  • The Types of LOVE: Agape and Phileo in the Bible. God wants your Sacrificial LOVE & your Emotional LOVE.
  • He wants us to BREAK FREE from our LOVE AFFAIR with the World.
  • He wants us to Experience His LOVE for us (Complete and Emotional) Fatherly, Tender and True.
  • What counts is a NEW CREATION: You will LOVE like Jesus (AGAPE: Self-Sacrificial).

When we Decide to LOVE: Then the feelings of LOVE will follow. (Emotions / Tenderness)

Couples struggling to LOVE (feel in LOVE) with each other; Solution: AGAPE (Give LOVE, then feelings will follow).

LOVE IS NOT A GETTING: IT’S A GIVING.

LOVE IS NOT A FEELING: IT’S AN ACT OF THE WILL.

Have an AWESOME Sunday full of the LOVE of God: For Him and for each other. And I KNOW that when you love like that, you’re going to have a FOUNTAIN of LOVING FEELINGS on the inside as well. You are going to FEEL it all around you, in your fingers and in your toes, and so the FEELING GROWS.

Don.

P.S. When I discovered AGAPE (God’s Way Of LOVE) I was really SET-FREE from all kinds of feelings. I no longer needed others to express their love towards me, I still like it though :-), but my FEELINGS of love for others just keeps grown, the more I LOVE like Jesus, the more free I become. It enables me to forgive, forget and let-go, in so doing, I’m becoming even more in LOVE with God and others. Real LOVE is Practical, Practicable and Possible with the LORD’S Help. Praise the LORD for His REVELATIONS IN THE WORD. Amen!

Jesus is the Master of my fate, Jesus is the Captain of my soul.

Invictus Unconquorerable

Daily Spirit & Word 560: Awards to Avoid in Achievement.

“Jesus is the Master of my fate, Jesus is the Captain of my soul”

 

Good morning my friends, we live in an culture that is driven by success and achievement.

Your youngsters are monitored for and the school is graded by their ACHIEVEMENTS.

People are attracted to schools that consistently ‘perform’ the best, parents look at the records of a school’s achievements before even considering walking through the doors to view the school.

Whilst we all applaud an individual’s successes and achievements; and quite rightly too, because a lot of effort, toil, sweat, dedication and study is exerted to gain those: merits, awards and diplomas. However, there are certain pitfalls, traps and dangers that we need to be aware of in a culture steeped in mindset of success and achievement.

For if we only live for the awards and applauds of men and women in our life, then we’ll be living far below God’s Kingdom Standards of success and achievement.

Just as a proud parents cheers their child on in the School or College Sport’s Day, so we, followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, have a Heavenly Father, who’s watching, cheering, waving, longing and waiting for each and every one of us to win our race that’s been marked our for us.

1) Avoid being totally Self-Sufficient:

In the films; The Dead Poet’s Society and ‘Invictus’.

There is a repeated motto: “I AM THE CAPTAIN OF MY SOUL”

INVICTUS (Unconquerable). (See notes below).

By William Ernest Henley (I885).

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul

Nelson Mandela meditated regularly upon this poem during his incarceration in South Africa and read it to fellow prisoners. Barak Obama read the last two stansas at Nelson Mandela memorial service.

Whilst we all long to see a degree of the ability of individuals to be able to LEARN for themselves, and to INVESTIGATE and to DISCOVER. Because we know that the BIGGEST milestones in life are the ones we’ve made our own BREAKTHROUGHS in learning and discovery.

However, in becoming totally SELF-SUFFICIENT (to be the CAPTAIN of your own soul) there is also a danger: Because there comes a point when an individual becomes reluctant to seek help or ask for advice or able to receive instruction.

Just like solid polished granite is impervious to water, so is the individual to the LORD’S instruction, who’s become totally SELF-Sufficient.

 Why should we avoid being totally self-sufficient?

Jeremiah 17:5-6 5  This is what the LORD says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.
6  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no-one lives.

Most Important: One thing that people long for more than anything else in our Success and Achievement driven culture is: POPULARITY. How do we know we’re ‘popular’? Because we have lots of ‘friends’. Friends are marked by ‘LIKES’ or ‘SNAPS’ or ‘STARS’ or “G+s” in SOCIAL MEDIA or HITS on Websites.

However, we must note, that when we’re only driven by being popular in the eyes of the world, we’re in danger of allowing our HEARTS to TURN AWAY FROM THE LORD.

When we’re TRUSTING IN: MAN (FLESHLY STRENGTH) for our STRENGTH (i.e. we measure our strength by fleshly prowess, fleshly skill, fleshly ability, fleshly might) then we’re NOT trusting in or relying upon the LORD.

It’s OK to have a degree of Self-Sufficiency: It’s healthy, but to be TOTALLY Self-Sufficient can lead our hearts away from the LORD.

Jesus is calling you and me today: Instead of being totally self-sufficient to be DEPENDENT: To trust in and rely upon the LORD. Not the strength of the flesh.

READ THIS OUT ALOUD (Remember ‘faith’ comes by hearing God’s Word).

Proverbs 3:1-15

1  My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 
2  for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. 
3  Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 
4  Then you will win favour and a good name in the sight of God and man. 
5  Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 
6  in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. 
7  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. 
8  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. 
9  Honour the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 
10  then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. 
11  My son, do not despise the LORD’S discipline and do not resent his rebuke
12  because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. 
13  Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, 
14  for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. 
15  She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

It’s HEAVENLY WISDOM followers of Jesus need to strive for, not fleshly success and achievement.

How we look in God’s EYES is much more important than the eyes of others.

Question: Who is the CAPTAIN of your soul? Is it you, yourself (your flesh, will, strength and achievements) or is it Jesus the Lord who created the Universe, who knows time’s beginning and end?

Let Jesus be your Captain today.

2) Avoid Being Outstanding: (Measuring Yourself Against Others).

  • To WOWzer them with your brilliance!
    To DAZZLE them with your results!
  • To BUCKLE them with your beating all records!
  • To BLIND them with your DAZZLING personality!

Listen to what Jesus is calling His followers to be like:

Jesus however, calls you to be “nothing:”

Jeremiah 45:5  “Should you then seek great things for yourself? Seek them not…”

Philippians 2:3  “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

This is Jesus calling you to be like HIMSELF: Humble, Gentle, Kind, Generous, Gracious and Loving.

He’s doesn’t care about nor is He impressed by your; Dazzling results, beating records, brilliant brain.

He’s going to give you an Eternal WOWzer if you are; humble and kind, Loving and Patient, warm and welcoming, faithful and true.

Avoid measuring yourself or comparing yourself to others, what’s more important is how do I compare to Jesus?

Avoid Being Outstanding (at the expense of others).

3) Avoid The Pull Of POWER:

We all want our children, grandchildren, friends and family to be a force for good in the world, to be men and women of renown, to be the People the world will look up to one day.

However; we should be very wary of POWER for power’s sake.

There is a danger in:

  • Desiring to be Powerful
  • Desiring to WIN at all costs
  • Desiring to Manipulate the Circumstances.
  • Desiring to CONTROL the Outcomes.
  • Desiring To Let Everyone KNOW who’s the BOSS. 

Galatians 1:10 “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.”

My friends, Jesus is calling you to a wonderful life of abundance.

However, in order to do that and to be His SUCCESSFUL, BRILLIANT AND DAZZLING follower.

He wants to set you free from the dangers of fleshly success and achievement.

LIKE ANY GOOD PARENT;

  • He wants you to be more popular than you do.
  • He wants you to be more successful than you do.
  • He wants you to be more powerful than you can imagine.

However, He knows the HEAVENLY PATHWAY is;

Hebrews 12:1-4

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
2  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. 
4  In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Jesus is Calling YOU:

  • to shoot your PRIDE: Stop being self-sufficient: Depend upon Him.
  • to kill your ATTITUDE: Stop feeling the need to be OUTSTANDING (from other) but to Shine for His Glory.
  • to die to SELF: Power and Control (Horrible). Powerful and Controlling (Nasty, Evil, Manipulative). Instead; BE FILLED WITH Holy Spirit Power, THIS WILL lead you to desire building up OTHERS UP in Christ’s body.

Can you hear your Heavenly Father, the Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit? God (in Trinity) is cheering for you to win the race that’s been marked out for you.

WHEN YOU ARE READY TO FOLLOW JESUS’ PATHWAYS; Then you can REALLY BEGIN TO LIVE and LEAVE A LEGACY THAT WILL LAST FOREVER.

I’m going to ask followers of Jesus to declare;

“Jesus is the Master of my fate

Jesus is the Captain of my soul”

 

God bless you, the Lord fill you with His Spirit. NOW: go and get RESULTS for His GLORY THAT WILL STAND THE TEST OF TIME AND ETERNITY.

Don.

NOTES:

In the Poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. Written in 1885, You’ll note that it is a rejection of God.

He recognises that the world is DARK (Needs illumination).

The Darkness is world-wide (from Pole to Pole).

Rejects the ONE God. (whatever gods).

Recognises he’s created with a soul.

He accepts circumstance (chance, destiny).

Doesn’t recognise / rejecting that God is in control.

He thinks this life is all there is,

just darkness (shade) on the other side of life.

Yet, that feeling finds him “unafraid”.

“It matter not how straight the gate”

He knows about the narrow path and the narrow gate,

but he doesn’t care (It matters not).

He knows that God’s Keeping a Record of His life.

“How charged with punishments the scroll”

And that God promises His wrath, anger and punishments

for breaking His commandments.

He’s rejecting the LORD as his final destiny

“I am the master of my fate”

He’s rejecting the LORDSHIP of Christ.

“I am the Captain of my soul”.

Existential Poets.

 

Hearing God’s Voice Today

God Speaks but Samuel fails to discern His voice

Daily Spirit & Word: 531: Hearing God’s Voice Today.

Good morning my friends, it’s going to be an exciting Lord’s Day, because the first Sunday of the month is Feast Day in West Norwood. People will come from miles around to visit our part of London. They’ll come to sample: food, music, art, crafts and creativity. They come to be with friends in a friendly atmosphere, they’ll gather in the gardens and sit down to eat and watch their children playing. They come because they’ve got a hunger within; but there’s a problem, they don’t really know what it is they’re hungering for. Some of them think they do, and would probably argue about what I am going to say, but non-the-less I’m going to put my neck on the chopping-block and say; “They’re hungry for God, but they don’t know it”. They’re trying to satisfy the deepest hunger anyone and everyone could ever have or ever will have, with the created things, rather than with the Creator.

We’re living in a time today, very much like it was in the days of Samuel. We’re going to see today that Samuel had some problems and so have we, but he found the answers and so can we: But Samuel needed someone to tell him what to do to get his answer to the problems, and so does everyone in the world today.

Samuel Hear’s God’s Call:

1 Samuel 3:1-11 1 The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions.
2  One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place.
3  The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was.
4  Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.”
5  And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down.
6  Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.”
7  Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him.
8  The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realised that the LORD was calling the boy.
9  So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10  The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11  And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

A Little Background About Samuel:

Samuel was God’s gift to his mother. For years she couldn’t have children, but went to the House of the Lord to pray about it. The House of the Lord in those days was the Tabernacle: The Tent of Meeting. Priests would serve the Lord there. So Hannah went and prayed and the Lord answered her prayers. She called him SAMUEL BECAUSE “The Lord Hears” or “God has heard”, that’s what Samuel’s name means.

Once Samuel was weaned, i.e. She was able to give him ordinary food and not breast milk: She took him to the Temple of the Lord and dedicated him to the LORD. She left him at the Temple to serve the LORD all the days of his life.

Imagine that: The most precious gift anyone could ever be given and she gives it back to the Lord. The gift was a child and Hannah was so overjoyed, that she gave her son away at a very young age to serve the Lord forever.

In those Days: The Priests who ministered before the Lord: Offering Sacrifices, were very wicked indeed, but Samuel grew up and served the Lord faithfully. He became popular with all the people of Israel who came to the Temple to offer their annual sacrifices to the Lord.

Samuel was being instructed by a man called Eli: (It was Eli’s sons, the priests, who were the most wicked).

Problem 1: God’s Voice Is Rare: (But the Lamp Still Burned).

(He’s not giving many visions). {Because of Wickedness: Sin cuts us off from God}

The reason God’s Voice was RARE: Was because everyone was doing what they wanted to do, instead of what God wanted. Judges 21:25 (AMP) “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.”

  • They did what they thought best. 
  • They didn’t seek God.
  • They didn’t care about what God wanted or had said.

Even the ones who’re meant to be ‘Good’ were ‘Bad and Corrupt’: The Priests working in the Temple (The Meeting Place with God).

1 Samuel 2:22 (NIV) “Now Eli, who was very old, heard about everything his sons were doing to all Israel and how they slept with the women who served at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” (See notes about God’s Judgement at the end).

However: There is HOPE because “The Lamp Still Burned”: It hadn’t gone out yet. (1 Samuel 3:3 and Leviticus 24:2).

And we too live in similar circumstances: People are wicked, they do what they think is right in their own eyes, the priests and ministers are wicked, they like Eli, don’t try and correct the wickedness of our day, they go along with the world’s ways instead of God’s ways. However, there is HOPE: Because the Lamp is still burning today.

Jesus is the Light of the World: But the WORLD (Just like Samuel didn’t recognise the voice of the Lord at first), cannot see Jesus for who He is…

John 1:9-10 “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. 10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him.”

My friends, Jesus can give us the Light we need in our lives today. But will we let Jesus the Light of the World into our lives?

Problem 2: Didn’t Recognise God’s Voice:

{Because of Ignorance: We don’t recognise God’s Voice}

Though Samuel was serving in the Temple (verse 3) and Ministering before the LORD (verse 1) The problem was, he didn’t recognise the voice of the LORD when He called out to him. (verse 5). Three times the Lord called out “Samuel, Samuel” each time the boy ran to Eli and said, “What do you want master”. He just didn’t know it was God speaking to Him.

People today don’t Know God: They can’t Hear God. God is still speaking, He’s still calling out to people, He’s still drawing people and putting a deep hunger in their hearts, but they don’t recognise His call today. They also mis-interpret the deep hunger and try to fill it with the things of this world. It will never satisfy, because it was only meant to be satisfied with God Himself.

Thankfully Eli came to the rescue:

He realised it was the LORD calling Samuel. (Verse 8).

1 Samuel 3:8 (NIV) “The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realised that the LORD was calling the boy.

My friends, there is a way for people to HEAR God’s Call: We’re the Priests like Eli. We know God is calling people, we just need to do what Eli did and say, “It’s the LORD calling you”… To those who’re trying to satisfy God’s call with the things of the world. They’re confused and mis-interpret the hunger. They’re not hearing or perceiving or understanding that God put that deep hunger for significance and meaning for life within them. It’s God that put eternity into everyone’s heart.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 11  He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

It can only be satisfied when they come to Jesus who gave them the gift of the knowledge of Eternity in their hearts. (I.E. People know that this life is NOT all there is, because God has planted ETERNITY into everyone’s heart).

Christians to the Rescue:

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9  not by works, so that no-one can boast.” God gives the gift of faith or FAITH is a Gift.

How do we get the Gift of Faith: Faith comes by Hearing God’s Word:

It comes by Hearing His Word: (The Call). Romans 10:17  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

When people get the faith as a gift, they’ll hear the call of the Gospel. But the World needs someone, like Eli, to tell them, “It’s the LORD who’s calling you my child”.

Christian are called and equipped by the Lord to take His message to a world that’s in the Darkness needing the Light.

Problem 3: Not Knowing What To Say:

{People need to know HOW to respond to God’s call}

God’s speaking, but people don’t know HOW to answer Him.

Samuel heard God’s voice, didn’t know it was God and Eli told him what to say.

1 Samuel 3:9-11 (NIV)

9  So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.
10  The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
11  And the LORD said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

Samuel only had seven words to remember; “Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening”

Did you notice that He missed out the most important one: LORD!

Because Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

My friends, People in the World today: Have these same three basic problems:

1) Because of Wickedness: They’re cut off from God.

2) Because of Ignorance: They don’t recognise that God’s put a hunger in their hearts.

3) They Don’t Know How to respond to God: The need to be shown HOW to respond.

What a wonderful word from the LORD today. Even though Samuel missed out the most important word: “LORD“, the LORD still came and spoke to Him.

My friends, it’s NOT the word’s that are important: It’s the response of your hearts. 

If you recognised that God is calling out to you today: Just open up your life to Him. He’s still calling and standing with His outstretched arms:

Matthew 11:27-30 27  “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No-one knows the Son except the Father, and no-one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. 
28  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
29  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
30  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Jesus is saying to you today: “Come to Me” “Come”.

People often respond; “Yes, but HOW? How can I come to Jesus?”

Here’s HOW:

  • Believe: that Jesus died upon the Cross for your sins. (The Barrier Has been Broken).
  • Repent: Turn from your sins and believe that He’s paid the price: Death for sin. (Respond to His call).
  • Receive: Trust in Jesus Christ as your Saviour from sin’s curse, and receive Him as your LORD. (Take Him as your Saviour).
  • Serve: His yoke is easy and His burden is light: He’s got things for you to do and a way for you to be.

Can you HEAR the voice of the LORD today?

  • He’s calling His Children to take His Message to the World.
  • He’s calling the World to Himself.
  • He’s waiting for a response from both; His Children, those who’ve trusted Jesus and received Him as Lord, to be reaching out to a world that’s in darkness, that needs the light in their lives, to be faithful like old Eli and point them to the Lord.
  • He’s waiting for the world to hear His voice: Those who’ve yet to; believe in Jesus death, repent of their sins and receive Him as Lord. 

My prayer is; “No matter who you are today, you’ll respond to God’s Call, and quickly.”

Amen!

Don.

Notes: The Prophesy Against Eli’s House:

Reveals the wickedness of his sons.

1 Samuel 2:27-36 27  Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Did I not clearly reveal myself to your father’s house when they were in Egypt under Pharaoh?
28  I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. I also gave your father’s house all the offerings made with fire by the Israelites.
29  Why do you scorn my sacrifice and offering that I prescribed for my dwelling? Why do you honour your sons more than me by fattening yourselves on the choice parts of every offering made by my people Israel?’
30  “Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: ‘I promised that your house and your father’s house would minister before me for ever.’ But now the LORD declares: ‘Far be it from me! Those who honour me I will honour, but those who despise me will be disdained.
31  The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father’s house, so that there will not be an old man in your family line
32  and you will see distress in my dwelling. Although good will be done to Israel, in your family line there will never be an old man.
33  Every one of you that I do not cut off from my altar will be spared only to blind your eyes with tears and to grieve your heart, and all your descendants will die in the prime of life.
34  ” ‘And what happens to your two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, will be a sign to you—they will both die on the same day.
35  I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always.
36  Then everyone left in your family line will come and bow down before him for a piece of silver and a crust of bread and plead, “Appoint me to some priestly office so that I can have food to eat.” ‘ “

Yes you can my friends, it’s easy to hear God’s Voice Today.

Hearing God’s Voice Today

The Good, The Bad and The Brilliant

Following Examples

Daily Spirit & Word: 515: The Good, The Bad and The Brilliant.

Good morning on the Lord’s Day. Sundays are always such an encouragement for me, because I love gathering with my fellow saints to worship the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s great to hear them share what He’s been showing them from His Word and how they’ve had answered prayers during the week. Fellowship with each other is critical to our consistent walk with Jesus Christ. When we have good gatherings, it’ll be hard to wear a mask and make a pretense of walking in the light, when in reality we’re walking in the darkness.

Today we’re considering 3 John. One of the shortest books of the Bible, but again, like 2 John, it’s packed with significance for the Christian today. In this little letter (Epistle) from the Apostle John, we’ll see three different kinds of characters mentioned. You’ve probably all seen or heard about the Clint Eastwood film; “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”, well today in John’s letter we see three individuals: One is good, One is bad and the other is Brilliant (A shining example to every Christian). Hence today’s title; “The Good, The Bad and The Brilliant”.

Our Bible Reading Today:

3 John 1:1-14 1  The elder, To my dear friend Gaius, whom I love in the truth.
2  Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
3  It gave me great joy to have some brothers come and tell about your faithfulness to the truth and how you continue to walk in the truth.
4  I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.
5  Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers, even though they are strangers to you.
6  They have told the church about your love. You will do well to send them on their way in a manner worthy of God.
7  It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans.
8  We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.
9  I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.
10  So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.
11  Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good. Anyone who does what is good is from God. Anyone who does what is evil has not seen God.
12  Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.
13  I have much to write to you, but I do not want to do so with pen and ink.
14  I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. Peace to you. The friends here send their greetings. Greet the friends there by name.

What a wonderful letter to receive from the Ancient Apostle of Jesus Christ.

Imagine how you’d feel if John (the beloved Apostle) were writing this letter to you? What an encouragement it is. Well my friends, it is written to you too. It’s part of God’s Word and therefore it’s the Holy Spirit who’ll use it today to speak to each and every one of us.

Giaus The Good:

John’s letter is to this man Giaus, who is a great Christian.

  • He’s got a good witness. (3 John 1:1-6).
  • He’s Loved by the Apostle. (3 John 1:1)
  • He’s faithful to the TRUTH. (3 John 1:3)
  • He walks in the TRUTH. (3 John 1:3-4)
  • His walk with Jesus makes the Apostle John so full of joy. (3 John 1:4)
  • And He lives by the TRUTH with the actions of his life. (3 John 1:5-6)
  • He’s got lots of Christian Friends (verse 14)
  • He’s blessed by the Apostle: “Health, Success and Peace” (Verses 2, 14)
  • He’s entrusted to by John to greet everyone by name. (Verse 14).

Wouldn’t you like to have a Christian Witness like this man Giaus? His life in the Lord is being spoken of in other gatherings of the saints. He’s made a deep impression upon other brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Giaus was probably one of the people that the Apostle John led to faith and trust in the Lord. He’d taught him how to walk in the TRUTH (1 John). And is REJOICING because the one he’d lead to the Lord (His Children in the Truth) is continuing to walk with Jesus.

I can’t tell you how much of a JOY that is my friends. When we lead someone to faith in Jesus and they continue to walk with Jesus after many years. So much so that the fame of their walk reaches you by other brothers and sisters who tell what a great Christian they are.

But it’s Giaus’ Faithfulness and Continuing: In the Truth.

Of course the TRUTH here is a loaded word: John used the term to speak of people either walking in the light interchangeably with walking in the Truth or Walking in the Darkness (falsehood). If we’re walking in the light then the truth is in us:

1 John 1:5-10 5  This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
6  If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. (i.e. we’re being FALSE).
7  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
10  If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

THREE STAGES OF FALSEHOOD: What we ‘claim’…

Lying To Others: 1 John 1:6. Being FALSE to our Brothers and Sisters in the Lord: Claiming to be walking in the light, but actually walking in the darkness: It’s living a lie. It’s claiming that we’ve got fellowship with God, when we’re actually sinning and walking in the darkness. (Lying to Others).

Lying To Ourselves: 1 John 1:8. Self-Deceived: When we continue to lie about our spiritual condition, we’ll actually begin to believe the lie, that we’re OK, that we’re walking in the light, when we’re actually walking in the darkness. It’s continuing to live sinfully and convince ourselves of the lie = self-deceived. So being false to our brothers and sisters is bad, but it will inevitable lead to self-deception. Thinking we’re OK with God. Walking in the Light.

Lying To God: 1 John 1:10. Being FALSE towards God. How foolish is that. Thinking that we can actually fool God into thinking that we’re walking in the light, that we’re in fellowship with Him, when we’re actually claiming we’ve not sinned. We’re making God out to be a liar, because God has said, “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God”. Romans 3:23-24.

So Giaus was walking in the TRUTH: i.e. He was walking in the light. He wasn’t living a lie, deceiving his brothers and sisters, himself or God. He wasn’t ‘CLAIMING’ to walk in the TRUTH, Giaus was doing it.  His life was beaming bright and he was a living testimony that he was truly converted to Jesus. No wonder the aged Apostle was so full of joy and so full of love and blessings for him. He could trust Giaus to deliver his message to the other brothers and sisters, knowing that he’d communicate it faithfully.

Giaus Practices Hospitality:

He looked after the Brothers who’d come to Minister: They were STRANGERS, but Giaus welcomed them and looked after them.

In 2 John we read of the Elect Lady in the faith, who’d been warned not to invite False Teachers into her home. But here John is highlighting the need for all Christians to practice hospitality, especially towards Ministers who’d come to work for Jesus. (Truth 3 John 1:7). They didn’t get support from NON-BELIEVERS, but like all good workmen for the Lord, they depended upon the hospitality of the saints to sustain their Ministry.

In verse 8 John reveals that it’s not simply good practice, but an obligation to support the ministry. 3 John 1:8 “We ought therefore to show hospitality to such men so that we may work together for the truth.” We’re working together for the TRUTH.

Giaus did this and was commended for it by the Apostle, but we turn now to someone who didn’t: Diotrephes.

Diotrephes The Bad:

Now we come to the BAD: Diotrephes was a man who wanted to be FIRST:

John revealed what Diotrephes was doing; “So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church.”

  • Malicious Gossip: Saying things that are not true, to make others look small, because he loved to be PREEMINENT / FIRST.
  • Refusing to Welcome: He’s not welcoming the ‘BROTHERS’: Good Christian men who’re going out to serve the Lord Jesus. 
  • Expelling those who do: Puts them out of the Church if they support the BROTHERS. 

Diotrephes is the worst kind of CONTROL FREAK. I want my way and I want to be first, if I’m not, then you are out of the Church.

He’s definitely a BAD Witness. His fame for being bad had reached the Apostle too.

Demetrius The Brilliant:

Then we come to Demetrius: He’s the Bright and Shining Example to us all.

3 John 1:12 “Demetrius is well spoken of by everyone—and even by the truth itself. We also speak well of him, and you know that our testimony is true.”

WOWzer! I’d love to be spoken of like Demetrius, wouldn’t you? Even by the TRUTH itself: It’s a strange phrase.

I love it when I hear brothers and sisters ‘Speaking Well’ of each other, but even more so when it’s for great reasons; because of their ‘Walk in the TRUTH’ or How they, “Walk in the Light”.

I’ve been privileged to witness so many BRILLIANT examples. And I’m always thanking God for the massive impact they’ve had upon my life and my walk with Him. They are such an encouragement.

Following Others:

Demetrius is a great example for us to follow, so is Giaus, but should we follow men?

God Encourages Us To Follow / Imitate the EXAMPLE and LIFE of those who are faithful followers of Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:17 17  Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you.

1 Corinthians 11:1 1  Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

It’s great to have some Brothers and Sisters we admire, but lets be sure we admire them for the right reasons. Not for their Money, Position or Fame, but for the way they Follow the Example of Jesus Christ. I’m always encouraged by many great men of the faith. Some of whom have gone to be with the Lord Jesus now.

But we also, like John the Apostle Here, Encourage one another. We need to be encouraged and spurred on in our walk with Jesus.

Hebrews 10:24 24  And let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.

Conclusion:

God wants to meet our every need in life, but we’ll only be completely satisfied if we’re walking in the Truth like Giaus and Demetrius: The LORD encourages us today;

Matthew 6:33 33  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

When we do seek His Kingdom as a first order priority: Then we’ll have a great TESTIMONY in the Church and before God and we’ll not be a FALSE witness, even to ourselves. We’ll be walking in the light, walking in the TRUTH and our lives will shine BRILLIANTLY FOR JESUS, FOR TRUTH AND FOR LOVE.

Have an awesome week with Jesus. Continue to walk in the Light as He is in the Light and we’ll have fellowship with one another.

Don.